How To Get Pokemon Cards Graded

Collecting Pokémon cards has been a popular hobby since the 1990s, with some rare cards becoming highly valuable. Grading these cards can provide collectors with a reliable assessment of their condition and worth, making it an essential step for those looking to sell or trade their prized possessions. To have Pokémon cards graded, collectors need to follow a specific process and use reputable grading services.

There are several well-known grading service companies available, such as PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator) and CGC (Certified Guaranty Company) Trading Cards. These organizations specialize in assessing the condition and authenticity of trading cards, and provide grades ranging from 0 to 10 based on the card’s quality. The grading process relies on standardized criteria, ensuring collectors have a clear understanding of their card’s value within the market.

Before submitting cards for grading, collectors should properly prepare them to ensure they are preserved and protected. It is recommended to use a penny sleeve, a semi-rigid cardholder, and follow industry-standard packaging techniques, which guarantee that the cards arrive at the grading service in their original condition. Following this process and selecting a reputable grading service will help collectors obtain accurate assessments of their Pokémon cards’ worth.

Understanding Pokémon Card Grading

Grading Pokémon cards is the process of evaluating the condition of a card by a professional grading company to determine its overall quality and value. This section will discuss the importance of grading, the criteria used in the grading process, and factors that can affect a card’s grade.

Why Grade Pokémon Cards

Grading Pokémon cards can be essential for collectors, as it validates the authenticity of the card and provides a clear understanding of its condition. A card’s grade can significantly impact its value in the market, with higher-grade cards typically fetching higher prices. Additionally, graded cards tend to be more easily bought and sold, as the grading process provides an objective assessment of the card’s quality, making transactions smoother for both buyers and sellers.

Grading Criteria

Professional grading companies, such as PSA, Beckett, and CGC, use specific grading criteria to evaluate Pokémon cards. These criteria include:

  • Centering: Comparing the evenness of the card’s borders on all four sides to determine the accuracy of the printing process. Ideally, the card should have a symmetrical appearance, with equal amounts of border color (yellow or blue) on all sides.
  • Corners: Inspecting the card’s corners to ensure they are sharp and free from damage, such as indentations or wear.
  • Edges: Examining the card’s edges to identify any whitening, nicks, or edgewear that may signify handling or wear over time.
  • Surface: Evaluating the card’s surface for any scratches, scuffs, print lines, or holographic bleed which may detract from its appearance and affect its grade.

Factors Affecting Grade

Several factors can affect a Pokémon card’s grade, including:

  • Condition: The overall physical state of the card, taking into account any damage or imperfections that impact its appearance.
  • Details: Minor issues such as print lines or holographic bleed may lower the card’s grade, as these are considered manufacturing defects.
  • Handling: Improper handling or storage can lead to whitening, nicks, or edgewear, which may negatively impact the card’s grade.

Understanding the grading process and criteria can help collectors ensure they maintain the quality of their Pokémon cards and make informed decisions when buying or selling graded cards in the market.

Choosing the Right Grading Service

When it comes to getting your Pokémon cards graded, it is important to select the right grading service to ensure that your cards are professionally assessed and their value is accurately determined. In this section, we will discuss various grading services available, including Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), Beckett Grading Services, Certified Guaranty Company (CGC), and other lesser-known grading services. We’ll also provide a comparison of these services to help you make an informed decision.

Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA)

PSA is a reputable grading service that was founded in 1991 and has since gained popularity among collectors. Known for their rigorous grading process and strict rules, the Pokémon card market highly respects PSA.

PSA provides various service levels and pricing options, with turnaround times currently improved since their suspension of new submissions in 2021. Some popular options include Value Bulk ($19/card, up to $499 Declared Value) and Value ($25/card, up to $499 Declared Value).

Beckett Grading Services

Another highly-regarded grading service is Beckett Grading Services. Beckett has been widely recognized as one of the best grading services due to its reputation, and it uses a 1-10 scale to grade cards, with 10 being the best possible condition. They also provide an option for bulk grading at $15 per card for a submission of 20 or more cards.

Beckett awards sub-grades for various attributes, such as centering, corners, edges, and surface (for an additional fee), and is highly trusted by collectors.

Certified Guaranty Company (CGC)

CGC is another professional grading company known for its expertise in grading trading cards. Just like PSA and Beckett, CGC uses a 10-point grading system and provides various service levels and pricing options.

While CGC may not be as widely known as PSA and Beckett for Pokémon card grading, it is still a reputable company with a rigorous grading process, and it can serve as an alternative option for collectors.

Lesser-Known Grading Services

While PSA, Beckett, and CGC are the most prominent grading services in the market, there are also lesser-known grading companies available. These smaller services may cater to specific niches or offer competitive pricing; however, their grading standards may not be as widely recognized or accepted by the Pokémon card market, which can impact the resale value of the graded cards.

Comparing Services

To choose the right grading service for your Pokémon cards, consider factors such as:

  • Reputation and market recognition: How well-known and respected is the company within the Pokémon card market?
  • Grading standards: What grading scale and criteria do they use for card assessment?
  • Pricing and service levels: Do they provide a range of service options, pricing tiers and turnaround times?
  • Security and authentication: How do they ensure card security during the grading process, and is their authentication process reliable?

By taking these factors into account, you’ll be better equipped to select the appropriate grading service for your Pokémon cards, ensuring an accurate evaluation and maintaining their value.

Preparing Pokemon Cards for Grading

When preparing your Pokemon cards for grading, it’s essential to take a systematic approach. This section will highlight the key steps, including inspecting card condition, determining potential value, and packing and storage tips.

Inspecting Card Condition

The first step is to carefully evaluate the condition of your Pokemon cards. Make sure to inspect the front and back of each card, paying close attention to the overall condition, centering ratios, and surface quality.

Examine the holographic box, if present, as scratches can be challenging to spot and may affect the card’s grade. The artwork and overall card quality can range from mint condition to near mint, and these factors play an important role in the grading process.

Determining Potential Value

To gauge the potential value of your Pokemon cards, visit an online marketplace such as TCGplayer. This platform allows collectors to compare market prices for individual cards and determine its worth accurately.

Factors affecting a card’s value include rarity, popularity, and the availability of certain cards within base sets.

Packing and Storage Tips

Proper packing and storage of your Pokemon cards are crucial in maintaining their condition. Here are some packing and storage tips to consider:

  • Place the card in a penny sleeve, which is an affordable and thin plastic sleeve designed to store individual cards
  • Attach a sticky note or post-it tag to the penny sleeve to make it easy to pull out the card
  • Put the card inside a semi-rigid card holder for additional protection during the grading process
  • For long-term storage, consider using specialized storage products designed for trading card collections, such as binders and portfolio pages

Following these guidelines will ensure that your Pokemon trading cards are well-preserved and ready for grading. Remember, the better the card’s condition, the higher its potential value and rating.

Submitting Cards to Grading Services

When getting Pokémon cards graded, it is important to understand the submission process, including service level selection, shipping procedures, and potential wait times and delays. This section will cover these topics to help you be well-prepared when submitting your cards for grading.

Service Level Selection

Several card grading services exist, such as PSA, CGC, and Beckett. Each service offers various grading tiers, which correspond to different rates and turnaround times. When selecting a service level, consider your budget, the value of your cards, and how quickly you want your cards graded. Common levels include:

  • Express Grading – for high-value cards that require faster grading
  • Regular – a balanced choice between cost and turnaround time
  • Bulk Submission – lower cost per card but longer wait times; ideal for large collections

Each grading service may have different rate structures and turnaround times, so it is essential to research and compare before making a final decision.

Shipping Procedures

Properly packaging your Pokémon cards is crucial to ensure they arrive at the grading facility in the best possible condition. Follow these steps to prepare your cards for shipment:

  1. Place the card in a penny sleeve.
  2. Attach a post-it tag to the penny sleeve for easy removal.
  3. Place the sleeved card inside a semi-rigid cardholder.
  4. Secure cards between two pieces of cardboard.
  5. Consider using bubble wrap or packing material for added protection.

Make sure to include a printed submission form if required and insure your package to protect your investment.

Wait Times and Delays

Turnaround times for Pokémon card grading services can vary significantly based on demand, the grading service chosen, and the tier selected. Typical turnaround times are:

Service LevelEstimated Turnaround Time
Express Grading1-2 weeks
Regular4-6 weeks
Bulk Submission2-3 months or longer

Note that these are only estimates and actual turnaround times may be longer due to various factors such as high demand or temporary service disruptions. It is advised to monitor the grading service’s website for updates and be patient during the grading process.

The Graded Card Market

The graded card market has become a popular destination for collectors who want to authenticate and preserve the value of their rare Pokémon cards. Many use professional card grading services like PSA, CGC Trading Cards, and Beckett to evaluate the condition of their card collection. In this section, we will discuss market trends and values, buying and selling graded cards, and building a collection.

Market Trends and Values

Over the years, Pokémon card collectors have seen a surge in value for graded cards, especially high-grade holographic cards, rare error cards and popular characters like Charizard. This growth in value has been driven by both nostalgic collectors and new enthusiasts looking to invest in these unique pieces.

Graded cards are typically more valuable than their ungraded counterparts, as they are authenticated and encapsulated by professional grading companies, ensuring their condition is preserved. There are different grading scales such as the PSA 1-10 scale and the Beckett 1-10 scale, with a grade of 10 indicating a card in perfect condition. Higher graded cards often fetch higher prices in the market.

Buying and Selling Graded Cards

There are various platforms and outlets where collectors can buy and sell graded Pokémon cards. Online marketplaces like eBay and hobby shops are common places to find graded cards for sale. When purchasing graded cards, it’s essential to verify the authenticity of the card grading company and to be aware of the current market prices for similar cards.

When selling graded cards, collectors need to understand the value of their cards based on factors such as rarity, condition, and demand. It’s important to also consider the commission fees associated with selling through certain platforms or working with consignment services.

Building a Collection

Building a graded Pokémon card collection involves acquiring cards that are already graded or submitting raw cards for grading. The cost of grading Pokémon cards varies based on the grading service, turnaround time, and speciality services like grading rare error cards or encapsulating autographs.

Consider the following steps when building a graded card collection:

  • Research various card grading companies like PSA, CGC Trading Cards, and Beckett to find the service best suited to your needs and budget.
  • Start with popular and iconic cards like holographic and rare Pokémon cards, focusing on those that hold higher values at higher grades.
  • Keep an eye on market trends and values to make informed decisions on buying or selling graded cards.
  • Build your collection with a diverse range of cards, including both popular and lesser-known characters, as well as cards from various sets and expansions.

In summary, understanding the graded card market and being familiar with the grading process, market trends, buying and selling options, and strategies for building a valuable collection are essential factors to consider for Pokémon card collectors looking to invest in graded cards.

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