Card Grading Scales: The Ultimate Guide

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When putting together a post the other day on what is a BCCG 10, I realized that not only are not all card grading scales equal, but even the common 1-10 card grading scale could differ between the popular card grading companies.

So, in case you were wondering yourself and wanted all of that information in one place, you’ve come to the right post.

First of all, here are the links to the different grading scales for each of the companies you might be considering at this time. If looking for 100% to the date info, these are your best bet.

If you wanted a snapshot from my interpretations and that is updated every so often, please consult the table below.

Here is what the graded card scale looks like across PSA, BGS, CSG, and more. And rather than only go company by company, I thought it would be interesting to compare what each card grading means for these different companies as you go up and down the scale.

You’ll see a lot of similarities, and I tried to use the same wording used on each respective website, but did abbreviate in some places in order for all of the information to fit.

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PSAGem MintNAMintNM-MT+NM-MTNMEX-NMEXVG-EXVGGoodFairPoor
BGSBlack Label or PristineGem MintMintNM-MT+NM-MTNMEX-NMEXVG-EXVGGoodFairNA
CSGPerfect or PristineGem MintMintNM-MT+NM-MTNMEX/NMEXVG/EXVGGoodFairPoor
SGCPristine or Gem MintMint+MintNM-MT+NM-MTNRMTEX/NMEXVG/EXVGGoodFairPoor
BCCGMint or BetterNANMNAExcellentVery GoodGoodNANANANANANa
HGAFlawless or Pristine MintGem MintMintNM/M+TNM/MTNMEX/NMEXVG/EXVGGoodFairPoor
EliteDiamond or PristineGemMintNM/MT+NM/MTNMEX/NMEXVG/EXVGGoodFairPoor
ISAGem MintNAMintNANM-MTNMEX-MTEXVG-EXVGGoodNAPoor
MNTFlawless or PristineGem MintMNTNeat MNT-MNT+Near MNT-MNTNear MNTEX- MNTEXVG-EXVGGoodFairPoor
GMAGem-MTNAMintNM-MT+NM-MTNMEX/NMEXVG/EXVGGoodFair+Fair

So, for the most part, the major grading companies all tend to follow the same or very similar type of scale. Here are some things that stand out to me:

BGS Black Label, SGC Pristine, etc.

As you can see, some grading companies not only award a 10, but two different types of 10s, with one being better than the other. For instance, with BGS, a card can get a 10 while receiving 9.5s for centering, corners, surface, and or edges, but will only be awarded the Black Label if the card received 10s for each of the BGS subgrades.

Read More: PSA OC Meaning

Half Grades

Regarding half-grades, I did not include every single piece of information from every company in the table above for the sake of space. So, I included a few of the higher subgrades and then the 1.5 which is helpful for vintage. Please also note that just because there isn’t a half-grade listed it doesn’t mean the company doesn’t award half-grades.

For example, ISA doesn’t list out the half-grades on their grading scale page, but does offer this note at the end:

“Half-point grades will be assigned to high-end cards within a particular grade from ISA 1 to ISA 8. Half-point grade increases are issued with a primary focus on eye appeal.”

BCCG

As you can see, always make sure to look at the grading description and not assume the number is what you think it means based on what you’ve experienced with other grading companies.

For example, the BCCG grading scale is the one that sticks out from the bunch in this regard, with their “10” only starting at “Near Mint or Better” which means their lower numbers are going to be significantly lower grades than you’d expect. This is best illustrated with their “7” being “Very Good” where other companies don’t award “Very Good” until around grades 3-4.