For the first time in my history of collecting cards, I have sent out a few cards to get graded. What is grading you ask? It’s simple. It’s a professional company set up to “grade” your card based on several attributes to determine what condition your card is in. Centering, edges, surface, and corners are the common places companies look at to determine the condition of your card. High grades mean better condition. The better condition, the more value your card has.
There are two big companies that are the most popular to collectors. Beckett Grading Services (BGS) and Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA). PSA is known for doing the best with vintage cards while BGS is better known for modern cards.
Both companies will grade your cards and then return them, slabbed in plastic, so they can not be damaged anymore. This will keep them in the same condition and in adequate protection so they can no longer be damaged. BGS measures the grade in increments of .5 while PSA uses whole numbers.
Getting your cards graded has a number of benefits:
-Adding value to your collection
-Adding a great layer of protection
-Organization (easily stackable, reference numbers to check your collection and population reports, etc.)
The only issue with grading is the price. You can get grading for a relatively low price is you’re willing to wait. But if you are looking to resell, it may help add value which would off-set the price of the grading. For instance, I’m getting a card graded that will sell easily for $150 ungraded. I plan on selling it for up to 2 times that amount when it returns with a Mint grade from BGS. (At least I’m 95% sure it will.)
Personally, I wouldn’t want to grade my personal collection. I like have the physical cardboard in my hands as I feel closer to the magic of collecting cards that way. Although, I am getting a personal card graded as well. My only 1909-11 T206 card I own. However, that is for presentation purposes only. Plus I’m afraid of touching a 100+ year old piece of cardboard and breaking it.
But if you’re new and looking into grading your cards, currently I would not trust any company other than the ones I listed above. They are the most recommended by collectors and hold the most weight on the secondary market if you are looking to resell the cards at any point.