Did you know that the Pikachu Illustrator is the most expensive Pokémon card ever sold at an eye-watering price of $5,27 million?
Collectible sports cards have been on the rise in the last few years. These cards have managed to turn collectors into millionaires overnight, skyrocketing in both demand and value.
While certain kinds of cards are more valuable than others, the only way to confirm their worth is through card grading. These services take a close look at each card to determine its quality. Grading companies then give each card a score, certifying their worth at the same time.
Want to learn more about the different kinds of card grading services? You’ve found the right blog. Here’s everything you need to know about card grading.
The global sports card market is worth over $1.2 billion. This market has exploded over the last few years and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. With major influencers and celebrities using these cards as alternative investments, the market is expected to grow to $2.8 billion by the end of 2028.
A trading card is a small card that is usually made with a central image. This image can vary depending on what card you have, but is generally focused on a star or important figure within that game, league, or sport. While Pokémon cards are some of the most popular and expensive trading cards on the market, sports cards are not far behind.
Pokémon cards showcase the diversity that collectible cards can have. Some cards can be focused on real athletes and sports stars, while others can be based entirely on fictional characters. Despite how they got their fame, these cards gain their value through the main image on the face of the card along with the rarity of the card.
These cards were initially developed to collect and trade with others. Developers even designed specific games that could be played with these cards. However, the collectible aspect of the cards has turned this trading game into one of the biggest alternative asset markets in the world.
This is because rare cards can be worth a serious amount of money. While these cards are generally a few dollars per pack, the right card can end up selling for millions to the right buyer. However, card grading is an important step used to unlock the card’s full value.
What Is Card Grading?
In simple terms, card grading services take a close look at your card and help determine the quality of the card. This process looks at every aspect of the card and simplifies the result within a set scale. It’s important to understand that grading does not give the card its value but rather certifies that the card is authentic and in good shape.
This essentially means that the card is free from damage. In this way, grading services act as an authority to help give buyers the peace of mind they need when finalizing the sale. Grading companies look at the card and also enclose the card in plastic to preserve its quality.
These cases are durable so that you can hold and showcase your card without worrying that you may damage the card. The quality of the card is deeply linked to its market value. This is why it’s so important to grade and maintain your card in the best way possible.
The Card Grading Process
Card grading is not an exact science, meaning that it’s still up to individuals to make a final decision. While some grading services work differently from others, they all follow a similar process. Here’s a quick look at the entire grading process.
The face or surface of the card is often the most important aspect of the card to evaluate. The surface is examined under a microscope to ensure that there are no scratches. Examiners will also evaluate the printing of the card to make sure that there have been no factory errors during the production process.
In some cases, errors can make the card rarer. While this is not always the case, factory errors can actually make the card more valuable. They’ll also look to make sure that the colors are bright, and the card is not faded in any way.
The corners are one of the first things you’ll notice about a card. Examiners and graders will look at the corners of a card under a microscope to ensure that the corners are not rounded in any way. They will also look to see if any paper is missing or if there is whitening around the corners.
The corners of a card are normally the first part that bends, folds, or gets damaged. This is why special attention is given to the corners during the examination process.
The edges of the card are different from the corners. The edges of the card are checked to make sure that the entire card is straight and not deformed in any way. Examiners will check to make sure that there are no perforations along the edges that could potentially harm its score.
Lastly, examiners will take a step back to look at how the card looks. The main thing that they look for is if the card is properly centered. Printing these cards is often done in mass, meaning that slight offsets are normal.
However, perfectly straight and centered cards always score the highest.
What Does a Graded Card Look Like?
Graded cards come in a unique package that indicates their score along with the authority that awarded the card that score. The packaging is designed to enclose and protect the card while allowing you to showcase it at the same time.
These protective packages are made from clear plastic and present the information about the card above it. This information is incredibly important as it outlines the authority that evaluated the card along with the score and a barcode.
This barcode helps authenticate the entire process as buyers can use it to look up the card. Authenticators and graders offer this service to help ensure that you’re buying a real, authenticated card and not a replica or fake.
Why Should You Grade Your Cards?
There are many reasons for you to grade your collectible cards. Besides keeping the card safe, this also helps authenticate your collectible. Cards that are graded are instantly more valuable as they are confirmed to be authentic and of high quality.
This helps increase the card's value when compared to a raw, ungraded card. If your graded card were on the market alongside an identical card, the graded card would stand out. This is because buyers can shop with confidence knowing that the graded card is an authentic, high-quality card.
This makes graded cards more desirable and valuable.
Grading your card is essential to help prove that it’s an authentic card. This is incredibly important as fake cards are all over the place. With most card sales happening online, it’s important to include an authority to help separate the fake from the real cards.
When to Grade Your Card
The perfect time to grade your collectible card is as soon as you unpack it. If you bought a pack of cards, the longer you keep them, the more the cards are exposed to the elements. This increases the risk that the card will get damaged.
Examiners are incredibly detailed in their approach. This means that they look at every inch of the card under a microscope to spot even the smallest of errors or damage. When opening your pack, you should transfer the valuable cards into plastic sleeves before sending them off to be graded by an authority.
These plastic sleeves will temporarily keep the card safe and protected as it makes its way to the examiner. When it comes to deciding what cards you should send to get graded, the answer depends on the market at the time. This is because you should only grade cards that would increase in value after the grading.
This includes rare cards or valuable cards that you may want to keep over the long term as an investment. If you’re not sure if you have a rare or valuable card, you can always look online to see the current market value of that particular card.
When Should You Not Grade Your Card?
There are a few instances where you should not grade your card. This is when the card is visibly damaged, or you think that grading would not be worth the price. Grading your cards isn’t too expensive, but the price can add up if you were to send all your cards in for grading.
This is why you should only send in the cards that you think can increase in value due to the grade itself. This helps make the cost of grading the card worth it.
Different Kinds of Card Grading
There are a few different options when it comes to grading your collectible cards. Here are two of the most popular options you can choose from.
Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA)
Professional Sports Authenticator was established back in 1991 and has verified millions of sports cards since then. This impressive authority has become a standard within the card collecting industry and has authenticated over $1 billion in trading cards.
PSA grades cards on a scale from 0 to 10, with 10 being the best and 0 being the worst. This scale makes it incredibly simple and easy for collectors and the public to judge whether a card is good or not. Cards that are graded are typically referred to by the name of the authority and the grade.
This means that the best card PSA can grade would be known as a PSA 10.
Beckett Grading Services (BGS)
Beckett Grading Services was developed in 1979 and was based on baseball cards. While most may be obsessed with Pokémon cards, baseball cards were originally the most popular and valuable trading cards on the market.
The company has various divisions that specialize in grading different cards. They have a vintage division that specializes in cards that were printed before 1981. These cards are often more delicate and feature unique designs that require an experienced eye.
This grading service also relies on the same scale as PSA. Cards that are graded by Beckett are known by the name of the grader and the grade. This means that the best card you can get is known as a BGS 10.
Influencers and celebrities have embraced collectible cards as an alternate investment. This interest has resulted in some of the biggest card purchases in history. With a few of them valued at over $1 million.
Ace Grading is a new grading company that was developed by an influencer that had a passion for Pokémon cards. This innovative grading company makes use of the latest technology to make the grading process as simple as possible. They even offer standard label grading for free in the United Kingdom.
This grading service is also based on a 10-point scale, allowing it to compete directly with other graders in the industry.
Building a Valuable Card Collection
Graded cards help to authenticate your collectible card. This helps prove that your card is authentic and plays a major role in determining how valuable this is. Grading your card is important even if you don’t plan to sell it as it also helps to protect the card itself.
Are you thinking of investing in collectible cards? Whether you’re thinking of buying a rare sports card or a graded Pokémon card, Breaking Bangers has it all. You can check out more awesome collectible cards on our website and start building your own collection today.