If you’ve never graded a card before, the process can seem daunting and overwhelming, right? I mean, you’re basically sending off what is presumably a valuable card – either monetarily or in terms of worth to your personal collection, or both – to someone else for handling.
If that wasn’t enough, there are certain “rules” and guidelines to follow when doing so—pack the card this way, put this barcode here, write this on the outside of the box.
And we haven’t even gotten into the wait times and lack of transparency, especially these days.
All of that said, grading cards can still be an enjoyable experience. Does it make sense to even get cards graded? The full answer requires another day and time, but cost is a big piece of that equation, so let’s jump in.
How Much Does it Cost to Get a Card Graded?
The cost of getting a card graded depends on many different variables, making it a difficult question to definitively answer. Above all else, the company with which you’re grading the card will make the biggest determination, as each has it’s own fee schedule and unique selling points.
From there, the type of card, desired turnaround time, and other factors will all also determine cost.
So, with that said, the best way to figure out how much it will cost to get your card graded is to start with the grading company. Meaning, figure out which company you want grading your card and then dive into how much it might cost to get it done.
Now, you might be asking, “Well, won’t cost play a big factor in me deciding which company I ultimately want to grade with?”
In my opinion, the answer is no. There are many reasons to get a card graded, but let’s look at this question under a few different scenarios.
If you’re getting a card graded because you prefer a slab for ultimate safe-keeping in your personal collection, then the actual look and feel of the case might play more importance. Meaning, you might prefer the timple and straightforward look of a PSA slab, or, you might want a slab that has subgrades like that of BGS.
On the other hand, if you’re grading a card knowing that you’re ultimately going to re-sell that card, then you might want to opt for the company that offers the best resale value for that card, and thus, the cost of grading isn’t of utmost importance.
See what I mean? We can go on and on in this fashion. Really, the only time cost might be the biggest determing factor is when you don’t care of what the slab looks like, don’t care which company offers the most value, don’t care which company is the most strict or lenient, etc. And in that case, then I might ask why even get the card graded in the first place!
Anyway, you can go about it whichever way you choose, but answering the question of how much it costs to grade a card is most easily answered by looking at how costs differ within each company’s different grading options.
(Please also note that the listed turnaround times with different companies are probably all greatly impacted at the moment. Nevertheless, you’ll still pay the same price, but just know it might take months beyond the stated times to receive your cards and grades.)
PSA Grading Cost
To grade cards with PSA:
- Value: $10/card; 20 card minimum (Collector’s Club)
- Economy: $20/card; not currently available
- Regular: $50/card; 25 business days, turnaround times impacted
- Express: $75/card; 15 business days, turnaround times impacted
- Super Express: $200/card; 2 business days
- Walk-Through: $500/card; 1 business day
Keep in mind there are a number of other PSA services depending on your needs. For instance, to get a card re-slabbed or as PSA refers to it a “re-holder” (put in a new case), the cost of standard cards and tallboys is $10/card (turnaround times vary).
BGS Gading Cost
To grade cards with Beckett:
- Economy: $35/card, 30 days (but approximately 8+ months)
- Standard: $50/card, 10 days (but approximately 5+ months)
- Express: $150/card, 5 days (but approximately 10-15+ busuness days)
- Premium: $250/card, 2 days (but approximately 5-10+ business days)
Note that prices are less if wanting a grade without subgrades.
SGC Grading Cost
To grade cards with SGC:
- Less than $500 in declared value: $15/card, 65-70 business days
- Less than $1,500 in declared value: $35/card, 65-70 business days
- Less than $3,500 in declared value: $85/card, 65-70 business days
- Less than $7,500 in declared value: $250/card, 1-2 business days
It looks like there are 1-2 business day options for every declared value level.
HGA Grading Cost
To grade cards with HGA:
- Best Value: $20/card, 60 days
- Most Popular: $35/card, 30 days (1 to 19 cards)
- Fastest: $55/card, 10 days (1 to 19 cards)
HGA is one of the newest companies, and is currently limiting the amount of cards they take in to grade each week.
Other Grading Options
All of that said, you might find different pricing if you’re able to submit with groups of others. For instance, if you’re a StarStock member, you can submit your StarStock cards for grading with PSA. It’s Economy 20-Day Service ($499 Maximum Declared Value per card) at $30 per card.
(If you aren’t a StarStock member, you can get $10 in free credit when you register with code BallcardGenius and then make a $10 deposit; I’ll receive $10 too, so thanks in advance!)
All in all, there are more grading options than ever, so let your answer to the “why” help guide your decision.