Collecting sports cards has become much more than just a hobby. Everywhere you turn, people are selling their cards at shows, online markerplaces, and sports memorabilia shops. Many cards are graded to help assess their value. The first thing one needs to know when assessing the value of baseball cards is the condition of the card. The conditions range from gem mint to poor, and are generally as follows: gem mint, mint, near mint – mint, near mint, excellent – mint, excellent, very good – excellent, very good, good, fair and poor. These grades are also assigned numbers from 10 for gem mint to 1 for poor.
How does one determine the condition of their cards? Many of the good baseball card price guides mention what to look for as far as surface wear, corner wear, centering, amount of gloss on the front, spots, creases, dirt, tears, etc for each grade mentioned. Some price guides have pictures demonstrating the types of wear associated with each grade.
What is considered minor edge wear or crease to one person might be more significant to another, which affects the grades of the cards accordingly. That’s why it always pays to have a reputable professional card grading company grade your cards. I have used Professional Sports Authenticator for my grading needs for a long time. The amount you pay for having cards graded depends on the service and the speed at which you want your cards returned.
Several years ago when I submitted my cards to Professional Sports Authenticator to be graded, I sent the cards in a plastic protective sleeve, with a label showing the number of the card, production company, player name and year. Each card was returned in a thick, hard plastic holder with a bar code, number associated with the grade, the player name, year, production company and card number. When the cards returned, I could assess their value with any baseball card price guide according to their grade. The hard plastic casing from this professional grading service ensures the card to remain in the condition it is presently in.
With the numerous companies producing many baseball card sets per year, a current rookie has more cards in circulation than a Hall of Fame player who played in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. With these new cards a dime a dozen, the older cards should be treasured and graded professionally to keep their condition intact. I do not buy new cards and I only started watching baseball in the late 1970s. It was much more enjoyable collecting cards during a time when only a few cards were produced for each player every year.