Buy the card not the grade?

When buying online, sometimes listing don’t have scans and it’s tough to get a sense of surface. Best way to make sure you’re getting a good look at the card?


Maybe ask seller for more pictures? Roll the dice or leave it. Hope this helps :+1:


I totally get your frustration, I experienced this myself recently. Professional sellers often don’t like to be bothered or search through theirs inventory (I understand), others will send pictures worse than the original in the listing.

Some weeks ago I bought a kinda pricey card with the ‘PSA9 and pray’ approach lol, but ideally you should not be in rush and wait for the right combination of solid card, compliant seller and clear pictures/scans imho


Thank you. Yeah I think I’ll have to be patient here.

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I agree with what @decoypalmette wrote. Patience is key. Over the years of buying from Mercari, I have realised that almost never have I felt that if I don’t purchase a card now, I will never get it anymore.

In most cases, for very reputed sellers, even if the pictures are lacking, the quality stated in the post is reliable. Meaning if they say the card is mint in the description, you can say with good confidence that it is going to be mint. But for sellers you are not confident about, the better choice is to wait till they have provided enough evidence that the card is as they state, specially for pricier items.

Considering that Mercari JP has no buyer protection for international buyers, the slow and patient approach has served me well. End of the day, no matter the amount of money I spend, if I don’t do my due diligence then I can’t blame anyone else for a less than ideal product.



This is really good advice. Thank you

One thing I have found with the PSA grading standard is that if it has more flaws on the back (i.e. whitening on corners/edges), there’s a stronger chance the holo/surface will be better condition. However, cards that have clean backs may have more surface flaws instead. So it really depends what made it score the assigned grade. In some cases a PSA 6 for example may be a near perfect card, but have a surface dent that made it a 6.

Anyway, if you don’t want to be disappointed I would stick to PSA 8+ grades. Usually these will have fairly minimal surface flaws or if they do have surface flaws you’ll have to look under good lighting or certain angles to find them.

You have to look harder to find ‘strong’ low grades. I’ve seeked out a few really nice PSA 5s or 6s over the years, but they’re usually the exceptions and far from the norm.


As someone who buys and cracks cards for regrading, the main thing is to check back scans if they exist - and ask for photos from the seller using a phone light on the holo.

Front scans generally aren’t that good at showing things like print lines or light scratches (unless it’s a base 2 - neo destiny holo, in which case they usually show up quite well in scans) - so more photos are always better.

Some bigger sellers likely won’t want to do that as it takes time to take an item out of inventory just for you - but most private sellers will be happy to do so.

Being polite about it gets you pretty far (and don’t rush the purchase as others have stated above - there is always another card coming up).


More often than not, collectors think that they are looking at a strong grade if the back is flawless. @jabby correctly notes, such flawless backs often come with more surface defects. This is a prevalent fallacy, and too few people are aware of it.

I am not saying that people do not know about it but when one spots whitening on the back, this is a fact. If the back is flawless, people still hope for a flawless surface, hence they trade facts for hope. I can understand that but personally, I prefer a great front over a great back because I display the front in my collection.

Btw., does anyone know whether PSA or other grade companies put more weight on the front than the back?

Cards can still get 10s and not be flawless.

Many of the 1st ed Base / Shadowless cards in PSA 10 have print lines or slight edge/corner issues. Many jungle PSA 10s have silvering.

It’s really about knowing the nuances of each grading company and using that knowledge on where to send it (plus a lot of luck).


I think this is key. Every card is going to have issues. I don’t believe there is such thing as a perfect card


I struggle with this a bit. I always prefer buying raw but a lot of the stuff I want like base 1st ed and gold stars just dont exist mint raw anymore sadly

I once asked for a photo of the back, and the guy sent me a photo of his actual back. Good times.


was it hairy? for research purposes of course.

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Why? Was it you?

Another one for the crack and resub?

Buy the card not the grade frens


Such a clean 9


Send it till there’s no nice 9s left!


Do you think that still works? Just keep cracking until you get the grade you want?

Yessir :handshake: