For the suppliers of vinyl LP’s to collectors or people who simply feel that the music recorded on vinyl is superior to modern day digital recordings, using record mailers to ensure the safe arrival of the albums is absolutely essential. If you are purchasing from or trading with someone who uses a greasy pizza box to ship a valuable LP, you may want to reconsider doing business with that person! A proper record mailer will prevent any damage from happening to not only the record itself, but the album jacket as well, while in transit.
LP record mailers are especially sized for those popular 33’s that are remembered with so much fondness. Made of vinyl, LP’s need special care when shipping to ensure that they don’t melt in hot climates, and most shippers prefer to use Priority Mail rather than a slower speed to allow for this fact. They are more durable though, than their predecessor the 78, but care must still be used when packing. A 12.5-inch by 12.5-inch sized box is optimum, and many of these mailers come with perforations that allow you to fold it to accommodate between one and five albums. It is recommended that you sandwich the album between two sheets of corrugated cardboard for extra padding, and bubble wrap is always encouraged. After all, these precious records are not being produced any more, so special care must be taken with them, for there will be no new ones!
Most vinyl record mailers will be labeled as 32ECT. ECT stands for Edge Crush Test, and is a rating of how many pounds per square inch of force it takes to collapse the edges of the cardboard. A rating of 32ECT means 32 pounds of weight per square inch would crush the edge of the box, which is perfectly fine for a mailing box. If you want to be even more certain your albums will get there safely, look into double-wall corrugated cardboard record mailers, which use a different rating system and will be substantially stronger.
Before vinyl LP records and 45’s came out, phonograph records were all 78’s and were made of shellac which is much thicker, heavier and more brittle; therefore the difficulty of shipping these records is greatly increased. It is recommended that you first remove the 78 from its record cover and package that separately. Sandwich the 78 between two layers of corrugated cardboard, then wrap it in bubble wrap and place it in a 10.25-inch by 10.25-inch by 2-inch box and tape securely. Place that box inside an LP box and use foam chips and other packing materials to ensure that the interior box won’t move during shipment. That should ensure the safe arrival of the fragile 78 record.
Whether you are trading, selling or purchasing vinyl LP’s, it is a rewarding hobby that will give you much pleasure now and in years to come as the records become more and more difficult to find. Shipping albums in record mailers is the first step in keeping these precious collectibles in perfect condition.