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Should You Grade Your Trading Cards?

Collect A Hobby, Should You Grade Your Trading Cards

Should You Grade Your Trading Cards? I see this question asked all the time. People will post pictures of their cards, asking if they should get them graded. The truth is, only you can decide if you should grade a card or not. We do not know your financial situation, your intentions with the card or even the quality of the card. These are all things that only the owner can know. Grading can increase the value of the card as it gives a 3rd parties evaluation of a card. With that being said I will go through some things you think about if you are considering to get your card graded.

Pre-grading

Pre-grading is looking over the card before deciding to send it in for grading. Make sure to be extra critical. Do not assume you will get the highest grade. If you are pre-grading on a scale of 1-10 and can’t decide between a 7 or an 8, you should assume it will be a 7. Do not hope that the grader misses some whitening or goes easy on your centering. These grading companies can be very picky when grading. You would not want to send in a bunch of cards, all for them to return a grade or two lower than you expected. Think to yourself, if this card got a grade lower than my pre-grade, would I be happy with that outcome?

Condition

First thing you should look at on your trading card is its condition. There are a few areas you should take a look at.

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Centering

Is the border of the card equal on all sides? Make sure to send in cards that are equal on all sides. If this is not perfect it can harm the overall grade of the card. You can usually ballpark if the card is off-center or not. Use your best judgement, the more off-center the card is, the lower your grade will be for centering. If the card is severely off-center, it might qualify as a miscut card which can be very desirable to some collectors. However, getting a miscut qualifier is very difficult so look for cards to send in that have perfect borders.

Corners

Does the card have a nice square or rounded corner? (Depending on the trading card.) If it is dinged, bent or has whitening, it will hurt the grade. It can be difficult to see corner imperfections. If a card is dropped it can cause an almost unnoticeable bend. Make sure to put the card up against a different color background and examine closely. With the right lighting you might see a bend or whitening you never saw before. Sometimes, the card is cut poorly from the factory and can be damaged out of the pack, so look extra closely at those corners!

Edges

Similar to corners, are the edges. Are they clean with no dings or whitening? This is where you will find most of the whitening on the card. In Trading Card Games, the ones that have been played with suffer from horrible edgewear. Every time the card was shuffled gives it a chance to have edgewear. If you are playing with the cards, even in sleeves they can get damaged. When you are trying to put it in a hard sleeve, you can ding the edge. We have all done it and though it may seem insignificant, enough force while miss judging putting it in a hard sleeve can cause damage to lower the grade.

Surface

Check carefully for scrapes, scratches, dirt, smudges and anything else that can make the card imperfect. Look extra closely as some scratches can only be seen