How to tell when you should grade a card

GRading Your Cards

Tearing open a new pack of cards and finding a rare, valuable card is usually accompanied by 2 thoughts:

  1. OMG OMG OMG Did I really just pull this card?!?!
  2. Should I get this graded?

And while the question itself may seem short and simple, don’t let that mislead you. Knowing when or when not to grade a card is tricky, and depends on a multitude of factors:

Why do you want it graded?

One of the first things you should ask yourself is why you want to grade the card. Sometimes, you don’t really need to grade the card - even if grading it could see an increase in the cards monetary value.

If you never intend on selling the card, then grading it likely wouldn’t do anything more than give you bragging rights. Don’t care about increasing the cards value or gaining any bragging rights? Then there’s no reason to grade the card in the first place!

What kind of condition is the card in?

Sometimes, grading can actually harm a cards worth. If the card would receive a low grade, it’d be better of leaving it ungraded. So before you rush off to send the card for grading, check the following:

  • Are there any blemishes on the card?
  • Does the card feature any marks or stains?
  • Are there creases in the card?
  • How do the card’s edges look? Clean and sharp or dull and misshapen?
  • Are there any bends or is the card warped in any way?

All of the above may result in a lower than stellar grading, and when it comes to grading your cards you want to shoot for only the highest ratings. Afterall, a low rating could actually harm the value of your card!

Is the card highly collectible?

Another important consideration for whether or not you should grade a card is if the card is specifically collectible. There’s little reason to get a common card graded as you’ll likely spend more money getting the card graded than it’s worth in the first place!

Depending on the type of card different factors will determine collectability, and while we could write a book on what makes cards collectible we’ll try to keep things simple:

First off, there’s playability. This only applies to trading card games like Pokemon TCG and Yu-Gi-Oh!. Cards which are considered competitive or meta are more likely to hold good value.

Second, there’s the card’s rarity. This actually applies to all trading cards and sports cards, and is one of the most common factors considered when looking at collectibility. Basically, the less that a card is printed, the better.

Lastly, there’s the artist or card photographer. Some people’s work will be instantly considered collectible and this is especially true in Pokemon TCG where specific cards are valuable solely because of their artist.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, the decision to get your card graded is yours, but by ensuring you’re not grading a low quality or value card, you won’t be wasting your time and money.


Zephyr Epic
Zephyr Epic

March 12, 2019

@Chris – We’re happy to help Chris! That sounds like you pulled a very cool card – any auto from a Sports Star of that caliber will always be sought after! Congratulations!

Zephyr Epic
Zephyr Epic

March 12, 2019

@Ronald – This is an excellent question and one that we see quite often. Pricing on collectibles sure does vary a lot, especially from person to person. Say for example a big Wayne Gretzky fan is trying to sell a Wayne Gretzky Card that’s worth a maximum $100. Odds are that person is not willing to part with it for less than that $100 mark. Now let’s just say a Michael Jordan fan has that same card, they might be more willing to sell it for less than the $100 because it doesn’t hold the same sentimental value and significance. In the end you need to sell to your Market – so in this case, we suggest looking solely at Star Wars heavy markets, sourced from credible sources who are fans themselves. That way you will never get less than your collectible is worth and you will have a better understanding as to what makes it that price AND you will know it is going to someone who appreciates it as much as you do!


March 12, 2019

I have Star Wars card and why is it that I look on line at the cost of some of them and I see some of the same cards are worth differences in the prices. Do you know why and I mean a lot of money on the number 1 card of my set


March 12, 2019

Thank you for providing us reasons why we should or should not get cards graded. I just came across a Magic Johnson auto from the 2018-19 Donruss collection in perfect shape but not numbered. I am debating if it is worth grading to potentially sell later on eBay or another online marketplace. -Chris

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