How Do You Grade Pokemon Cards

How Do You Grade Pokemon Cards

Pokemon cards have become a popular collectible item among enthusiasts and collectors worldwide. With their vibrant artwork and nostalgic appeal, these cards hold both sentimental and monetary value. However, determining the condition and grade of a Pokemon card is crucial for assessing its worth accurately. In this article, we will explore the process of grading Pokemon cards, including the factors considered, the grading scale, and the benefits of professional grading.

Understanding the Grading Process

Grading Pokemon cards involves evaluating their condition based on various factors such as centering, corners, edges, surface, and overall presentation. These factors are assessed by professional grading companies that specialize in authenticating and grading collectible cards. The most renowned grading company in the Pokemon card market is the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA).

Factors Considered in Grading

When grading Pokemon cards, several factors are taken into account:

  • Centering: The card’s centering refers to how well the artwork is positioned within the card’s borders. A perfectly centered card is highly desirable and receives a higher grade.
  • Corners: The corners of a card should be sharp and free from any visible wear or damage. Rounded or dented corners can significantly lower the card’s grade.
  • Edges: Similar to corners, the edges of a card should be crisp and free from any signs of wear or chipping.
  • Surface: The surface of a card should be clean and free from scratches, stains, or any other imperfections. Any damage to the artwork or text can affect the card’s grade.
  • Overall Presentation: The overall presentation takes into account the card’s visual appeal, including factors like print quality, color vibrancy, and any special features or holographic effects.

The Grading Scale

The grading scale used by PSA ranges from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest grade a card can receive. Each grade represents a different level of card condition, with 10 being considered “Gem Mint” and 1 being “Poor.” Here is a breakdown of the PSA grading scale:

  • 10 – Gem Mint: A card in perfect condition with no visible flaws.
  • 9 – Mint: A card with minor imperfections that are only noticeable upon close inspection.
  • 8 – Near Mint/Mint: A card with slight wear visible under scrutiny but still in excellent condition.
  • 7 – Near Mint: A card with minor flaws that are more noticeable but still considered above average.
  • 6 – Excellent/Mint: A card with noticeable wear but still retains its overall appeal.
  • 5 – Excellent: A card with moderate wear and potential surface scratches.
  • 4 – Very Good: A card with significant wear, including creases or bends.
  • 3 – Good: A card with major flaws, such as heavy creases or water damage.
  • 2 – Poor: A card in poor condition, often torn or heavily damaged.
  • 1 – Authentic: A card that is genuine but does not meet the criteria for any other grade.

The Benefits of Professional Grading

Having your Pokemon cards professionally graded offers several advantages:

Authenticity Verification

Professional grading companies like PSA provide authentication services, ensuring that your Pokemon cards are genuine and not counterfeit. This verification adds value and peace of mind to collectors and potential buyers.

Accurate Valuation

Graded Pokemon cards are easier to value accurately. The assigned grade provides a standardized measure of the card’s condition, allowing collectors and buyers to make informed decisions based on its worth.

Protection and Preservation

Grading companies encapsulate graded cards in tamper-proof cases, protecting them from further damage and preserving their condition over time. These cases also display the card’s grade prominently, making it easy to showcase and store the card securely.

Increased Marketability

Graded Pokemon cards are more desirable to collectors and buyers. The assigned grade acts as a seal of approval, increasing the card’s marketability and potential resale value.


Grading Pokemon cards is a meticulous process that involves evaluating various factors to determine their condition and assign a grade. Professional grading companies like PSA play a vital role in authenticating and grading collectible cards, providing collectors and buyers with accurate valuations, protection, and increased marketability. Whether you are a passionate collector or considering selling your Pokemon cards, understanding the grading process is essential for making informed decisions and maximizing the value of your collection.

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