If you're any respectable card collector, you want to know the value of your autographed cards and any high-quality rarities you might own. It's important to know your investment is a worthy one. Before investing in grading, here are just a few things to consider to maximize your grading experience and find the right service for you.
What Is Card Grading
The first thing to know before you submit your cards to a grading service is just what card grading is. This process, used to determine the value of your cards, is a multi-step process. The card is submitted to a third-party system to assess the condition, ranked on a 10-point scale, and the item's authenticity. The card is granted an overall grade and sealed.
Finally, it is given a serial number and cataloged. With this, your card's authenticity is affirmed, and the grading is held accountable in an online database. A graded card almost always holds greater value than an ungraded card. Grading is a vital tool.
Things to Consider Before Grading
Before you take your cards for grading, there are certain things to consider. After all, this is a process with a cost, and you want to be sure you're investing well. So before you submit your cards, consider these factors.
Choose Cards Likely to Have a Higher Value
Base cards are highly unlikely to have a high overall value with the current market, so case hit, parallel, and short-printed cards from premiere rookies and legendary players are your best bet. Just sending all your signed baseball cards is unlikely to yield the results you want and helps create a backlog at the services.
Ensure the Cards You're Sending are in the Finest Possible Condition
While there are third-party services to clean your cards and handle submissions, you'll get the best value in conducting an initial inspection yourself. Examine your signed football cards under a magnifying tool with a desk light. The card should be a solid submission if only minimal or, ideally, no issues are found. However, with notable flaws, the card might be best held back in the collection.
Choosing a Service
With these factors in mind, knowing which service will best suit your needs is essential. Look at what they're best known for, as different services have different areas of expertise. Examine their pricing structure closely to see that it fits your range and is a good value. Pay attention to their turnaround time. Look at reviews, and be sure the service has a reputation to make the grading respectable. With that in mind, here is a look at the three major services.
Professional Sports Authenticator
One of the earliest and still busiest grading companies in activity today, Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) is regarded by many as the premiere service. Autographed cards graded by PSA generally receive a higher resale value than those graded by their two primary competitors. With their years in the business, PSA is considered the leading authority on MLB, NBA, and NFL cards. With varying plans, the company offers a wide range of prices and turnaround times depending on the needs of the card owner. For signed baseball cards and signed football cards, PSA is an invaluable grader.
Beckett Grading Services
While not as prominent, Beckett Grading Services (BGS) is rapidly gaining popularity due to its specialized grading system for autographed cards, which includes .5 intervals rather than a straight 1–10. They also make extensive use of subgrades on factors such as centering, corners, edges, and surfaces. When all four grades are a 10, the card is considered a Black Label 10 card whose value increases dramatically due to rarity. Beckett also offers autograph grading. Like with PSA, Beckett's pricing depends on the speed though Beckett cuts the price on cards not getting subgrades on four of their six tiers.
Established in 1998, SGC has become known for its stylish "black tuxedo" slabs, a sleek and modern look that sets them apart from other grading services. The company also has a clear and highly affordable pricing structure which helped it gain a following during the pandemic when grading slowed to a halt at the other two services. With major sales of cards graded by SGC, including a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card graded at 9.5, the company has rapidly become an industry leader and one of the big three graders of autographed cards.
Sports Integrity is proud to have you covered for quality signed baseball and football cards. We offer a wide range of cards from all of the most trusted grading services. When you purchase autographed cards from us, you can trust that you'll receive the finest product.
In addition to cards, we sell a wide range of memorabilia, including everything from signed photos to props. We're not limited to baseball, basketball, or football. We sell signed items from sports such as horse racing, golf, and NASCAR. We even offer signed entertainment industry photos, perfect for celebrating not only sports but your favorite sports movie. If it's the perfect signed item to show your fandom, we're proud to be a trustworthy leader in the autographed goods market. Check us out today.