How To Grade Pokemon Cards (The Right Way)

How to grade Pokemon cards

Pokemon cards have always been a great field of interest for Pokemon fans all over the world, be it for playing the cards or investing. Pokemon cards have also become a gold mine for earning money. The value of a Pokemon card largely depends on the condition in which it is in. The aunthentic information of the condition of a Pokemon card can only be received through grading the card. Therefore, in this article, we’re going to talk about how to grade Pokemon cards.

How To Grade Pokemon Cards

Card grading is the process of evaluating the quality of your cards. First we’re going to know about the companies for grading Pokemon cards.

Companies For Grading Pokemon Cards

PSA claims to be one of the most reputable card grading companies in the world. Though the market share of PSA is more than any other grading company, there are some more famous and well known Pokemon card grading companies out there. One of those famous and respected grading company is BGS. BGS does not have that huge of a market share as PSA, but still is respected worldwide for it’s more detailed grading scale. Both the grading companies grade the Pokemon cards on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being poor and 10 being Gem/Mint. Though BGS has subgrades which helps it scrutinize the cards even more carefully.

SGC is also another card grading company which offers good service. However, SGC grades are slightly different from the previous two. SGC grades cards on a scale of 1-100. A lot of people are starting to choose SGC over the other two due to their considerably less waiting time.

Pokemon Card Grading Scale

Before you send your card to the grading services, you have to first evaluate yourself what the card condition might be. If your card gets graded lower than PSA 10 and BGS 9.5, there is a high chance of a loss while reselling your card. Again, card grading is somewhat expensive and time consuming. So, it is better to scrutinize the card first yourself.

There are 4 main parameters depending on which the card grades are provided.

  • Centering
  • Corners
  • Edges
  • Surface

If the condition of these 4 things are optimum, then you’re likely to get a good grade for your card.

The Price To Grade Cards

The price can be as little as £7.99 per card through graded Gem. But, express services cost £15.99 or £39.99 depending on how fast you want it graded.

How To Submit Pokemon Cards For Grading

For keeping your cards in optimum condition while sending them to get graded, you have to follow the following steps.

  • First, put your card in a penny sleeve.
  • For the easy pull out of the card, attach a post-it tag to the penny sleeve.
  • Then, put the sleeve in a semi rigid card holder.

The Time To Grade Cards

As we’ve learnt how to grade Pokemon cards, a question that is asked a lot is the time required for grading a card. This year the demand of Pokemon cards have been huge. So, the demand of grading Pokemon cards is a lot more than the supply. Currently, grading a card will take you 6-12 months. The wait time is usually a lot. So, try not to think about it too much.


1st Edition Pokemon Card from Shadowless And Unlimited

Pokemon cards have been highly popular after the inception of Pokemon TCG in 1999. There have been a lot variations among Pokemon cards in terms of their animation and design. This is how experienced Pokemon card collectors understand the prices of different cards. And they also understand which ones are vintage and which ones are more modern.

From the original run, there are three types of Pokemon cards. Among them, one is the 1st edition Pokemon cards which is coveted by a lot of card collectors. In this article, we’re going to talk about how to differentiate between 1st Edition Pokemon Cards from Shadowless and Unlimited. So without further ado let’s get into it.

1st Edition Pokemon Cards

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1st edition cards are the ones that were released on the first year of the inception of Pokemon TCG. These are the first run of cards for the release of those Pokemons. The general characteristic of the 1st edition cards is a neat little stamp on the bottom left of the photo of the Pokemon written first edition. These are also known as base sets. The purpose of the stamp is to separate these cards from the less popular ones. An important factor is that immediately after Pokemons inaugural 1999 release, there were some tweets made, which weren’t on any future releases. And that’s how the immergence of Shadowless and Unlimited occurred. So, these asthetic tweets are what made the 1999 cards super rare as learnt in the hobby, it typically translates to higher value.

These Charizard 1st edition Pokemon cards are sometimes even referred as the “ 1952 Mickey Mantle” of the TCG. Charizard is also termed as the king of Pokemon. 1st edition Charizards command a value of dollar twenty thousand and above. Moreover, the prices just seem to only increase. A first edition box will cost you around $50,000 and individual packs $800 a piece.

Shadowless Cards

The shadowless cards were released after the 1st edition cards. These were printed without the 1st edition stamp. These cards don’t have a drop shadow of the photo of the Pokemon just as the 1st edition ones. But, afterwards the design was changed and a few tweaks were made. Among them, one was the drop shadow. Shadowless Cards are the mirror images of the 1st edition ones except for the stamp. This is a photo of a shadowless Poliwrath next to a 1st edition.

Unlimited Cards

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The Unlimited Cards were released after the Shadowless and the 1st edition Cards. These cards do not have the base set stamps at the bottom of the Pokemon photo. Thus, they are deprived of the 1st edition status. These Unlimited cards come with shiny holographic features. These cards are, as the name suggests, less limited. And perhaps we all know that rarity and desirability of Pokemon cards go hand in hand. So, the more rare your card is, the more valuable it will be. So, sadly, as the Unlimited cards are more widely available, these are less expensive. A key differentiator of the Unlimited cards from the Shadowless and 1st edition is the drop shadow present in the Unlimited cards.