How Much Does It Cost To Get Sports Cards Graded?

In the world of sports card collecting, the quest for perfection is a journey that many enthusiasts embark upon. Like a master painter seeking to preserve their masterpiece, collectors turn to professional grading services to evaluate and authenticate the value of their treasured cards.

But what does this meticulous process entail, and more importantly, how much does it cost? This article dives into the intricacies of sports card grading costs, exploring the factors that influence them and shedding light on whether the investment is truly worthwhile.

Key Takeaways

  • Factors such as the condition, rarity, and sentimental value of a sports card can impact the cost of grading.
  • It is important to compare different grading companies and understand their pricing structures before making a decision.
  • Turnaround time can be a significant factor to consider for collectors, with PSA having an average of 20 business days and Beckett having an average of 30 business days.
  • The basic grading fee typically includes thorough examination, authentication, encapsulation, and maintenance of the card’s condition and value. Additional services such as express grading, reholdering, and card restoration may incur extra charges.

Factors Affecting Grading Costs

One of the factors that can significantly affect grading costs is the condition of the sports card being graded. The grading process involves assessing various aspects of the card, such as centering, corners, edges, and surface condition, to determine its overall grade.

Grading standards set by professional grading companies play a crucial role in determining the cost of grading. Companies like PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator) and Beckett have their own grading scales and criteria that they use to evaluate sports cards.

Higher grades generally command higher fees as they require more meticulous examination and expertise. Additionally, factors like card rarity and sentimental value can also impact the grading costs. Therefore, it is important to carefully consider the condition of the card before sending it for grading. Moving on to grading companies and their pricing structures…

Grading Companies and Their Pricing Structures

Grading Companies and Their Pricing Structures


When it comes to grading companies and their pricing structures, there are several factors to consider. First, it’s important to compare different grading companies to see which one aligns with your needs and budget. Additionally, factors such as the card’s condition, rarity, and value can also impact the grading costs.

By understanding the pricing structures of different grading companies and considering these factors, collectors can make informed decisions about how much they are willing to spend on having their sports cards graded.

Grading Company Comparisons

Among the grading companies in the market, PSA and Beckett are often compared for their pricing structures and quality of service. When it comes to grading company rankings, both PSA and Beckett are highly regarded in the industry. However, there are some differences between the two that are worth considering.

One factor that collectors often consider is the average turnaround times for each company. PSA is known for their faster turnaround times, with an average of 20 business days, compared to Beckett’s average of 30 business days. This can be a significant factor for collectors who are looking to get their cards graded and returned quickly. In the next section, we will discuss the factors that can affect grading costs, including card value and service level.

Factors Affecting Grading Costs

Typically, grading costs are influenced by various factors such as the grading company chosen and their pricing structures. The grading process itself can also impact the overall cost. Some companies offer different grading tiers with varying levels of service and attention to detail, which can affect the final price. Additionally, the grading turnaround time can play a role in determining the cost.

Companies that offer expedited services often charge higher fees to prioritize the grading of cards. It is important to consider these factors when budgeting for grading services. Now that we understand how grading costs can be influenced, let’s dive into the details of what is included in the basic grading fee.

Basic Grading Fee: What’s Included

The basic grading fee for sports cards includes thorough examination, authentication, and encapsulation of the cards to ensure their condition and value. When submitting cards for grading, collectors can expect the following services to be included in the basic fee:

  • Examination: Trained graders carefully inspect the card for any flaws, such as creases, stains, or printing defects. They also assess the centering and overall condition of the card.
  • Authentication: The grading process involves verifying the card’s authenticity, ensuring it is not a counterfeit or altered in any way. This step is crucial in maintaining the integrity of the grading system.
  • Encapsulation: After grading, the cards are encapsulated in a protective case, which not only safeguards the card but also preserves its condition for years to come.

Additional Services and Their Costs

When it comes to getting sports cards graded, there are additional services available that can enhance the grading process and add value to your collection. These services, however, come at an extra cost. It is important to consider the various options and their associated fees before deciding which additional services are worth the investment.

Extra Service Charges

Customers should be aware of the extra service charges associated with having sports cards graded, as these fees can vary and may significantly impact the overall cost. When considering the cost of grading sports cards, it is important to take into account not only the base grading fee but also any additional services that may be required or desired. Some of the extra service charges that customers should be aware of include:

  • Express grading: This service allows for a faster grading time, but it often comes with an additional fee.
  • Reholdering: If a customer wants to change the holder of their graded card, there may be an extra charge for this service.
  • Card restoration: In cases where a card is damaged or in poor condition, there may be an additional fee for restoration services.

These extra service charges can add up quickly, so it is essential for customers to carefully consider their options and budget accordingly. Additionally, customers should also factor in the grading time and the condition of their cards to ensure they are getting the best value for their money.

Cost of Add-Ons

Express grading and reholdering are two add-ons that customers should carefully consider the costs of before having their sports cards graded. While having a sports card graded provides authentication and valuation, additional services such as express grading and reholdering come at an extra cost.

Express grading, which guarantees a faster turnaround time, can significantly increase the overall cost of grading. Reholdering, on the other hand, involves the replacement of the original holder with a new one, often with special labels or designations, which can also add to the expenses.

It is important for customers to weigh the benefits and costs of these add-ons to determine if they are worth the investment. Additionally, it is crucial to consider the shipping and insurance expenses associated with sending the cards for grading, as these can further impact the overall cost.

Shipping and Insurance Expenses

The evaluation of sports cards includes a careful consideration of the associated shipping and insurance expenses. When sending sports cards for grading or selling online, it is important to choose the right shipping options to ensure the cards arrive safely and in a timely manner.

Some popular shipping options for sports cards include USPS First Class Mail, USPS Priority Mail, and UPS Ground. Each option has different delivery speeds and costs, so it is essential to weigh the pros and cons based on your specific needs. Additionally, insurance coverage is an important aspect to consider when shipping valuable sports cards.

Most shipping carriers offer insurance options that cover the declared value of the package in case of loss or damage. It is advisable to choose insurance coverage that adequately protects the value of the cards being shipped.

Is Grading Worth the Investment?

I believe that grading sports cards can be a worthwhile investment for collectors looking to enhance the value and authenticity of their card collection. Grading provides a professional assessment of a card’s condition, which can significantly impact its market value.

By encapsulating the card in a protective case, grading also helps preserve its condition over time, preventing damage and wear. Furthermore, graded cards are often considered more desirable by buyers, as they provide a level of assurance regarding authenticity and quality.

However, like any investment, there are pros and cons to consider. The cost of grading can vary depending on the card’s value and the grading service used. Additionally, the grading process can take several weeks or even months, which may not be ideal for collectors looking for a quick turnaround.

As alternatives and options, collectors may choose to sell their cards ungraded, which can be quicker and more cost-effective. Another option is to self-grade the cards, although this requires expertise and can be subjective. Ultimately, collectors should weigh the pros and cons, as well as their individual goals and preferences, before deciding whether grading is worth the investment for their card collection.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Any Discounts or Promotions Available for Grading Sports Cards?

Discount eligibility and promotional criteria for grading sports cards can vary depending on the grading service provider. It is recommended to research and compare different companies to determine if any discounts or promotions are currently available.

Can I Submit Sports Cards From Different Sports for Grading in One Submission?

Yes, it is possible to submit sports cards from different sports for grading in one submission. However, the cost of grading may vary depending on the different grading companies and the specific sports cards being graded.

How Long Does the Grading Process Typically Take?

The grading process for sports cards typically takes a certain amount of time, depending on various factors such as the type of grading service chosen and the volume of submissions. The average cost for grading sports cards can also vary based on these factors.

Are There Any Restrictions on the Condition or Age of Sports Cards That Can Be Submitted for Grading?

Condition restrictions and age limitations are factors to consider when submitting sports cards for grading. It is important to ensure that the cards meet the specified condition requirements and are within the acceptable age range set by the grading company.

What Happens if My Sports Card Gets Damaged During the Grading Process?

In the event that a sports card sustains damage during the grading process, it is essential to review the grading company’s reimbursement policy. Understanding their liability for such damages is crucial for card owners seeking professional grading services.


In conclusion, the cost of getting sports cards graded varies depending on factors such as the grading company, additional services required, and shipping expenses. While the investment may seem significant, the grading process ensures authenticity and condition assessment, which can greatly increase the value of the cards. As the saying goes, “A penny saved is a penny earned,” and in this case, investing in grading can potentially yield significant returns for collectors and investors.

Leave a Comment