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Sports card grading is the process of sending your cards to a 3rd party company of highly trained grading experts.
 
 
 
 
("Highly trained" does not necessarily mean that you will always agree with them.) The card grading services will look at your card from every possible angle to determine its final grade. While under the microscope (literally), the color, surface, centering, corners and edges of your card will be evaluated.
 
What Companies Grade Sports Cards?
There are several companies offering sports card grading services, we are listing a few of the most well known here. Each of this companies has their own unique formula for assigning a grade to a card. Beckett publications (BGS) is one of the leading card graders (Note that Beckett also offers a less expensive grading program called Beckett Collectors Club Grading or BCCG.) Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA). Sportscard Guaranty (SGC) and Global Auththentication (GAI).
 
Why grade your baseball cards
Having your cards graded can be a lot of fun, especially when they come back with a high grade! A high grade will substantially increase the value of the card.
 
The average collector does not spend a lot of time and energy on having their cards graded but every once in a while a card or two may come along that you'll want to have evaluated. Also, since grading companies encase your card in a sealed hard plastic holder, having your cards graded can also be an excellent way to protect your sports cards.
 
Although card grading is not for everyone, there are plenty of serious collectors out there that collect only graded cards or collect with the sole purpose of finding good cards to have graded. Since sports card grading can substantially affect the value of a card, often time these collectors are very interested in baseball cards as investments. If you're interested in finding out how much graded cards are worth, baseball card price guides (and other sports card price guides) usually have a separate section dedicated to graded cards. You should also become familiar with Sports Market Report (SMR). Be sure to also look at the auction sites to see what they are selling for, remember, a card is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.
 
How do I get my cards graded?
Our advice to collectors just getting into the grading side of the sports card hobby is to do your homework before you send cards in for grading. Develop your own keen eye for a good card. Learn how sports cards are graded and what card graders are scrutinizing. Once you have a good idea of the criteria that sports cards are graded upon you'll have a much better chance of getting a high grade for the cards you send in.
 
When you're ready, select several cards to send in at one time. Most card grading companies offer a price break if you send in more than a few at a time. You can choose to have your cards graded quickly and you'll pay a lot more for this, we suggest you let them take their time so that you don't have to pay top dollar.
 
For example, if you send in 1-19 cards to Beckett Grading Services, and you have them returned back to you in using their 2 day grading time, you'll pay $25 per card not including shipping. Take this same example and let them do their 45 day grading and the cost drops to $8 per card. Now we don't know about you, but we're happy to wait a couple of months for that kind of savings, after all, hopefully your in this hobby for the long run so what's the rush! You should also watch for special offers on grading inside of the Beckett monthly price guides.
 
Most of the companies offer grading specials at big card shows. A nice feature at the shows is an "onsite" review of your cards to let you know what grade they might be given. Keep your eye out for coupons for discounts on card grading in the sports card publications too!
 
Check out a 1986 Topps Tiffany Barry Bonds Rookie Card Graded PSA 10, sold for $2,100 on ebay
 
 
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