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If you’ve been collecting cards for some time and you’ve never had them graded, then you might have already heard someone say that graded cards are worth more.
For the most part, that’s true.
Graded cards will sell better and will be worth more than non-graded cards. The main reason for this is that graded cards provide a level of reliability that the card is genuine.
You should also know that grading cards can be quite expensive and in rare cases, it might even decrease the value of a card if it doesn’t go well…
If you’re not sure where and how you can get your sports cards graded, then there are three main grading companies you should consider:
- PSA (Professional Sports Authenticators)
- BGS (Beckett Grading Services)
- SGC (Sportscard Guaranty)
But which one to pick? Depends on your needs and your budget.
If you’re looking for some more basic info, we have an intro to card grading that might help too.
Best Option for High-End Cards: PSA
If you have a high-end card and you want to make sure its value is increased, then there’s one option that stands out from the rest: PSA.
PSA is well-known for being the most reputable grading company in the world, but it does also have its disadvantages. For one, it can be more expensive than other grading companies.
On the other hand, having a card graded by PSA can bring a level of reputability that no other grading companies bring.
Having a PSA 10 “GEM MINT” will always be worth more than, say, having an SGC 10.
PSA is the most established and reputable card grading company out there currently. It provides industry-standard grading and as such, should be used for high-end cards.
Since PSA grading can be expensive, it makes sense if you only use it for higher-end cards, because it will bring a level of prestige that no other grading services bring.
But how much exactly does PSA grading cost? Well, the prices will fluctuate, but you should expect to pay anywhere between $50 and $600 for a card to be graded, depending on the value of your card. The prices are constantly updated here.
You can read our PSA vs Beckett article.
Best for Bulk Orders: SGC
SGC, or Sportscard Guaranty, is another popular grading company that is often used for grading cards in bulk.
The main reason for this is that it tends to be more affordable than its competitors. This makes it great for grading more cards at the same time.
While SGC is much more affordable than PSA, it’s also true that an SGC 10 will not be worth as much as a PSA 10. So for high-end cards with a lot of value, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have them graded by SGC.
Another advantage that SGC has over PSA is the partial grades.
For instance, with PSA, you only get solid grades from 1-10. With SGC, you’ll get partial grades like 9.5 or 8.5, which does provide a bit more specificity as to the quality of your cards.
Overall, SGC is a great option with quality grading that won’t cost as much as PSA, making it great for bulk orders. The prices (at the time of writing) fluctuate from $30 per card to $3750 per card, but prices change all the time, so make sure to check them out here.
Good All-Round Option: BGS
BGS, or Beckett Grading Services, was established in 1999, making it one of the oldest grading services around.
BGS is a reputable grading company with a lot to offer. One of the main selling points is higher values of BGS 10 cards as compared to other companies.
The disadvantage of this grading company is that it’s incredibly hard to get that BGS 10 grade.
So if you have a high-end card that you want to get a higher grade, you might want to use PSA instead.
BGS is the go-to option for many modern cards, while for grading older cards, BGS doesn’t have a catalog that is as comprehensive as with other companies.
BGS-graded cards also look better than other grading companies, but that’s just personal preference. Beckett grading prices can be found here.
Best of the Rest: SGC
If you’re having doubts about where to start and which grading company to use, then you can’t go wrong with SGC.
Unless you have a very expensive or valuable card, of course. In that case, you should use PSA.
But for everyone else, SGC is an excellent starting point because it’s affordable and the turnover times are quite fast. This makes it also ideal for bulk orders.
Other Grading Services
PSA, SGC, and BGS are the mainstay grading services that have been around for many years now.
Over the years, many grading services have come and gone. Some have been moderately successful while others didn’t last very long.
Here are some other grading services that you can consider using.
GMA is perhaps the most affordable grading service out there. You might only pay as little as $8 per card to be graded, especially if you grade them in bulk.
While this sounds nice, you should proceed with a degree of caution here.
GMA is nowhere near as reputable as PSA, BGS, or even SGC, so this service should be used for lesser cards in bulk.
If you’re starting and you don’t have a lot of money to spend on card grading, you can try GMA out but ultimately, you’ll want to switch to other services once you get more high-value items.
HGA grading is one of the most recent grading companies. Established in 2021, HGA provides a new approach when it comes to grading cards.
It’s more technology-focused, so it claims to remove some of the bias and sometimes questionable decisions by other grading companies.
For now, this type of approach is still not mainstream, so we’ll see how it pans out. You should use HGA with a bit of reluctance since we don’t know how this type of technology is going to impact the industry.