How Trading Cards Are Graded

How Trading Cards Are Graded

When it comes to soccer trading cards, enthusiasts often seek out graded cards for their collections. But what exactly does it mean for a trading card to be graded and how can you complete the process of getting your own cards graded accurately? Grading soccer trading cards follows a complex process to ensure that each card is properly evaluated based on its condition and assigned a precise grade that reflects its value. To have a trading card professionally graded not only proves authenticity, but also provides collectors with reassurance that they’re investing in a high-quality card for their collection. Let’s explore the sports card grading process so you can understand the rarity and condition of any graded card, as well as what to expect when submitting your own cards for certification.


  1. Submission

The first step of having a trading card professionally graded is, of course, submitting the card to a reputable grading company. The largest and most trusted card grading service is currently PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator), but some other options are Beckett Grading Services, and SGC (Sportscard Guarantee). The company you choose will typically ask for a submission form to be filled out, which includes information about the card and the desired grading service you wish to receive. Once the trading card is received by the company, they’ll log the submission and assign a unique card identifier to each card to track its progress.


  1. Inspection

Before the official grading process begins, trading cards will be inspected, and graders will check to make sure the card is authentic or whether it meets the minimum requirements for grading, such as significant damage or alterations. Once the trading card is confirmed to be authentic and in acceptable condition, it will move to the next step of the grading process.


  1. Grading Process

The grading process for soccer cards involves evaluating the condition of the card based on a set of criteria. The first step of this process is surface inspection. Graders carefully examine the card’s surface close-up to look for any imperfections like scratches, print defects, or marks. Then they’ll examine the edges of the card and inspect for any signs of wear or damage. The next step in the grading process is to evaluate the corners of the card to determine if they’re sharp and undamaged. Believe it or not, the condition of the corners plays a huge role in determining a card’s final grade. Lastly, the grader will look at the centering of the card, specifically the image and borders. Once the grading process is complete, the card moves onto the next stage: assigning a grade.


  1. Assigning a Grade

Finally, the card has gone through the extensive grading process and it’s time to assign a grade! Grading companies use a scale or numerical value, often ranging from 1 to 10. A grade of 10 indicates the card is in pristine condition, while lower grades signify varying degrees of wear and damage. Some companies may use half-point increments (9.5) when assigning a grade. The higher the number a card is, the more value it holds.


  1. Encapsulation

Once a trading card is assigned a grade, the card is encapsulated in a tamper-evident plastic holder that displays its grade and any relevant information for the holder. This step of the process is vital as it protects the card from damage and ensures its authenticity for future buyers.


  1. Certification

The encapsulated card is then certified by the card grading company. This certification also ensures the card’s authenticity and proves that the assigned grade was completed by a legitimate grader. Additionally, graded cards with certification are easier to trade and sell than non-graded ones, as their condition is clearly defined by a trustworthy grading company.


Overall, understanding trading card grading can provide you with better insight into the collecting business and help you make informed decisions when buying or selling a soccer trading card. Be sure to check out our huge selection of soccer trading cards at and consider getting your best pulls graded in the future!


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