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Trading Card Central - Grading

In order to determine the value of any trading card, it is very important to determine the quality of the card. This determination is known as grading. Every collector should become familiar with the basics of card grading in order to properly understand the value of their own collection and also to make more educated purchases from others.

Obviously, the higher the grade, the more valuable the card. Therefore, you want to make sure that you store the cards in a manner that will keep them in the grade they were when you obtained them. Please see the Supplies section to find out more about keeping your cards in good condition.

Feature Grading Article:
The Who's Who of Card Grading
In this day and age of sports card collecting, many businesses make their money from selling cards and memorabilia, while others make their profit from grading cards and authenticating memorabilia. Companies such as these, whose main goal is applying consistent grading to some of the most sought-after cards on the market and the authentication of autographs and collectibles, are some of the most respected and profitable companies in the industry, even competing with the major card manufacturers in terms of gross income. Companies such as Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), Beckett Grading Services (BGS), Sportscard Guaranty Corporation (SGC) and Global Authentication Inc. (GAI) have come out as the leaders in this coveted service market. Let's take a closer look at each company.

Read the full article...


Grading Overview

Trading cards are graded and priced based on centering of the images, sharpness of the corners, gloss on the card, and the presence of any imperfections. Minor imperfections are slightly worn corners, frayed edges, printing marks and light surface scratches. Major imperfections are severe corner wear, wax stains, rubber-band marks, sun fading, miscuts, creases, tape, stains, thumbtack holes, writing and heavy scratches.

Grading Scale

Mint (MT) -- A card with four sharp corners, 50/50 centering, no imperfections or signs of wear. Even cards straight out of the pack do not always grade mint. Pre-1970 MT cards typically sell at 150 percent or more of the NM price.

Near Mint (NM) -- A near-perfect card with perhaps one minor imperfection, such as one blunt corner. Centering is no worse than 60/40 and the card must have its original gloss. NM cards are the standard by which other grades are usually gauged. Example: MT cards bring 150 percent of book.

Excellent-Mint (EX-MT) -- A card with only two or three minor imperfections. Must have original gloss and centering no worse than 70/30. EX-MT cards typically sell for 75 to 90 percent of the NM price.

Excellent (EX) -- A card with a few minor imperfections. Some original gloss is lost and the edges show moderate wear. All four corners typically show some wear. Centering is no worse than 75/25. EX cards usually sell for 50 percent to 75 percent of the NM price.

Very Good (VG) -- A card that shows obvious handling but is still attractive despite wear and imperfections. A VG card may have a crease, but one that's not severe enough to make the card unattractive. Most of the original gloss is lost. VG cards usually sell for 25 percent to 35 percent of the NM price.

Good (G), Fair (F), Poor (P) -- A very worn card with many major imperfections. Collectors use cards of these grades as fillers until better ones can be found. With very little market for such cards, they are valued at 5 percent to 10 percent of the NM price.

Grading Services

Many collectors prefer to get their best cards professionally graded. Some of the more commonly used grading services are listed here:

BGS - Beckett Grading Services

FGS - Finest Grading Service

GAI - Global Authority, Inc.

GMC - Grade My Cards

KSA - KSA Sport Card Certification Service

MINT - Mint Grading Service

PRO - PRO Sports Grading Inc.

PSA - Professional Sports Authenticator

SGC - Sportscard Guaranty

WCG - World Class Grading, Inc.

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