How to Get Football Cards Graded: A Comprehensive Guide for Collectors

If you’re a football card collector, getting your cards graded can significantly increase their value and marketability. It’s a process that requires knowledge and precision, but don’t worry – I’m here to guide you through it.

The first step in getting your football cards graded is understanding the grading system. It’s a scale used by professional grading companies to evaluate the condition of sports cards. This rating, commonly given on a 1-10 scale, provides an objective measure of the card’s quality.

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Next up, you’ll need to choose a reputable grading company. There are several out there in the market like PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator), SGC (Sportscard Guaranty Corporation), and BGS (Beckett Grading Services). These companies differ in terms of pricing, turnaround time, and reputation within the hobby community. Your choice will largely depend on what’s most important for you: speed, price or prestige?

Understanding the Importance of Football Card Grading

Let’s dive right into why grading your football cards is so important. It’s quite simple really – grading adds value to your card collection. The higher a card is graded, the more it fetches on the market. For instance, a Tom Brady rookie card might be worth $500 ungraded but could skyrocket to $5,000 if it receives a high grade from a reputable grader.

Now, you may wonder why this massive jump in price happens with just an official seal of approval. Well, trust and authenticity are key factors here. When potential buyers see that a card has been graded by professional services like PSA or Beckett (BGS), they’re assured of its condition and authenticity. Without grading, it’s harder for buyers to trust whether they’re getting their money’s worth or not.

Moreover, football card grading also helps in preserving the cards for future generations. These tiny pieces of cardboard hold historical significance and act as time capsules back to memorable games and players’ careers. When these cards are professionally graded and encapsulated in protective cases, they remain in excellent shape for years to come.

Now let me give you some numbers which might surprise you:

Ungraded Card Price Graded Card Price
$500 $5,000

That’s ten times the initial value! And this isn’t uncommon – many collectors have seen similar increases after getting their cards graded.

So there we go! You can now see why I place such emphasis on getting your football cards appraised by professionals.

Choosing the Right Card Grading Company

I’m not going to sugarcoat it, choosing the right card grading company is a critical step in getting your football cards graded. It’s not just about handing over your precious collection to any random company. You need to put some thought into who you’re trusting with your treasures.

First off, consider the reputation of the company. Look up reviews and testimonials from other collectors. Are they satisfied with the service? Was their experience positive? These questions will guide you in making an informed decision. A few well-known companies in this field are Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), Beckett Grading Services (BGS), and Sportscard Guaranty LLC (SGC).

Next, look at turnaround times. How quickly do these companies grade cards and return them back? PSA, for example, currently has an average turnaround time of 85 days for regular submissions while BGS stands at around 60 days.

And let’s talk about costs. It’s important to find a balance between quality service and affordability when selecting a card grading company. For instance, PSA charges $20 per card for regular submissions whereas SGC offers a similar service at $15 per card.

Lastly, consider their grading standards – how strict or lenient are they? Some collectors prefer stricter standards as it potentially increases the value of their graded cards.

A quick summary of what we’ve discussed:

  • Reputation matters: Look up reviews and feedback
  • Consider turnaround times: How quickly do you want your cards back?
  • Evaluate costs: Can you afford their services?
  • Understand grading standards: Do they match what you’re looking for?

Remember, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer here. The right choice depends on your individual needs as a collector.

Preparing Your Football Cards for Grading

Getting your football cards graded can seem like a daunting task, but I’m here to assure you it’s not as complicated as it may appear. The key lies in careful preparation. Here are some steps to guide you.

First off, handle your cards with care. It’s crucial to avoid scratches or bends. Always hold the cards by their edges and try not to touch the surface. Remember, fingerprints can decrease a card’s grade.

Next up is cleaning. Don’t be tempted to use any harsh chemicals or abrasive materials on your treasured cards! Instead, opt for a soft cloth and gently wipe away any dust or debris that may have collected over time.

One of the most important aspects of preparing your football card for grading is ensuring its centering. Centering refers to how well the image on the card is positioned within its borders. A perfectly centered card could significantly increase its value!

You also need to look out for corner wear and edge quality – two other factors that graders consider when evaluating a card’s condition.

Finally, protect those gems before sending them off! Card savers are usually recommended as they offer good protection during shipping while making it easy for graders to remove the cards without causing damage.

By taking these steps, you’ll help ensure that your football cards are ready for grading and set up for success in maximizing their potential value!

Step-by-Step Process to Get Your Football Cards Graded

Getting your football cards graded can seem like a daunting task. But don’t worry, I’m here to guide you through the process in an easy-to-follow format. Let’s break it down into manageable steps.

First off, you’ll need to decide which grading company you want to use. The three most popular are PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator), BGS (Beckett Grading Services), and SGC (Sportscard Guaranty Corporation). Each has its pros and cons, but generally:

  • PSA is known for their stringent grading system and strong market values.
  • BGS offers detailed subgrades on the card’s attributes.
  • SGC grades quickly and appeals more towards vintage collectors.

Next, carefully examine your cards for any potential issues such as dents, scratches or off-centered prints. It’s crucial to understand that the higher the grade of your card, the more value it holds. So treat them with utmost respect!

Once you’ve chosen your grading service and checked over your cards, you’re ready to fill out a submission form from the company’s website. This typically requires personal information along with details about each card being submitted.

The next step? Packaging your cards securely for shipment. Use penny sleeves or card savers rather than standard top loaders – these protectors are specifically designed not to damage corners or edges during transit.

Finally, send off your package via registered mail so it can be tracked along its journey. Remember – patience is key! Depending on how busy they are, grading services can take anywhere from a few weeks up to several months to return your newly minted treasures.

So there you have it – a straightforward process that could turn those dusty old football cards into valuable collectibles!

Costs Involved in Getting Football Cards Graded

I’ve often found that when venturing into the world of sports card grading, people are usually caught off guard by the costs involved. It’s not just about purchasing the cards and getting them graded. There are several associated expenses you should be aware of.

One primary cost to consider is the grading fee itself. Different companies charge varying amounts for their services, with prices fluctuating based on factors such as turnaround time and level of service. For example, Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) charges between $20 to $250 per card, depending on these variables. Beckett Grading Services (BGS), another popular football card grading company, has a similar pricing structure ranging from around $15 to over $100.

Below is a simple table outlining some base costs for getting your football cards graded:

Grading Company Base Cost Per Card
PSA $20 – $250
BGS $15 – >$100

But let’s not forget about shipping costs too! Sending your precious cards safely can add up pretty quickly if you’re not careful. Insured mail can cost anywhere from a few dollars to upwards of thirty dollars or more depending on value and destination.

You’ll also need protective materials like card savers or semi rigid holders to keep your cards safe during transport – Another expense that adds up!

  • Card Savers: Typically around $.10 – $.25 each
  • Semi Rigid Holders: Generally about $.50 – 1.00 each

Finally, there’s insurance – an optional but recommended additional cost when sending valuable cards for grading.

All this might seem overwhelming at first glance, but understanding these costs ahead of time will make sure you’re prepared and can budget accordingly for your football card grading adventure!

Tips to Increase Your Football Card’s Grade

Having your football cards graded can be a game-changer, but it’s not always an easy task. Here are some tips to help you increase your card’s grade.

Care for your cards meticulously. They should always be kept in a dry, room-temperature environment. High humidity or fluctuating temperatures can damage the card and decrease its grade. Use protective sleeves to protect them from dust and scratches.

Pay special attention to the corners of your cards. The condition of these is often the first thing that graders notice. Make sure they’re sharp and free from any signs of wear or tear.

Keep an eye on centering too; it’s another key factor that will influence your card’s grade significantly. Centering refers to how well the image on the front of your card is placed within its borders – ideally, it should be perfectly centered with equal margins all around.

Next up is surface glossiness which shouldn’t be overlooked either. A high-gloss finish enhances the overall look and feel of a football card making it more appealing to both collectors and graders alike.

Lastly, consider getting professional cleaning services before sending your cards for grading if you think they might need some extra care.

Remember that there’s no guaranteed way to increase a football card’s grade but following these tips could give yours a better chance at scoring higher!

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Grading Football Cards

One of the biggest blunders I’ve seen rookie collectors make is not properly cleaning their football cards before grading. It’s easy to overlook, but a simple wipe down with a microfiber cloth can remove dust and fingerprints that might otherwise lower your grade. Remember, graders are looking at your card under intense magnification – every little detail counts.

Another pitfall to avoid is sending in damaged cards for grading. I’m talking about noticeable creases, tears or rounded corners. It might seem like a small imperfection to you, but these flaws can significantly impact the overall grade of your card. Trust me, it’s not worth the grading fees if your card isn’t in decent shape to begin with.

Many collectors also make the mistake of having unrealistic expectations when it comes to grading results. Just because a card looks mint condition to you doesn’t mean it will achieve a perfect score from professional graders. They’re looking for perfection – centering, corners, edges and surface quality all play into this final rating.

I’ve noticed some folks rushing through the process too quickly as well – they fail to research potential grading companies thoroughly enough before sending off their prized possessions. Not all companies are created equal; they each have different standards and strengths that could influence which one is best suited for your specific card(s).

Lastly, don’t forget about proper packaging when shipping off your cards for grading! A common error I’ve witnessed involves insufficient protection during transit leading to damaged goods upon arrival (which undoubtedly leads to lower grades). Bubble wrap and cardboard boxes should be staples in any collector’s arsenal before mailing out those valuable assets.

Avoiding these pitfalls can help ensure you get the fairest and highest possible grade for your football cards while also protecting them from unnecessary damage or depreciation.

Conclusion: Maximizing Value with a High Grade

Wrapping up, I can’t stress enough how important it is to get your football cards graded. It’s not just about protecting and preserving the card’s condition but also maximizing its value.

Think of it this way. The higher the grade, the more valuable your card becomes. Collectors value high-grade cards because they’re rare and in pristine condition. So if you’ve been sitting on a pile of football cards, it’s time to consider grading them.

But remember, not all grading companies are created equal. Some have stricter grading standards than others, which could affect your card’s final grade. Do your homework before deciding where to send off your beloved collection for grading.

Here are some key points to remember:

  • Always handle your cards with care.
  • Store them properly until you’re ready to get them graded.
  • Consider using a pre-grading service to help predict the likely grade.
  • Choose a reputable grading company that suits your needs and budget.

It may seem like a lot of work initially, but trust me—it’ll be worth it when you see that high-grade result! As I always say; in this game of collectibles, patience pays off!

So go ahead and start planning for those grades now. Your future self (and bank account) will thank you!

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