If you’re a collector of hockey cards, you know the importance of having them graded to determine their authenticity and condition. But with so many grading companies available, it can be challenging to determine which one is the best for you. In this article, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you find the best place to grade your hockey cards.
Whether you’re looking for the highest quality grading or the most affordable options, our guide has got you covered. We’ve researched and reviewed the top grading companies in the industry to help you make an informed decision. Plus, we’ll provide you with tips for preparing your cards for grading and understanding grading standards.
So, if you want to get the most out of your hockey card collection, keep reading to find out more about the best places to get them graded.
Hockey Card Grading Overview
If you’re new to the hobby of collecting hockey cards, it’s important to understand the basics of grading before investing in any cards. Card grading is a way to assess the quality of a card based on factors like centering, surface condition, corners, and edges.
Grading helps collectors determine the value of a card and make informed decisions about buying, selling, or trading. It also helps ensure that buyers receive the card they expect in the condition advertised.
Grading companies like PSA, BGS, and SGC are widely recognized in the hobby and use a 10-point grading scale to rate cards. The higher the grade, the more valuable the card is likely to be.
What is Hockey Card Grading?
Hockey card grading is the process of evaluating the condition and authenticity of a hockey card, and assigning it a grade. The grade is typically based on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest grade possible. Grading is done by third-party companies that are experts in the field of sports card collecting and grading.
- Authentication: The grading company verifies that the card is authentic and not a counterfeit or a reproduction.
- Condition: The card is thoroughly examined to determine its condition. Factors such as corners, edges, centering, and surface quality are taken into account.
- Grading: The card is assigned a grade based on its condition. A card with minimal flaws will receive a higher grade than a card with significant flaws.
- Encapsulation: The graded card is encapsulated in a tamper-evident holder to protect it from damage and ensure its authenticity.
- Labeling: The holder is labeled with information about the card, including its grade, year, manufacturer, and player.
Hockey card grading provides collectors with an objective assessment of a card’s condition, which can be used to determine its value and authenticity. It also provides a level of protection against counterfeit cards and ensures that collectors can buy and sell cards with confidence.
Why Should You Consider Grading Your Hockey Cards?
Authenticity: Grading companies ensure that the card is not counterfeit, altered or trimmed. A graded card with a high grade ensures its authenticity and market value.
Protection: Encapsulated cards offer protection from dust, dirt, and other elements that could damage the card.
Market Value: A graded card generally sells for a higher price than a raw ungraded card, especially if it has a high grade.
Whether you want to protect your investment or increase its value, grading your hockey cards is a smart decision that can pay off in the long run.
The Importance of Grading Your Hockey Cards
If you’re a collector of hockey cards, you understand the value and importance of owning quality cards in great condition. One way to ensure that you have top-quality cards is to get them graded by a reputable grading company. Grading your hockey cards can help you in a variety of ways and provide numerous benefits.
One of the main reasons why grading your hockey cards is important is because it provides a reliable and accurate assessment of your cards’ condition. This is particularly important when you want to sell your cards or trade them with other collectors. Having graded cards gives buyers and sellers confidence that they are getting what they pay for and helps prevent any disputes that may arise over the card’s condition.
Another reason why grading your hockey cards is important is that it can significantly increase the value of your cards. Graded cards are typically more valuable than non-graded cards, as they provide a clear indication of the card’s condition and authenticity. Additionally, collectors are often willing to pay more for graded cards, especially if they are of high grade or rare.
Protect Your Investment with Professional Grading
Preservation: One of the most important reasons for grading your hockey cards is to protect your investment. Professional grading services use high-quality materials and techniques to preserve your cards in the best possible condition for years to come.
Authenticity: Another significant benefit of grading your hockey cards is to ensure their authenticity. Professional grading companies have the expertise to spot counterfeit cards and can guarantee that the card you are purchasing is genuine.
Value: Graded cards typically sell for higher prices than ungraded ones. A graded card’s value is not only due to its condition, but also to the confidence that the buyer has in its authenticity and grade. By having your hockey cards professionally graded, you can maximize their value and increase your potential return on investment.
Where to Grade Hockey Cards – Top Companies Reviewed
If you’re considering grading your hockey cards, you’ll want to choose a reputable company to do the job. Here are three top companies in the industry to consider:
PSA: Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) is one of the most well-known grading companies in the industry. They use a 10-point grading scale and have a reputation for being the most stringent in their evaluation process.
BGS: Beckett Grading Services (BGS) is another popular choice for grading hockey cards. They use a 10-point grading scale as well as subgrades for different aspects of the card, such as centering and corners.
SGC: Sportscard Guaranty (SGC) is a smaller grading company, but they have a loyal following among collectors. They use a 10-point grading scale and are known for their attention to detail in evaluating cards.
PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator)
PSA is one of the leading companies for grading hockey cards. Their grading system is highly respected in the industry and is recognized as one of the most accurate and reliable.
Their grading process includes a thorough inspection of the card’s authenticity, centering, corners, edges, and surface. PSA also uses a variety of security measures, including holograms and serial numbers, to ensure that each card is not tampered with after grading.
PSA offers different grading services for different types of cards, including vintage, modern, and autographed cards. Their turnaround time for grading is typically around 20 business days, with expedited services available for an additional fee.
Beckett Grading Services
History: Beckett Grading Services (BGS) is a division of Beckett Media, a leading sports collectibles and media company established in 198BGS started offering grading services for sports cards in 1999 and has since become one of the most trusted names in the industry.
Grading Standards: BGS uses a 10-point grading scale for cards, with sub-grades for centering, corners, edges, and surface. The company also provides a unique feature called “Raw Card Review,” where collectors can have their ungraded cards reviewed for potential high grades before deciding whether to submit them for official grading.
Turnaround Time and Cost: BGS offers multiple service levels with varying turnaround times, ranging from 2-day express to 30-day economy. Prices start at $15 per card for the economy service, with discounts available for bulk submissions and membership in the Beckett Collectors Club.
SGC (Sportscard Guaranty Corporation)
History: SGC was established in 1998 as a small grading company and has since grown to be one of the top grading companies in the industry.
Grading Process: SGC’s grading process is strict and thorough, and they have a reputation for being tough graders. They also offer a “half-grade” system, which allows for more precise grading.
Pricing and Turnaround Time: SGC’s pricing is competitive with other top grading companies, and their turnaround time is generally faster than PSA and Beckett, with a standard turnaround time of 20 business days. They also offer expedited services for an additional fee.
Hockey Card Grading Cost Comparison
When considering grading your hockey cards, one of the factors to keep in mind is the cost. It is important to compare the cost and services of different grading companies before making a decision.
PSA, for instance, charges a minimum fee of $10 per card and offers different tiers of service at varying prices.
Beckett Grading Services offers a similar tiered pricing structure, with the minimum fee starting at $10 per card, and additional fees for faster turnaround times or special designations like autographs.
On the other hand, SGC offers a flat rate of $12 per card for their standard grading service, with additional fees for faster turnaround times or specialty designations like “low pop” or “half-grade”.
It’s worth noting that these prices are subject to change and may vary depending on the specifics of your cards and the grading services you require.
PSA Grading Costs
- Standard Service: $20 per card, with a turnaround time of 20 business days.
- Express Service: $75 per card, with a turnaround time of 5 business days.
- Super Express Service: $300 per card, with a turnaround time of 2 business days.
Additional fees apply for autograph authentication, oversized cards, and other special services. Bulk rates are available for submissions of 50 or more cards.
It’s important to note that PSA uses a tiered pricing system based on the value of the card. The higher the declared value of the card, the higher the grading fee. For example, cards valued up to $499 are eligible for the Standard Service fee of $20, while cards valued at $5,000 or more are subject to a fee of 2.5% of the declared value.
Overall, PSA’s grading costs can be relatively expensive, but many collectors feel that the company’s reputation and grading standards make it worth the investment.
Beckett Grading Services Costs
Base Card Grading – Beckett charges $20 for a 10-day turnaround, $15 for a 20-day turnaround, and $10 for a 30-day turnaround.
Premium Card Grading – Beckett charges $50 for a 5-day turnaround, $35 for a 10-day turnaround, and $25 for a 20-day turnaround.
Autograph Grading – Beckett charges $25 for a 10-day turnaround, $20 for a 20-day turnaround, and $15 for a 30-day turnaround.
Additional Services – Beckett charges an additional $2 per card for encapsulation, $3 per card for oversized cards, and $15 per card for grading on-site at a convention.
SGC Grading Costs
The cost of grading your hockey cards with SGC will vary depending on the service level you choose. Below are the pricing tiers:
- Economy: $10 per card, 100-card minimum
- Standard: $25 per card, 10-card minimum
- Express: $50 per card, 5-card minimum
- Premium: $100 per card, 2-card minimum
Like other grading companies, SGC offers discounts for larger submissions. For example, submitting 25 cards for Economy service drops the per-card cost to $8.50. SGC also offers an online submission system to make the process more convenient for customers.
While SGC may not be as well-known as PSA or Beckett, they offer a reliable grading service at competitive prices. If you’re looking for an alternative to the bigger companies, SGC is worth considering.
One thing to note is that SGC’s turnaround times can be longer than other companies, particularly during peak periods. However, if you’re not in a rush to get your cards back, SGC’s prices may make it worth the wait.
Tips for Preparing Your Hockey Cards for Grading
Clean Your Cards: One of the most important steps in preparing your hockey cards for grading is to ensure they are clean. Use a microfiber cloth to gently wipe the surface of the card, removing any dirt or debris.
Use Card Sleeves: Card sleeves not only help protect your cards from damage, but they can also help keep them clean during the grading process. Be sure to use sleeves that fit your cards properly and don’t use sleeves that are too tight or too loose.
Handle with Care: When handling your cards, it’s important to use gloves or to wash your hands thoroughly before touching them. This will help prevent oils and dirt from getting on the cards, which can impact their grade. Additionally, try to handle the cards by the edges to avoid fingerprints or smudging on the surface.
Inspect Your Cards Before Submitting Them
Accuracy: Before submitting your cards for grading, check for any errors in the card’s information, such as the player’s name, team, or year. The accuracy of the information can affect the value of the card and could result in a lower grade.
Condition: Check the card for any physical damage or wear, such as creases, dents, or surface scratches. Any imperfections can affect the grade of the card, so make sure to handle the card with care and store it in a protective sleeve before submitting it for grading.
Cleanliness: Make sure your cards are free of any dirt, dust, or debris before submitting them for grading. Any contaminants on the surface of the card can affect the grade, so use a microfiber cloth to gently clean the surface and remove any smudges or fingerprints.
How to Package Your Hockey Cards for Safe Shipping
Proper packaging is essential when shipping your hockey cards for grading. Follow these tips to ensure your cards arrive safely:
- Use a toploader or card saver: These are specifically designed to protect your card from bending and scratches during transit.
- Wrap in bubble wrap: Once the card is in a toploader or card saver, wrap it in bubble wrap to add an extra layer of protection.
- Use a team bag: After wrapping the card in bubble wrap, put it in a team bag to keep the card and bubble wrap together and to protect against moisture.
- Fill the shipping box: Use packing peanuts or other filler to ensure the cards cannot move around inside the box during shipping.
- Label the box: Clearly label the box as fragile and include your contact information and the return address.
By taking the time to package your hockey cards properly, you can help ensure that they arrive safely and are ready for grading.
Dealing with Common Hockey Card Grading Issues
- Centering issues: A common problem in hockey cards is off-center printing. To avoid this, always handle your cards with care and avoid placing them in tight card holders or sleeves.
- Edges and Corners: Bent or frayed edges and corners are common issues. To avoid this, store your cards in protective holders or sleeves.
- Scratches and Surface Damage: Scratches or surface damage can occur from mishandling or improper storage. Always keep your cards away from harsh chemicals or direct sunlight.
- Printing and Ink Issues: Some cards may have smudged or misprinted ink. Check your cards carefully before submitting them for grading.
- Authenticity: With the popularity of hockey cards, counterfeit cards are becoming more common. Always purchase cards from reputable dealers and have them authenticated before submitting them for grading.
Dealing with these common issues will not only help improve the grading of your hockey cards but also increase their overall value. Always handle your cards with care and take necessary precautions to avoid any damage.
Understanding Hockey Card Grading Standards
Introduction: Hockey card grading is the process of assessing the condition of a card and assigning it a grade based on a set of standards. Understanding these standards is crucial to evaluating the value of a card.
Grading Companies: There are three main grading companies in the hockey card industry: PSA, Beckett, and SGC. Each company has its own grading standards, so it’s important to research and understand the differences between them before submitting your cards.
Grading Criteria: The grading criteria for hockey cards include centering, corners, edges, surface, and overall condition. Each company has its own specific guidelines for these criteria, so it’s important to become familiar with them before submitting your cards for grading.
Grading Scale and Criteria
Understanding the grading scale and criteria used by grading companies is crucial for any collector looking to buy or sell graded hockey cards. Grading companies use a 1-10 scale, with 10 being a Gem Mint card and 1 being a Poor card. The criteria used to evaluate cards include centering, corners, edges, surface, and overall appeal.
Centering refers to the position of the image on the card in relation to the borders. A well-centered card will have even borders all around the image.
Corners are evaluated based on the sharpness and integrity of each corner. A card with worn or rounded corners will receive a lower grade.
Edges refer to the condition of the sides of the card. Any chipping, fraying, or roughness will result in a lower grade. The surface is evaluated for any damage, such as scratches, creases, or print defects. Lastly, the overall appeal takes into account the card’s aesthetics and visual impact.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the popular grading companies for hockey cards?
There are several popular grading companies for hockey cards, including PSA, Beckett, and SGC. Each of these companies has its own grading standards and pricing structure.
How do I choose which grading company to use?
Choosing which grading company to use for your hockey cards can depend on several factors, including your budget, the condition of your cards, and your personal preferences. It is recommended that you research each company’s grading standards and pricing before making a decision.
Can I grade my hockey cards myself?
No, it is not recommended that you grade your own hockey cards. Grading companies have trained professionals who are knowledgeable in identifying the condition and authenticity of the cards. Attempting to grade the cards yourself may lead to inaccurate grading and lower their value.
How long does it take to get my graded hockey cards back?
The turnaround time for grading can vary depending on the grading company and the level of service you select. Some companies offer expedited services for an additional fee, while others may take several weeks or even months to complete the grading process.
Is grading my hockey cards worth the cost?
Grading your hockey cards can be worth the cost if you are looking to sell or display your collection. Graded cards are generally more valuable and can attract higher prices from collectors. However, it is important to weigh the cost of grading against the potential increase in value and determine if it is worth it for your specific collection.