Grade School 101 – Anyone Can Grade!

“Fine art” didn’t start out as a collectible.  

People used to buy cars just to get from their house to the beach. Before people started saving rare vintages in their cellars, wine’s sole purpose was greasing the wheels of the uptight in preparation for merrymaking.


Library of Alexandria


Where a product produced in limited quantities, and with varying levels of quality, ages beyond a certain point, it’ll often emerge as a collectible. That’s exactly what happened Magic and other CCGs. For thousands of years, people have found immense satisfaction in the pursuit of rare and desirable items to display, preserve and share. It’s no small irony that the Library of Alexandria (no, not that one) housed one of the world’s most famous early collections.

For a game like Magic, collecting offers many different types of enjoyment. This ranges from the hunt for the best specimen of a particular card, to collecting sets, themes or favorite artists and the nostalgia for those of us of a certain age, bringing home the cards with which we grew up in the 1990s and early 2000s.

It’s an odd phenomenon in the CCG world that a vocal subset views the collectible side of the game with trepidation, if not outright scorn in a way that you don’t see in other collectible communities. Last I checked, people drinking wine aren’t getting irate at people collecting wine, angrily accusing them, “Wine is for drinking! You’re ruining our fun by not drinking your wine collection!” But for people who haven’t collected wine, it can be easy to hear the jargon about “tannins” and “mouthfeel” and reflexively think “screw this, it’s only for fancy people and this is stupid.”

What I would like to do is to provide you with the tools, jargon and information you need to dip your toes into the world of collecting and grading CCG cards. There’s a welcoming community, many of whom started where you are today, and it’s a rewarding pursuit. What better way to begin than selecting your first card for grading?


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