Grading companies received a lot of attention with the introduction of E-bay and other on-line auction houses where the person bidding on/ buying a card is not able to physically see or handle the end product they are purchasing. Card grading exploded (along with the industry) during the Pandemic, and having a card graded can greatly affect the card's value. There are two other main benefits to getting a card graded.
First, the buyer doesn't have to rely on the seller's description of the card and whether that description is accurate or truthful. A third party has examined the card and attached their grade
(a score from 1-10) as to its condition to it. Factors that affect a card's grade are centering, corners, edges, and surface. Different grading companies weigh those factors differently.
The second purpose of card grading is establishing the card's authenticity. Having a card graded also guarantees that the card is not a counterfeit. This is especially useful for high dollar, often counterfeited cards, like Michael Jordan's rookie, or seldom seen, scarcer vintage cards.
Once a card is graded, it is "slabbed" in a thick plastic card holder that can not be opened without obviously breaking the slab. This is a plus for the collector to know that the card will be in the same condition once received as it is in when purchased (and to know that the card can't be switched with another one). We have many collectors who grade their "PC" (personal collection) cards.
Due to grading popularity, there are
now more choices than ever in who to choose to grade
your cards; however, for increased value alone,
PSA (Professional Sports Authenticators) is presently
the industry leader. Getting a PSA 10 can greatly increase
your card's value...especially for a card that doesn't
normally grade high. BGS (Beckett Grading Services)
is another big player in the grading biz, and it's
thought that a score of BGS 9.5 is roughly equal to
a PSA 10,
as BGS has a reputation of being a tougher grader (especially
when it comes to centering, where PSA is more permissive).
Both companies are experiencing a serious backlog (as
of this printing in March 2022), so wait times can
be long, and cost has increased greatly over the last
Those last two factors have opened
up the Grading choices to other companies like SGC
(Sportscard Guaranty). Around since 1998,
SGC is not new, but has seen an uptick of submissions
due to quality and the sheer volume of cards being
graded. CSG (Certified Sports Guaranty), also not
new to the game, is part of the same company known
coin, paper money, and comic book grading and encapsulation.
HGA (Hybrid Grading Approach) IS new, and offers
appealing, custom labels as an add-on option. SGC,
CSG, and HGA
have cheaper price options and faster turnaround
times than both PSA and BGS...another attractive feature.
While several companies make themselves
available for in-person submissions at large trade
shows (especially the annual National
Collectors Convention, where some on-site grading
is done), most submissions take place through the
mail. Instructions for mail-in submissions can be
each Grading Card Company's website, and include
directions for how cards should be packed (such
as what card holders
Prices vary between companies and
depend on wait time and card value. Check their respective
websites for current info.