PSA Grading Cards: How, Where and Why

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PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator) is the largest grading and authentication company in the world. They grade and protect hundreds of thousands of cards each year, and grade cards from Pokemon, Yu-gi-oh, baseball cards, racing cards and many more. Not only does this grading system  guarantee that the card is genuine,  but it is sealed inside a protective plastic case to stop the card getting damaged, warped or dirty.

In this guide I will mainly be using Pokemon cards as an an example throughout but many basics of the cards still apply. I will explain why you should grade cards, how and the selling aspects of cards, and if our card is worth being graded.
A PSA graded card-certain aspects of PSA will hopefully guarantee that the card you buy is genuine
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A PSA graded card-certain aspects of PSA will hopefully guarantee that the card you buy is genuine

Why should I grade my cards and the basics:

As stated before, when a card is graded, it is put in a sealed plastic case. Not only does this protect the card from any damage, but PSA also has a system of security-on the actual plastic sleeve itself there will be information on the card that has been graded:

Set: what set the card comes from and what set number it is appears at the top.

Name: The name of the card comes second

Status: If the card is holo or no,and what edition it is, and what grade it received. 

Coding and barcode: A unique code is given to the card, and a bar code is also given which can tell the original persons name. The code help to make sure that the card is official to PSA and how many of the same card is out there.

So why should you grade your card? Some cards are very valuable, and with life being unpredictable, you don't know what sort of damage it might receive. Generally, even putting it in a sleeve and moving it out of the sleeve again may leave small marks. Having it graded not only gives it official status and official value, it protects from what might happen.

Also, many rare cards are graded as an investment. Grading as value, as, said before,  means the product is official, the product is protected and that the grade is official. Many people claim a card is mint-this would mean absolutely no defects or miscuts/printing errors, and many people get it wrong, as they maybe near mint. This might not sound like a lot of difference, however with PSA a tiny dink in the card mean it will not get a 10 in anyway-it might not even reach a 7.

How do PSA grade a card and how to send your card

Firstly the card is inspected by their trained professionals. These will spot any obvious errors on the card, and give them their own personal grade from that. The card is then scanned with a laser scanner which picks up any hidden dips, scratches and errors, and also checks the alignment of the card. The card is then given a grade. The lowest grade you can get is a 1, the highest 10.

Grades aren't final though, and if you feel that a card has received to low of a grade, you can re-send your card (at your own expense). Though be aware these people are professionals, so it would be unlikely that the grade is majorly changed.

Sending your card(s) requires registration on their site, which keeps you in touch on how your cards are doing and also for security reasons. Make sure when registering the cards that you put in the correct details of the card. They are then sent away with tracking from the company. Be aware that PSA is based in America, so shipping times and weather play a big role in delivery times. A discount is given for more cards sent. They are then graded, and sent back to you.
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Is my card worth grading and how to sell.

Many people will think about grading cards and then it turns out they are having a hard time selling them on. With everything in life, Pokemon Cards work on a supply and demand process, and the rarer the card and the more people want for it, generally the more they are worth.

Generally, cards that are not worth getting graded are newer common/uncommon/non-holo rare cards, since these are very easy to get hold of, and getting the graded will not add any value onto them because of there availability. Other cards, such as useful trainer cards, are not worth getting graded as you would get more money from them as people use them in the TCG (if they're graded they of course cannot be used in the game) 
Bare in mind that English print quality is less than japanese/forgien cards, so getting a 10 with the newer cards is hard, as often there is slight miscuts.
Another thing to look at is condition-ideally you want to get a 10 since these cards are "flawless" and add the most value-if you yourself can see any visible damage than it is already not going to get a 10.

The cards to get graded include the ones general collectors and well as hard-core collectors try to buy-i.e. charizard, blastoise and venusaur, gold stars, rare eeveelutions, rare promo cards, rare japanese tournament cards. You would have to do your research first into making sure that grading the cards are worth it in the end.

Selling your cards you can do here on ebay.  Make sure the listing states that the card is PSA official graded and what grade it received. Do not use a stock photo of the PSA graded card, since they all have their unique code. When you upload your photo, blank out the bar code and number to prevent people claiming your photo as their own (of course, put in description you can message the seller with a photo of them) have a look at sold listings of other PSA cards to give you a general idea of what the card will hopefully get.

Hopefully this guide explains PSA grading a bit more to you, and as a collector is something of interested. If you have any questions please message me

@Electricbluewolf 2014
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