CGC vs PSA, Thoughts?

Hi everyone,

As I am getting back into collecting pokemon cards, I am seeing way more CGC graded cards then 5-6 years ago. What are your thoughts on CGC as a grading company and in comparison to PSA. Thanks.

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well considering CGC wasnt around that long ago in the card game, I think thats your first reason as to why that is. However, in regard to grading its really up to your own motivation behind that incentive. Are you looking to collect them for yourself? Are you looking to sell? The more questions you ask yourself and answer through research, the more youll find your answer to a general question such as this.

In my own opinion, Im over grading as a whole myself for anything but selling since theres no real reason for me to be collecting labels these days. I can tell myself a card is (insert number) myself and protect it in my own careful way as opposed to handing it to a stranger getting paid the bare minium in hopes that they dont damage things along the way. I see it all as a money pit to just keep me away from buying the items i truly want overall. Take that thought with a grain of salt and do with it what you please.

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This has always been a ‘hot’ discussion on the forum, you can find lots of threads on it already. But anyway, in my opinion they both have pros and cons. Personally I prefer PSA for the majority of graded cards I purchase. I’m usually satisfied with the assigned grade the majority of the time. PSA is the largest grader with the most collectors in Pokemon overall and seems unlikely to change long-term and so you have usually more buyers for PSA over CGC it seems.

With this said, I still think CGC cards can be great too. I feel that so far CGC has been a much better option than say BGS was or has been in Pokemon. In addition, CGC also grades more things like errors and other unique cards that PSA or another company may not grade necessarily. With respect to the actual slab, CGC I think has the better slab than PSA in terms of protection and clarity overall.

The last thing to mention I guess is the ethics and issues of each company. You’ll read lots of good and bad things from time to time. I’d say the biggest thing recently with CGC was the label/grading standard changes which caused some distruption. Then with PSA you have all the issues like cards being damaged or mis-grades or whatever else happens. So neither are totally perfect or immune to issues.

Hope this helps.

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That’s probably because CGC wasn’t grading cards 5 years ago! The got into Pokemon in late 2020 if I recall correctly.

CGC seems to have established itself as an alternative grading company, but they are not a true competitor to PSA and I doubt they ever will be. CGC’s multiple acknowledged and unacknowledged shifts to their grading scale in their 3 years of operation, limited resale value when compared to PSA, and my history of positive experiences with PSA grading have turned me off to submitting to them. I tried it, but it wasn’t for me.

That being said, there are a lot of subjective advantages to CGC (e.g. case style and feel, label design) and objective advantages as well (e.g. error recognition, test print and unreleased card grading, pricing). I can certainly see why a lot of people use them to submit.

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Thanks, I am purposely buying lower grade with nice “fronts” of the card so that I can own them, not sell them

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If that’s what you’re mainly after, it’s always good to look at both companies in my experience. In the lower grades you can find some great value from each company at times and usually all CGC cards will have scans you can look at which helps review the condition even closer. I even will buy PSA 5s or 6s for a binder copy as they can look just fine for that. I bought a CGC 8 recently that looks more like a PSA 9 to me. So it’s good to factor all this in when collecting as you can save a lot of money this way over the long-term.

Agreed here, but don’t forget one of the biggest things is turn around time! The inconsistency on labels is frustrating for sure.

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That’s a good idea, I just want to make sure CGC is…legitimate/acceptable to you e4 collectors

At this point, I only look at PSA or CGC for the most part. I’d say 95% of the time I buy PSA. But every once in a while I’ll go for a CGC slab if it makes sense. Like I found this card was nearly perfect and looked better than the assigned grade and I got it a lot cheaper than most PSA 8s would sell for:

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Along with all the great responses here. I do wish in general some of these grading companies had nicer labels. I do happen to like the look of the pristine 10 label of CGC and even the basic one looks a little better to me then PSA. As far as value and higher end cards, I would always send them to PSA. Looking at recent comps, PSA and CGC modern cards tend to be close to the same selling price, vintage hands down PSA owns the market for Pokemon. It is more likely the grading scale and the fact they been around longer and a little less harsh on the grading scale in my opinion. I remember I was tired of PSA’s super long turn around during COVID, as most people did too, so when CGC started grading, I sent over 200 cards. My mistake, 200 cards pack fresh and they all got 9.5 or less, they were extremely harsh which basically ripped any value they had. Since the recent change, I do feel better about it, but I will still keep sending to CGC and PSA depending on the card.

I was thinking about that too, but I don’t really have that expertise to tell an 8 from a 9 etc

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Many collectors don’t view CGC as legitimate, tbh. Or rather, CGC doesn’t have the same credibility among Pokemon collectors that PSA has. Personally, I think the view that CGC is any less credible than PSA is irrational. But that doesn’t change the fact that many collectors sincerely hold this view.

But ultimately, who really cares? Collecting is a personal thing. I collect CGC because:

  1. (I’ve found that) the dollar to card quality ratio is better than it is for PSA. That is: better bang for one’s buck
  2. Better viewing experience

Basically, if you’re collecting in order to impress people on the internet, you should chose PSA over CGC. PSA simply has more market acceptance. But if you don’t care about that, then the decision comes down to other factors (including but not limited to the ones I mentioned).

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I don’t think anyone doubts CGC’s legitimacy as a grading company. It’s certainly miles more credible than the basement grading companies that have popped up all over since 2020.

PSA does objectively have a larger market share and more people who prefer their grading. And I’d also argue that PSA is better run and easier to understand for new collectors as a result of their simplicity. But someone could very easily make the opposite point for CGC, and they’d have a good argument for it. At this point, it really does come down to preference.

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If you are just looking for cards with nice fronts, use the cert lookup on new PSA labels or any CGC label to see high definition scans of the holo portion of the card. That will help you confirm the condition that you are looking for.

PSA Cert Lookup (only implemented for newer certs):

https://www.psacard.com

CGC Cert Lookup:

PSA > CGC … PSA is king :crown:

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PSA is the only grading company with a compressive grading scale.

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PSA burned me, I will use CGC now.
CGC burned me, I will return to PSA.
Repeat.

Meanwhile BGS has the clown makeup on and the only way out of the cycle is to join bindergang

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PSA is pretty damn impressive when you think about it. Yes you have instances where the cards are damaged, and that’s really unfortunate and frustrating (especially if customer service is giving you a hard time getting the refund) but when you consider they grade quite literally a million plus cards per month, it’s down right amazing it happens as little as it does.

Same with the grades. Sure, there are flukes where a 10-quality card gets a 7 and you can’t figure out why, or a card gets mislabeled, but for the most part I find their grading to be pretty dang consistent. I think most cards (especially vintage/WOTC) can be viewed plus or minus a grade depending on how particular you are.

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Bgs is very impressive for graded Pokémon cards. Top 2 always, between 1/2 placement and the most expensive to grade.

Arguably psa is the clown makeup on so top 3.

Given psa grading returns of recent damaged and lower scores, they are falling market share to cgc.

I’m not saying I won’t buy psa cards since a majority of my collection is psa, but grading with psa currently does not seem like it’s for me. Bgs/cgc is still fine, with cgc being newer but growing in demand and absorption.

It’s just a matter of time at this rate for cgc 9/10a to lessen price gap between psa 9/10s.

For higher grades, i’d recommend you to check last few ebay sales for CGC cards, and check the condition of the actual cards.
Prices reflect the condition in most cases.

I wouldnt touch CGC10s as of now but thats my personal opinion, but for lower grades id definitely look into any grading company, just check the card you’re buying and you’re good to go.

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