In cards, slabbed means inside of a slab, which is the container a card is encased in by different card grading companies. Each grading company has their own slab style, with the PSA slab a relatively slimmer and lightweight encasing while BGS offers a bulkier option.
So, a slabbed card is usually a graded card. Now, I say “usually” because you can very well get a card slabbed, say for protection or authentication, but not graded. So again, slabbed means placed within a slab, and most cards in slabs are graded.
Should you get your cards slabbed?
In regards to whether or not it makes sense to grade cards, like most things, it depends. There are a number of great reasons to grade cards or get them slabbed. Namely, you’d potentially want to get a card slabbed if you were hoping to increase its value with a gem mint or great grade. In addition, you might get a card slabbed if you believe a slab offers added protection.
All that said, it costs money to get cards graded (see PSA grading costs) and grading does introduce risk, both in terms of sending your cards through the mail (unless getting cards graded in person) but also because a low grade or card rating can potentially devalue the card. All things together, there is a lot to consider, and varies for each person and card.
Should you buy slabbed cards?
Again, it all depends. Some people only collect cards that are in slabs, while others don’t want to have anything to do with them. As for why someone would want to buy a slabbed card, it can help ensure authenticity. For instance, fake and replica cards exist, so slabbing them or submitting them to an authenticator who then slabs them can help ensure cards are in fact authentic.
And then, of course, the obvious reason is that a card slabbed in a particular grade helps ensure you’re holding a copy of a card in good condition, which can help establish and preserve value over time. But yes, there are a number of variables, and nothing is black and white.
Where can you buy slabbed cards?
If you’ve made the decision to buy a slabbed card, you have options. There are a number of marketplaces that make slabbed cards available, including eBay, COMC, and StarStock. In addition, though, there are some platforms that only sell slabbed cards, as is the case with Alt and MySlabs.