Intro To Graded Cards

Graded cards undergo a meticulous two-part process involving authentication and condition evaluation by professional grading companies. Authentication is crucial due to the rise in counterfeits, and grading companies bear the responsibility for both authenticity and accuracy of the assigned grade.

The grading process includes assessing centering, corner, edge, and surface conditions, with grades typically ranging numerically from 1 to 10. Some companies, like Beckett Grading Services (BGS), provide subgrades for a detailed breakdown of each category's score.

Several grading companies exist. The following are the most popular for grading TCGs.

Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), being the most prominent. PSA, founded in 1991, is widely regarded and offers a guarantee for both authenticity and grade accuracy. However, their services come at a high cost, often tied to the card's market value.

Beckett Grading Services (BGS), established in 1984, is favored by Magic the Gathering collectors. BGS differentiates itself by providing subgrades and offers flat-rate grading fees based on turnaround time, making it more economical for high-value cards.

Certified Grading Company (CGC), historically known in the comic book space, entered card grading in 2020. Despite being a newcomer, CGC is respected and rapidly expanding. While initially offering subgrades, they transitioned to a scale similar to PSA in 2023, but also distinguishing between "Gem Mint" and "Pristine" versions of their 10 grade. CGC's also offers a guarantee like PSA does, making them a good choice for anyone needing peace of mind for what they've purchased. Their consistency, quick turnaround times, and professional customer service have allowed them to gain the most market share of any grading company in grading TCGs over the past several years. They have also found a niche in authenticating misprints and rarities.