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Grading Your Cards

What is card grading?

Card grading is a process in which cards (Pokémon, sports, etc.) are sent to a grading company to have their condition examined and assigned a numerical quality grade. Most grading companies use a scale of 1 to 10 to grade cards, with a 10 meaning the asset is in perfect condition with no defects. In addition to being examined and receiving a grade, all assets that go through the grading process are authenticated to protect against fakes and copies. Professional grading services have their own grading standards and fees, so it's important to research and choose the service that best fits your needs. Grading cards can be a great step in preserving and maximizing the value of your collection.
A good walkthrough of submitting cards to PSA, one of several grading services Courtyard.io accepts cards from

How do I grade my cards?

1. Sort and Pre-screen:
  • Go through the cards you're thinking of grading and eliminate any obviously damaged cards
  • In particular, look out for the following elements when pre-screening cards to identify those that might have a high chance of receiving a good grade:
    • Centering: Look at the card's borders to ensure they are even on all sides. Off-center cards may receive a lower grade.
    • Surface Condition: Examine the card's surface for scratches, scuffs, dents, or any other imperfections. Mint cards should have a flawless surface.
    • Corners: Check the corners for any signs of wear or damage. Mint cards should have sharp, unbent corners.
    • Edges: Examine the edges to ensure they are clean and free from nicks, dings, or chipping.
    • Printing Quality: Look for any misprints, ink smears, whitening, or other issues related to the card's printing quality.
    • Borders: Ensure that the border design of the card is not damaged or chipped.
    • Holographic or Foil Elements: If the card has holographic or foil elements, ensure they are free from scratches or wear.
    • Surface Cleanliness: Make sure the card is clean and free from dirt, fingerprints, or other contaminants.
    • Creases: Check for any creases or bends in the card, as they can significantly impact the grade.
2. Sleeve and Package:
  • Follow the specific packaging instructions from the grading service you're using (this typically includes placing the cards in cards penny sleeves and toploaders to protect them, wrapped in bubble wrap to ensure minimal movement during shipping)
3. Submit to a Grading Service:
  • Choose a professional grading service, complete their submission form, including your card's details and requested services, and mail your cards according to their guidelines
  • Optional: to have your graded cards sent directly to our Brink's vault for tokenization, be sure to specify the vault as the return address (details here) when going through the submission process. Once the grading is complete and you receive your return tracking number, you must complete the form here so we can link the shipment to your Courtyard.io account.
4. Await Results:
  • Once you've submitted your cards, be patient. Depending on the service level you chose when submitting, it may take several weeks or more to receive your graded cards back.

What grading services does Courtyard.io accept graded cards from?

Have questions? Join our community of helpful collectors on Discord and Twitter, or feel free to email us directly at [email protected].