You have a few old sports cards from when you were younger and you’re thinking about getting them graded. Here’s a guide on how to get your sports cards graded.
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Sports cards grading is the process of determining the condition and authenticity of a card. A professional third-party service evaluates sports cards and assigns them a numerical grade on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the best. The condition of the card is the primary factor in determining the grade, but other factors such as rarity, age, and demand can also affect the value of a graded card.
If you are new to sports card grading, it is important to understand the process and what to expect before you send your cards in for evaluation. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about sports card grading, from how grades are determined to what services are available. We will also provide tips on how to get the most out of your investment and how to avoid common mistakes.
What is Grading and Why is it Important?
What is Grading?
Grading is the process of determining the condition and, therefore, the value of a collectible card. Most collectors, especially those who focus on more modern cards, prefer to purchase cards that have been professionally graded by a reputable company.
To have a card graded, you first need to choose a company. The two most popular companies are PSA and Beckett. Once you’ve decided on a company, you’ll need to send your card (or cards) to them. Most companies offer different levels of service, so be sure to choose the one that best meets your needs.
The grading process can take several weeks, but once it’s complete you’ll receive your card back in a protective case with a label that indicates the condition of the card. For example, a PSA 10 Gem Mint card is essentially perfect in every way and is worth significantly more than an ungraded card in similar condition.
While grading can be costly, it’s often worth the investment as it can help you get top dollar for your cards when you sell them. It can also give you peace of mind knowing that your cards are well-protected against damage.
What are the Different Grading Companies?
Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), Beckett Grading Services (BGS), and Sportscard Guaranty LLC (SGC) are the three main companies that grade sports cards. There are also many other companies, but these three are generally considered the most reputable and widely used.
Each company has their own method of grading, but they all generally follow the same principles. Cards are given a numerical grade from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest. The condition of the card is then judged based on factors such as centering, corners, edges, surface wear, and overall eye appeal.
The main difference between the companies is how they weigh each factor when determining the final grade. For example, PSA might give more weight to centering than BGS does. This is why you might see two cards that look very similar but have different grades from different companies.
It’s important to note that not all cards can be graded by all companies. For example, PSA does not grade autographed cards or cards that have been altered in any way. BGS does not grade cards that have been damaged in any way, such as water damaged or bent cards. SGC has a more relaxed policy and will grade most cards except for those that are heavily damaged or altered.
So why is grading important? There are a few reasons. First, it provides uniformity and consistency when judging the condition of a card. This is especially important when buying and selling cards online, since you can’t physically inspect the card yourself before making a purchase. Second, graded cards generally sell for more than ungraded cards because collectors are willing to pay a premium for the peace of mind that comes with knowing the exact condition of the card before they buy it.
If you’re interested in having your own sports cards graded, there are a few things you need to know first. Each company has their own submission process and fees, so be sure to check their website for details before sending in your cards. You will also need to decide whether you want your cards slabbed (encased in plastic) or un-slabbed (not encased in plastic). Slabbed cards usually sell for more than un-slabbed cards because they offer an extra level of protection from damage.
Finally, keep in mind that there is no guarantee your card will get the grade you want it to get. The grading process is subjective, so even if your card looks mint condition to you, there’s always a chance it will come back with a lower grade from the company
What are the Different Grading Tiers?
There are a few different companies that grade sports cards, but the two most popular are PSA and Beckett. Each company has their own way of grading, but they both have different tiers that range from poor to gem mint condition.
The first tier is poor, also known as PR. This is the lowest grade a card can get and is usually reserved for cards that are in very bad shape. They may have major creases, folds, or even be missing pieces.
The next tier is fair, or FR. This is still a low grade, but the card will be in better shape than one that is Poor. There might be some small creases or bends, but overall the card should be intact.
The third tier is good, or GD. A good card is one step up from fair and is in decent shape. There may be some wear around the edges or corners, but the piece should be mostly intact.
The fourth tier is very good, or VG. Very good cards are starting to become collectible and are worth more than lower grades. They will have some wear but all of the important details should still be visible.
The fifth tier is excellent, or EX. Excellent cards are well-preserved and starting to become rare. They might have minor creases or whitening on the edges, but overall they will look great.
The sixth and final tier is gem mint, or GEM MT 10. This is the highest grade a card can get and means it is in perfect condition. These cards are incredibly rare and valuable because they look just like they did when they were first printed
Why is Grading Important?
Grading is important because it establishes the condition of your card, which in turn, determines its value. The higher the grade, the more valuable the card.
There are a number of factors that go into determining the grade of a card, but the two main ones are corner wear and centering. Corner wear is self-explanatory — it’s how much wear and tear the corners of the card have. Centering refers to how well centered the image on the card is.
The grading process is done by a third party, like PSA or Beckett, who will assign your card a numerical grade from 1 to 10, with 10 being perfect. They will also give you a description of what that grade means.
Once your card is graded, it will be sealed in a hard plastic case so that its condition can’t be changed. This is why grading is so important — it assures collectors that they are getting what they’re paying for.
How to Get Your Sports Cards Graded
Sports cards are a great way to collect your favorite players and moments. Getting your cards graded can increase their value and make them easier to sell. There are a few things you should know before you get started. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about getting your sports cards graded.
Step One: Choose a Grading Company
The first step in getting your sports cards graded is to choose a grading company. There are many companies that grade sports cards, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some companies focus on older cards, while others focus on newer cards. Some companies are faster than others, and some are more expensive. Do your research and choose the company that is right for you.
Step Two: Choose a Grading Tier
After you have gathered your sports cards, the next step is to choose a grading tier. The three most common grading tiers are economy, standard and premium. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it is important to choose the one that best suits your needs.
-Economy: The economy tier is the most affordable option and is typically used for mass-produced cards that are not valuable or rare. This option does not come with a guarantee of a grade, but it is a good way to get an idea of what your card might be worth.
-Standard: The standard tier is more expensive than the economy option, but it comes with a guarantee of a grade. This option is a good choice for collectors who want to get an accurate estimate of their card’s value.
-Premium: The premium tier is the most expensive option, but it also comes with the best guarantee. This option is typically used for rare and valuable cards that need to be professionally authenticated before they can be sold.
Step Three: Submit Your Cards
After you’ve carefully selected which cards you want to get graded, it’s time to submit them to a professional company for authentication and encapsulation. There are many companies that provide this service, so be sure to do your research before selecting one.
When submitting your cards, you will need to fill out a submission form that includes your contact information and the specific details of the cards you are sending in. You will also be asked to select a service level – the higher the level, the faster you will receive your graded cards back, but it will also be more expensive.
Once your submission form is complete, package your cards securely and send them off! Generally, it takes 4-6 weeks to receive your graded cards back in the mail. When they arrive, take a look at your new investments – with any luck, they’ll have gone up in value!
Step Four: Wait for Your Cards to be Graded
The turnaround time for grading can vary depending on the company you use, but it generally takes about four to six weeks. In some cases, it may take longer if the company is backlogged or if your cards need to be re-submitted for a higher grade. Once your cards are graded, you will receive them back in a sealed plastic case with a label indicating the grade.
Step Five: Check Your Results
When you receive your results, check the condition of your cards and the grades that were assigned. If you are happy with the results, then you are all done! If you are not happy with the results, then you can either submit your cards for a re-grade or appeal the grades that were assigned.
There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re sending your sports cards off to be graded. First, make sure you’re familiar with the fees charged by the grading company. Second, be sure to insure your shipment, as grading companies are not responsible for lost or damaged items. Finally, be patient! The grading process can take several weeks, and you’ll want to make sure your cards are returned in the same condition as when you sent them.