UK card grading companies have their role to play for customers in and around the region, but which is best for protecting your collection and increasing their value?
We’ve put together a guide looking at some of the more popular UK-based card grading companies, aiming to get to the bottom of questions like which is best in terms of value for money, or for selling cards at a later date.
We’ve looked at four top UK card grading services, who we’ve sent collectibles off to in the past. Here’s a quick rundown with key info about each one.
- GetGraded – ‘A strong choice for sports cards and others, with sub-grades available’ (Full Review)
- Majesty Grading Company – ‘One of the top picks for a range of different sports and TCGs’ (Full Review)
- Ace Grading – ‘Pokemon card/TCG specialist’ (Full Review)
- Platinum Card Grading (PCG) – ‘Affordable, professional service’ (Full Review)
We’ll be comparing the four UK card grading companies, as well as discussing US-based options below.
UK Card Grading Companies: Cost per Card
The cost per card is always worth considering before selecting a grading company.
For example, I have a large collection of raw cards in the £20-£50 range that’ll probably be worth more in the long term if they remain in good condition.
Does it make sense to send them off for grading in the first place? Let’s check out the current prices.
GetGraded has a range of offers which make it one of the cheapest services overall. At £7.50 per card for bulk orders, that’s a lot of slabs for your money. They also offer subgrades at no extra charge, so you’ll know exactly why it earned the final mark. Here are a trio of current deals.
Majesty Grading had a trio of plans which differ depending on the time you’re willing to wait. They also offer discounts if you send off more cards for grading. In terms of pricing per card, it does work out to be more expensive than the others, but their cards sell for slightly higher prices so it balances out to an extent.
Ace Grading has a range of different plans depending on the wait time to get the cards back. Pricing also varies depending on the label, along with a few optional extras.
Turnaround times range from 40 business days, to two business days.
Platinum Card Grading has a number of plans to choose from, depending on the number of cards, the wait time, or the label. We’ve included a table below.
UK card graders are cheaper than their US equivalents in terms of cost per card. They’ll also get the cards back to you a lot quicker.
Those are often the main selling points, while the number of options ensures that prices remain competitive.
UK Card Grading Companies: Best Prices
Values are important when all is said and done. Which UK card grading service gets the best prices on sites like eBay?
With a smaller market, UK card sellers often use auction sites, or social media to shift cards from their collection. Judging by recent sales, I’d be more confident handing my cards over to the likes of MCG or Ace Grading for the highest prices.
Consider that some collectors prefer raw cards, and others will only look at PSA graded versions.
The various grading companies have different markets, and the number of buyers may vary.
- Check prices of MCG 10 cards on eBay
- Check prices of Get Graded 10 cards on eBay
- Check prices of Ace Grading 10 cards on eBay
- Check prices of PCG 10 cards on eBay
UK Card Grading Companies: Best Reputation
Reputation means a lot, especially as many collectors buy the slab, rather than the card.
(In other words, they’re willing to spend a lot more for a 10 grade, rather than a raw card – even if they’re in similar condition at first glance.)
The UK companies are always going to struggle to contend with some of the biggest names in the business, even if they have taken steps in the right direction so far.
After all, the likes of PSA and BGS have built up their rep over decades, ensuring a consistent level of quality that makes them the optimal choice overall. That’s difficult to replace, and there’s no way to speedrun it to completion.
UK Card Grading Companies: Best for Grading Sports Cards
Where would we send our sports cards for grading in the UK?
GetGraded is a decent option, especially if you want sub grades to explain exactly how and why they arrived at the final score. Majesty Grading is also viable, especially as they’re willing to grade patches and thicker cards.
Both companies have seen decent sale prices for rarer collectibles.
UK Card Grading Companies: Best for Grading Pokemon Cards
Which UK grading company would we pick for Pokemon cards?
Ace Grading is a specialist service with a lot to offer, and we’ve found that their slabs are fairly easy to sell. When we got a Charizard from a 2021 Celebrations Elite Trainer Box, we were tempted to go with PSA, but we figured it would be easier to send it to Ace.
The others will also grade Pokemon cards, and might be worth it depending on your personal preferences. The best Pokémon cards will always sell easily enough.
UK Card Grading Companies: Best Slabs
Many newer grading companies aim to emulate the slab designs seen with companies like PSA, BGS, and SGC. I like the look of MGC 10 slabs, using a Gold finish for the logo rather than the blue seen with the normal version.
Once again, take a look at what they have on offer. Would you prefer a custom label? They all aim to offer something different, even if there’s a uniformity in terms of the slab design.
What is the Best Card Grading Company in the UK?
First and foremost, it’ll depend on what you’re planning to send off for grading. There’s no point in settling for something inferior, even if the wait times seen with the bigger names in the United States are crazy.
(I saw PSA offering grading at $18 per card for members which sounds like a great deal. Unfortunately, the wait time is up to 150 days. That’s nearly half a year.)
There are multiple UK grading services to choose from, and the best option is likely to be a matter of personal preference. Which cards would you like to collect, if any?
You can always send them off to be reslabbed at a later date, and the UK companies are fairly stringent in terms of the grades they dish out. Ideally, they’ll be equivalent to PSA graded copies.
Are UK Card Grading Services Worth It?
Are UK card grading companies worth it? It’s tough to say, but wait times are far lower, and prices are likely to be cheaper. If you’re aiming for a quick sale, it does make sense to stick with a local company.
After all, PSA wait times at the lower end can be anywhere from three to five months, which can see prices changing drastically while you’re waiting for your cards to be returned.
You’ll have to spend a lot of money to get your cards back anytime soon. You’ll also have to ship your cards all the way to the U.S. and back safely.
Of course, it’s probably worth the wait for many collectors. You’re going to see better returns if you’re planning to move them on quickly.
None of the UK card grading services have been around for long, and it’s going to take time to build trust within the community. You’re going to see lower prices when it comes time to sell, so take a look at comps and check the differences in values.
If you just want to keep your cards safe, there are sleeves, toploaders, and various cheaper cases that will do the job effectively.
We think that the UK grading companies do provide a good service, offering a cut-price option for collectors in Europe.
UK Card Grading: Sending Cards to the United States
Sending cards to the U.S. to be graded is also a great idea, depending on how much you’re willing to spend, and the time you’re willing to wait. If you want to find out more about card grading by PSA, BGS, and SGC, we have a guide for the trio of popular services.
PSA is a great choice if you have a serious collection, or you’re aiming to make the most money when it comes time to sell. Normal services have now resumed, which is great news for owners of cards in the $50-$500 range. With a long list of grading options to choose from, it’s hard to find many faults with PSA. As a rule of thumb, PSA is always going to have the best final sale prices. Their cheaper deals work out to $18 per card.
Beckett is another capable grading company, offering many of the perks of PSA along with a few improvements. BGS 10 cards are also few and far between, making them just as viable as their PSA equivalents. You can’t go wrong with buying BGS cards, but we’d advise to wait for cheaper tiers if you’re planning to send off a large stack of the latest RCs.
SGC grading is third overall in my estimations, but only just. They’ve continued to improve while BGS and PSA have lagged behind, and offer one of the easiest methods to get cards graded quickly and cheaply. Some of their sports cards sales have been record breaking, such as a T206 Honus Wagner card which sold for $6,606,000 in 2021.
UK Card Grading: Final Thoughts
We think that it’s best to find a service you like, and stick with it. There are multiple options in the UK and the U.S., and that’s without accounting for the various grading services found in Europe.
Consider how long you’re willing to wait, and check to see if any of the services have any deals on offer. What’s best for your current situation, and what will you be happiest with when all is said and done?
Personally, I have a stack of 150+ cards that are waiting to be sent off for grading, including rare autos and numbered parallels. (I collected Lionel Messi/Cristiano Ronaldo cards and stickers for a while, and have lots that I’ve been meaning to have slabbed.)
Then there are the cheaper options, which would still sell easily. If it’s just for my personal collection, I’ll probably take advantage of a deal with one of the UK companies. For the best options, I’ll send them off to PSA.
Of course, these aren’t the only UK-based options to choose from, and we have a fat stack of cards ready to be sent off to any new services on the market.