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The Importance of Grading Sports Cards and TCG

     Have you ever wondered if grading your Sports Cards or Trading Cards is really worth the price? There is no right or wrong answer here. Everyone grades for various reasons, for some, grading is purely a profit boosting play, others it’s to make sure their cards are authenticated (typically vintage). Others, protection and uniformity of their storage needs. Ultimately it is up to you to decide WHY grading is important and fits your budget. 

     The cost of sports card grading varies depending on several factors, including the grading company, the declared value of the card, the turnaround time, and any additional services requested. Different grading companies have their own fee structures, and prices may change over time. It’s important to check the specific grading company’s website or contact them directly for the most up-to-date information. 

     Grading fees typically start around $10 to $20 per card for standard service with longer turnaround times. However, the costs can increase significantly for express services or for cards with higher declared values. Additionally, some grading companies offer different grading tiers or options, such as subgrades (grading individual components of the card) or autograph authentication, which may have separate fees.

     It’s worth noting that there may be additional costs involved, such as shipping fees, insurance, and any optional services requested, so it’s essential to factor those into the total expenses.

     Keep in mind that the sports card grading market is dynamic, and grading companies may adjust their pricing structures or introduce new services over time. It’s always advisable to check the specific grading company’s website or contact them directly for the most accurate and current pricing information. Below are our recommendations for grading companies. There are plenty of other options available but the big 3 have provenance within the hobby and will give you the most return on investment.

Grading your cards is important for several reasons:

     Authentication: Grading helps authenticate the legitimacy and originality of sports cards. It confirms that the card is genuine and not a counterfeit or altered version. This is especially crucial for rare and valuable cards, as counterfeiting and tampering can be common in the sports card market. This is generally used for cards older than the early 90s. The modern era cards tend to have less fakes as printing standards have become better and more difficult to alter.


     Preservation: Grading involves encapsulating the card in a protective case, often referred to as a slab. This helps preserve the card’s condition and protects it from external elements, such as moisture, dust, and fingerprints. The slab also prevents further wear and tear, ensuring the card maintains its original state over time.

     Consistency: Grading provides a standardized and consistent evaluation of a card’s condition. Professional grading companies employ experts who assess various factors like centering, corners, edges, surface, and overall appeal. These factors are assigned a numeric grade, typically on a scale of 1 to 10, providing a universal language for collectors and investors to understand and compare the quality of different cards.

     Value Determination: Grading plays a significant role in determining the value of a sports card. Higher graded cards generally command higher prices in the market. A card with a higher grade is considered to be in better condition, making it more desirable to collectors. Grading removes subjectivity and provides an objective assessment that buyers and sellers can rely on when negotiating prices. 

Raw Value: $555

Graded Value: $4000 PSA 10


     Market Confidence: Grading adds credibility and transparency to the sports card market. By having a reputable third-party grading company evaluate and authenticate cards, it helps build trust among collectors, investors, and buyers. This confidence encourages trading and selling, as individuals can have a reasonable assurance about the quality and authenticity of the cards they are purchasing. PSA is by far the most trusted and widely sought after grading company at the time of this writing and should be for the foreseeable future. 

     Rarity and Scarcity: In the world of sports cards, rarity and scarcity are significant factors determining value. Grading helps establish the rarity of a particular card in a specific grade. For example, a card graded as a 10 (Gem Mint) might be rarer than the same card graded as a 9 (Mint). This rarity can greatly impact the card’s desirability and value in the market.

     Overall, grading sports cards is essential for authentication, preservation, consistency, value determination, market confidence, and establishing rarity. It has become an integral part of the sports card collecting and investing hobby, providing a standardized and trustworthy system for evaluating and trading cards.

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