Cleat Geeks

Card Collectors Clubhouse: Grading


KevinDurantAutoWelcome to Card Collector’s Clubhouse! This week we will be covering the process of grading. Grading can significantly increase the value of sports cards. The service however can be a little pricey so it is very important to choose only the best and most valuable cards for grading.

There are many different companies that offer grading services. The biggest and most well known is Beckett. Beckett has been around for many years and is a good tool for collectors. Along with grading, Beckett offers price guides for collectors to look up prices for cards. Every year, Beckett comes out with a new pricing guide so it is important to stay up to date on the values of sports cards.

Grading can be a very tricky thing to do. First off, you need to make sure that your card is valuable enough to be graded. If the card is not worth at least $20-$30, it would not be wise to have it graded. Rookie cards are the most common cards that get graded. Base rookie cards are not recommended unless they are  big name stars.

The easiest card to get graded would be an autograph card. These cards are usually 35 PT and carry the most value because of the autograph. Most collectors prefer on card autographs because they are more likely to get a good grade.

MikeTroutAutograph10When having an autographed card graded, there are several things to consider. First, the quality of the card itself. Beckett breaks down grades into four different categories: centering, corners, edges, surface. Each one of these categories gets a separate grade out of 10. The scale goes on half point grades, for example: 9, 9.5. After the grades for the four categories are decided, the overall grade for the card can be calculated. Once the card grade is determined, the next step is to look at the autograph. Beckett usually gives a 10 for the auto unless it is badly smudged.

After all the grades for the card are measured, Beckett encases the card and puts a label on it. If the card graded is below a 9.5, it will get a sliver label. If it is a 9.5 or 10 it will get a gold label. If the card receives all 10’s on the four subgrades then it will receive a black label.  Of course all collectors dream of having their cards graded a perfect 10 but most of the time it doesn’t happen.

If this type of grading is to pricey for you, Beckett offers different levels of grading. Each one is priced different and varies with how in depth the grading is.

kyleschwarberrookiecertifiedautographFor a full list of grading services and prices, visit and go to the grading tab. There you can select the best grading service that fits your need.

Thicker cards are the hardest to grade because of the thickness. The thicker the card, the more likely it is to get damaged.

It is very important that before you submit a card for grading, that you double and triple check to make sure it is perfect or near perfect. This step will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Along with Beckett, PSA offers grading services. Their grading services are cheaper but they do not have subgrades and the grading scale is by whole points: 8, 9, 10.

There is nothing like the feeling of ripping to mail from Beckett knowing that your graded card has came back. By using the grading service, you can jack up the value of the cards that you hold most dear.

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