Pokemon cards are one of the most sought-after items by Pokemon enthusiasts and card collectors alike. From Dog Pokemons to Legendary ones, you may have a varied collection of Pokemon cards. However, you can also get your Pokemon cards graded to find out their true value.
Pokemon card grading is done by following a set of criteria that primarily consists of your card’s critical physical features. Not anyone can just grade their own Pokemon cards; instead, you’ll have to consult a Pokemon card grading service to get it evaluated by experts.
This guide will show you the best Pokemon card grading services currently on the market. These card grading companies are widely accepted by most collectors and will provide a legitimate critique of your Pokemon TCG collection.
The Professional Sports Authenticator, or PSA, is an established trading card authenticator that started in 1991. It’s a third-party card grading service that mainly grades collectibles and card collections. It’s considered the largest and most trusted trading card authenticator worldwide.
PSA follows a 10-point grading scale that consists of various grading standards. It checks the quality of the card and retains its set value. Most Pokemon card traders will also recognize a PSA authentication, so it would be an excellent investment.
However, expect delays in turnaround time due to increasing demand. The Value economy can go as low as $30/card for cards with a declared value of $499 or less but can go up for cards with higher value.
Established in 2000, CGC, or the Certified Guaranty Company, is known for comic book grading. The company later transitioned to trading card grading on various trading card types, including Pokemon TCG. They follow an 8-step grading process, from receiving the card to quality control and shipping.
Like other card grading companies, CGC uses an accurate, 10-point grading scale to indicate the condition of Pokemon TCGs and other trading cards. Although it’s less recognized than established companies like the PSA, CGC is known to have a fast turnaround time for its card grading services.
Founded in 2021, Ace Grading is one of the newer card grading companies in the market. Compared to other card grading services, Ace Grading provides a custom plastic casing and label for every graded Pokemon card, making each card look unique.
The company also uses various security features on its card case and labels, including a QR code to show the card’s important information. They’re also the first card grading service to use Cypheme, an anti-counterfeiting feature on each graded card.
Overall, they’re an up-and-coming grading company with a different approach than other typical card grading services. But, it has yet to create a reputation among Pokemon TCG traders.
Beckett or Beckett Grading Services (BGS) is one of the more known card grading companies globally. The company started in 1984 and offers four primary card grading services: Beckett Grading Services, Beckett Vintage Grading, Raw Card Review, and Single Grade Service.
They follow strict grading standards that look into four different qualities of a Pokemon TCG, these include the following: Surface, Edges, Centering, and Corners. Physical factors such as scratches, dirt, white areas, and scuffing are also considered when grading a card out of 10.
Beckett’s GOLD 10 is also one of the more coveted ratings of a trading card and has a higher value than PSA’s 10-graded cards due to its stricter and consistent standards. Check out our list of legendary Pokemon cards here.
AP Grading Service, also known as Alpha Professional Grading Service, is a card grading company that applies a six-step grading process for Pokemon cards and other popular trading cards in the market. Like other card grading services, they follow a 10-point grading scale, with the top-graded card being a “Gem Mint.”
The company is one of the cheaper card grading options, with a charge of 10 EUR per card, and has a fast turnaround time compared to other card grading services. AP Grading Service also provides high-quality labels for your graded Pokemon TCGs.
Why should you get your cards graded?
If you’ve been collecting Pokemon cards for a hobby or were handed many cards, their value can be evaluated by card grading services. These companies contain professionals who assess your card’s physical condition, and rarity, among other factors.
If you get your Pokemon cards graded by an established company, it helps add to your Pokemon TCGs value when selling it to other card collectors or traders. Hence, getting your cards graded is still essential to make the most value out of your Pokemon card collection.
Where should I get my cards graded?
Depending on your choice, you can pick between these three established card grading services: Beckett, CGC, and PSA. Getting your Pokemon cards graded by one of these companies will provide needed authentication to other card collectors and traders—it also positively impacts its value.
How will my cards be graded?
A card’s surface is one of the most critical features physically. Professional graders use quality equipment—such as a microscope—to look into your card and search for scratches, stains, tears, and other small details that affect the value of your card.
So, if you’re thinking about getting your card graded, assess it first; if you see exaggerated scratches and tears, there’s no use in grading it since it’s already damaged.
✅ Edges and Corners
Another factor when grading your card is by evaluating its corners. Graders will look for white spots—a sign of wear and tear. Newer cards, or cards that are well taken care of will have sharper and more solid corners.
Although this isn’t a deal-breaker for most card collectors, it’s still an essential factor for other traditional card collectors.
✅ Printing and Cutting
The last key factor for grading your Pokemon card is assessing the print and cutting quality of your card’s manufacturer. Defects include off-centered images, low-quality pictures and icons, and other card details. They’ll also look at the card’s borders and see if the whole card is printed dead-center.
What should I do before sending them over?
✅ Do your research
It helps to research your Pokemon TCG’s value and check their overall rarity. For instance, you can prioritize getting rare cards graded and checked for their estimated value. This helps you to save on pricing fees from card grading services.
Here’s our guide about the most expensive and rare Pokemon cards.
✅ Examine your cards
As mentioned earlier, you’ll need to self-assess your Pokemon cards before sending them to your desired card grading service. Sort out cards with apparent damage on their corners and surface. You can also simulate a quality check on your card using a Jeweler’s handheld loupe and a lamp to help see small details on its surface.
✅ Take HD photos of your cards
Another step that you should do before sending your cards over is to take an HD picture of each card. It provides evidence in case your card is tampered with or changed after the grading process.
Card grading costs can vary from company to company. For instance, the PSA charges between $18 to $30 to get a single card graded and authenticated by the service. BGS costs $20/card for an economy service and $35/card for economy service with sub-grades. CGC charges $18/card for standard economy service.
However, opting for a lesser-known card grading service will cost you less. Still, it can instantly backfire since most Pokemon card traders and collectors will only recognize known grading companies and will less likely accept graded cards from companies with little reputation.
If you’re looking forward to increasing the value of your Pokemon cards, getting them graded will be worth it. This especially applies when you have taken care of your Pokemon TCG collection well over the years, and it contains some rare cards.
However, if most of it has been damaged due to wear and tear, sending it over to a card trading service might not be worth the investment and time.
The Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) is still considered the standard for general Pokemon card grading and trading card grading.
However, Beckett Grading Services (BGS) and the Certified Guaranty Company (CGC) both come close as premier card grading companies worldwide.
Picking one of the three companies above will still yield higher chances of getting the most value out of your cards.
After doing a self-assessment on your Pokemon TCG collection, you can get them graded professionally through Pokemon card grading services. You can choose between the four card grading companies listed above and avail yourself of their grading services.