Why Your Trading Card Isn't Worth Much | How Much Is My Card?


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Why Your Trading Card Isn’t Worth Much

When you’re ready to get rid of some old cards collecting dust, you still want to be sure you are getting your money’s worth for your collection and efforts. While there are many online resources, it’s never wise to trust them solely. Individuals can sometimes get a faulty evaluation on their cards through internet resources. Even sending your cards out to be appraised poses its risks.

Many individuals don’t consider the grading of the card, which impacts the overall value of the card, and, consequently, the amount someone might be willing to pay. Read on to learn what grading is and how it can affect the value of your card, making your trading card not worth as much as you might have hoped.

Grading and Your Trading Card

Card grading is the process of sending your card or cards out to a third-party service that inspects your card. The third-party service typically has a team of individuals assess your card through close examination. They determine the overall condition of your card by looking for cracks, bends, or folds and examining the card for authenticity. The third-party service often uses a 10-point scale to identify the overall condition. The card is assigned an overall grade, sealed in a tamper-proof protective cover, and assigned a recorded and sealed serial number.

What Impacts Card Value?

While you may have a card that is heavily sought after by collectors, various factors will affect the price a buyer is willing to pay. Certain aspects, including when the card was printed, the circumstances under which it was stored, and its condition, will affect its price. Another crucial consideration is the rarity of the card.

Fundamentally, if fewer cards exist, there will be more demand for them on the market. People will pay more for rare cards. The Mantle Topps 52 Card (pictured above) is a rare find, especially in good condition, because maintaining the condition of a card and keeping it safe from the elements, including mold and fading, can be difficult.

The conditions and the values vary from card to card. The value decreases if you have a rare card but no market for it. Accordingly, if there are many cards in print of one version but it’s widely popular, the value might increase because demand is present.

How Grading Affects Value

The Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) grading standards are often the default for valuing trading cards online. While one may think their standards apply to only sport-themed trading cards, the PSA will grade almost any card hand cut off a panel or box. However, there are certain standards that online evaluation services adhere to.

For most internet sites that evaluate cards, your card must first pass the authentication process. A team of graders reviews the card(s) and checks for evidence of trimming, cutting, or recoloring. Next, the team grades the card on a scale of one to 10 based on the overall condition. The card is then placed in a sealed and tamper-evident case. The card is usually registered in their system and assigned a registration number.

A typical grading can look like this:

  • 10 (Gem Mint): These cards are in pristine condition and have four sharp corners with no fading.
  • 9 (Mint): A card with this rating has only one or two minor imperfections.
  • 8 (Near Mint/Mint): These cards may have a light stain or slight fraying on one corner.
  • 7 (Near Mint): There is slight fraying, and the picture may be slightly out of register. There can also be a wax stain.
  • 6 (Excellent/Mint): Corners may be frayed, and the gloss may be worn on the card.
  • 5 (Excellent): Wearing on the surface and printing defects are evident.
  • 4 (Very Good/Excellent): These cards often have noticeable surface wear and may have slightly off-white borders.
  • 3 (Very Good): The corners are often rounded from wear and usage, while the card surface may have some noticeable wear.
  • 2 (Good): Surface wear is obvious, and there are evident creases on the card.
  • 1.5 (Fair): This indicates a half-grade wearing, and the card may show extreme wear.
  • 1 (Poor): The card’s eye appeal is degraded and may show serious signs of creasing and two or more corners missing or completely worn down.

The grading of your card is registered and marked on the card when it is sealed, sometimes affecting the buyer’s opinion of the overall value.

Storage Is Important

If you’re looking to store your cards for longer before bringing them in for a quote, be certain to store them under the best conditions possible. Some tips to consider when securing your cards for storage include:

  1. Consider storing your cards in sleeves or cases. Having a dedicated spot for every card in a sleeve or case can help prolong the life of each card and keep them in pristine condition. The ink on many cards can get sticky over time, and if you store your cards in stacks, you risk them getting stuck to one another.
  2. Invest in specialty cardboard boxes for your collection. Cardboard boxes keep the bright lights off of your cards, provide added protection, and help wick away moisture.
  3. Place in a cool and dry place. Humidity and warmth can damage cards, affecting their overall condition and value.
  4. Have caution when displaying your cards. Whether you display a single card or a collection, choose the locations with purpose and care. While you want them visible for others to see, place them out of direct sunlight to prevent ultraviolet (UV) rays from damaging the cards. Use a case with a UV-protected barrier in a dry area, away from dust and humidity.

So there you have it. We at Americash Jewelry & Coin Buyer have enjoyed sharing details about how using resources on the internet can help you get an inaccurate value on your cards. If you’re ready to let go of a few of your cards taking up space, it’s best to meet with someone in person for the most accurate information.

What do you think of our information? What piece of information did you find most valuable? Did we miss something you think is important? If we did, please let us know. Leave us a message sharing your thoughts, and we’ll be happy to review your opinion.

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