How Do You Grade Pokemon Cards

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 alignment within its borders is crucial. A perfectly centered card is highly desirable and receives a higher grade.
  • Corners: Sharp corners indicate minimal wear and tear, while rounded or damaged corners can lower the card’s grade.
  • Edges: Smooth and clean edges are preferred, while chipped or frayed edges can affect the card’s grade.
  • Surface: A card with a flawless surface, free from scratches, print defects, or other imperfections, receives a higher grade.
  • Overall Presentation: The overall appearance of the card, including print quality, color vibrancy, and any additional features, is considered during grading.

The Grading Scale

The PSA grading scale ranges from 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest grade a card can receive. Each grade represents a different level of condition and desirability:

  • PSA 1: Poor condition with significant damage, heavy creases, and major flaws.
  • PSA 5: Average condition with noticeable wear and tear, but still presentable.
  • PSA 9: Near-mint condition with only minor imperfections visible upon close inspection.
  • PSA 10: Gem Mint condition with no visible flaws, considered the highest grade achievable.

The Benefits of Professional Grading

Having your Pokemon cards professionally graded offers several advantages:

Authenticity Verification

Professional grading companies authenticate the legitimacy of Pokemon cards, ensuring that they are not counterfeit or altered. 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 to determine its worth more precisely. Higher grades often command higher prices in the market.

Protection and Preservation

Grading companies encapsulate graded cards in tamper-proof cases, protecting them from damage, wear, and environmental factors. These cases also prevent any further deterioration, preserving the card’s condition over time.

Increased Marketability

Graded Pokemon cards are more marketable and desirable among collectors. The assigned grade serves as a seal of approval, indicating the card’s quality and condition. This increased marketability can lead to higher demand and potentially higher selling prices.


Grading Pokemon cards is a meticulous process that involves evaluating various factors to determine their condition and worth. Professional grading companies like PSA play a vital role in authenticating and grading these collectible cards. The assigned grade not only provides a standardized measure of a card’s condition but also offers benefits such as authenticity verification, accurate valuation, protection, and increased marketability. Whether you are a collector or looking to sell your Pokemon cards, understanding the grading process can help you make informed decisions and maximize their value.

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