Trading card collectors are familiar with the idea of grading. Cards are evaluated on a numerical scale by a third party to determine their condition. This allows collectors to determine the true value of a card. Therefore, grading often majorly increases the market price of a card, because buyers know the quality they will receive.
While grading trading cards is nothing new, eBay now requires cards over a certain selling price be graded. eBay’s card marketplace has become a multi-billion dollar business—but scams and counterfeits have increased as well. This new program is meant to prevent this issue for buyers moving forward. It’s likely this requirement will become a more common trend, as other companies seek solutions for preventing the same problems.
Why Are Graded Cards Worth So Much More?
Collectors regularly ask if grading increases the value of a card. Often, it does. The card’s grade refers to the condition and quality of a card. Cards that have not been graded will generally fetch less money on the market—since the condition has not been determined by an unbiased third-party authenticator. Higher grades (Near Mint and above) warrant premium prices, but even middle-road grades (Excellent to Mint) are often worth receiving too, as you will see in multiple cases below.
5 Pokemon Cards With a Higher Value When Graded
Any card worth more than $250 will need a grade to be sold on eBay come mid-2022. For now, that minimum is $750. While you may prefer to sell your cards elsewhere, highly valuable cards should always be graded before being sold. This will ensure the buyer receives a card in the condition they expected and is therefore satisfied with the purchase.
Charizard – Base Set (Shadowless Holo)
This card recently sold on eBay for $429 with a “Good” grade of 2. An ungraded version of the same card sold within the same month for $520—hardly a $100 difference between them. But what if that card had been graded? A month prior, a graded 8 Charizard sold for nearly $2,000. On the high end, someone sold an ungraded version claimed to be Gem Mint for $1,200 last year. If that were even close to true, the same card might have sold for closer to $5,000.
A promo that has only been printed twice, Tropical Beach shows just how drastic the price difference between graded and upgraded versions of a card can be. This Near Mint Tropical Beach (Finalist version) sold for $5,700 recently, while a Staff version in similar condition sold for $1,250. Ungraded this card routinely sells for about $400, seemingly regardless of print.
This card is from the 2004 EX Deoxys (Clash of the Blue Sky in Japanese) set. The difference between a graded and ungraded version of this 1st Edition card is massive. Ungraded Rayquaza Gold Stars have recently sold for around $700. While those with a grade of 8 or 9 sold for around $3,000. Even if the ungraded version had received a grade of 5 or 6, the difference in profit would have paid for the service.
Last year, ungraded 1st Edition Blastoise in holo sold around $850; however, another ungraded card advertised as Near Mint with detailed photos sold for $1,100. Had this Blastoise been graded, it might have sold for a price similar to this $2,800 Blastoise with a grade of 8. For comparison, a version of this card graded at only 6, which is Excellent-Mint, sold for $1,100.
Charizard Crystal Type – Skyridge (Holo)
A near-perfect 9.5 Crystal Charizard sold for $12,500 earlier this year. Someone got an 8.5 graded version of this card for a deal at $4,750. The highest value fetched for this card when ungraded? Just under $4,000—while claiming to be Near Mint. In general, ungraded versions of this card sell for around $2000. The certainty of knowing this card’s condition drastically improves its overall value.
Most Affordable & Reliable Grading Service
It may be tempting to use the cheapest grading service in order to ensure the largest profit margin. However, this is not the wisest strategy when seeking a company to determine the condition of valuable cards. The value of a grade is directly related to the reputation of the company providing it. This leaves most collectors with a conundrum:
Spending thousands of dollars to have cards graded is simply out of the question for a lot of people. Yet the best way to get the most value for your cards, especially those of a higher value, is to have a reputable brand grade them.
Premier Grading Company is dedicated to helping collectors get the most value from their cards. That requires consistent grading practices and a trained team able to produce a high turnover of cards. Backed by ChannelFireball, our mission is to provide a world class grading service that sets the standard for other third-party authenticators.
We are confident that once you use our grading services, the added value will pay for itself. Get started today.