Given the long wait times and higher prices associated with larger US-based grading companies like PSA and BGS, we’ve decided to take a look at some of the fledgling alternatives like Platinum Card Grading (PCG).
Platinum Card Grading is found in the United Kingdom, and is based out of Yorkshire.
Our Platinum Card Grading review looks at everything from pricing to timescales, as well as discussing whether it’s worth sending your cards off in the first place.
Read on to find out our thoughts as we look back on our experiences with PCG in this detailed review.
Reviewing Platinum Card Grading (PCG)
We sent off 30 cards for grading so we could get a feel for PCG, with a range of stickers and sets selected for the purposes of this review. (I’ve still got a major backlog of cards to send off, but it made a bit of a dent in my pile.)
Everything from Star Wars cards to RCs and parallels were chosen, while we used a 25% off deal found on the main page. They also grade Pokémon cards, but we didn’t send any of those off this time.
Platinum Card Grading (PCG): Pricing & Current Timescales
If you’re reading this Platinum Card Grading review purely to find out about pricing, you’ll be pleased to hear that it’s one of the more affordable grading companies when all is said and done.
It’ll depend on how many cards you’re willing to send over, as well as how long you can wait. As we sent 20+, it worked out to just £8 per card, with a further 25% off.
We also have to be highly complementary about timescales, given it took just a couple of weeks for the cards to arrive neatly in the post. There will be some variance depending on how many cards they have to grade, but PCG is still one of the quickest overall.
Despite the speed and affordability, there was no impact on the overall quality of the service.
Platinum Card Grading (PCG): Grading
Platinum Card Grading (PCG) uses a simple 10-point grading scale, borrowing from some of the larger companies based in the United States.
We’ve included the grading scale for 5s and up below.
Grade 10 Platinum
Perfect condition with no damage to the card and perfect centering. Permissible to have minuscule damage that isn’t visible through the slab.
Perfect condition with the exception of very small marks. No damage to the card such as bends, dents or scratches. Only small white marks or slightly rough edges/corners are permissible. Maybe a light bend that isn’t visible in the slab or light fraying on the edges.
Centering not perfect. One side is visibly smaller or larger than the other. Edges less than perfect with minuscule marks. Very fine print lines that are almost transparent. Maybe one red ink speckle and/or a white print line. Minuscule amounts of white on the card edge.
Corners slightly factory bent. Light wax staining. Maybe two white ink speckles. Multiple red ink speckles. Light scratches on the back. Small holo defect. Minuscule amounts of white on black corners (usually on V’s).
There are visible issues starting to show, the card will not look immaculate when viewing it. Scratches on the back and light scratches on the front. If Yu-Gi-Oh cards have rounded corners. One thick print line. Very small amount of pen marks. Maybe a very small rip.
One of four very creased corners. With creasing, the highest grade a card can achieve is a six. Bending that shows up in slab. Minor dent.
Heavy wax staining on the card and multiple thick print lines. A moderate amount of pen marks (dots). Medium sized rip on the card.
Graphic cards, pen covering text, fake cards, custom made cards. If a piece of the card is missing, anything stuck to the card that covers something major. Large rip across more than half of the card.
Platinum Card Grading (PCG): Shipping & Packaging
Shipping was a breeze, and I received a confirmation email when my cards arrived. In fact, I felt a bit guilty as my shipping fee was so low (£8) compared to the amount it cost to send them back to me (£26).
I saw that they had recently updated their shipping pricing to a flat £10 fee, which is still less than half of the amount it actually costs.
The cards themselves were packed snugly, wrapped in bunches of four as seen above.
PCG also threw in a trio of plastic card stands, and they’re bigger and better than the cheap ones I use at home. (I’ve also included my smaller ones for scale.)
It’s also worth noting that they returned my toploaders, which is always a nice touch when I want to send out more cards for grading.
Platinum Card Grading (PCG): Slabs
Next up in our Platinum Card Grading review is a look at the slabs themselves.
“Our Platinum Card Grading Ltd labels are foil embossed, making it near impossible to replicate or forge.”
“We offer PCG Perfect-Fit ™ which is our unique custom made card care slabbing service. We encapsulate every trading card in a tamper-evident, sonically sealed case. The hard plastic case provides total protection. Once encased, your cards will remain secure from potential wear and tear.”
“The PCG Perfect-Fit ™ card holder features a specially-formulated plastic in an innovative design, to create a stronger bond and offer greater protection. The result is a holder that resists chips, holds up better to drops and readily reveals any tampering.”
The slabs are reasonably uniform in terms of shape and size, in line with the industry standard. You’ll have no trouble fitting them into a case or display meant for PSA graded cards.
PCG has also taken the time to upgrade the labelling, as the standard edition does look pretty basic due to the simple grey background.
The rainbow finish helps the cards to stand out, and they look great when taking pictures of the cards too.
I sent a mix of cards I’ve packed and bought over the last few years, with the breakdown as follows:
- PCG 8×1
- PCG 9×16
- PCG 10×10
However, none received a Grade 10 Platinum, which is when all four subgrades receive a 10.
Platinum Card Grading (PCG): Communication & Social Media
I sent a trio of 2010 World Cup stickers along with my order, which PCG were unable to grade due to the smaller size.
To their credit, they got back to me instantly, offering a refund, a swap for other cards, or to send three over at a later date.
I ended up getting a refund, and it was a simple process. They deserve top marks for communication.
Platinum Card Grading (PCG): Values
Values can make or break any grading service, especially if you’re aiming to sell your cards afterwards.
In this respect, PCG still has a way to go if you’re hoping to flip your cards for major profit.
It’s mostly due to being a newer service, as they were only incorporated in April 2021.
Many collectors haven’t heard of PCG yet, and there aren’t as many cards available on the likes of eBay. However, sales are beginning to pick up, especially for TCG options such as Pokémon.
Platinum Card Grading (PCG) Review: Overall
Platinum Card Grading is another emerging service which ticks many of the boxes necessary for collectors in the UK.
They’re quick and responsive, and it was a pleasure to deal with the company and receive my graded cards well within the allotted time frame.
It would be great if they could grade stickers in the future, but that’s a small flaw in the grand scheme of things.
Card values are another aspect that could be improved, but there’s no denying that PCG is one of the better options if you’re hoping to get your collection slabbed for an affordable price.
I’m going to use PCG again, and I’ll be keeping an eye on sale prices too.