Card grading is how sports cards are analyzed to determine their value and condition. Baseball cards, for example are sent to a third-party company specializing in grading. The cards will be scrutinized and once finished; they will be encapsulated, labeled and given a serial number. This grading system helps collectors and dealers determine the value of cards. The Sam Bradford rookie card and other rookie football cards have a different grading procedure.
The trading of various sports cards regained popularity in the early 1990s. It came back to the forefront with the help of Internet. The quality and the state of the card have a big impact on its value. Card grading allows dealers and collectors to set a price on their collections accurately. This also levels the playing field for both collectors and dealers. However, the prices of the cards might still fluctuate, depending on numerous factors.
There are different types of grading companies and they have different purposes. The first type of grading company seals the card, labels it with the serial number and grades the card. The second type purchases large quantities of the cards and grades them just like a third party company. The only difference between the two companies is the inventory grading company owns the merchandise. Third party grading companies are known to be generally honest.
The scale in grading baseball cards are in 1 to 10. 10 is the highest grade. It means that the card is in “Pristine” or “Gem Mint” condition. Cards are scrutinized by using a variety of tools, like microscopes. When grading cards, several factors are taken into consideration like the color, print defects, staining, centering and the cut of the card. These grades and values are then published on price guides which are sold online or in bookstores.
As you can see, cards go to a lengthy process before they even reach the hands of collectors and dealers.
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