How to Grade Your Pokemon Cards in 2023

grading Pokémon cards
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Welcome to our comprehensive guide on grading Pokémon cards in 2023. Grading your Pokémon cards is an essential step for collectors and enthusiasts, allowing for a thorough evaluation of their condition, authenticity, and potential market value. In this extensive guide, we will provide valuable insights and practical advice to help you navigate the grading process effectively. From understanding the significance of grading to selecting a reputable grading service, following step-by-step submission instructions, considering grading factors, and maximizing your card’s potential, we will cover all aspects of Pokemon card grading that you need to know.

The Importance of Grading Pokémon Cards 

Grading Pokémon cards holds significant value in the collecting community. It provides an objective assessment of a card’s condition, ensuring transparency and credibility in the marketplace. Graded cards offer collectors the assurance of authenticity and accurate grading standards, increasing buyer confidence and potential market value.

As such, higher grades and rarer cards tend to sell for more money. It makes sense to get valuable cards graded if you can. However, there’s no point in sending over random base cards, or anything worth less than the cost of grading. 

Selecting a Reputable Grading Service

Choosing a reputable grading service is crucial for obtaining accurate and reliable grading results. Factors such as the grading company’s reputation, experience, range of services, pricing structure, and authentication processes should be considered when making a selection. 

Read More: PSA vs BGS vs SGC: Who to use in 2023

Step-by-Step Submission Instructions 

We will provide a detailed step-by-step guide for submitting your Pokémon cards for grading. This will cover preparing your cards, packaging them securely, completing submission forms accurately, and understanding the specific requirements of the grading service.

  1. To begin, you’ll need to select a grading service. You might want to go with PSA, or a cheaper local option. Many offer different tiers depending on how long you’re willing to wait. 
  2. Each will have a slightly different submission process. However, this usually involves filling out a form, which may have to be printed and posted along with the cards. 
  3. You may have to pay at this point. PSA asks for payment after grading is complete. 
  4. As you’ll be shipping your cards off, put them in a penny sleeve and a toploader. Package them securely, especially if you’re sending them overseas. I’d advise adding bubble wrap to be sure everything is secure. 
  5. Having boxed your cards up, add your information and the submission form if necessary. 
  6. Head to the Post Office, or use a courier service. 
  7. Most grading companies will have an online portal where you can check on the status of your graded Pokemon cards. 
  8. Wait for the parcel to be shipped back. 

Factors Considered During Grading 

Understanding the factors considered during the grading process is essential. This includes examining centering, surface condition, edges, corners, print quality, and potential alterations. Knowing these grading criteria will help you assess your cards accurately. Grading criteria tends to be as follows:


How does the card’s image align, with respect to its four edges? Ideally, a card is centered from top to bottom and left to right. When centering is discussed, graders use percentages to describe how a card’s main design is oriented. 


With rounded corners, sharp corners, soft corners and so on, there are many terms to describe the condition of corners, another crucial factor in determining trading card condition. A card can display great centering, but flawed corners can mean a big hit to a card’s grade. 


The four edges of a card also play an important role in its grade. Are the edges rough and worn? Do they show dings, dents or other forms of damage? Are the edges black? Colored edges of any sort are notorious for showing wear and incurring chips, especially black edges. 


From scratches to creases, “surface” refers to the condition of the cardboard that comprises the card. Some surfaces, like the reflective surfaces of Pokémon cards or certain modern sports cards like Bowman Chrome, are more apt to incur scratches. Vintage cards, meanwhile, are susceptible to condition issues such as the wearing of the gloss from the front of the cards. Creases can either be very light and touch just one surface of the card or much deeper and affect both surfaces.

Tips for Maximizing Your Card’s Potential

To ensure your Pokémon cards retain their value and remain in optimal condition, it is essential to implement proper storage techniques, careful handling practices, and preservation methods. By following these practical tips, you can maximize the potential of your Pokémon cards:

  1. Storage Techniques: Store your Pokémon cards in a cool, dry, and clean environment. Utilize card sleeves, binders, or protective pages to prevent scratches, dirt, and moisture damage. Consider using archival-quality materials to minimize the risk of long-term deterioration.
  2. Careful Handling Practices: Handle your cards with clean hands to prevent transferring oils or dirt onto the surfaces. Avoid excessive bending, folding, or applying pressure to the cards. When shuffling or examining your collection, do so gently and with care to avoid potential damage.
  3. Preservation Methods: Consider using top loaders or card cases for added protection, especially for valuable or sentimental cards. These rigid holders provide an extra layer of defense against accidental bending or creasing. Additionally, you may want to consider investing in acid-free storage boxes or portfolios to organize and safeguard your collection.
  4. Avoid Extreme Conditions: Protect your Pokémon cards from extreme temperature and humidity fluctuations. Exposure to excessive heat or moisture can cause warping, fading, or other forms of damage. Avoid storing cards in basements, attics, or areas prone to high levels of moisture or temperature extremes.
  5. Regular Inspection and Maintenance: Periodically inspect your Pokémon cards for any signs of damage, wear, or discoloration. If you notice any issues, take appropriate measures to address them promptly. Consider re-sleeving cards if the sleeves show signs of wear or become cloudy.

By implementing these practical tips, you can preserve the condition and maximize the potential of your Pokémon cards. Consistent care and attention to storage and handling practices will ensure your collection remains in excellent shape for years to come.

The Impact of Grading on Card Value and Market Trends

Grading significantly affects the value and market trends of Pokémon cards. Graded cards often command higher prices due to their authenticated condition and increased buyer confidence. We will explore current market trends and the growing demand for graded cards in 2023.

Grading plays a pivotal role in determining the value and market trends of Pokémon cards. Graded cards often command higher prices compared to ungraded counterparts due to their authenticated condition and the increased buyer confidence they inspire. Here, we will explore the current market trends and the growing demand for graded cards in 2023.

  1. Increased Value: Grading provides an objective assessment of a card’s condition, authenticity, and overall quality. The encapsulation of graded cards preserves their condition and protects them from potential damage, contributing to their long-term value. As collectors and investors seek assurance in their purchases, graded cards become highly desirable, leading to increased market demand and higher prices.
  2. Market Confidence: Grading offers a standardized evaluation system that instills confidence in the marketplace. Graded cards provide buyers with a reliable grading scale, ensuring consistency and transparency in the condition of the cards. This increased buyer confidence leads to more robust market activity and a willingness to pay a premium for graded cards.
  3. Growing Demand: In recent years, the demand for graded Pokémon cards has been on the rise. Collectors and investors recognize the added value and security that grading provides. As the popularity of Pokémon card collecting continues to soar, the market for graded cards expands accordingly. The surge in demand for graded cards in 2023 is driven by collectors’ desire for authenticity, quality assurance, and potential future value appreciation.

By understanding the impact of grading on card value and market trends, collectors can make informed decisions about grading their Pokémon cards. Graded cards not only offer enhanced protection and authenticity but also hold greater appeal to buyers in the evolving world of Pokémon card collecting.

Check prices of PSA 10 Pokemon cards on eBay


By mastering the art of grading Pokémon cards in 2023, you can enhance the value and desirability of your collection. Grading ensures transparency, authenticity, and credibility within the marketplace. From understanding the importance of grading to selecting a reputable service, following submission instructions, considering grading factors, and maximizing your card’s potential, this guide equips you with the knowledge to navigate the grading process successfully. Embrace grading as a means to protect and showcase the quality of your Pokémon cards, enhancing their appeal in the dynamic world of card collecting.

Published by James Milin-Ashmore

Journalism gradate, freelance writer. Sports, tech, online security, collectibles.

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