Before we begin with this week’s instalment of the Beginner’s Guide To Grading your TCG cards. Make sure you’ve read part one here.
Welcome to the Beginner’s Guide to Grading TCG, a weekly series where we take you through the ins and outs of finding a card to grade and getting a PSA grade. There are loads of resources on the internet, so here’s your one-stop-shop.
Last week we went over why you should think about grading your TCG cards in the first place. Now that we’ve gone over the benefits and you’ve decided that you want to prepare some cards to send away to PSA via Ludkins Collectables it’s time to select which cards to send away.
Remember, I’m coming along on this journey with you so every single card mentioned in this article will be one that I currently own and I’m thinking about grading.
A disclaimer before we begin: Next week we will look into the condition of cards before sending them away for grading, this article is purely taking into account how to determine what cards are worth your time investment. All prices should be checked on eBay’s recently sold listings to determine the value of the raw card you have in front of you.
We’re going to break down potential cards to send away into three categories:
Grading TCG: Cards You Cherish
We all have Pokémon cards in our collection that mean way more than money. Whether that’s a card you were gifted as a child or a newer card you’ve purchased that reminds you of the past. These are the cards that you want to grade purely for your benefit, regardless of the grade. I will emphasise here if you have a card in a, particularly played condition that you love there are alternatives to grading such as Ultra Pro One Touch (You do not need to grade a card to have it on display).
As I look through my collection of cards, a great example of a card that I cherish is my 1st edition Cyndaquil from Neo Genesis. This card is in relatively good condition but would likely come back as a PSA 7 or 8. Growing up, Pokémon Gold was by far my favourite game, I have many special memories linked to Neo card sets and the Gen 2 starters. That being said a lot of my cherished ungraded cards fall into the next category. If you find the balance between cherished cards and valuable cards then you’ve found the grading sweet spot.
Grading TCG: Valuable Cards
There’s an immensely diverse pricing structure in Pokémon TCG. Cards worth £2-£5 ungraded up to cards worth thousands without a PSA case. This category presumes the cards are worth at least £20 ungraded and over £200 in a PSA 10. The majority of cards I will be sending away for this guide merge into both valuable and cherished categories. Looking through the last 5/6 months of packs I can whittle down the cards worth grading quite substantially by thinking about what I want to hold onto in my collection. Currently, the wait time at PSA is substantially delayed due to COVID-19, that’s why any card of value that I can’t envisage showcasing in my collection is sold raw rather than graded.
The cards I have to grade that fall into this valuable and cherished category are as followed (we’ll look into condition more in depth in the next part):
Grading TCG: For Profit Only
The third category would be cards that fall into a “for-profit only” bracket. These cards are similar to the cards mentioned above yet have no personal connection or place in your collection – These are the cards that you’re not a particular fan of but are of very high value. As Charlie Hurlocker (Director US Operations at Ludkins Collectables) mentioned in a previous article “My biggest thing is to emphasise that when you’re starting you should only grade the cards you love. You are going to find cards that you thought were in better condition than the professional authenticators, it takes a lot of time to refine an estimate of the grade you’re going to receive.” – If this is your first time grading focus your card selection from the previous two categories as a starting point.
In short, when selecting your cards for your first experience in grading there are many factors to take into account. Everyone is different, but if you invest your time into grading the cards you love from the start then this will give you the momentum to keep going with more cards further down the line. In theory, you could send away a Full Art Trainer card because it has significant value as a PSA 10 only to be disappointed when it returns as a PSA 8 because you don’t like Full Art Trainer cards – These experiences are better off avoided at the start so you can begin your relationship with grading on the right foot.
John-Anthony Disotto – Ludkins Media Editor