How To Get Pokemon Cards Graded

What Does It Mean To Grade A Pokemon Card?

Evaluating the condition of a Pokemon card and assigning it a grade is referred to as card grading. Grading is completed by third-party organizations, such as the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) or the Beckett Grading Services (BGS), which have become recognized as the industry standards.


The process commences with the submission of the card to the grading company. Experts then analyze the card based on a predefined list of criteria, including centering, corners, edges, and the surface quality of the card. After the evaluation is complete, the card is assigned a grade which is printed onto a label that is affixed to the card.


The mark given to a Pokemon card may have a major influence on its worth. Generally, a card in Mint condition is worth more than one in Poor condition, for instance. Moreover, a card that has been assessed by a reliable company like PSA or BGS will typically be worth more than an ungraded one. This is because a graded card is seen to be more reliable and trustworthy than an ungraded one.


One of the major benefits of getting a Pokemon card graded is that it can help preserve the card’s worth. A graded card is believed to be in a state that is unlikely to change, making it more likely to keep its worth over time. Moreover, a graded card is more likely to be accepted as genuine by buyers, raising its value in the market.


One more profit of getting a Pokemon card assessed is that it can aid in safeguarding the card from harm. Generally, graded cards are enclosed in a defensive cover, which hinders any deterioration due to dirt, dust, or any other external elements. This can be notably essential for unique or expensive cards that are meant to be a part of a lasting collection.

A Bunch Of PSA 10 Pikachus

What Factors Impact A Card’s Grade?

There are quite a few factors that can impact how your Pokemon card is graded. Below we will provide a list of the biggest ones you need to look out for to gauge whether or not your card is worth grading.

When it comes to assessing cards, several factors come into play. These may include: the alignment of the image relative to the borders (centering), the state of the corners (including any wear or fraying), the edges (whether there is chipping or fraying), the surface (scratches or scuffs), the sharpness of the image (focus), the vibrancy and uniformity of the colors (color), and the overall condition of the card (visible damage or wear). Yes, we are fully aware that some of these issues with the card are completely out of your hands and that’s just unfortunately the case when grading Pokemon cards. Grading companies are looking for the most perfect Pokemon card if they are going to give it a 10 meaning that it has to be devoid of any imperfection regardless of whether or not it is the fault of the owner or the print line. 


To determine the grade of the card, grading companies use either a numerical or alphabetical system. The highest grade is 10 or “gem mint,” while the lowest is 1 or “poor.”

How Much Does It Cost To Get A Card Graded?

It’s hard to say how much it costs to get a card graded as it varies massively depending on the influx of cards that the grading company is getting. For example, following the crazy Logan Paul hype around Pokemon cards, thousands upon thousands of new fans decided that they wanted to get involved in the Pokemon TCG. This meant that PSA began to receive cards in the hundreds of thousands so much so that they were forced to raise the cost of card grading massively to stop the huge backlog of cards that was only piling up. As of January 2023, PSA currently charges $25 per card (for the average card) however another factor to consider is that the cost of grading changes depending on the declared value of the card you are trying to grade. A card can cost as much as $10,000 to grade if it is worth more than $250,000.

It is also worth noting that cards can be graded in bulk for $19 per card currently if you are looking to send off a whole collection.

Is It Worth Getting My Cards Graded?

When it comes to deciding whether or not to grade Pokemon cards, it really depends on what particular cards you possess and what you intend to do with them. If the cards are judged to be in perfect condition, grading can make them more valuable. Nevertheless, the process can be expensive and take a while. Also, some cards may not be worth much more even if they have been graded. Before you go on to grade you should definitely compare the cost of the ungraded card with its value in a PSA 10. If its PSA 10 value is only slightly greater than what it is usually worth then it’s probably not worth grading. You have to consider that there is a likelihood that your card won’t come back in a 10 meaning you will make a net loss on the cost of grading alone. Having said that, some people do just like to get cards graded in a 10 for the novelty of having them in a 10 or they are trying to get a PSA 10 collection. In short, if you are a collector who appreciates the quality of the cards or you are intending to sell them, it might be worthwhile to get them graded. But, if you are just a casual collector or play with the cards for fun, it may not be worth it.

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How Do I Grade My Pokemon Cards?

There are a few organizations that are able to evaluate Pokemon cards, like PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator), Beckett Grading Services, and GMA (Global Authentication Inc). Generally, the process consists of these steps:


Selecting a grading organization: Do some research to decide which one is most suitable for your requirements. Some grading companies are more affordable than other while some may have a quicker turnaround. We’ll explain the factors you can weigh up when choosing a company below. 


Send your cards: Send your cards to the grading firm together with any requested application forms and fees.


Inspection and grading: The cards will be examined and graded by a team of professionals based on the strict criteria we listed above.


Receiving your graded cards: When your cards have been graded, they will be delivered back to you with a certificate of validity and grading report.

It is essential to take into consideration that the grading procedure can be costly, and you should be prepared to pay fees for each card you submit, and also delivery and handling costs. Also, grading firms are not perfect so you should be aware of any grievances about the grading company.

Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that not all cards will get the same grade or value after grading, so you should consider if it is worth getting your cards graded or not.


What Is The Best Grading Company?

There are several different factors to weigh up when deciding the best grading company for you and the answer is there are no “best grading companies” there are just companies that cater to different people’s wants when grading a Pokemon card.

While it may seem like PSA is an absolute no-brainer when grading your Pokemon cards simply because their name is impossible to escape when researching Pokemon cards, this doesn’t make them the best. PSA is just so commonly used as they have been around the longest and have therefore established themselves as a reputable company meaning that their grading is the most reliable and respected. This reputation then translates to more expensive cards if you manage to get a card with a high grade with PSA. However, this reputation means that they also can drive their cost per card super high like they have done in the past and people are willing to spend it.

However other companies like Beckett have been around for a pretty long time as well and have their advantages and disadvantages much like every grading company. With Beckett, you are getting a similar value to PSA in terms of reliability but the biggest difference is the strictness of their grading criteria in comparison. What Beckett considers a 10 is a lot more difficult to achieve than what PSA considers a 10 meaning that you are much less likely to get 10s when you send your cards off, but (and this is a big but) if you manage to get a BGS 10 from Beckett, the card is worth considerably more than a PSA 10 as it is just so hard to come by meaning that the card is practically perfect. Of course, if you aren’t willing to take the gamble and you don’t actually think your card is that perfect then do as you wish, but it is definitely an option worth considering. 

Then there are some more alternative options such as AceGrading which are much newer than the aforementioned two companies but look like super promising prospects thanks to their unique design. Unlike PSA and Beckett, which have a standardized label for every card, Ace Grading offers awesomely designed labels for your cards depending on the card and the set it comes from. As well as this, their cases just look a lot more presentable than Beckett and PSA. However, the disadvantage of getting a 10 from Ace Grading is that it currently doesn’t carry nearly as much weight as getting a 10 from PSA or Beckett just because of how new Ace Grading is.

There are of course options beyond these three mentioned above and you should definitely check them all out because as we said, they may offer something that the others don’t that you feel just really caters to what you want.


What If I Disagree With A Card’s Grade?

Disagreeing with the grade a grading company gives you isn’t a super uncommon reaction. After all, you could end up spending hundreds of dollars to get your card graded, so the last thing you want to see is some inaccurate grading. Luckily a lot of grading companies come prepared for reactions like this and offer a review service that allows you to send cards that have previously been graded with them back to them so that they can reevaluate the grade they gave it. It should be noted though that it is super uncommon for grading companies to give a vastly different grade to a card they have already graded because it’s unlikely that they got the grade that wrong in the first place. Regardless, if you truly believe that their grading was wrong, it is always worth disputing it as that could be the difference between having a great card and having a perfect card.


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