sports card grading scale & definitions

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PRISTINE 10

The PRISTINE designation is reserved for the truly flawless sports card at the top of the grading scale. These cards will display four perfectly sharp corners. All four edges must be crisp and straight, with no chips or dents. The surface of a PRISTINE card must be in focus with bright colors and clean, clear original gloss. Centering must be nearly perfect, with only a 5% variance allowed on the front and a 10% variance on the back. 

GEM MINT 9.5

The GEM MINT designation is reserved for the nearly perfect sports card. These cards will display four perfectly sharp corners. All four edges must be crisp and straight, with only the very slightest of imperfections. The surface of a GEM MINT card must be in focus with bright colors and clean, clear original gloss. Centering must be nearly perfect, with only a 7.5% variance allowed on the front and a 15% variance on the back.

MINT 9

The MINT designation is reserved for the truly exceptional sports card. These cards will display four extremely sharp corners. For a card to be graded MINT, only one of the following items can be overlooked: slight smudge or stain on reverse, very minor printing errors, or a chip or dent in the edge that is only noticeable under magnification. Centering must be nearly perfect, with only a 7.5% variance allowed on the front and a 15% variance on the back.

NM-MT+ 8.5

The NM-MT+ designation is reserved for sports cards that exude all the characteristics of a NM-MT 8, with one or more exceptional qualities deeming the NM-MT+ 8.5 grade.

NM-MT 8

The NM-MT designation is reserved for the very well-preserved sports card. These cards will display at least three sharp corners. One slightly frayed corner is acceptable. For a card to be graded NM-MT, only the following items can be overlooked: slight smudges or stains on reverse, very minor printing errors, or slight chips or dents in the edge that are only noticeable after close examination. Centering must be nearly perfect, with only a 10% variance allowed on the front and a 25% variance on the back.

NEAR MINT+ 7.5

The NEAR MINT+ designation is reserved for sports cards that exude all the characteristics of a NEAR MINT 7, with one or more exceptional qualities deeming the NEAR MINT+ 7.5 grade.

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NEAR MINT 7

The NM-MT designation is reserved for high-end sports cards. These cards will display at least three slightly frayed corners.  The very slightest of one rounded corner is acceptable. For a card to be graded NM-MT, only the following items can be overlooked: slight smudges or stains on reverse, minor printing errors, minor focus issue with photograph, and/ or slight chips or dents in the edge. Centering must be very good, with only a 15% variance allowed on the front and a 25% variance on the back.

EX-NM+ 6.5

The EX-NM+ designation is reserved for sports cards that exude all the characteristics of a EX-NM 6, with one or more exceptional qualities deeming the EX-NM+ 6.5 grade.

EX-NM 6

The EX-NM designation is reserved for sports cards displaying characteristics below any of the MINT designations. These cards will display at least three frayed corners.  One rounded corner is acceptable. For a card to be graded EX-NM, only the following items can be overlooked: slight smudges or stains on reverse, minor printing errors, minor focus issue with photograph, minor chips or dents in the edge, minor loss of gloss, and/or slight stain or smudge on front. Centering must be very good, with only a 15% variance allowed on the front and a 25% variance on the back.

EXCELLENT+ 5.5

The EXCELLENT+ designation is reserved for sports cards that exude all the characteristics of a EXCELLENT 5, with one or more exceptional qualities deeming the EXCELLENT+ 5.5 grade.

EXCELLENT 5

The EXCELLENT designation is reserved for sports cards displaying characteristics below any of the MINT designations. These cards will display at least three frayed corners.  One or more rounded corners are acceptable. For a card to be graded EXCELLENT, only the following items can be overlooked: minor smudges or stains on reverse,  printing errors,  focus issues with photograph, minor chips or dents in the edge, noticeable loss of gloss, and/or slight stain or smudge on front. Centering must be fairly good, with only a 17.5% variance allowed on the front and a 30% variance on the back.

VG-EX+ 4.5

The EXCELLENT+ designation is reserved for sports cards that exude all the characteristics of a EXCELLENT 5, with one or more exceptional qualities deeming the EXCELLENT+ 5.5 grade.

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VG-EX 4

The EXCELLENT designation is reserved for sports cards displaying characteristics below any of the MINT designations. These cards will display at least three frayed corners.  One or more rounded corners are acceptable. For a card to be graded EXCELLENT, only the following items can be overlooked: smudges or stains on reverse,  printing errors,  focus issues with photograph, minor chips or dents in the edge, noticeable loss of gloss, slight stain or smudge on front, and/or creases may become visible. Centering must be good, with only a 20% variance allowed on the front and a 35% variance on the back.

VERY GOOD+ 3.5

The VERY GOOD+ designation is reserved for sports cards that exude all the characteristics of a VERY GOOD 3, with one or more exceptional qualities deeming the VERY GOOD+ 3.5 grade.

VERY GOOD 3

The VERY GOOD designation is reserved for sports cards displaying serious wear and age. These cards will display at least three rounded, soft corners. For a card to be graded very good, the following items can be overlooked: smudges or stains on reverse,  printing errors,  focus issues with photograph, chips or dents in the edge, noticeable loss of gloss, stain or smudge on front, and/or creases have become visible. Centering must be fair, with a 30% variance allowed on the front and a 40% variance on the back.

FAIR+ 2.5

The FAIR+ designation is reserved for sports cards that exude all the characteristics of a FAIR 2, with one or more exceptional qualities deeming the FAIR+ 2.5 grade.

FAIR 2

The FAIR designation is reserved for sports cards displaying extreme wear and age. These cards will display all four rounded, soft corners. For a card to be graded very good, the following items can be overlooked: smudges or stains on reverse,  printing errors,  focus issues with photograph, chips or dents in the edge, noticeable loss of gloss, stain or smudge on front, creases have become visible, card may be missing small pieces, punctures, and/or have ink marks. Centering can be extremely out of alignment.

POOR 1

The POOR 1 designation is reserved for cards that are nearly unrecognizable. These cards display extreme wear, staining, tears, creases, writing, water damage, smoke damage, and or folds. This is the lowest grade on our grading scale. These cards are recognizable, but have significant damage..