Getting your valuable baseball cards professionally graded is an important step to determine their authenticity and condition. While you can certainly check cards yourself at home, getting them officially graded by one of the major third-party authentication and grading companies provides a standardized and trusted assessment that buyers rely on. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of getting cards graded, the grading services available, things to consider when choosing a company, and options in your local area to have cards graded.

The main reasons to get baseball cards graded include determining value, authenticating cards, getting an unbiased condition assessment, and allowing for traceable resale. Serious collectors, investors and sellers want the reassurance that comes with a professional grade. The grade assigned by services like PSA, BGS, SGC and others is the industry standard for the collectibles market. It provides a clear and trusted analysis of factors that impact value like centering, corners, edges and surface quality. With a grade, you have an objective assessment beyond your own judgment.

Getting a card slabbed and authenticated deters forgeries and counterfeits from entering the marketplace. Graded holders with tamper-evident seals make it easy for future buyers to verify authenticity. Services will also catch fake or altered cards during the review process, protecting collectors. For high-end vintage cards and iconic rookies worth thousands or more, it’s essential to use a trusted authentication company to avoid buying or selling reproductions. Certified pedigree adds value to certified cards and reassurance at resale.

While you can assess condition yourself to some degree, professional grading provides consistency. Two collectors may disagree on whether a card is NM or EX due to subjective views of wear. A recognized service establishes a uniform standard that all collectors understand. This is vital when determining a card’s value, or comparing it to comps during a transaction. The numeric grade provides a clear, market-accepted metric beyond vague descriptions open to interpretation. Consistent standards also allow for apples-to-apples price trend tracking over time.


The additional value grading unlocks makes the costs involved worthwhile for higher priced cards. Even on more affordable vintage commons, it adds reselling ease through trustworthy authentication and condition analysis in a holder. Once graded, future transactions are simplified with traceable pedigree rather than relying solely on a buyer’s inspection. This provides added security and liquidity benefits through certified collectibles marketplaces too.

There are a few major third-party card authentication and grading companies presently serving the sports card industry including:

PSA – PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator) has earned a top reputation for stringent quality control and is considered the gold standard by which other services are compared. They pioneered the practice in the modern sports collectibles scene.

BGS – BGS (Beckett Grading Services) is another leading authority known for accuracy and strict standards. They provide additional sub-grades beyond PSA’s 10-point numeric scale.

SGC – The SGC (Sportscard Guaranty Corporation) offers lower cost grading with a fast turnaround compared to PSA/BGS. Still a trusted option accepted by top dealers.

HGA – Hobby Generated Authentication is a new entrant emphasizing technology and transparency. Provides sub-grades and cutting edge authentication capabilities.

There is no 100% consensus on which service is best. Some collectibles may fare better at one company versus another based on perceived standards. Turnaround times and costs also fluctuate between providers. For most collectors, PSA and BGS are top considerations due to their brand recognition driving demand. But SGC is a cost-effective alternative respected in the hobby too.


It’s also important to research grading company policies meticulously before submitting your cards. Understand requirements, restrictions, and what upgrade or cross-over options might be available. Turnaround expectations and value-added services like autograph authentication are other factors. Ask dealers, group members or compare online reviews when choosing where to grade high-value cards for best results and protection of your investment.

Some additional things to research and consider include:

Accepted submission types (singles, group bulks, vintage sets etc.)

Payment methods and total costs including shipping insurance

Declining and resubmitting policies if not satisfied

Authenticating autos, relics and memorabilia qualifications

Qualified submission services in your area for convenience

Special labeling like “1st edition holofoil” legitimacy

Label security features and slab designs choices

Lost or damaged packages replacement costs and responsibility

Restricted versus regular approved grading service differences

Auction and consignment program eligibility

Now that you understand why to grade and some options, it’s also convenient to find local businesses that can help submit cards to grading companies on your behalf. Many collectors choose this route for assistance handling submission details. Some regional collectibles shops, comic stores and card shops double as submission centers partnered with PSA, BGS, SGC or other companies. They consolidate group submissions to gain volume discounts and support the hobby locally.

Doing a quick search online for terms like “grade baseball cards near me”, or checking local business listings for collectibles shops is a good starting point. Calling shops ahead to inquire about current submission services and pricing is recommended. Ask if they are endorsed by a specific company as an agent. Some businesses charge small per card fees on top of grading costs for their expertise and hassle-free assistance. But consolidating with them provides the benefits of pooled group orders and easier in-person dropoff versus mailing everything yourself as individual orders.


With the popularity of vintage sports cards and memorabilia skyrocketing in value, the certification services industry has expanded significantly to serve more collectors. There are now several respected grading authorities with strict quality controls upholding standards for the certified collectibles market. Taking the important step to get your top baseball cards professionally graded provides enhanced authenticity, condition analysis, long-term resale support and added overall value worthy of the investment – especially for high-dollar pieces. With options near you for convenient help with the process too, it’s easier than ever to enjoy the benefits that certification brings to your cherished pieces of sports history.

Whether you want to learn the true value of your baseball card collection, be assured of authenticity, get an impartial grade for pricing or resell, or simply preserve cards in protected holders, third-party grading is very worthwhile. It provides standardized analysis, trusted authentication and an investment in the long-term preservation of your collectibles. With local resources available to assist, be sure to explore the credentialed options, understand company policies thoroughly and choose the best fit based on your needs and budget. Getting cards graded adds confidence and clarity to your valuable sports memorabilia portfolio.

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