Sports Card Grading

Welcome, sports card enthusiasts! It's no secret - collecting, selling, or trading sports cards can be an exciting venture. For some, it's a nostalgic journey back to childhood, and for others, it's a lucrative business venture. But there's a critical factor that often determines the value of sports cards - their grading. Most veteran collectors would agree- a card's grade can make or break a deal. But why is this? Let's dive into the fascinating world of sports card grading and understand its potential impact on the sports card market. From revealing key market statistics to discussing the value of graded cards to understanding the different factors influencing a card's market value, we've got it all here in this comprehensive guide. So, buckle up, and let's start this intriguing journey together. Emoji

Key Market Statistics

A meticulous breakdown of the market numbers can tell us a captivating tale of the ebb and flow in the collectible card industry. Here's in-depth look at the journey of PSA – a leading grading company, in numbers from August and the statistics that might point towards where we're headed.

PSA Submissions in August

Surprisingly, card collectors took a step back in August, with PSA noting a drop in ultra-modern submissions. Instead of the previous high of 60%, collectors turned in only 53% of ultramodern submissions. This shift indicates a probable drop in interest or attainment in ultra-modern cards or a rising popularity in other categories.

PSA Grading Volume in August

Picking up on the pulse of submissions, the volume of graded items by PSA also slid by 11% compared to July. They managed to grade a total of 895,193 items in August. Factors contributing to this downward trend could be seasonal fluctuations or changes in submission policies and fees.

PSA Graded Cards Last Week

The fall continues even when we drill down to weekly numbers, with PSA grading 185,225 cards during the last week alone. When pitted against the prior week, these numbers indicate a 10% decrease in graded cards.

Percentage of PSA 10 Grades for Current Decade Cards

Even with lower submission and grading volumes, the quality of the cards remained impressive. About 66.8% of cards submitted from the current decade were top-tier, walking away with the coveted PSA 10 grade. This impressive number showcases how exceptional the condition of modern cards has been.

Increase in Average Price of Baseball Cards on Secondary Market

Despite the slips in volumes and submissions, there's an underlying growth story in the secondary market. The first half of 2020 saw a whopping increase by 50% in the average price of baseball cards. This trend is a testament to the thriving nature of the collectibles market, even in challenging times.

In this fluctuating world of collector cards, the relationship between these key market statistics and the real-world implications is undeniable. The market seems to be dictating a transitional phase with a shift in submission and grading volumes. Yet, the upward trajectory of prices on the secondary market and the impressive PSA 10 grade ratio adds a silver lining to this cloud.

Value of Graded Cards

Grading cards has become quite the buzzword in the trading card industry. The value these small labeled acrylic cases can add to a card is quite astounding. With the rise in interest in collecting sports cards, graded cards are proving to be worth more than their ungraded counterparts. Even when the sports card market hits unstable conditions, these graded cards tend to rise in value.

Increase in Card Value

Graded cards typically yield a higher return than ungraded cards. What's the reason you ask? The clarification from a certified grading company like PSA, SGC, or Beckett provides collectors the assurance they need in knowing a card's condition and authenticity

Let's break this down a bit:

  • Authenticity: The age-old problem of counterfeits and frauds. A graded card eliminates this roadblock. The collector can rest easy, knowing their prized possession is the real deal.
  • Condition Appraisal: A graded card provides an unbiased, expert opinion on the card condition. This rating goes further than just 'mint or not-mint,' getting into the nitty-gritty, like centering, corners, edges, and surfaces.
  • Future Value Protection: Believe it or not, the plastic case can be a lifesaver. It protects the card from damage that could devalue it in the future.

Reliability of Graded Cards

In addition to upping a card's value, grading also brings reliability. Think about it this way: the higher the grade, the greater the confidence, translating into — you guessed it — more worth. With grading, collectors get a clearer picture of a card's worth — whether they're looking to buy, sell, or trade. The end game? A stable market.

Role of Grading Companies

One cannot discuss graded cards' value without giving due respect to grading companies. These organisations, such as PSA, SGC, and Beckett, are instrumental in expanding the hobby and boosting the trading card industry.

These companies offer several services, including:

  • Authentication: To fight against counterfeit cards and confirm the cards are genuine.
  • Grading: To assess a card's condition accurately.
  • Slabbing: To protect the card from environmental damages.

In light of the rise in interest in trading cards, these services have experienced significant growth. Graded cards are seen by collectors as more valuable and reliable, thanks to these grading companies' credibility and precision.

When it comes to trading cards' value, it's clear that grading is a game-changer. It adds a layer of protection, reliability, and value that all collectors benefit from. Whether you're a seasoned collector or a rookie in the world of trading cards, investing in graded cards opens a door to a whole new realm of collection value.

Factors Influencing Card Market Value

In the exciting world of sports trading cards, an invisible hand in the form of market dynamics works behind the scenes, determining the value of each tiny piece of carton. Over the last five years, sports cards have remarkably surged in value by 218%, making them not just nostalgic keepsakes but potentially profitable investments. The question begs: What has pushed this impressive rise, and what are the key factors influencing the card market value?

Player Popularity

It's no secret that a card featuring a widely beloved sports player will always be in high demand. Icons like Micheal Jordan or Babe Ruth will invariably draw the eyes and wallets of avid collectors. Their achievements, both on and off the field, endow their representative cards with a special magnetism that significantly amplifies their value. The popularity of a player undeniably creates an emotional connection with collectors, making their cards a must-have, especially when their career achievements are phenomenal.


A card's rarity significantly influences its market value. The fewer the cards available in the market – be it due to limited production, or a run halted in its prime – the higher the prices they tend to fetch. Scarcity drives the demand, reflects our basic human instinct to want what is not easy to obtain, and further stokes the flames of desire amongst collectors. The explosion of demand for grading services, a process for evaluating and assigning a value to cards, is partly driven by the desire to reliably determine the rarity of a trading card.


Last but certainly not least is the condition of a card. Simply put, a card in pristine condition is always superior to a roughly handled one. The condition of a card is so critical that grading services like PSA have emerged to validate its grade – which directly influences its trading value. Accurate grades mean more accurate prices for cards. Furthermore, graded cards significantly pump up the market demand for sports collectibles. As the saying goes, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, but in the case of trading cards, beauty is quantified, and it lies in the grade of the card.

In this thriving market where PSA graded cards often fetch higher prices, it's vital to keep in mind that over-grading can impact the long-term value of cards. Thankfully, a market correction has already occurred for many vintage baseball cards, but the best ones continue to rise.

Now, whether you're delving into this world as an avid sports fan, or a shrewd investor, understanding these influencing factors will undeniably give you a competitive edge. A little knowledge, they say, is a dangerous thing, but in the world of sports card trading, it could mean the difference between a mere hobby and a profitable venture.


Navigating the complex and ever-changing world of sports card collecting can be daunting. However, with the right knowledge about card grading and an understanding of market dynamics, collectors and investors can make informed decisions that increase the value and authenticity of their collections.

As this article has shown, card grading plays a vital role in ascertaining the value of sports cards. Be it the volume of PSA submissions, decade-specific grading or the secondary market prices, card grading weaves itself through every aspect of this diverse market.

Remember, while player popularity, scarcity, and condition do influence a card's value, it's the grade that often serves as the primary arbitrator in determining its market worth.

Of course, no card collection is complete without a trustworthy source that provides high-quality cards. Sports Card Universe, with its vast array of graded and raw sports cards for all the significant sports, is your one-stop shop for starting or extending your sports card collection. Make an offer, negotiate prices, and enjoy free shipping on orders $250.00 and more!

As the sports card market continues to evolve and prosper, graded cards will inherently remain a centerpiece of this sector. Therefore, understanding card grading and leveraging this knowledge is vital for any collector or investor seeking success in this market.

Here's to building impressive, valuable collections teeming with your favorite sports cards!

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is card grading in the sports card market?

    Card grading is the process of evaluating the condition and authenticity of a sports card by a professional grading company. It involves thorough examination, assigning a grade, and encapsulating the card in a tamper-proof case.

  2. Why is card grading important in the sports card market?

    Card grading is important as it provides a standardized and objective assessment of a card's condition and authenticity. It increases buyer confidence, helps determine card value, and protects against counterfeits and alterations.

  3. Which are the most reputable card grading companies?

    The most reputable card grading companies in the sports card market are PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator), Beckett Grading Services (BGS), and SGC (Sportscard Guaranty). They have established industry standards and expertise.

  4. How does card grading affect the value of a sports card?

    Card grading greatly affects the value of a sports card. Higher-graded cards with better condition receive higher values and are more desirable to collectors and investors. A graded card provides confidence in its quality and authenticity.

  5. Is it worth getting my sports cards graded?

    Getting your sports cards graded can be worth it, especially if you have valuable or highly sought-after cards. Graded cards often sell for higher prices and are more marketable, providing a higher return on investment.

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