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Best Grader For Pokemon Cards

Current Cgc Wait Times

Revealing My BEST Graded Pokemon Cards of ALL TIME

Wait times will differ depending on which grading tier you choose. I Can Wait has no set deadline.

According to CGC, the Need Them Now service will take approximately three to five business days. They admit that this is an estimate, but they say that customers should not expect to wait far past the five business day mark. At least to see that their orders have been marked shipped and are on their way back to them.

How To Grade The Edges

Edges need to be sharp and have solid color. There shouldnt be any flaking, whitening, dents, dings or un-even color. If there is 1 minor error you should still consider getting the card graded.

When inspecting the edges, use lots of light and consider using a magnifying lamp. A jewelers loupe works great as well. Inspecting the edges with the naked eye is done by seasoned Pokemon collectors because they know what to look for.

Whos The Best Pokemon Grading Company In The Uk

In a rush? Find out who my #1 recommend UK grading company is here!

Its important to remember, that if youre purely looking to protect your cards, grading and encapsulating them in plastic will do the job, no matter who you do it with.

If youre looking to simply display them, I recommend going with the company that has the slabs and labels that appeal to you most. Its totally personal preference!

But if youre looking to add value to them, like I am, then this calls for greater detail and transparency in the grading process

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Why Do You Want It Graded

One of the first things you should ask yourself is why you want to grade the card. Sometimes, you dont really need to grade the card even if grading it could see an increase in the cards monetary value.

If you never intend on selling the card, then grading it likely wouldnt do anything more than give you bragging rights. Dont care about increasing the cards value or gaining any bragging rights? Then theres no reason to grade the card in the first place!

How Are Pokmon Trading Cards Graded


Grading refers to the practice of submitting a trading card to a professional authentication company who will inspect the cards authenticity, condition and rarity before assigning it a rank.

One of the most well-known and respected organisations around the world is Professional Sports Authenticator , who can grade anything from trading cards to autographs and sports memorabilia.

Grading Pokémon cards from the official Trading Card Game can take some time, but once verified, your cards will be encapsulated and marked with its official grading before its sent back to you.

You can still buy and sell ungraded or raw cards, however, youre better protected from fakes or scammers by choosing to collect graded cards. The value of a card also tends to go up once its certified by an official grader.

So, how do graders value your Pokémon cards? Well, you can read a little about the process below.

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Why Are Graded Cards Worth So Much More

Collectors regularly ask if grading increases the value of a card. Often, it does. The cards grade refers to the condition and quality of a card. Cards that have not been graded will generally fetch less money on the marketsince the condition has not been determined by an unbiased third-party authenticator. Higher grades warrant premium prices, but even middle-road grades are often worth receiving too, as you will see in multiple cases below.

Psa Vs Bgs Vs Sgc Turnaround Times And Pricing

If youre looking to grade with any of these three companies, heres the price you can expect to pay and the turnaround times. All of these are updated as of August 2022.

  • Walk-through: 3 days, $600/card
  • Super Express: 7 days, $300/card
  • Express: 14 days, $150/card
  • Regular: 15-30 days, $100/card
  • Economy: 45-90 days, $50/card
  • Value: 90-120 days, $30/card

Note on turnaround time: PSAs turnaround times were incredibly backlogged. 90-120 turnaround times were taking over a year during the pandemic backlog, but the times are getting a bit better and, according to many collectors, now falling within the stated turnaround times .

  • < $1,500: $30 for 20-25 days $125 for 1-2 days
  • < $3,500: $85 for 20-25 days $125 for 1-2 days
  • < $7,500: $250 for 1-2 days
  • < $20,000: $500 for 1-2 days
  • < $50,000: $1,000 for 1-2 days
  • < $100,000: $2,000 for 1-2 days
  • > $100,000: $3,750 for 1-2 days

Note: SGCs turnaround times have the least amount of backlog complaints of any of the big three grading companies. They are pretty timely in returns.

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Items You May Need Before You Submit Cards For Grading

Fortunately, there are only a few items you may need before you submit your cards for grading, including:

  • Penny sleeves: these are flimsy, thin plastic sleeves that serve as the first line of defense against scratches, finger prints, and any other source of surface damage. I always buy Ultra Pro and have been happy with their products thus far.
  • Semi-rigid card holder: these card holders provide a second layer of protection for your cards. Two layers is not overkill, its standard industry practice for trading cards. Card Saver is likely the most well-known brand, and the brand I buy to store and send my cards.
  • Painters tape: I use painters tape to secure a more rigid form of protection, such as pieces of cardboard, around the plastic sleeves my cards are in. I like painters tape because I can easily rip into pieces with my hands and remove the tape easily from surfaces.
  • Bubble wrap : Bubble wrap can serve as an added layer of protection to wrap your card holders in. I absolutely recommend the added layer of protection, but bubble wrap is only one approach. I use cardboard boxes and packing paper, but bubble wrap also works.

The most important part is ensuring that your cards are protected during shipping. Ive sent many cards using a combination of penny sleeves, semi-rigid card holders, painters tape, cardboard box pieces, and packing paper and have never had an issue with cards getting damaged.

Psa Photo Examples Below

Which Pokemon Grading Company is the Best Value?

I did my best to adjust the settings of the photo examples below. This should allow you to see the minor details in the flaws and discrepancies of the card like scratching, whitening, creased corners and so on.

Hopefully this article will give you a comprehensive understanding on what PSA looks for when they are grading Pokémon cards.

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Best Pokemon Card Grading Service

More and more collectors are sending their cards to get graded by different companies. Its important to pick a trustworthy grading service so a potential buyer knows that the card is truly authenticated and graded. Here, well compare some of the top grading services for Pokemon cards. This information will help you when choosing which grading service is better. Each of these services have their pros and cons but which grading service is best for Pokemon cards?

Are You Looking To Grade Your Pokmon Cards

Unlike other grading companies around the world, we dedicate our time purely to the trading card game of Pokemon. We also encapsulate your card in a beautifully frosted slab with an aesthetically pleasing hot foil shining label. We guarantee youll love the results. Thats why were a 5 STAR Google rated business.

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Pokemon Card Grading Scale

There are four key factors that effect the grade of your Pokemon cards:

1. Centering

This refers to how well centered the artwork on the card is. Grading services tend to be stricter with centering on the front of the card, compared to the back. They will also work off certain centering ratios to determine the grade of the card.

2. Corners

This refers to the condition of the corners. Anything like whitening, nicks, or unsymmetrical cutting can affect the grade of a card.

3. Edges

This refers to the condition of the edges of the card. Again, whitening, nicks and edgewear can affect the grade.

4. Surface

This refers to the condition of the surface of the card. Scratches, nicks print lines and even holographic bleed can affect the grade.

Beckett Grading Pokmon Cards

Misdreavus Neo Japanese Graded Pokemon Card

The last company that well look at in detail is Beckett Grading Service . Since 2001, BGS has been grading cards, comics, and VHS tapes! They deal with a lot of vintage cards, including Pokémon cards, and actually started by publishing a Sport Americana Baseball Card Price Guidebook in 1979.

They offer the same authenticating and grading services that PSA and CGC provide, with the sub-grading upgrade option too.

With Beckett, your cards go through this process:

  • Authenticating the card, checking for signs of tampering, forgeries, etc.
  • Grade on a 10-point scale, with the option for sub-grading .
  • Seal in a protective plastic case.
  • Card details printed on the front.
  • Identifying numbers, barcodes and QR codes for the certification too.

One feature thats pretty unique to Beckett is their Vault and Collect service. These online services allow you to manage and track your card values digitally from your smartphone. With the rise of NFTs, its not surprising that some card grading companies are edging into the virtual collectibles industry.

Beckett pricing starts at $25 for a card without sub-grading, all the way up to $200 for a single card with very fast turn-around times. At the time of writing this article, the fastest turn-around time is 2 to 7 business days, but this changes regularly. Check the Beckett card grading page for more details.

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I Want To Sell My Pokmon Cards Now:

With Pokémon cards, collectability is what drives the value of cards- the rarer, the more valuable. Brand new cards will sometimes have a hype premium that inflates their price initially. Generally, this price settles over time. Eventually, when the card goes out of print, the value will begin its slow climb up. If history teaches us anything about the oldest cards in the Pokémon Card collecting hobby it’s that their value only goes one direction up. If youre holding on to some base set first edition or shadowless cards you probably want to get them graded now, no matter what their condition is. If you are looking to have some cards that are newer graded for safe keeping, doing so sooner will almost certainly save you money and the hassle of protecting those cards in other ways. The cost of grading cards has gone up substantially in the last five years and there is no indication that it will go down any time soon. If you have a card that is rare and valuable now, there is a good chance it will be worth more later. Keep in mind that not all grading companies are the same. Some specialize in TCGs like Pokémon and others are sports card centric. Just because a company is less expensive does not mean you are getting a good deal. Make sure the company has a thorough authentication process and a return time that is acceptable to you.

Does It Have Any Printing Errors Or Unique Markings

Interestingly, cards that have printing errors or were used as demo cards can also be worth a lot of money. A famous example is the Backless Blastoise card, the third-most expensive Pokémon card ever sold. The reason it fetched such a high price at auction was because it looks like your regular holo on the front, but its back is completely blank.

According to Heritage Auctions, the Backless Blastoise card was created by Wizards of the Coast, who used to be the original creators of the TCG. The Blastoise card was intended as a presentation piece when the publishers attempted to persuade Nintendo execs to produce trading cards back in 1999. This card was never meant to be sold, but would you look at it now.

As it stands, the Backless Blastoise was one of two presentation cards that were ever produced. While the other has changed hands around the world many times, its other halfs location is complete and utter mystery.

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How Long Does Pokemon Card Grading Take

This past year has seen unprecedented demand for Pokemon card grading services. As such wait times have never been longer.

Expect to wait over a year for the likes of PSA and Beckett. Id expect CGC to be multiple months. But of course, these new grading companies can do it in a matter of weeks or even days.

Personally I believe the best view to take is that you are encapsulating an investment piece for the future. Try not to worry too much about the wait times

The Pros Of Collectors Getting Their Pokmon Cards Graded

CGC vs PSA Which is Best for Grading Pokémon Cards?

Collectors who want to buy & sell collectable TCG Pokémon cards for a profit will in most cases need to get them graded. The difference between a graded and an ungraded Pokémon card is substantial. For example, the highly sought-after Alternate Art Rayquaza card from 2021’s Evolving Skies expansion can be bought for $130 without being graded, while the same exact card has sold for as high as $500 after being graded a 10 by PSA.

Fans who get their Pokémon cards graded can increase their collectible value in most cases by a lot. Another benefit of grading is protection, as most companies will send the Pokémon card back in a sealed slab of plastic. While fans can store their cards in binders or penny sleeves, grading slabs are generally the safest way to secure cards from taking damage. Many collectors will send even their worthless TCG Pokémon cards into grading services, just to get their favorite cards secured in the tough slabs.

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A major issue plaguing the Pokémon TCG in 2022 is counterfeit collectibles. Scammers have come a long way since the 90s, and are now able to create fake Pokémon cards that are almost indistinguishable from the real thing. Fans worried about whether their cards are fake or not, can have peace of mind as grading companies also authenticate card collectibles during the rating process. This means collectors can buy and sell their Pokémon cards knowing that they are guaranteed to be real.

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Who Is The Best Pokemon Grading Company In The Uk

Ive spent a considerable amount of time and money grading cards with as many of the new UK grading companies as I could.

I wanted to get a feel for:

  • Customer Service How good their communication was, and their ability to solve customer problems
  • Grading consistency How accurately they kept to their own grading standards
  • Grading Transparency Why a card got the Grade it did
  • Slab and label design How much thought has gone into the design process
  • Turnaround times Did they stick to the times they advertised
  • Resale Values Despite being new to the market, do they have the potential to add value to your cards

After much deliberation, my number one recommended UK Pokemon card grading company is

*Drumroll please*

Tree Frog Grading

and these are the reasons

  • They give subgrades and even a grading report this means there is full transparency as to why a card got the grade it did
  • They have two tiers of their 10 grade an ALPHA 10 is the equivalent of Becketts Black Label cards or CGCs Pristine 10s. These so-called perfect cards add an extra layer of rarity, thus increasing their potential value
  • Their slab designs are understated, yet classy its all about the card, not the slab, and I feel that other grading companies have failed to realise this
  • Communication was good and turnaround times were met thats all you can ask for really!
  • Im sending my cards to Tree Frog Grading, and I think fellow collectors would be happy with the results should they do the same

    Top Tips In This Article

    Scott Pratte, our expert card trader and collector, provided lots of tips to make money selling Pokemon cards. Here is his best advice:

    • First edition or New Edition? All kidding aside, we know that you know New Edition is a boy band from the 70s and 80s. Still, you need to know what you have in that box of Pokemon cards. In other words, which are the rare cards and which are not. Do you have one of the original holographic cards? Cha-ching.
    • Whats the condition of your cards? If theyve been under the bed in a box so light didnt fade them or the dog didnt get to them, you may be in good shape. Never taken out of the wrapper? More cha-ching. That is whats called mint. All cards in good condition are likely worth more than what you paid for them.
    • The best place to sell Pokemon cards? Its eBay all the way. It would be great to sell one card for oodles of money and eBay has facilitated some of that. But if you want a big audience and buyers willing to shell out $30 a pop for your cards, you can rack up sales.
    • Think youve got something valuable? Consult the Professional Sports Authenticator and get an estimate. This will put you in a good position to haggle with a buyer, which you should expect to do.

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    Psa Vs Bgs Vs Sgc Comparing The Value Of The Three Best Card Grading Services

    Its impossible to say which grading company you should grade with based on submission prices alone. Instead, we must also calculate the effect that a grade has on the resale price.

    To do this, the easiest way to use a card with a very high graded population, the Luka Doncic base Prizm rookie. Lets look at how this card resells as a 9, 9.5, and 10 .

    Note: These numbers are the average of the last three selling prices. We also assumed these were graded using the low-cost option at all three companies.

    $195 $30

    One surprise was that the BGS 9 held its own against a PSA 9 not only with this card, but two other cards I checked after making the discovery . This has actually flipped since I wrote about the two grading companies a year ago.

    Its also worth noting that the BGS 10, while much rarer than a PSA 10, also demands a big resell value. A BGS 10 was about 1.5x as valuable as a PSA 10. Submitting to BGS has a higher ceiling than PSA .

    Finally, SGC was weak comparatively across the board especially at 9.5 in comparison with BGS. That said, the vintage community loves SGC, so if youre grading vintage, SGC should score a few extra points there. Otherwise, while all the companies cost about the same to grade at the lower level tier, the only reason you should grade with SGC is to save time, based on these numbers. If youre in a pinch, SGC can grade and return in less than a month. No chance of that with PSA .

    Compare prices of top grades on eBay:


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