After the introduction of Pokemon trading card games (TCG) in 1996, Pokemon fans from all around the world have wanted to get their hands on these intricately designed, hugely popular cards no matter what. While being an amazing sport, Pokemon cards are also a gold mine for investment opportunities. And as we all know, for getting a good deal on your cards, grading them is a must. Therefore, in this article, we’re going to talk about the top grading companies to grade and authenticate your Pokemon cards. So, let’s get right into it.
The Top Grading Companies For Pokemon Cards
PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator)
PSA is seen as the largest and most reliable card grading company in the world. Not only Pokemon cards, but PSA also grades sports cards and other collectible cards. PSA grades the cards on a scale of 1-10. 10 being pristine and 1 being poor. While grading Pokemon cards, the value and authenticity of your card will depend on the concerned grading company. So, most of the card collectors find themselves returning to PSA for their grades.
PSA has 4 submission types as to how you want to grade your cards.
As you expected, this is pretty self-explanatory. PSA authenticates and grades raw cards using their 10 point scale.
PSA accepts the cards that have been previously graded by any other company for a crossover into a PSA holder for a more thorough authentication.
If you are not satisfied with the PSA grading of your card and think your card is worthy of a higher category, you can get them reviewed again by PSA.
If you’ve graded your cards earlier from PSA and you want to encapsulate them using PSA’s most current holder, you can do so through the reholder method.
BGS (Beckett Grading Services)
Next up in our list of the top grading companies for Pokemon cards is BGS. In the business from 1999, BGS considers itself the most respected grading company after PSA.
Again, similar to PSA, BGS also grades their cards on a scale of 1-10. However, BGS grades their cards on 4 subcategories:
The most heavily weighted in determining the overall grade of the card among the four categories is the lowest-ranked one. For example,
A card has: Centering=9.5 corners=9.5 edges=9 surface=8
Then, the final grade will be an 8.5. Though the surface grading was 8 which was the lowest and most obvious defect, the higher grades on centering and corners were strong enough to reach the extra 0.5 marks. After that, the cards are encapsulated through “slabs”. BGS has been operating this way since 1999.
SGC (Sports Guaranty Corporation)
SGC started its operation on grading cards in 1998 after the ’98 home run chase when people started watching baseball again. Hileman, the director of grading, estimates that SGC grades 10,000 cards per month. Both, PSA and SGC use similar procedures in grading cards. However, PSA has 13 full-time card graders, SGC has four. While SGC’s grading procedures are similar to PSA’s, SGC has a slightly different approach to grades starting from 10-100. For example, a Gem Mint 10 for PSA, is a 98 grade for SGC. A PSA 9 is equivalent to an SGC 96. Again, an 8.5 by PSA is a 92 rating for SGC.
All in all, SGC’s reputation definitely puts it on our list for the top grading companies for Pokemon cards.
Though all the card grading companies are quite similar, the major differentiating factor is the huge difference in resale value. The value of an SGC card is very low compared to a BGS card and even lower than a PSA card. For reference, we can compare the prices of the base set Charizard on eBay.
Beckett 10 (2017) – $55,000 PSA 10 (May, 2020)- $74,990
There are other grading companies like GMA, which are semi reputable and grade your cards at an incredibly cheaper rate of $3 a regular card and $4 for thicker cards. The average cost to grade is $10-$20 plus shipping. But the credibility of your card grades lessens drastically. Therefore, at the end of the day, it is your choice where you want to grade your cards. We really hope you found our list of the top grading companies for Pokemon cards helpful. We can not finish this article without saying, you have to catch ’em all.