New Grading Companies

I just released a video on New Grading Companies.

It sparked a solid discussion in discord so I figured it would be a good topic for the forum. Curious to know what everyone thinks!


Wow, that’s a first. I’m impressed! :open_mouth:



You really George Bush’d my phrase


For me I’m just willing to wait on the PSA backlog being cleared, would rather wait for the known gold standard than slab for the sake of slabbing


Most of what new grading companies have to offer is a quick turnaround time. They can only offer a quick turnaround time because they don’t actually have any demand. If they actually got significant demand, their turnaround times would suffer which would defeat the entire purpose.

If PSA could keep up (which they can’t, literally because they have hundreds of thousands of people who want to use them so badly that they don’t mind waiting years for a more reputable product) most of these new companies wouldn’t be spawning out of thin air. A lot of people wouldn’t even consider using these new companies if we lived in a world where PSA could get your cards back faster.



You really emphasized that one huh?

Jokes aside, this is a good video and you’re definitely right. The companies with nothing to offer besides “no current backlog” *cough*DSG*cough* will fall off. As a consumer, I don’t want a billion different grading companies. Imagine if I had a set of 5 graded cards where one is PSA, one is BGS, one is CGC, one is Mint, and one is RGA, my collection not only looks like a hot mess, but the grading standards for each one can be wildly different for better or worse. I think I can speak for most people when I say that we don’t want a billion options, we just want a few quality options… and we have those.

“that would be like if PokeChloe showed up at the door” LOL


Id say at least 90% of people feel the same way. BGS and PSA even over CGC and especially over any of the new ones. I saw some of the AGSgrading scores and they were laughable (I hope its still being improved). Someone had like a 5 surface front, 9 centering and was a 10? I don’t understand how their system works, but it looks pretty off right now.


Will be interesting to see what PSA do over the next year, you’d have to think that they won’t leave the bulk submission market to be picked up by another company but how long will it take them to reopen fully given the time it takes to hire and train graders

Here are my thoughts from the Grading Megathread edited slightly:

What people don’t seem to realize is that a lot of the common reasons that people cite for submitting to one of these basement companies (and even the way such companies market themselves) are actually reasons to stick to the established companies. For example:

Backlog/Turnaround Times: It sucks to send your cards off and not have them back forever. But what does this actually mean? It means the grading company has a ton of customers and is seeing more demand for their services than ever before. More demand means more people being familiar with their service, more cards getting out onto the market and into the hands of collectors, and a stronger reputation for third-party authentication and grading. All of these contribute to a company becoming more established within the hobby and getting better secondary market values for graded cards.

Prices: Prices are higher than ever for reputable companies. New grading companies market themselves as being cheaper, but they’re cheaper for a reason. They have no customers, limited demand, and are forced to undercut in order to carve out a niche. Low prices do not lead to hobby recognition or else GMA would be the biggest company ever. Sure, you may save $30/card submitting to XYZ Grading instead of PSA, but I guarantee that not only will the secondary market value of the PSA copy be more than $30 greater, but it will be miles easier to sell.

Authentication: Many of these companies say they’ll grade/authenticate nearly anything. As I note above, they spin this as a positive, but it exposes their true motivations and lack of expertise. It’s the Dunning-Kruger effect of grading companies. These companies aren’t CGC with massive investments into authentication technology. Refusing to authenticate/grade certain cards is a positive and shows that the graded/authenticated cards from that company are held to a higher standard.


The real question is what three letter name would the smpratte-led E4 grading company have?


Definitely either ASS, LOL, or IDK


I feel what a lot of the new grading companies have missed is the recognition that older companies enjoy network effects which cannot be easily replicated. Network effects meaning the value of the good or service increases the more people use it; consider fax machines or LinkedIn if you need a comparison.

PSA and other established grading companies enjoy two network effects, both in customers and in cards graded. People already have their collections in PSA, they won’t want to switch to a new label without good reason. Likewise, for new collectors, you can actually complete collections in PSA because the cards are out there. Both of these conditions are not true for new grading companies, which IMO makes their value proposition quite low.

New grading companies really need to think outside the box of how they can add new value to grading that older companies cannot. Being that this is a luxury hobby, I do not believe cheaper-priced grading is the right value proposition to draw customers. Quicker turn-around times is also not the right value proposition, as commented on by previous posters in this thread already.

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Whilst I do tend to cringe at the thought every time I hear about a new grading company (even with CGC who with hindsight I would argue seem to be doing really well), and often cringe even harder when I see how they’re going about marketing their services/product/brand or just witnessing their overall ineptitude, you just can’t understate how much of an enormous opportunity there is right now, as everyone points out due to the backlogs of the big boys.

At the same time as these backlogs, modern TCG is seemingly as popular as it’s ever been before, and with modern cards there is really very little risk, financial or otherwise to taking a chance on getting them graded with one of these new grading companies. Such is the scale of the backlogs at PSA etc. it wouldn’t be out of the question to think that with a bit of traction and a semi decent operation that any one of these companies wont be able to get through thousands, tens or even hundreds of thousands of mainly modern TCG cards in the next two years.

Now once we reach the light at the end of the tunnel (assuming we do any time soon) with PSA, BGS and even CGC backlogs, those companies could have built themselves substantial reputations, customer bases and market presence. We also need to consider that to be a success, a grading company doesn’t have to be overall #1 in volume. A company sitting in 5th place on the totem pole could still be an extremely successful business.

All that being said, it’s the type of business that seems to attract real amateurs thinking they can just have a go, underestimating everything about it and concentrating on just getting some of their mates to shill it, which I would argue is the main reason, as Scott says, almost all new grading companies fail - but I do think there is huge opportunity out there for someone to take it seriously and have a go at it and have a good degree of success. The more I think of it, there is no real reason why there has to be just one, two or three main grading companies.


“Let your paper wrists float in the wind”

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Great video! Sucks that most new grading companies are essentially the next big scam. Really unfortunate for anyone who gets left with their cards in a defunct companies label. Idk about you guys but EMA is my guess for the company that will stand the test of time.

(from a random listing on eBay)


Elite Grading Company - EGC

Probably never going to happen, but I’d be all for a Pokemon only grading company. The demand in pokemon is so high. PSA and BGS are known for sports, CGC got into it from Comics, the rest aren’t really worth talking about.


EMA Grading is superior




Ever searched “grading” on Instagram?



I had a text to speech bot say these names out loud to me and now I have hearing aids

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