Low Psa grade VS Authentic grade for high value cards

This was a recent discussion in the efour discord server, and I thought i’d bring it to the forum to get some more members preferences on the matter.

For high value cards, i.e Illustrator, University Magikarp, Kangaskhan Trophy card, 1st Edition Base set Charizard, Certain Gold stars, and anything else that fetches a high value.

If the card was in good to poor condition, and would get a PSA 1-4 at best,

My question is, If you wanted / needed the card in your collection, and you simply couldn’t afford a higher grade

What would you rather have?

A psa graded 1,2,3, or 4 card listed above?
An Authentic grade instead of the low grade.

For example, You have a Kangaskhan Trophy card that you want to get put in a psa case but it would grade a 3, Would you rather get it graded and get a 3, or just have the authentic label.

There is no wrong answer to this as it is all personal preference.

You can’t really compare Gold Stars to Kangaskhans. I think Charizard is the only set card that would border the trophy cards. It’s not at the point where people are buying PSA 6 Gold Stars at all really. Most people aren’t even sending them in.

To answer your question:
Illustrator: Any grade except maybe 1
Unikarp: Any grade except maybe 1
Kangaskhan: Any grade except maybe 1
Charizard: 6+ graded, 5- Authentic
Gold Stars: 7+ graded, 6- binder, don’t waste your money

My reasoning for this is that Authentic could be a 1. 1 is the absolute shittiest card you’ve ever seen to juuuuust under Fair. If my Illustrator is a Fair 1.5, I want everyone to know that it isn’t a 1. If it’s a 1, maybe it’s best to just be authentic. That’s just what I think.


If it’s for your collection then Authentic.
If it’s for resale then graded.

Reason being:

  1. nobody buys authentics because they are all assumed PSA1 quality.

Graded every time

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I think that there is just too much ambiguity around the condition of Authentic cards to get the higher price (compared to its numerical grade), but I honestly prefer the look of them.

I did not realize how few psa authentic pokemon cards are on eBay. Based off how few are available and sell at this point, makes more sense to grade

Graded all day. Especially if you’re buying something like an Illustrator, you’re talking several thousands difference between a 1 and 4 so I would want that baby graded ASAP before I even considered making an offer. The best comparison would be sports cards really.

This doesn’t really effect English cards yet, but I’m sure there will be a point where 1st Ed Zards are like $1000 for PSA 1, $2000 PSA 2,etc… so you will want to know exactly what you’re buying.

However, a member recently posted a full 1st Ed Holo set all Authentic, which I think was also in sequential order. That was kind of cool and I would absolutely buy something like that rather than have a mixed up set of grades being all over the place. It would still be a bit problematic coming up with the right price for it though.

I have a 1st Ed Base Authentic holo set, only missing the Charizard and Mewtwo. The charizards stamp had part of it scraped off. The Mewtwo I don’t recall what I did. I believe it includes the 1st ever Authentic graded Pokemon card.
The second picture has my probably accurate pregraded numbers. I think there’s a 3 a 4 and a bunch of 6s,


I’ve never understood authentic designation for any reason.

Costs the same amount… same turnaround time… why not just get the grade? Do you really need to protect yourself from seeing a low grade that badly? Maybe get a better card then. All the authentic label causes is more issues and waste of time when you go to sell it. You’ll get loads of questions asking for better photos so they can judge condition. Just get the grade put on it from the start. Let the card be what it is. Don’t try to hide it and don’t try to fool anyone… even yourself.


I pretty much agree with this. If you’re keeping it in your collection and don’t care what condition it’s in why not put a number on it anyway cause after all, some day you might sell.
I did this set just for fun and because nobody else had ever done it before. I kinda liked being the first with stuff;)


I think the authentic grade fits well for certain people with certain items. I’ts all personal preference with really no wrong answer. Personally I’d rather have some cards just authenticated depending on their condition. No ones trying to hide anything or fool anyone. @gottaketchumall lol. Having no grade and just an authentic label isn’t shady. Its simply just getting the card encapsulated and verified. No one is forcing anyone to buy it and especially not pay a premium for it.

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“Buy the card not the grade”

“There’s no reason to grade as authentic”

Pick one


I would always prefer a number as opposed to authentic. even a 1. dunno why, just feels like waste just getting it authenticated

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For collection, affordability, protection and security purposes, I’d prefer the “Authentic” label on every card.

Having the Authentic labels, everything would look more consisent and feel more accomplished. On the other hand, I simply don’t like looking at a collection full of cards with various different grades. That’d just feel uneasy, underwhelming, odd and weird.

When selling collections or singles with the Authentic labels in the future, knowing that professional graders (PSA…) had made grading mistakes in the past, buyers will have a peace of mind and the full confidence that the cards are in fact authentic regardless. All that’s left for them to do is judge the conditions and decide for themselves on whether or not to buy at varying prices.

Technologies improve and new innovations appear every now and then, so in the future counterfeiters may find a “more sophisticated” way or method to produce perfect fakes (not exactly 1:1, but close). So, in this case, you won’t have any problem with the “authentic” labels.

I’ll take door number 3. Buy the card AND consider the grade.

The grade serves as a baseline professional opinion allowing the card to be pegged usually very near to it’s “true” grade. In some cases a buyer may have a question on a photo or scan of "what is that X in Y position? A crease/dent/scratch/hair/dust etc? Knowing the grade vs just having an authentic labeled card can tell you many times or at least lend a hint. Would anyone want to buy Masaki promo authentic? Surely they would just be cards that were 6’s in a prior case with those micro creases that most can’t spot in person let alone through a case in a digital photo.

Sure the grade isn’t the end all be all as there are weaks/strongs etc. but the PSA grade just answers a lot of questions off the bat that a photo/scan just cannot do. On top of that, PSA has that awesome financial guarantee of grade an authenticity which will reimburse you to market value for any card lacking to their standards. So in many situations you can actually blindly buy the grade and in the event you actually get a card that is not only “weak” but actually lacking to PSA’s guidelines they will regrade it and make you whole for the loss of any market value. I have blindly bought cards knowing this fact. I have blindly bought entire PSA graded 9 sets without a photo of a single card. I could not do that with authentic labels. I can and would blindly buy any card given it’s PSA grade. Sure, seeing the card in some situations I can move up from there if its a better than average example, it’s just PSA is around for a purpose I think if we are sending our cards to them anyways we may as well get their expert opinion.

I am just not a big fan personally of the reasons I see people advocating for authentic designation. It seems to be either a case of a broken ego on having a low grade in one’s collection or people with the “eww but my OCD can’t handle it” which I think are the two biggest reasons people have supported authentic labels. Just be like @pokemonsyndicate and photoshop your BGS 9.5’s to BGS 10’s if it makes you feel better. ( ͡~ ͜ʖ ͡°) You can then even print out that label on a sticker and put it right on the case.


Ahhh But that is were your wrong. I used Microsoft paint to help my ego stay afloat.

Microsoft paint guarantees long term happiness to those who use it.

So does BGS by giving perfect pristine cards .5 off the grade you desire. :nerd_face:


Here is a summary of your arguments against authentic cards:

  1. Costs same, same turnaround time as just getting the grade
  2. Get loads of questions about condition
  3. Don’t try to fool people by not displaying a grade
  4. Grade is an indicator of condition
  5. Grade is guaranteed by PSA

2 through 5 are also arguments against ungraded cards. By your argument, no one should ever bother buying selling or trading ungraded cards, yet many people successful do so every day.

If I say I want the protection and professional look of a PSA case then the costs and time are justified and 1) is not a valid argument against the authentic label. If you want to get your whole LP unlimited fossil set authenticated, I’d also be arguing that it’s not worth the time/effort. But this thread is asking about things like 1st ed zards or trophy cards where even just owning a copy is a not trivial.

So unless you agree that ungraded cards are a complete waste of time your arguments are not very strong.

You also criticize the ego and “ocd” tendencies of people who collect authentic cards which is so terribly ironic it hurts me. Literally by getting a full authentic set you’re saying that you just really like the cards and don’t mind the condition too much. You also don’t care if the set is heterogeneous in condition. This is the most modest and least ocd method of collecting I can possibly think of. How can you possibly say that this form of collecting is filled with ego and perfectionism but then be silent toward the people who strive to only collect full sets of 10?

Also even if I were to agree that the motive of collecting authentic cards was all ego and ocd tendencies, is that not what drives the entire collecting market as a whole? Why is it okay to have an ego about some things but not others?

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@pkmnflyingmaster I was just laying out my opinions on it and the reasons for my stance. I don’t think we will fully agree. IMO there just isn’t ever a good enough reason to authenticate only any card. May as well get the grade if you are using the service IMO. Clearly since they offer the service and people pay for it we can see that there are cards floating around in authentic cases. Clearly you are not alone in your thinking nor do I think I am in mine.


@pkmnflyingmaster “You also criticize the ego and “ocd” tendencies of people who collect authentic cards which is so terribly ironic it hurts me. Literally by getting a full authentic set you’re saying that you just really like the cards and don’t mind the condition too much. You also don’t care if the set is heterogeneous in condition. This is the most modest and least ocd method of collecting I can possibly think of. How can you possibly say that this form of collecting is filled with ego and perfectionism but then be silent toward the people who strive to only collect full sets of 10?”

Because it is filled with ego. You would have to either only buy and authenticate the cards yourself or buy only authentic cards. thus missing out on many opportunities where low graded cards would actually be cheaper than just buying a crappy copy and grading. and all in the name of NOT seeing a number because it bothers you. which is clearly an ocd tendency.

I own many 2’s -4’s and it doesn’t bother me at all. It isn’t because I am modest, but because I enjoy having the card. people who get triggered by seeing a lower number on their card that IS in poorer condition is silly and that is what is being said here. people can do whatever they want, but that is the argument for why I believe it is ridiculous.

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Interesting point. I’ve never seen an “authentic” with a fake stamp. Counterfeiters prefer higher quality/graded cards for value.

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