How to Get Cards Graded by PSA 2021 (The Defentive Guide)

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PSA, shorthand for Professional Sports Authenticator, is a premier brand in sports card grading. Despite the controversy over rising prices, it offers a wide array of valuable services including:

  • Single card grading
  • Unopened pack grading
  • Autograph authentication
  • Price appraisals
  • More

For our purposes, we’re delving into how PSA conducts its card grading process. The more familiar you are with this process and its benefits, the better equipped you’ll be to submit your own cards and packs to PSA for grades and appraisals.

Related: PSA Grading vs SGC Grading vs BGS Grading

 

Is It Worth Getting Your Card Graded by PSA?

If you believe that you have a potential high-value card, then it is probably worth submitting the card to receive a PSA grade.

Having the PSA stamp of approval does the following:

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  • Allows you to know that your card is authentic and is in good condition
  • Increases your card’s resale value
  • Allows you to enter your card on the PSA Set Registry
  • Lets potential buyers know that your card is authentic
  • Provides an official metric for the quality of your card
  • Allows you to compete with other sellers who have had similar cards graded by PSA
  • Entitles you to the PSA storage case, one of the most effective ways to protect and display your cards

Do some research on the card you are considering having graded (read: Should You Get Your Cards Graded). If it is a card valuable enough and in good enough condition, having the PSA stamp of approval could be very much worth the cost of grading.

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PSA Grading Cost

Prices for PSA grading services increased as of March 2021. This was to be expected based on the upsurge in trading card investment and popularity as well as the sale of PSA’s parent company, Collectors Universe.

The rate for all forms of PSA grading services doubled or nearly doubled. This was a big deal, especially for those who rely on PSA grading large sets of their cards. That said, the prices are what they are.

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The cost of having your card graded depends on the Declared Value of your card. This is the value that you believe your card will fetch after it receives a PSA grade. Prices are as follows:

  • $20 per card for cards valued at $499 or less, with a ten-card submission minimum (note that this price is available only to PSA Collectors Club members)
  • $50 per card for cards valued at $499 or less (this is the price for non-collectors Club members)
  • $100 per card for cards valued between $500 and $999
  • $150 per card for cards valued between $1,000 and $2,499
  • $300 per card for cards valued between $2,500 and $4,999
  • $600 per card for cards valued between $5,000 and $9,999

Valuation of cards with a Declared Value of $10,000 or more qualify for PSA’s Premium grading options. These options cost either $1,000, $2,000, $3,000, $5,000, or $10,000 depending on the Declared Value of your card.

 

How to Submit Your Card To PSA

Your first step is to visit PSAcard.com. In the upper righthand corner of the site, you’ll see a green circular button that reads “Submit” (you can’t miss it).

Once you click the button, you’ll be brought to a Sign-In screen. If you don’t already have a PSA account, you’ll need to create one.

Following your sign in, you’ll fill out the following information:

  • The type of item you are submitting (a regular card, jumbo card, packs, etc.)
  • The service you are requesting (grading, autograph review, authenticity review, or reholder)
  • The Declared Value of the card(s) you are submitting
  • A description of each card that you are submitting
  • Your shipping and billing information

And with this, you’re ready to submit your card to PSA for an official grade, or whichever service you are seeking.

 

PSA Card Grading Locations

A PSA Dealer can assist with getting your card ready for grading or can further help you with the grading process in person.

Please visit www.psacard.com/dealers to find a location near you.

The PSA Grading headquarters is based at 10 Woodbridge Center Dr., Suite 701, Woodbridge, NJ 07095.

PSA Grading phone number?: 1-800-325-1121.

The new PSA Grading landing page can be found at www.PSAcard.com/NewJerseyOffice.

 

Concepts to Understand Before Submitting Your Card

PSA points out frequent points of confusion for those submitting cards for grading. To help the grading process go as smoothly as possible, you may want to research two concepts in particular:

  1. Minimum Grade (explainer from PSA)
  2. Declared Value (explainer from PSA)

Like so many things in life, these concepts are easy enough to understand with the proper guidance. These explainers from PSA should help tremendously.

 

Steps to Take Before Sending Your Card In

PSA requires you to include two copies of your completed submission form with the card(s) that you are mailing in. Go ahead and print three copies, two to be included in the package and one for your own records.

You may also choose to utilize one of the methods for cleaning your cards without damaging them. Doing so requires immense care, and may not be worth doing if you are concerned that you could damage the card in any way.

 

How to Package Your Card

PSA recommends storing each card in a flexible card pouch and then placing the card in a tougher, semi-rigid plastic sleeve (which it conveniently sells on its eStore). It explicitly states that you should not use screw-down or snap cases, as doing so can delay the time it takes for you to receive a grade.

Stack your cards (within their plastic sleeves) on top of each other. Place a piece of cardboard at the bottom of the pile. The cardboard barrier should be slightly larger than the size of your cards.

The card at the top of the stack should correspond with the first item on your card submission form. If your cards are not in proper order, PSA reserves the right of shipping your items back to you without a refund for the cost of shipping.

Place another cardboard barrier on top of your stack. At this point, your stack should be encapsulated by cardboard barriers on top and bottom.

Keep the cards in place by wrapping rubber bands around the stack. Use the Goldy Locks method—not too tight, not too loose. 

Place your stack of cards in bubble wrap, packing popcorn, or other materials that prevent movement within a cardboard box. Remember to include two paper copies of your submission form. Seal the box, apply the shipping label, and also apply the Submission ID label that PSA will provide you.

Drop the package off at your shipper of choice (use the shipping method you choose through the PSA website), and wait anxiously for your cards to be graded.

 

Who to Send Your Card to (PSA Grading Address)

PSA operates out of Southern California. At the risk of providing information that is not specific to you, you should use the shipping address and method that matches the official PSA submission address as listed below:

TRENDING: TOP WAYNE GRETZKY ROOKIE CARDS

Addresses and shipping methods may be subject to change with time. International submissions may also require unique shipping methods. Use the most current, personalized information when shipping your cards to PSA.

 

How the Grading Process Generally Works / How Long It Takes

The level of service that you select, which is generally dependent on the value of the cards that you submit, will impact how long it takes to grade your card.

PSA will notify you via email when it has received your card. It will then:

  1. Enter your order into its grading system database
  2. Generate specific order numbers for your cards
  3. Update your Orders page with additional details about your submissions
  4. Notify you of any errors or issues with your order (if such issues exist)
  5. Apply stickers to each card, which allow PSA (and you) to track the progress of your grades
  6. Generate an estimated due date for your order
  7. Research each of your cards to ensure accuracy, then send you an email confirming that each card has been researched and confirmed as accurate
  8. Inform you of any errors or of cards that are not eligible for grading
  9. Grade your cards
  10. Generate an official PSA Lighthouse Label for each eligible card
  11. Seal your card and Lighthouse Label in the trademark PSA case
  12. Re-review your card and grade for accuracy
  13. Confirm your return shipping information
  14. Return your card to you

There is no way to accurately say how long it will take to grade your card. There are several variables. Once your card is received by PSA, order updates will be the surest way to project when the grading process will be completed.

 

Criteria PSA Uses to Grade Your Card

Your card is considered perfect until flaws come into play. Flaws that could decrease the grade of your card include:

  • the card being miscut
  • a defect in the way that your card is printed
  • a card being stained
  • a card having damaged edges or corners
  • a card having blemishes, also known as marks
  • a card image being out of focus

These are the primary criteria that PSA uses to grade cards, including any that you submit.

 

How to get cards graded for free by PSA?

Contrary to popular belief you cannot get your cards graded for free by PSA. They do however offer a service called PSA Photograde.

PSA Photograde is a free service that allows the user to gain a better understanding of the PSA Grading Standards and how they apply to their cards by providing a visual tour.

PSA Grades Scale

PSA grades cards on a 1 through 10 scale. Individual grades include:

1 – Poor (PR 1)

1.5 – Fair (FR 1.5)

2 – Good (GOOD)

3 – Very Good (VG 3)

4 – Very Good-Excellent (VG-EX 4)

5 – Excellent (EX 5)

6- Excellent-Mint (EX-MT 6)

7 – Near Mint (NM 7)

8 – Near Mint-Mint (NM-MT 8)

9 – Mint (MINT 9)

10 – Gem Mint (GEM-MT 10)

The higher the score, the higher you can expect the market value for your specific card to be.

 

Conclusion – You’re  Ready to Have Your Cards Graded

Should you choose PSA as your card grading service of choice, you now have the information you need to get the process started.

 

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He is a freelance journalist with experience as a sports card market analyst and researcher in the fields of disruptive technology, law, and sports retail. He is known for writing work that brings value to industry professionals and the generally curious.

73 COMMENTS

  1. I have a frank thomas error card I just found in my collection it’s not graded but if it’s of value I would surely have it graded I’m willing to send pictures of this card

  2. I have a good deal of cards more of mickael Jordan. And Allan Iverson. Kobe Bryant Scottie pippen. And Manny more. I would like to sell them all at a fair price.all are in plastic.. If interested send me email.thankyou.

  3. Hi I have a Joe Montana error card number 10. It was my father‘s on the outside of the box it said they are in mint condition just by his eyes I’m sure what should I do with this Card? Thanks

  4. I have a pack pulled 2018 Panini Flawless Patrick Mahoney Texas Tech Jersey and autograph card numbered 07/15-autograph is directly on card and a pack pulled 2017 Leaf Armed and Dangerous Metal Draft autographed patrick mahomes auto directly on card. Should I have them graded?

  5. I have a Senior year ( U of M ) Polaroid picture with Tom Brady. After he wrote his name on it ( printed ). Not even a signature. Is this worth getting graded.

  6. I have a 1993 Derek Jeter SP Upper Deck #279 foil card that’s been in a plastic sleeve since day 1. Is this card worth getting graded and how much have you seen them selling for?

  7. Should I grade a panini cornerstone 1/3 Aaron Judge 4 patch on card auto. 1 patch is 2 color. In a panini sealed loaded?

  8. I have a Shohei Ohtani Topps Chrome Magenta Rookie Debut card HMT32 in mint condition and stored properly since day 1. I’ve seen this card all over the price spectrum and trying to find an accurate sum?

      • Regarding your reply to Mario ippolito: your write-up is fantastic, but, have you gone to the psa website?? They are now charging a minimum of $200/ card. In Ippolito’s case, he’d be down a lot of money before even selling it. Even on $2000 cards, that’s 10% of cost just going to the grade…. this is insane!

        • Hey Anthony, correct but the PSA prices are not including the cheapest options as they are still trying to catch up. Were not updating that article any further until all the grading companies get back to 100% operation. We are in contact with a few employees at PSA and are hoping they open back up to 100% sometime this month but who knows for sure.

  9. I have two Bo Jackson Topps Tiffany Rookie cards that have been in plastic since the late 80s and I just located them. Worth getting them graded?

  10. I have 6 Shaq Topps #362 all in mint condition, and I’ve seen prices vary everywhere, I was wondering if you knew the right estimate?

  11. I have a 1998 Leaf Rookies and Stars Crusade Call to Arms Red #03/25 Steve Young card. It has been in a case since 1998. I only found market listings for P. Manning, J. Rice, and S. McNair. Is it worth it to get the card graded?

  12. I just pulled a Mint Starlight Rare Stardust Dragon, placed inside of a magnetic card case right out of the pack, I would like to get it graded, wanted to know what is the price value for it if it’s graded at GEM-MT-10

  13. HI! I have an Upper Deck autographed Jordan hologram 8″x10″ serial number BAK44010 in lower right of picture, framed. Inside the frame is also a 1986 Fleer Jordan Rookie that is unauthenticated and signed. I cannot find any prices realized on the framed picture from Upper Deck. Any idea on value of the auto picture and should I sell together with the Fleer Rookie or separate? Many thanks!

  14. I have a 1986 Fleer Michael Jordan #57…has two pin holes in the top corners. (I was a dumb kid) Otherwise the card is in good shape. Is it worth getting graded?

  15. Hi! I have a Red Eyes Black Dragon 1st Spanish Edition BIJ-S001, a Blue Eyes White Dragon Spanish Edition DLI-S001, and the Dark Magician DLI-S002. I don’t know if at least one of them are worth it to get a PSA, also because I’m from Mexico and the shipping could be expensive. Any thoughts on this? Thank you.

  16. I have a 1933 baseball card of Pie Traynor and also a 1933 of Kiki Cuyler. Both appear in very good condition (sharp corners, no stains, wrinkles, tears, stains, etc.) Backs have slight even tanning from age. Is it worth getting either or both of them PSA graded?

  17. Hello I have some rookie cards, I have the 2003 Lebron James topps Chrome #111, I have the Topps 2003 Rookie #221 Lebron James, I have Dwayne Wade Rookie ROUNDBALL FLEER ULTRA #35 of 36, Dwayne Wade Upper Deck Rookie Exclusives and Dwayne Wade Big Signs, I have Carmelo Anthony 2003 Topps rookie #223, I have 2003 Topps Bazooka Bubble Gum #240, I have 2003 rookie Fleer Limited Edition Sky’s the Limit #18 of 20 SL…..I have some more rookie cards from different PLAYERS

  18. Hello, I have 1974 Topps Deckle Edge ( grey back ) complete set of 72 cards. The Nolan Ryan card being the highest price card in the set selling for around $1,200 to $1,500 ..I want to get that card graded but will not break the set up. The condition of the cards are almost perfect to perfect . It’s a Big card…how much would 1 card cost to get graded ?

  19. I have a complete 86-87 fleet basketball set. I would like it graded, by your prices I may not be able to pay these prices until I sell. I am interested in selling now, but want to know how much it is worth. Is there any option?

  20. Hey there, I have 1992 Classic Draft Pick Collection, The King and his Heir, Abdul Jabbar and Shaq – double signature – #10/2500. I assume it should be take from screw case and be submitted for grading, thoughts? TY

  21. I have 4 Walter Payton Topps rookie cards that are not graded but are in excellent condition. I would think PSA would say a 7.5-9 maybe. They are pretty much new looking, centered and not torn or miss-cut.

    Love to have at least one graded but the selling price is unknown and quite a range even in mint condition. Just wondering if it is worth the cost of grading.

    Thanks

    Bryan Stewart
    mstewart0261@att.net

  22. My father was in security for the 49’ers in the 90’s when they won their 5th. superbowl. I have autographed jerseys by Rice, Montana, Sanders, Young. I have autographed Rice worn cleats, His and Hers Superbowl rings, autographed footballs, many, many signed photos and trading cards and sooo much more. How do I go about getting an appraisal for insurance purposes on the whole lot?

    Also, I have an autographed Joe Montana 1990 Pro Set Printing Multiple Error Card #2 I’d be interested in getting a value and Joe Montana Autographed 1982 Topps NFC #488 card I’d like the value on to sell.

  23. I have a bunch of pokemon and sports cards that haven’t been graded and I’m trying to have them priced without the astronomical fee it would be to have all (approx 200) graded. any advise?

  24. I have a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle passed down to my son from his grandfather. I believe it’s authentic and reviewed articles showing what to look for. Is it possible to get a card authenticated without paying a lot up front?

  25. I have a Gretzky rookie card that is in amazing condition – I know it’s not fake because I collected it and have about 5000 other cards from the 70s- 80s – I want to get it graded but it freaks me out to send from Canada to the US for grading – most people that have seen it say / guess its a 7 – 9 grade – happy to send pics of the cards for you guys to take a look! Let’s say in my wildest dreams it comes in at a 9 worth 50-75k (guessing) how is it insured going down and coming back? Thanks!

  26. I have tons of basketball ball card especially a MichaelJordans and Coby Bryant and so much more, I would like to get them graded please.

  27. I have some really good condition non graded 1992 Derek Jeter classic four sport rookie cards which are very rare cards bo Jackson error card Shaq rookies Ken Griffey rookies etc I have a really good collection of refractor cards and Jen Griffey and Barry bonds card if anyone’s interested in buying I would like to talk to ya

    • for sure… pick out the top ones first in good shape and do it over time however… i would go SGC or PSA (if psa wait until prices drop more… right now $100 a card is insane) … Tommy

  28. I have an entire set of 1993 Topps baseball, all stamped with the Florida Marlins inaugural season logo in gold. They were taken out of the original box, and put direct into sleeves, and have not been touched since (yes I still have the original box). I know that card #98 (Jeter) has value. Is that card worth grading? What would a possible value be (I would assume a 9 or 10 since it is basically untouched)? Any other cards of value in that set? Any idea what the entire set would be worth? Looking to possibly sell after I do my research on value. Thanks for any tips/suggestions.

  29. I have a 2000 playoffs contenders Tom Brady rookie ticket auto,I had this card for 22 years want to get it graded how much would it cost..

  30. I have 3 Randy Johnson Donruss Rated Rookie error cards . All 3 have wrong birthday year . 2 have no period after Inc are these cards worth having them graded .

  31. I have a lot of cards Michael Jordan, Iversan, Kurt Warner. Jerry Rice , Montana,Sanders, Young etc… to many to list . I don’t have the money to get them graded but I feel the Jordan and Warner are quite valuable. Approximately 5000 cards . Since they are not graded how would I start to sell them at a fair price. I live in CA if that helps .

  32. i have a Cal Ripken Jr rookie card Topps #21 Baltimore Orioles Future Stars with other players named Bob Bonner and Jeff Schneider on it..And I also have another Cal Ripken,Jr. rookie card third baseman #176.Two out of 3 of a set..Wondering how much are they worth??

  33. I have 20000 cards ,Jordans, Kobe’s Griffey, payten manning, Emmett’s Barry Sanders and many more. Kobe bobbleheads and a auto rookie Kobe ball. How do I grade and sell all this .it’s overwhelming

  34. I have a Stan Humphreys Metal Universe prescious metal gems “green”. I put it in two semi-rigid plastic sleeves, on ontop of the other back in 1997. I ⁶Then placed it in-between the pages of a huge dictionary and completely forgot about it. 25 years Later, I just found the dictionary again opened it up and there it was. Perfect condition. Is it worth getting graded?

  35. I Have a Patrick Mahomes Donruss Rated Rookie (2017) it’s in pretty flawless condition. Corners edges and all. Is anyone interested?

  36. I have a set of 151 Pokémon cards complete collection with holographic and 1st editions, I want to get them all appraised but what if some are not worth much , and some worth a lot do they all get rated? Will they know if they are base cards ? How do I get into this? I collected these cards 23+ years ago.

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