#CheckThisOut: Tools to help you protect your K-pop photocards


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#CheckThisOut: Tools to help you protect your K-pop photocards
Keep your K-pop photocards safe with these items

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Picture this: you’ve just had a long and tiring day. Suddenly, you see your crush (or a person you look up to). This person makes you smile and gives you comfort during difficult times. Your face lights up as you feel a spark and you get kilig. Your day is made and one can ever steal that moment from you. This is what many K-pop fans feel whenever they pull, unbox, or bring a photocard of their bias.

Photocards – also known as papels, pocas, or pcs – are exclusive palm-sized pictures of K-pop idols that are often priced from P100 to P500 each.  Only a few of these photocards – only the rare yet highly in-demand ones – actually reach a thousand pesos, much more P50,000. Yet the untrained eye won’t be able to tell the difference.

Just like buying albums and posters, collecting these cards is one of the many ways fans support and showcase their favorite artists loud and proud. But these aren’t merely pieces of paper. 

For us, K-pop fans, collecting photocards brings us so much joy, happiness, and comfort. 

Sparks fly whenever we see a photocard we like and it can be a thrilling experience to “mine” these. It’s also fun to lay them out in a binder and browse through them, all while reliving the different memories we’ve had as a fan – from being comforted by our favorites’ music to the friends we’ve made while selling, trading, and receiving these papels. Plus these photocards help us feel that there’s someone by our side. It can even inspire us to keep fighting and working hard, just like how our favorite artists trained rigorously to be successful. 

Truth be told, these pocas are definitely worth more than their monetary value. Thus, it’s important for us to protect these, just like how we protect what makes us feel happy and loved, too! So to my fellow collectors out there or to the newest members of the K-pop buy-and-sell (BNS) community, here’s a list of tools (and tips) that will keep your photocards safe.


Get it on Shopee or Lazada 

Looking for an organized way to store your K-pop photocards at home? This A5 binder will do the trick. It may seem like an ordinary composition notebook to the untrained eye, but you can layout and store all your photocards inside, and browse through your collection every once in a while. Plus it has an aesthetic design that comes in different colors too! 

Binder sleeves 

Get it on Shopee or Lazada 

Of course, you won’t be able to store your photocards in a binder without sleeves. Some binders come with sleeves but they’re usually sold separately. The sleeves come in different sizes and vary in the number of pockets per page. Just make sure the size you’ll choose fits your binder’s dimensions.

Photocard sleeves

Get it on Shopee or Lazada 

Popcorn sleeves are your photocards’ first layer of protection, especially from scratches and moisture. Ideally, a photocard should be wrapped in one or more of these clear popcorn sleeves before being placed in a binder sleeve, toploader, or photocard holder. The packaging of these sleeves comes in different colors, which correspond to the different photocard sizes. Pro tip: purple is commonly used by collectors as it fits most photocards.

Photocard holder

Get it on Shopee or Lazada 

While we should be more careful about publicly displaying our photocards in our bags or IDs, these acrylic photocard holders will still come in handy – whether you’re indoors or outdoors. Its hard casing will provide your photocard an extra layer of protection while it’s displayed in your room or tucked inside your bag. It also makes the pictures of your photocards much more aesthetic, but just make sure to be careful whenever you bring it out. What’s more: you can choose from a variety of designs too. Maybe you’ll find one that perfectly fits your bias!


Get it on Shopee or Lazada 

Just like photocard holders, toploaders – similar to our ID cases – will also keep your photocards safe and sound. You can even decorate these toploaders with stickers and use them to display, bring, or ship out your photocards. Plus it’s so much cheaper too!

Index pull tabs

Get it on Shopee or Lazada 

Index pull tabs will definitely make your life easier if you’re using toploaders. These tabs are usually placed on the top corner of the photocard’s popcorn sleeve before being inserted in the toploader. Doing so makes it so much easier for the recipient to pull out the photocard from the  case. You can even use these for school or work as it can serve as a bookmark or divider too! Talk about multi-functional.


Get it on Shopee or Lazada 

If you’re planning to ship out your photocards, then these next few items are for you. If you’re feeling extra, you can place your toploader in between two chipboards or alternatively, recycled cardboard. Doing so will ensure your photocard is extra protected and would not bend while being shipped by the courier due to its rigidity. 

Washi tape

Get it on Shopee or Lazada

Now, you’ll need to put everything together before shipping your photocards out. Good thing, washi tape is here to save the day! It’s easy to stick on or remove from surfaces and does so without damaging anything. You can use these to stick your toploader on a chipboard and consequently, the two chipboards together. You can even use these as decoration!


Get it on Shopee or Lazada 

Lastly, it’s best to have one last layer of protection. These corrugated boxes will protect your item from damage and hopefully, from temptation too. These come in different sizes and colors but a T0-sized box will do if you’re shipping a small number of photocards. You can also seal your boxes with a ribbon, twine, sticker, or tape so that it will be obvious if the box has been tampered with. 

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Aside from the items mentioned above, it’s also best to take some extra precautions to keep your photocards safe.

If you’ll be receiving K-pop photocards merchandise or any other items soon, make sure to film an unboxing video. If ever the parcel has been opened, file a complaint (with proof) to the courier as soon as possible. You can also share the incident with other K-pop collectors as a warning or as a call for help, as there have been instances wherein fans have helped track lost parcels being sold on social media. The K-pop community isn’t the type to back down after all. 

If you’ll be sending K-pop merchandise soon, it’s best to keep your external packaging simple so that it looks like any other item is inside. Make sure to also refrain from using the words “K-pop merchandise” or “photocards” in the item’s description. Plus you can get a stack of pouches from the couriers themselves so that you can already wrap your items at home before handing them to the staff. You may also opt to place the waybill (or alternatively, a sticker or signature) on the flap of your pouch so that it will be obvious if the parcel has been tampered with. 

Whether you’re indoors or outdoors, it’s best to treat our photocards just like our valuables. But let’s hope that by spreading the right information about these papels, we’ll be able to bring out our photocards and fangirl in peace once again. Fighting fellow K-pop collectors! We’ll get through this together. – MJ Viernes/Rappler.com

MJ Viernes is a Rappler volunteer. She’s a Business Administration major from UP Diliman who likes K-pop, Ghibli films, and the colors pink and blue. She loves creating ceramics, crocheted pieces, and accessories during her free time.

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