In recent years, card grading has become a huge part of the sports card hobby. There’s many good reasons to get a sports card graded, such as increasing the value if you’re looking to sell the card.
PSA are arguably the most well-known and most used card grading service right now. In the last couple of years, there’s been a huge spike in the number of submissions, with hundreds of thousands getting submitted every week. In fact, it’s gotten so crazy that PSA have had to temporarily suspend their services and pause any new submissions recently, due to the sheer volume, and that’s even after they almost doubled the price of all the services – they haven’t got the resources to keep up with the demand.
Current PSA grade pricing:
Card collectors and investors know that a card encased with a PSA grade, on the 1-10 scale, can x10 it’s value on the market… It’s like the hobby’s stamp of approval, or disapproval of a card’s condition and authenticity.
Collectors trust grading companies like PSA, because of their reputation, and that’s why they’re so popular. However, with the recent high volumes causing a suspension of services, and with ever-rising costs of grading with PSA as well as crazy wait times (this year it’s been over 6 months minimum turnaround), there’s a need for alternative services.
It’s important to look beyond just turnaround times and price and remember that not all grading companies will hold the same weight that PSA does. Just because one company might be able to grade and return your card a lot quicker than PSA or even offer the service a lot cheaper, it doesn’t mean you should necessarily use them. As I just mentioned, there’s a trust established on PSA grading because the company has built that over many years, so collectors will pay a premium for highly graded PSA cards.
If you’re grading a card with the intention of increasing its value to sell for profit, it’s worth researching the value any given grading brand will add before making a decision.
Here’s a look at the best alternatives to PSA grading:
If you’re someone who’s been in the card collecting hobby for a while, then Beckett shouldn’t be a name that’s new to you. Beckett grading is just as well known as PSA and close in popularity.
They have a slightly different grading scale to PSA, which includes sub-grades. So with Beckett, your card can grade a 9, 9.5 or 10 for example, whereas with PSA it’s either a 9 or a 10.
Beckett’s premium grade, the black label pristine 10, probably holds more value than any other grading in the hobby, including a PSA 10 – that’s because Beckett have a bit of a reputation for being ‘stricter’ when it comes to awarding their top grades, so for some collectors, it’s seen as the pinnacle, and that’s what gives it so much value.
Is Beckett better than PSA? There’s not a lot of difference between the two. They have slightly different grading scales but both are trusted by collectors and both hold weight in terms of value.
It’s worth noting you’ll have to pay a similar amount to grade with Beckett and the turnaround time is also going to be similar so if you’re looking for an alternative to PSA that gives you something better on one of those factors, then you’re best to consider a different option.
BGS’ Current Pricing:
‘Economy’ – $35/card
‘Standard’ – $50/card
BGS’ Turnaround Time:
Currently 8+ months
SGC seems to be establishing itself as the ‘third in-line’ grading company for popularity right now. The current turnaround times, compared to PSA and Beckett, make them an appealing alternative option to collectors looking to grade their cards.
They’re also established enough now to increase the value of a card with a high grade enough to make it worth spending the money to have them graded.
After changing a few years ago, they also now work with a 1-10 scale (with .5’s like Beckett) but they work on a pricing system whereby you pay based on the card’s declared value – so the more the card is valued at, the more you’ll pay for it’s grading.
SGC more than quadrupled their workforce during the 2020 trading card boom to keep up with demand, which they seem to be doing as they’re still able to offer good turnaround times – this is where they win big over PSA right now.
SGC’s Current Pricing:
Based on the declared value of the card.
<$1,500 – $30/card
<$3,500 – $85/card
<$7,500 – $250/card
<$20,000 – $500/card
<$50,000 – $1,000/card
<$100,000 – $2,000/card
>$100,000 – $3,750/card
SGC’s Turnaround Time:
Currently 20-25 Days
HGA is very much a new grading option for card collectors. They claim to have the best ‘slab designs’ on the market and offer something quite different to what PSA currently offers, which is digital grading. Their grading scale is also 1-10 (with .5’s as well).
With the concept of grading cards with software still in its infancy, it hasn’t yet fully established itself and gained mass trust among collectors, certainly not to the level of PSA anyway – but that’s not to say it won’t in the future. HGA are trying to change the game and move away from humans grading cards, which will definitely have its benefits in terms of turnaround times, if it does prove successful.
HGA is the cheapest grading card service on this list for entry level grading. PSA’s cheapest option is priced the same as HGA, however there’s a cap on card value (currently $499), which there isn’t currently for HGA, so it’s cheaper to get cards over that value cap graded with HGA.
The design of their slabs also match the colors of the card design, so each slab will become more unique to a specific card, rather than having a standard slab design for all grades, as with PSA – something I think will appeal to many collectors.
Their current turnaround times and prices definitely make them a good alternative option to PSA. You need to consider whether HGA, and it’s fairly new concept of digital grading, is right for what you want – again, if you’re grading a card to increase it’s value and sell, I would always research current values of the same card that has been graded by HGA.
HGA’s Current Pricing:
‘Best Value’ – $20/card
‘Popular’ – $35/card
HGA’s Turnaround Time:
Currently 30-60 Days
PSA is the most popular grading service for good reason, they’re established, trusted and reliable, but they’ve struggled to scale at a pace that matches the recent boom in demand for card grading. It can’t be ignored that their turnaround times and price increases currently make them a less desirable option to many card collectors looking to submit cards for grading.
The 3 alternative services I’ve listed above are definitely viable other options to PSA. BGS arguably have the same issues right now as PSA, because they’re also a hugely popular and well-known grading service, but they have the pull of the black label pristine 10 to consider. SGC and HGA certainly offer a much faster service currently, and they both have differences to PSA which are appealing, such as SGC’s pricing system or HGA’s digital software grading, as well as their tailored slab designs.
If you’re grading to increase a card’s value, then make sure to check current values of each of those cards with grading from all the options you have, to see if it’s worth doing – then consider how fast you’ll have the card back in your hands.
What is the best alternative to PSA grading? ›
The current turnaround times, compared to PSA and Beckett, make them an appealing alternative option to collectors looking to grade their cards. They're also established enough now to increase the value of a card with a high grade enough to make it worth spending the money to have them graded.
- Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) PSA. In the current state of the hobby, PSA is undoubtedly number one on the list of the top trading card grading companies. ...
- Beckett Grading Service (BGS) BGS. ...
- Sportscard Guaranty Corporation (SGC) SGC. ...
- CSG. CSG. ...
- HGA. HGA. ...
- ISA. ISA. ...
- GMA. GMA.
The prostate health index (PHI) is one such test that is a more accurate blood test and measures your risk for having prostate cancer. It's approved by the FDA for men who have PSA scores between 4 and 10.Is there anything better than PSA 10? ›
10 is the highest overall grade a sports card can receive, though BGS also offers a Black Label Pristine 10, which means the card received a 10 for all four subgrades. While a Black Label Pristine 10 and PSA 10 are the highest grades a card can obtain, that isn't to say that other grades aren't of value.Is CGC better than PSA? ›
The second factor is that they tend to have a much stricter grading system, and as a result, almost never give out perfect 10s. This makes receiving a CGC 10 grading more valuable than PSA! With over 20 years in the industry, CGC is a solid choice (and my personal favorite) to get your Pokémon cards graded.What is the most popular grading system? ›
The most commonly used grading system in the U.S. uses discrete evaluation in the form of letter grades. Many schools use a GPA (grade-point average) system in combination with letter grades. There are also many other systems in place.What is the hardest card grading company? ›
PSA is known for their tough grading standards and their registry which allows collectors to register their PSA graded baseball cards along with the grade. This is both a way to "keep score" and a way to market your cards.What is the new sports card grading company? ›
Arena Club is a new sports card marketplace and grading company co-founded by Derek Jeter.What is the most affordable card grading? ›
Of the major grading companies, BGS currently offers the cheapest card grading service, which is $18 to grade a single card at the “Base” level. This is $2 less than CSG's “Economy” level, $5 less than PSA's “Value” service, and $4 less than SGC.Which is more accurate PSA and DRE? ›
DRE is less effective than the PSA blood test in finding prostate cancer, but it can sometimes find cancers in men with normal PSA levels. For this reason, it might be included as a part of prostate cancer screening.
What is the difference between PSA and BPH? ›
Free PSA is linked to benign prostate conditions, such as BPH, whereas bound PSA is linked to cancer. The percentage of free PSA can help tell what kind of prostate problem you have. If both total PSA and free PSA are higher than normal (high percentage of free PSA), this suggests BPH rather than cancer.Is Beckett better than PSA? ›
The general consensus seems to be that BGS is a bit cheaper and faster than PSA, and it's also the preferred option for newer, modern cards. Most of their services include collectible cards, but also other types of collectibles. BGS uses an algorithm to help them determine the grade of the card.Why is PSA not recommended? ›
Possible Harm from Screening
False positive test results: This occurs when a man has an abnormal PSA test but does not have prostate cancer. False positive test results often lead to unnecessary tests, like a biopsy of the prostate. They may cause men to worry about their health.
Beckett grading costs range anywhere from $20 per card all the way up to $250 per card (or more), depending on the value of the card, the age of the card, how many cards you're submitting at one time, how fast you want the turnaround to be, and other factors.Is SGC grading legit? ›
Since 1998, SGC has been a well-established leader in the authentication and grading of trading cards. Our ability to provide accurate and consistent grades in a timely manner is a service that is unique to the card-collecting community and has made SGC one of the pillars of card grading for over 24 years.How expensive is CGC grading? ›
The grading fee varies depending on the age and value of the comic, ranging from $22 to $120 for most books. Comics with a fair market value above $3,000 however, are charged on a sliding scale of 3% of the book's value (minimum $150).Is it worth submitting to CGC? ›
Depending on the scarcity and popularity of the book, a CGC graded issue can sell for as much as three to four times that of a raw book that's listed in the same grade.Does CGC give value? ›
Submitters to CGC are required to list a declared value for each collectible in their submission. By submitting a collectible and listing a declared value, the submitter agrees that the declared value represents the current fair market value (FMV) of the submitted collectible.What grading system does the US use? ›
Academic grading in the United States commonly takes on the form of five, six or seven letter grades. Traditionally, the grades are A+, A, A−, B+, B, B−, C+, C, C−, D+, D, D− and F, with A+ being the highest and F being lowest. In some cases, grades can also be numerical.What grading scale do most high schools use? ›
High schools often report GPA (grade point average) on a 4.0 scale. The top grade is an A, which equals 4.0. You calculate your overall GPA by averaging the scores of all your classes. This is a common scale used at most colleges, and many high schools also use it.
What is the best grading site? ›
- For reputation: PSA.
- For grading reliability: PSA & BGS.
- For adding value to cards: PSA & BGS.
- For the cheapest grading: ISA & CGC.
- For the fastest turnaround time: SGC & ISA.
- For the label design: HGA.
PSA will not grade cards that bear evidence of trimming, re-coloring, restoration, or any other forms of tampering, or are of questionable authenticity.Is it worth selling ungraded cards? ›
Selling the card UNGRADED is the safest move unless you're ABSOLUTELY certain that you'll garner a NM-MT or better grade. However, PSA 9 and PSA 10 examples are why so many people clamor to grade this card.What is the best way to grade cards? ›
PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator) is the most reputable name in the business. PSA has a 10-grade scale which determines the value of a card and factors in centering, corners, edges, and surface. Collectors looking to get their cards graded by the PSA have three options.Is there an app for grading sports cards? ›
True Grade is an auto-grading and pricing sports card service for individuals who are looking for a quicker and easier way to have their cards graded. Users can create an account that will allow them to take a photo of their card, grade it on the spot, and save their card in a collection for their records.Where can I evaluate sports cards? ›
To find the value of sports cards, there is no better source than eBay. eBay will show you exactly what a particular card in a variety of conditions has recently sold for.Who can grade my sports cards? ›
Pick your grading company
In this regard, the three most popular and reliable options out there are PSA, BGS, and SGC. Of the three, PSA is the most favored by collectors, particularly those who are into NFL, MLB, and NBA cards.
Now with that out of the way, let me rephrase that as you probably can't get cards graded for free. And most likely not in the way you're thinking. But there are cheap grading options, and ways to minimize your costs. Card grading is a service, just like dining out is a service provided by restaurants.What card has been graded the most PSA? ›
- 1957 Topps Baseball — 308,933 Graded Cards and 0.1% Gem Rate. ...
- 1960 Topps Baseball — 307,910 Graded Cards and 0.1% Gem Rate. ...
- 1975 Topps Baseball — 306,982 Graded Cards and 1.4% Gem Rate. ...
- 1986 Fleer Basketball — 303,845 Graded Cards and 6.0% Gem Rate.
Damaged or modified cards
Modern cards which receive poor gradings are very unlikely to increase in value. In fact, having a card confirmed to be of poor quality by a reputable grading company may only provide reasons for a buyer to either ignore the card sale altogether, or otherwise seek to negotiate a lower price.
What can replace the grading system? ›
The following approaches shift the learning focus and foster student development.
- Mastery-Based Education. ...
- Pass/Fail. ...
- Live Feedback. ...
- Self-Assessments. ...
- Digital Portfolios. ...
The general consensus seems to be that BGS is a bit cheaper and faster than PSA, and it's also the preferred option for newer, modern cards. Most of their services include collectible cards, but also other types of collectibles. BGS uses an algorithm to help them determine the grade of the card.Is PSA the best? ›
Without a doubt, PSA is the biggest name when it comes to grading and authentication services. Collectors have flocked to this company to have their respective cards graded. One good reason for this trend is because a PSA-graded card, more often than not, sells higher than its BGS counterpart.Which one is better marking system or grading system? ›
The grading system is a more appropriate option especially in the light of less pressure on students and hence less adverse psychological impact on students' lives. In the marking system,marks help students identify their exact scores.What is the difference between mastery grading and specification grading? ›
Mastery-based grading: Grades are determined by the degree to which students have mastered course learning outcomes. Specifications grading: Grades are determined by the number/combination of assignments/requirements students have completed satisfactorily.What are the two types of grading systems use? ›
The two most common types of grading systems used at the university level are norm-referenced and criterion-referenced.Why is BGS better than PSA? ›
BGS are stricter in their grading. While cards with a 91 – 100 score would get a PSA 10 grade, half of it would be graded as a BGS 9.5. Collectors are willing to pay more on the potential that they'll get a card with a score closer to 100. This hope – however minute – is absent with BGS grading.What is the cheapest card grading company? ›
Of the major grading companies, BGS currently offers the cheapest card grading service, which is $18 to grade a single card at the “Base” level. This is $2 less than CSG's “Economy” level, $5 less than PSA's “Value” service, and $4 less than SGC.What is a SGC 9.5 equivalent to? ›
Both SGC and CSG use 9.5 as a form of 9+. It allows for a bit more distinction between cards. BGS, of course, has 9.5 as their gem grade and is the lone holdout with that scale. There is still some confusion with CSG cards as they initially had 9.5 as their gem mint grade.Is CSG better than PSA? ›
The answer really does depends on your needs. If you're grading for flipping, it's probably PSA. If you're looking for the best evaluation of your card's condition, it's probably CSG. If you're new to the hobby and are looking at things aesthetically, SGC may be your choice.
What color PSA is best? ›
Red-top tube, gel-barrier tube, or green-top (lithium heparin) tube. Do not use oxalate, EDTA, or citrate plasma.How long does Beckett take to grade cards? ›
|Service Levels||Current Turnaround Times as of 1/11/2023|
|Next Day||1 Day|