Grading and authenticating your trading cards can lead to exponential growth in the value of your collection and is an easy way to protect your assets by encasing them for display or storage. When starting in collectable cards it’s easy to feel overwhelmed as you try to find a starting point – That’s where this guide comes in. Welcome to the Beginner’s Guide to Grading, 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.
In this initial iteration, we’ll be discussing why you should think about getting cards graded in the first place and the benefits of waiting on that PSA return.
If like me, you love the thrill of opening packs and your ungraded collection has blossomed, you’ll know that the thought of grading your cards feels like an insurmountable task. This is where grading services like Ludkins Collectables come into play, once you’ve selected the cards you want to grade (we’ll look into this aspect later), Ludkins Collectables deals with sending your cards away to PSA in California, protecting your cards, and making sure the process is as easy as possible.
So, why grade your cards in the first place?
There are many benefits to encompassing your precious card in a graded enclosure. From a purely physical perspective, a graded card is protected making it far simpler to maintain condition as well as being easier to display. Something is validating about holding a Gem Mint 10 card and appreciating that PSA has deemed the contents of the enclosure as near perfect as possible.
As we discussed in a previous article, the ROI% (Return on investment) of some of the rare Hidden Fates’ cards is outstanding. This overall arc can be spread to the majority of Pokémon cards. Grading a card and receiving a high grade will generally lead to an increase in value and collectability. The collectability aspect is increased by the availability of a population report of each grade and each card, creating a tangible statistic to view scarcity.
I spoke with Charlie Hurlocker, the Director of US Operations at Ludkins Collectables, about entering into the graded card market. He stated, “I think a lot of people have a misconception that graded cards are a market. Graded cards are not a market, they are a subsection of existing markets. If Modern is a market, if Vintage is a market, if Charizards are a market then there are graded cards amongst those markets and they behave within those market patterns.”
This ties into how I want to leave this article in preparation for our next one. If you think about the cards that you love, the cards that you want to collect. If these cards are worth grading because you appreciate them, then fundamentally the ROI% is not a deciding factor. I say this as someone who purchased a PSA 8 Charizard Base 04/102 at the height of Logan Paul’s impact on Pokémon TCG and have seen a loss over the last few months. That being said, thinking about what cards I want to send away to Ludkins Collectables for grading at PSA (next week’s article) I’m prioritising what I want to cherish. Given the backlog of PSA and the volatility of any market over the course of a year, sending cards away purely for economical gain could lead to disappointment.
Trading cards in general, operate within a very specific space. They can be purchased and graded based on ROI% or as an appreciation for the hobby, the artwork, and the grading process as a whole. The latter allows you to appreciate the journey, care less about wait times, and lose the stress over the value of the cards you obtain.
I’m excited to select some cards from my pile for next weeks’ article and send them away to get graded. Here’s hoping you come along for the ride.
John-Anthony Disotto – Ludkins Media Editor