Grading your cards – Frequently Asked Questions!

Trading card games are popular collectibles that have been around for over a century. They come in different forms such as sports cards, trading cards, and simply collectible cards with well know brands such as Pokemon, Magic: The Gathering, Dragon Ball Z, Panini, Yu-gi-Oh, and many many more!

In the UK, grading your prized possessions has become increasingly popular over the last 3 years in particular with more and more collectors and enthusiasts finding the hobby again. There are still a lot of questions about how grading your cards work and the grading process itself. In this blog post, we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about grading cards in the UK.

What is grading?

Grading is the process of evaluating a trading card’s condition and assigning it a grade based on a specific set of criteria. The condition of the card is evaluated on a scale from poor to mint, with poor being the lowest grade and mint being the highest. Grading provides collectors with an objective assessment of a card’s condition, which helps to determine its value.

Who grades trading cards?

There are several grading companies based in the USA that specialize in grading trading cards. These are the most popular companies worldwide for all collectors they are, PSA – Professional Sports Authenticator, BGS -Beckett Grading Services, and CGC – Certified Guaranty Company. (Please note that whilst these are the most popular worldwide there are many more UK-based grading services that are up and coming – we will be covering UK Based Grading Services in another article!)

What are the benefits of grading cards?

Grading a card provides a number of benefits. First and foremost, it helps to establish the card’s value. A graded card is often more valuable than an ungraded card, particularly if it is graded high. Grading also helps to protect the card’s condition, as it is encapsulated in a tamper-evident holder. This prevents the card from being damaged or manipulated, which can negatively impact its value.

How much does it cost to grade a card?

The cost of grading a card varies depending on the grading company and the card’s value. The cost typically ranges from £10 to £100, with higher fees for high-value cards. It is important to note that the cost of grading is in addition to any fees associated with shipping and insurance. Some services like PSA will charge a final value fee too, so be sure to be mindful of this when sending your cards off! You don’t want to be left short or have your prize cards irretrievable.

How long does it take to grade a card?

The turnaround time for grading a card depends on the grading company and the service level chosen. PSA, BGS & CGC offer different service levels, ranging from standard to express. Standard services typically can take between 30-45 days, while express services can take as little as 1-5 days. It is important to note that these turnaround times are subject to change and can vary depending on the grading company’s workload and most importantly where you are located in the world. These companies are based in the US therefore additional shipping time should always be considered!

Are there complications in grading cards?

While there are several grading companies that specialize in grading trading cards in the UK, many collectors still prefer to use American-based companies such as PSA, BGS, and CGC. However, using these companies can be complicated due to shipping, customs, and other logistical issues. This has led to the rise of middleman services in the UK, which acts as intermediaries between collectors and grading companies in the US.

One of the main challenges of using American-based grading companies is shipping. Shipping a card from the UK to the US can be expensive, and it can also take a long time to arrive. Additionally, there is a risk that the card could be lost or damaged in transit. To avoid these issues, many collectors in the UK choose to use middleman services. These services collect the cards from collectors in the UK, consolidate them into a larger shipment, and send them to the grading company in the US. Once the grading is complete, the cards are shipped back to the middleman in the UK, who then distributes them to the collectors.

Another complication of using American-based grading companies is customs. When cards are shipped from the UK to the US, they must go through customs, which can result in additional fees and delays. Additionally, some cards may be subject to import restrictions, which can make it difficult to send them to the US for grading. Middleman services are well-equipped to handle these issues, as they have experience navigating customs regulations and can ensure that the cards are properly declared and documented.

How should you grade your cards in the UK?

Due to the challenges of using American-based grading companies in the UK, several middleman services have emerged in recent years. These services act as intermediaries between collectors and grading companies, handling the shipping, customs, and logistics involved in the grading process. Some of the most popular middleman services in the UK include The Sub Center (Formerly Dan’s Pokestop), Black Label Grading, and Griffins Grading, among others. These services have built a reputation for providing reliable and efficient grading services, and they have become an essential part of the grading process for many collectors in the UK.

In conclusion, while American-based grading companies such as PSA, BGS, and CGC are popular among collectors in the UK, they can be complicated to use due to shipping, customs, and logistical issues. To overcome these challenges, many collectors in the UK choose to use middleman services, which act as intermediaries between collectors and grading companies in the US.

Who is the best card grading company in the UK?

Determining the “best” card grading company in the UK is a subjective matter and can vary greatly depending on individual collector preferences and priorities. It’s important to note that grading companies themselves, like PSA, BGS, and CGC, are primarily based in the United States, not the UK. When it comes to grading cards in the UK, collectors often consider factors such as turnaround time, cost, reputation, and the specific services offered by middleman companies like Get Graded, The Sub Center, Ark Grading, and Black Label Grading, to name a few you can view a list of all recommended UK based middleman and grading services right here on our website! Each of these middleman services has its own set of advantages and drawbacks, and collectors may choose the one that aligns with their needs and expectations. We advise collectors to research and consider their options carefully before deciding on a grading service to ensure their cards are handled in the way that best suits their goals.

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