PSA Graded Pokemon Cards - A Beginners Guide

Posted by Titan Cards 23/10/2018 0 Comment(s)

PSA Graded Pokemon Cards – A Beginners Guide

So lately at Titan Cards you may have seen that we’ve been shouting about our newest Pokemon Card lines; PSA Graded Ultra Rare and Secret rare cards – sounds great right? But what exactly is PSA grading, and why would anyone want a PSA graded card? This article will give you a beginners guide to the ins and outs of graded trading cards, Pokemon and otherwise.

 

A selection of PSA Graded Pokemon Cards we stock at Titan Cards

A selection of PSA graded Pokemon Cards we just put into stock this week.

 

Who are PSA? Why do their grades matter anymore than anyone elses?

PSA stands for the Professional Sports Authenticator, and is named as such because they began operating their service grading Baseball and other sports cards in the United States.  They are the largest Trading Card grading and authentication service on earth and essentially the global authority on trading card condition and authenticity.

PSA not only grade card singles, but also booster packs and various other collectibles and memorabilia.

 

What grades can a card get?

So you are sending off your card to PSA or another company that works with them to get your cards graded, but what do the scores mean?

 

PSA operate a ten point grading scale, when a card is sent in to them for evaluation they’ll check the cards colouring, corners, edges, centring, authenticity and everything else about it and after that they’ll give it a score between 1 and 10, 10 being the best quality card, 1 being the worst quality card. Lets take a look at what those scores mean specifically:-

  • Gem Mint 10 – To receive this grade a PSA grading expert must deem the trading card to be nothing other than perfect.
  • Mint 9 – A superb condition trading card with only very minor flaws, perhaps a minor printing imperfection from when the trading card was manufactured, maybe not quite perfect in terms of the centring of the print on the card.
  • Near Mint 8 – At a glance to an untrained eye, this level of card could look as good as a Mint 9, Mint 10 card, but upon closer inspection this grade of card could have a slight corner fraying, print imperfections and or off white borders.
  • Near Mint 7 – This card will likely have very slight surface wear in addition to a combination of the ailments mentioned for an 8 grade card.
  • Excellent to Mint 6 – This level of card will most likely have visible surface wear, some printing defects, slightly worse corner fraying than it’s Near Mint 7 counterpart.
  • Excellent 5 – This level of card likely has corner wear and rounding, chipping on the edges and perhaps the original gloss will be showing wear. Potentially a few light scratches visible when inspected closely.
  • Very Good to Excellent 4 - Cards achieving this grade will likely have evident corner wear, perhaps some corner rounding. Noticeable wear to the face and reverse of the card but nothing extreme as well as light scuffs, scratches.
  • Very Good 3 - Does your card have apparent surface wear, rounded corners with some signs of wear? has a lot of the cards original gloss been lost? if so we are likely looking at this grade.
  • Good 2 - This level of cards front face and reverse will be showing apparent signs of wear which doesn't need an expert eye to spot. The Good 2 Level of card could be completely absent of it's original gloss and potentially contain small creases and some discoloration.
  • Poor to Fair 1 - A card will achieve this sort of grade if it has quite extreme edge and corner wear, complete loss of original gloss as well as other obvious signs of wear such as scuffs, scratches, pitting and stains.

There are some circumstances that will result in a card not receiving any grade on the above scale, these could be anything from obvious signs of doctoring, trimming (cutting the edges off a card) or just general non-authenticity.

 

Ultimately if you are getting cards graded, you will want to be confident of getting good grades, whilst there are greater experts on the subject than myself, personally if I am paying to have a card graded and having it sent off to the states etc, I want to know that its going to grade reasonably well.

 

Why would I want to get my cards graded?

A small minority of major collectors will actually use the PSA Grading  service almost to compete with other collectors to get official grades on their best and rarest cards. When a card gets graded it has it’s own unique reference number with PSA which can be looked up on their website, there you can find information about how many of that type of card have been graded, general card info, and how many other cards of that kind in the world share the same grade.

 

Other collectors may simply want to get their most rare and valuable cards graded because not only do PSA give your card a grade they also encapsulate the card to completely protect and preserve it, so not only does it score a certain grade, it will be maintained.

 

Some people may not be big collectors, and may simply have a couple of cards from their childhood which have sentimental value to them, the grading process is a great way of having your card evaluated and protected and preserved in PSA casing.

 

PSA Graded Pokemon Cards

Lets take a look at some examples of PSA Graded Pokemon Cards that we’re stocking right now, and talk you through what all the information means and how a PSA graded card looks when you get it back.

 

Examples of Graded Pokemon Cards and what the PSA info means.

 

 

Let’s take a look at the cards information online using the barcode number on the front (the back of the casing also has a QR which can be scanned to bring up the cards grading info). Our Buzzwole GX 104/111 got a grade of Gem Mint PSA 10, the best a card can get. But anyone could write that on a case and make it look like that right? Fortunately there is a way to verify absolute PSA authenticity and grades, so I’m heading over to https://www.psacard.com/cert/ and I’m putting in 41498839 which is that cards unique identifier with PSA.  Here’s the info it produces:-

 

The information the PSA website shows when you look up a trading card

But wait.... theres more!

OK how you see the next bit of the info the PSA site gives you about your card will depend on the sort of person you are, but to me I found it really quite exciting (unsure if I'm sad, or just enthusiastic!). So we've seen that this example card is authentic, and that it matches up with the record held at PSA, but when we scroll a little further this is what we see.

PSA Grading Population information

So whats the big deal? well you see the population bit? That's the total number of this specific Pokemon Card (Buzzwole GX, Full Art 104/111 specifically) that hold the top PSA Grade of 10. You can see on the right hand side the population of cards with a higher grade than this is shown as zero, because of course a perfect card can't be beaten. If the card we were looking at was a PSA 9 card, it would tell you the number of PSA Grade 9 versions of that card that exist in the world under the population bit, and there would be a figure in the "Population Higher" bracket which would note the number of PSA 10 cards ie the only cards that scored higher than your PSA 9. Pretty neat huh?

 

Getting PSA Graded Pokemon Cards

So now we’ve learned a little about PSA Graded Pokemon Cards, you might be considering sending some of your own cards off for grading, more information about this can be found at https://www.psacard.com/onlinesubmissioncenter/

 

Alternatively you can take the guesswork out of it and keep an eye on our site, we will be getting new batches of PSA graded Pokemon Cards in every couple of months and they’ll always be Ultra Rare, Secret Rare or Rainbow Rare cards – plus that way you get to just simply buy a card at the level you want without paying for grading, shipping and waiting for months to get the card back only to find it comes in at a lower grade than you'd hoped :-) A couple of our latest and greatest graded cards can be found below, be sure to check them out!