GRADING & AUTHENTICATION
Due to the market eruption in graded cards, the major grading and authentication companies are experiencing over 10 million card backups with more cards being submitted each day. Although the extended wait times can be frustrating it is a good sign that our hobby is flourishing. However with the emphasis on graded cards we have decided to start our own grading and authentication service to offer an alternative slab. Since our slab will be new to the industry we will only be grading for a few customers and not accepting public submissions at this time. However we are compiling a list of interested customers once we open up submissions so please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
With over 30 years of experience in the hobby I am confident in grading each card and understanding the condition requirements. Please read our requirements below, along with a snap shot of our grading process.
The following tools and requirements will be used during the grading process:
- Measure each card to ensure it meets all size requirements
- Using a 10x magnifier each corner and edge will be inspected
- Using a 2x magnifier the surface will be inspected for imperfections
- Centering will be determined using by measuring borders or finding a common point on each side/top/bottom on borderless cards
- A black light and extensive magnification will be used to detect any recoloring or other altering processes
Regarding the autograph encapsulations, they will all be authenticated by a nationally recognized 3rd party company (JSA, Beckett, SGC, Original Manufacturer, etc...) prior to encapsulation.
Our Grading standards are listed below. It fully explains what you, the collector, can expect from each grade. I assure you that each grade will be true and accurate to these standards.
PRISTINE 10+ - The card will be immaculate. Free from all flaws that would take away from the "perfect" appeal. 50/50 Centering on both the front and the back of the card. Smooth edges, sharp focus, four razor sharp corners and an extremely clean surface.
GEM MINT 10 - The card will appear to be perfect, even under slight magnification. Centering must be at least 55/45 on the front and 75/25 on the back of the card. It must have four smooth edges and it full original gloss. One minor print flaw under intense magnification is allowable if it does not distract from the overall appeal.
MINT+ 9.5 - Card appears to be perfect during the initial inspection. Centering is 60/40 on the front and 75/25 on the back of the card and the card may have one slight flaw under intense magnification on either one corner, one edge, or on the surface.
MINT 9 - Sharp looking like the day the card was printed, however a minor flaw on one corner, one edge or one surface flaw such as focus/color imperfection, break in the original gloss, a slight surface scratch under close examination is acceptable. Centering must be at least 60/40 on the front and 90/10 on the back of the card.
NM-MT 8 (NEAR MINT to MINT) - Card has great eye appeal at first glance, however the centering is 65/35 on the front and 90/10 on the back of the card. The card may have a minor flaw on one or two corners such as very slight fraying, one edge flaw or one surface imperfection under slight magnification.
NM 7 (NEAR MINT) - Centering at least 70/30 on the front and 90/10 on the back of the card. Slight wear on some corners, they may appear fuzzy under close examination. Surface may have minor scratches, print spots, print lines or refractor lines. Also the card may be slightly diamond cut.
EX-MT 6 (EXCELLENT to MINT) - Centering must be at least 75/25 on the front and 90/10 on the back of the card. Slight fraying/fuzzing on the corners and slight notching on the edges are acceptable. Also the card may be diamond cut and/or the focus may be slightly out of register.
EX 5 (EXCELLENT) - Centering may be 80/20 on the front and 90/10 on the back of the card. All corners may be slightly rounding and although the edges may be chipping and rough they can't be any layering. Same loss of original gloss is acceptable as long as it doesn't detract from the overall appeal.
VG-EX 4 (VERY GOOD to EXCELLENT) - Centering may be 85/15 on the front and 90/10 on the back. Corners will be slightly rounded with modest wear. One light hairline crease may appear on each side. This is the highest grade a card can achieve with any crease.
VG 3 (VERY GOOD) - Centering at least 90/10 on both front and back of the card. Corners will be more rounded but not excessive. Stronger creasing may exist, poorer focus/registration. Surface my be discolored and staining is my appear. This is the highest grade a card can achieve with any staining.
GOOD 2 - Centering will be 90/10 on both the front and the back of the card. It usually exhibits one or more extreme flaws. All corners can be frayed and/or rounded. A crease may break the surface of the card, heavy print spots, pinholes, discoloration, scuffing, tears, pencil/ink marks. This is the highest grade a card can achieve with pencil/ink marks.
FAIR 1.5 - Centering will be 95/5 on both the front and back of the card. Extremely advanced wear will be evident throughout the card. Multiple heavy creases, tape residue, heavy print spots, pinholes, discoloration, scuffing, tears, pencil/ink marks, pitting. However the card may not have any major pieces missing such as a missing corner.
POOR 1 - Centering can be 100/0 on both the front and back of the card. Card will show extreme wear throughout. This being the lowest grade a card can achieve it can be missing one or two pieces of the card.
As mentioned above, autograph encapsulations will all be authenticated by a nationally recognized 3rd party company (JSA, Beckett, SGC, Original Manufacturer, etc...) prior to encapsulation.
AUTO 10 - Autographs that appear as they did the day they were signed. Strong bold (varies based on the writing instrument), consistent flowing signature. Free of bleeding, bubbling, blistering and smudges. The autograph my start or end off the card, however the middle of the autograph must be completely on the card/sticker. AUTO 10 autographs have great eye appeal.
AUTO 9 - Autographs that have 1 or 2 flaws. They may have a slight bleed, bubbling may appear or a smudge at the beginning or end of the signature. Only a slight section of the middle of the autograph may e off the card/sticker. Autograph will have good eye appeal.
AUTO "AU" - Autographs with multiple flaws that affect the overall eye appeal of the card receive this Authentic -"AU" grade.