In many cases, cards that have been professionally graded command a lot more cash on the secondary market. Therefore, if you end up in possession of a particularly rare card, you may wonder how you can go about having it graded. In fact, you may even wonder whether it is going to be worth grading.
So, do card shops grade cards? The answer is no. Well, they may grade cards, but you are not going to be able to use their card grade as an ‘official grade’ if you want to sell. Card shops do not have the experience or reputation for this. This means if you want a card properly graded, you are going to need to send it away.
Let’s go into a bit more depth on this. This way you will know exactly what you can expect when it comes to trading card grading.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Card Graded?
There are a lot of factors at play here. This means that while we wish we could give you a proper value for the card grading process, this is impossible. The cost could be anywhere from $20 to $200+. Let us explain why.
The Card Grading Company Used
This is going to be one of the biggest factors when it comes to the cost of card grading.
Companies like PSA know that when people buy trading cards, they are going to be looking out for PSA-graded cards. This is because PSA is incredibly strict with its grading. They know that if PSA has rated a card an 8, then that is a fantastic score. A card that has been graded by HGA is worth a whole lot less.
If you are going to be getting your cards graded, then it is worth working with companies like PSA. It costs a little bit more, though.
The Turnaround Time for Card Grading
Some companies offer a turnaround time for grading. Even in the fastest cases, it may still take a month for them to get to your card. In 2021, a lot of companies have actually shut down the slow grading processes. This is because they are dealing with huge backlogs of cards that could take several months to get through.
The Value of the Card
This doesn’t apply to all card graders. However, there are some places that charge more to handle the most valuable of cards, particularly if they are worth more than a few thousand dollars.
This is (mostly) to cover the extra costs of insurance on the card. However, it is also because they know that their grading could increase the value of the card even further.
Is It Worth Getting Cards Graded?
To be honest with you, most cards are not worth getting graded. In fact, there are only a few situations where we believe that it may be worth getting your card graded
The Card Is Very Rare
If the trading card is incredibly rare, then it may be worth getting it graded. For example, if you had a Charizard from the base set of Pokemon in a fairly decent condition, then it may almost certainly be worth getting that card graded. This is because there are not many of them around. When you get the card graded, you are essentially protecting it from any damage.
The older a card is, the rarer it becomes. Although, we certainly wouldn’t class the rarity of the card as the only deciding factor of whether to get a card graded. It needs to have value, which leads us neatly onto the next reason you may want to consider when determining whether it is worth getting your card graded.
The Card Has Value
The card needs to have value. As you can see from before, the cost of getting cards graded can be on the high side.
We wouldn’t recommend getting a card graded if it has a value of under $100 on the secondary market. This is because, by the time you have got the card graded, there isn’t really any money to be made.
Remember, you need to be thinking about the collector’s value of the card here, not the value in playability. For example, there are many Magic the Gathering cards that are worth over $100. However, these cards only have that value because of the value they have when building decks. If you get them graded, they become useless and the value is going to plummet.
If you want to get a decent idea of the potential value of a trading card, then it may be worth going through various sites (including eBay) which focus on the secondary trading card market. This should tell you the price difference between graded cards and ungraded cards.
We wouldn’t really recommend that you get trading cards graded unless you understand the trading card game. Things become a lot more difficult when you want to determine whether a card is valuable because it is played or because it is rare.
You Really Love the Card
For some, the value of a card is emotional. You don’t have any intentions of selling it. It is just one of your favorite cards. In this case, you may want to pay to have it graded so you can preserve it forever. Grading will be a financial hit, but it may be worth it.
Best Companies to Have Your Cards Graded By
For the most part, you should always try to have your cards graded by PSA. This is going to be one of the most respected card grading companies in the business.
You can also have your cards graded by Beckett, sometimes called BGS. While there are other card grading companies out there, none of them are going to add value to your card in the same way as these two companies.
Can You Grade Your Own Cards?
No. If you do not have an official grade for your company, the card does not have a graded value. While you could look at the card and guess what the potential value is, we bet that there are not all that many people out there that would care what you graded the card at.
Why Is Card Grading So Expensive?
It takes an astonishing amount of time and effort to grade a card. Card grading also requires a lot of experience. When you get a card graded, you are essentially paying for a good chunk of time from the card grader. Of course, insurance is also included in the cost.
These companies know that their card grades will also add value to your cards too. This means that they can charge a little bit more knowing that you will be earning from their expertise.
Card shops do not grade cards. They may offer a rough estimate on the grade of your card, but they will not be able to grade it officially.
If you want your card graded properly, you will need to go to either PSA or BGS. These are the best card grading companies around.
Remember, the cost of card grading can be high. This means that, in some cases, it may not even be worth the grading costs.