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How To Grade Baseball Cards

How To Grade Baseball Cards

Baseball cards are one of the quintessential American collectible items. But as with every collectible, its value is directly related to its quality. In order to sell your baseball cards at the highest value, you should know what the true market value actually is. Luckily, there are a number of reputable agencies that will grade your baseball cards and can provide that information to you, such as PSA and Beckett.

Here’s a general overview of the four main characteristics of every baseball card that are taken into account when grading those baseball cards–

Centering

All baseball cards have a border around the image of the player, and the extent to this border is perfectly even is described in one of four ways, from most desirable to least desirable:

OC 60/40: The card is only barely off-center. This is the best rating considering perfection is highly improbable.
OC 70/30: One of the sides is more than twice as wide as the opposite side.
OC 80/20: The image is so off-center that one of the borders is barely visible
Mis-cut: Part of the image has been cut off

Corners

To professionals and the untrained eye, the perfection of the corners is clearly visible and widely understood. It’s also used as a proxy for how well the card was maintained. Typically, the corners are rated as follows, from best to worst:

Very Slight Wear: Little to no damage of the corners, very much structurally intact
Fuzzy: Corners show the very early stages of beginning to lose their crispness
Slightly Rounded: Corners are beginning to fray
Rounded: The corner shape is visibly gone
Badly Rounded: The corner is significantly rounded and not at all structurally intact

Creases

No one wants a creased baseball card, as it clearly diminishes the value. But sometimes creases can level in severity, so the grading categories are as follows:

Light: Little to no creasing
Medium: Only the slightest of creases, only visible through close inspection but may not necessarily show up on a picture of the card
Heavy: Visible crease that has damaged the structure of the baseball card

Surfaces

This category is more of a catch-all for anything else that may affect the aesthetics of the baseball card and are usually rated one to four, one being the best and 4 being the worst:
Wrinkling
Scratches
Warped surface
Damage to the gloss finish
Indents or bubbles on the surface
Miscellaneous marks
Edges

Final Grades

Taking everything into account, a baseball card can fall anywhere on this scale of ten official ratings:

GEM-MT: Gem Mint
MINT: Mint
NM-MT: Near Mint to Mint
NM: Near Mint
EX-MT: Excellent Mint
EX: Excellent
VG-EX: Very Good Excellent
VG: Very Good
GOOD: Good
PR-FR: Poor to Fair

As always, Neatstuff Collectibles is more than happy to have a conversation regarding any baseball card collection you’re interested in selling, so give us a call at 800-326-7064 if you have any questions!

2 thoughts on “How To Grade Baseball Cards

  1. Have a bunch of baseball cards to get rid of. Unsure of condition and located in Illinois

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