Charlie Hurlocker is the director of US Operations at Ludkins USA and a well renowned Pokémon TCG collector. We sat down to discuss some expert tips for newcomers to the grading side of the hobby.
There are a lot of people coming into the grading side of things now and looking at ways of submitting cards. Looking online, it’s easy to see the substantial value that grading services bring to a collection – Do you have advice for people getting started out with grading? Any tips?
“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.
Grading is a skill, every single major grading company is hiring instantly right now. It’s a skill that is in short supply so you have to have the humility to understand that you are probably not an expert and that’s part of why you’re paying people to grade it for you. Start with the cards you love so no matter the result you have something to be happy and excited about.”
“If you’re coming into the hobby now, wait times are very long even compared to what they were in January 2020. I would recommend that people think seriously about how long they’re willing to wait. If they’re not willing to wait a year or more with PSA bulk then they may need to look into other services. If they are willing to pay the higher price to go with the more established standard that is PSA then that’s awesome, but I don’t think the majority of Pokemon cards are worth grading at a $60+ fee.”
“I think that the hobby itself, just to be an active participant requires a longer term commitment than it ever has before, which could be good for Pokémon TCG in the long run. The longevity of grading is demanding people stay in for multiple years.”Charlie Hurlocker
Grade your cards regularly to beat the long wait times.
“If you’re going to go down the PSA bulk route, which I think the majority of PSA collectors are doing then find your budget and submit a small amount of cards every single month. That’s what I would recommend for someone just starting because as frustrating as these turnaround times are there is an upper limit. The cards are not going into the void forever, they will come back. One of the most satisfying parts of the hobby is getting those returns back. So, setting yourself up to be receiving returns on a monthly basis is going to make the wait times more palatable long term.”
There you have it, some starter tips for anyone interested in starting out with grading. You can read the first installment in the Beginner’s Guide to Grading here.
Stay tuned to hear more from Charlie by following Ludkins Media.
John-Anthony Disotto – Ludkins Media Editor