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How To Get Trading Cards Graded - A Simple Guide To Help You Through The Process

Updated: Feb 8, 2023

Collecting trading cards is a hobby that tends to be passed on from generation to generation. But those who want to start their own collection can buy collectible cards from other collectors or auctions. Recently, many trading card collectors have been placing their prized possessions on the market.

The value of these cards do tend to go up but it all depends on market conditions along with how desired that particular card is. If you happen to have a box of trading cards lying around in the attic or garage, it is probably time to bring them out and see if they have any value. After you access their value, you may way to start learning the process with how to get your trading cards graded.

The Reason for Their Comeback

The revitalized interest in trading cards is said to be a quick response to the pandemic. Lockdowns motivated sports fans and collectors to bring out their trading cards. The possibility of getting a good price for the cards was an attractive thought. The value of trading cards increased exponentially, though market conditions have recently cooled for certain cards and sports. That is why more people are now starting their trading card collection journey. Social media is the significant bridge between trading card sellers and buyers. Influencers also use social media to show that card collecting is worth it but most important, fun!

How Much Does It Cost to Get Trading Cards Graded?

Many factors influence trading card grading. The type of card, turnaround time, and card value each play a role in determining the how desired a particular card is. Grading can be confusing and intimidating for first-timers. Knowing how much it costs to have a card graded is the first step of the process. Here are some of the common grading prices:

  • Beckett - The price ranges from $20 - $250. The company offers Premium, Standard, Economy, and Express options. This is one of the simpler option to get cards graded. Learn more here.

  • SGC - This is one of the most affordable card grading companies but still get their fair amount of respect within the card collecting community. It starts at $24 for trading cards that are worth $1,500 or less. The submissions with higher prices depend on the turnaround time and the declared value of the cards. The 1-2 day option will set you back about $125. Learn more here.

  • PSA - Card grading with PSA can costs $30 - $5,000 for each card. The base price is $30 per card. The Economy option starts a $50. The Regular option starts at $100. The Express option begins at $150. Learn more here.

  • HGA - HGA’s prices start at $25 - $80 for each card. The final price depends on the service level and size. The grading scale is from 1 -10, with varying turnaround times. Learn more here.

  • GMA - GMA's prices range from $10 - $20. Learn more here.

Please keep in mind, even though we've provided a wide range of grading options above, the main leaders in the game are currently PSA, SGC & Beckett. Things can always change in the future though, we will see.

*Prices can fluctuate depending on company decisions. We've done our best to accurately portray the cost of grading with the respective companies at the time of this writing.

How to Get Your Baseball, Football, Basketball or Yugioh Cards Graded

Trading cards can be valuable, whether it's of a particular sport or non sport. Their value has been increasing recently and part of that has to do with the rise in the popularity of grading. If card grading interests you, here are the steps to consider:

  • Think About Which Card To Grade - This is the most important choice that you have to make. Most experts say that you should consider your rare cards to be graded to enhance their value. Cards such as numbered, parallel, and short-printed cards fall into this category. The choice is ultimately yours in which card you want to send off to be graded. It does not have to fall into the specific categories we mentioned above.

  • Inspect The Card Carefully - You must examine the card with precision. Your goal is to try to get the highest grade possible. Look at every inch of your card. You should do this under a some type of good lighting and some even suggest wearing gloves to protect the surface of the card. Using a magnifying glass can help you focus on the card’s different sections and help you spot little imperfections you may have not noticed with your naked eye. These sections include the surface, centering, corners, and edges.

If it passes all of the test with surface, centering etc, then it may be good for submission. At the end of the day if you have a card that has scratches and other issues, you can choose to keep it in your personal collection.

  • Choose Your Grading Company - The next step is to choose the right grading company that fits your budget. As mentioned before, as of right now the leader of the grading card market is PSA. The market is currently willing to pay more for a PSA 10 than nearly any other grade from other grading companies.

  • Turnaround Time Is Crucial - Waiting can be the most challenging part of card grading. Different card grading services have different turnaround times. If you can wait longer, then you will pay less. If you are pressed for time, then prepare to pay more.

How To Send Your Cards To Get Graded

You will need certain supplies in order to send your card/cards in for grading. Some basic things you need are Semi-rigid card holders (find Breaker Bros card graders here), penny sleeves, packing tape, and bubble wrap and a envelope or box to ship. The basic pointers for packing remain the same even even if each company has different specifics on how to pack your cards for grading. You should ask each company its specific policies before you start preparing. Below are the pointers to consider:

  • Complete your card grading submission form.

  • Place each card in a penny sleeve. After this, put the sleeve into a semi-rigid grader.

  • Avoid screw-downs, top-loaders, or snap tights because most companies will return your card if you use them.

  • Place your cards in between two flat and smooth cardboard pieces that are bigger than the card holders. This will prevent the cards from bending.

  • Make sure to use rubber bands to secure the card bundle. But avoid binding them too tightly. The tightness should just be enough to hold the cardboard pieces together. Extreme tightness may damage your cards.

  • Place packing peanuts in the shipping boxes. Newspaper or bubble wrap will do as well. Put the cushioning material in first and then place the card bundle on it.

  • Use clear packaging tape when wrapping the entire box.

  • Remember to follow the specific instructions of the grading company you are using.

Is It Even Important To Get Your Trading Cards Graded?

Let's face it, many card collectors think about the money that they can make with their cards and if they will increase in value via grading. Will the grading be worth it? After all, spending any type of money to grade your card and getting it back in a grade that is less than you though isn't a good feeling.

You can check out the sold comps for the specific cards you are going to get graded on websites such as eBay. Consider how much you have paid for the card and the cost of getting it graded. Does it make sense with the current market value of the card?

Are you trying to get your card graded for pure profit or for more enjoyment? Grading your card doesn't only need to have monetary value attached to it. Sometimes, someone may just want to grade a card simply to display it in their home.

Meeting Card Grading Companies At Card Shows

As we discussed earlier, card grading costs depends on the company you choose. The price also depends on the turnaround time, the number of cards and the value of your cards. If you attend card shows in person, you can catch major grading companies at sports memorabilia and card shows all year round.

They can give you information about onsite card grading and submissions. You can bring your card to the show in your choose to. This will help you save money on insurance and shipping fees. It will give you more peace of mind, knowing that you had your cards graded on the spot.

The Goal Is Simple...You Want A GEM MINT 10!

There's no other way to say it. The higher the grade, the more your card is going to be worth on the open market. The goal is a 10. Gem Mint is usually what this grade is called and this basically means your card has no imperfections and the condition is well...GEM MINT. That's why people are willing to pay more for these type of cards. Also, you can review POP reports to see how many cards of your specific card are GEM MINT as well to help you get an idea of how many others are out there.

Now You Can Decide If Grading Is Right For You

Beginner and even veteran card collectors may find it difficult to make the right decisions when it comes to card grading. Whatever your reason is, card grading is an important part of collecting cards especially in todays market. People care about card condition and also population reports and this is what card grading ultimately helps us with.

Oh and don't forget...have FUN!


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