The sports collectible industry is huge, and a big part of this industry is all about sports cards like baseball cards. If you want to buy, collect, sell, trade, or auction valuable baseball cards, you will likely need to get them graded first.
Grading is the best way to accurately determine the authenticity and market value of a baseball card. Since most valuable baseball cards are rare and old, the condition of the card plays a huge role in its grading.
Most people are unsure about how to determine the condition or grade their baseball cards or how a buyer may grade them. Hence, getting baseball cards graded by a professional service or trusted third-party graders (TPGs) can be crucial.
Let’s discuss how to get baseball cards graded, why PSA is your best option, and what it may cost to get your baseball cards graded them.
How to Get Baseball Cards Graded
There are several ways you can get your baseball cards graded, and they are all fairly similar. You can opt for any trusted TPG like Becket or the Sportscard Guarantee Corporation (SGC). However, for this guide, we will talk about the best in the business, the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA).
Grading From the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA)
If you have any experience with baseball cards, you have probably heard about the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA). You can ask any baseball enthusiast or card collector about how to get baseball cards graded, and they will most likely tell you to get them graded from the PSA.
The PSA is the established standard for grading baseball cards, and they are globally recognized as the most trusted and authentic appraiser of sports cards. They offer the most accurate and authentic valuation of sports cards.
The PSA uses a 10-point grading scale to grade cards from 1 to 10, with a PSA 10 grade being the highest you can get. As the biggest name in the sports card grading industry, PSA grading can often increase the demand and value of your card because there are more buyers and collectors interested in buying PSA-graded baseball cards.
No serious card collector will buy a rare or valuable baseball card without a PSA grading or certification. PSA only offers grading through their Online Submission Center, where you can sign up for free. Then, you can mail your items for grading, as per their instructions.
Here are the steps to get your baseball card or collection graded by the PSA.
- Visit com/OnlineSubmissionCenter, sign up to create your account, and log in to start your submission process. PSA will also provide an easy, step-by-step submission guide for you to follow for sending baseball cards for grading.
- Complete the online submission process, including the payment. Then, print the confirmation pages and your Submission ID packing label.
- Go through the PSA Packaging Guidelines provided, and pack your baseball card/s accordingly. Make sure to include the necessary confirmation pages inside the package, and tape the Submission ID packing label on the outside of the package while making sure the barcode remains visible.
- Write the PSA Service Level on the outside of your package and ship it to the correct address provided by the PSA.
That’s it, once your package is received, the PSA will send you an email notification. You can also track and monitor the status of your package through your PSA account. Depending on the service level you choose, your baseball cards will be graded and returned to you anywhere within 3 to 90 calendar days.
If you want to reduce the time taken by this process, you can opt for a more expensive, higher Service Level during your online submission process.
The first step in the PSA grading process is authentication. Several official PSA graders will review your baseball card/s for authenticity and determine whether they are real or fake. If they are authentic, the PSA searches for any signs of doctoring like trimming, restoration, re-coloring, or similar tampering.
Once your card/s passes the authentication process, the grading process can begin. Grading is done by PSA graders as well, following their 10-point grading scale. Once grading is complete, each card is encapsulated in a sonically sealed, tamper-evident case.
The clear case shows your card and information like its PSA grade, certification number, and label.
Cost of Getting Baseball Cards Graded by the PSA
The PSA offers a tier-based pricing model for grading your baseball cards. These tiers are based on each baseball card’s “Declared Value.” The declared value is the estimated value of each card (determined by you) shipped to the PSA for grading.
The PSA recommends you do some research to arrive at this value or reference their Photograde Online for a realistic declared value. This declared value is used as the maximum value for shipping insurance purposes if there is a claim related to the baseball card.
Depending on the declared value of your baseball card, the grading may cost you anywhere between $50 per card for the Economy Service Level (declared value of $99 or less), to $600 for the Walk-Through Service Level (declared value of $9,999 or less).
For baseball cards with a declared value of more than $10,000, PSA offers Premium Service Levels starting at $1,000 for Premium 1 (declared value of $24,999 or less), to $10,000 for Premium 10 (declared value of $250,000 or more).
Of course, you also have to account for the shipping and handling fees, which are not included in these prices. Combining the Service Level charges and shipping and handling fees, you can determine the total cost of getting your baseball card/s graded by the PSA.
Our Final Thoughts
We hope that, after reading this, you have a good idea of how to get baseball cards graded, especially from the PSA. The process is fairly similar to those of most other TPGs, and they are all fairly simple and straightforward. Of course, other trusted TPGs like Becket and SGC also provide detailed guides for you to follow.
However, the great thing about PSA grading is that it is globally recognized as the established standard for grading baseball cards. PSA is also the only TGP or authenticator whose grading and certification are valid for insurance and legal purposes. A PSA grading also opens many more doors for trading or selling your baseball card, which is always a plus.
If you want to learn more about how to get baseball cards graded or about the best baseball products, guides, and trivia, please visit our website today.