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Date posted: Jan 22, 2010
By Matt Cassidy
In a nutshell, a graded card has been reviewed by a card grading company and given a grade based on overall condition.
The grading company employs specialists and special grading techniques to review the authenticity, quality and condition of the card. The company then awards to card a grade (usually between 1 and 10 with 10 being the best) and places it inside a tamper-proof case with the grade and other information displayed above the card.
As a result a grade is only worth as much as the reputation of the company who awarded it. If you don't trust the company then you can't trust their grades. This can be particularly important for cards with a high rate of convincing counterfeits such as the 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan Rookie card and the 1984 Star Michael Jordan Extended Rookie card.
Many people value the reputation and quality of grades of the most popular grading companies and only buy cards graded by:
Below is the grade information from three Michael Jordan cards.
Here we have a two grades provided by BGS. As you can see the overall card grade is clearly shown to the right and includes a value between 1 and 10 (with 0.5 increments). BGS use a gold label for cards of 9.5 or 10 and a silver label for all others.
The name and number of the card is shown to the left. This is important to note as the card may be a reprint which will be stated here.
BGS also provide a breakdown of the grade into the quality of centering, edges, corners and surface. This information helps you to see how the grader reached their overall grade. Also note the serial number below the overall grade (blurred for security).
This is a grading provided by PSA. It is very similar to the BGS grade however generally no grading breakdown is shown by PSA.
If you are collecting for your own enjoyment then you probably don't need your cards graded. However if you collect as an investment where you need to know you have top quality cards then grading may be for you.
If you have any intention of selling cards - particularly big ticket items - then grading may drastically improve your sales value. We investigate sales value increases some more below.
Unfortunately, yes. However the higher quality grading company, the harder it will be to fake a case and label. I have seen some very dubious looking listings on some websites. This is where you need to look very carefully at the card shown and reputation of the seller even when buying graded cards (More: Tips for buying Jordan cards from eBay).
The top grading companies provide the serial numbers that we mentioned earlier along with tools to look up the card associated with that serial. This is highly recommended if you have any uncertainties about the card you are considering.
There are two reasons for this:
Typically you will ship your cards to the grading company along with all necessary paperwork and payment. See below for the information you need for each of the three most popular companies:
Graded Michael Jordan cards are a great investment and great pieces for your collection. Check out some of the current Michael Jordan graded cards available on eBay below.
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