PSA grading how to tell if its an 8, 9, 10

Ok so I’m getting ready to join PSA and would like to send in about 20-25 cards to get graded. I’ve been accumulating some slowly and things now that I have a good size batch it would be a good time. Thing is I’m super nervous to spend all this money on this endeavor to end up with a bunch of PSA 8’s when I really want 9’s or 10’s. I’m a little confused with PSA’s criteria and how consistent they are. For instance these pictures are of a PSA 9 Natta Wake Pikachu with really a lot of edge wear.

And yet here I’ve seen multiple PSA 8’s in better shape than this. I’ve also seen cards I’d swear should be a 10 and yet are a 9. So what the heck am I missing? Does anyone have any recommendations to a firs timer of how to figure out if I have a good chance at 9’s or 10’s. I feel like some of the cards I want to send will not increase much with an 8 but would increase a lot with a 9 or a 10 so its a big difference.

Thanks for anyone’s help.

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From what I’ve noticed, a 9 can have some edge wear like that but only on the front and only so long as no single piece of wear is deep or too big. I suppose the edge wear blends into the card front so it’s not as offensive to the overall eye appeal. Whereas on the back they’re a lot stricter with edge wear as it really shows against the blue border.

I find with wear it’s not about the sum of all the wear, but rather how serious the worst of it is. You can have a flawless card with one single deeper or larger piece of wear and it will get an 8 because the wear is too serious. Whereas you can have a card like this one with wear in a number of places but no single piece of wear being extremely serious and it will get a 9.

That said, this looks to be a (very) low end for a 9 for sure. I would expect more of an 8-8.5 for that. But I bet the back of the card is much more devoid of wear which allowed the card to get a 9. Wear like that on the front usually comes from the cutting process at the factory (I’ve pulled a number of cards that looked like this straight from sealed Natta Wake packages for example.


Hey Blake, could you upload a photo of the entire card? That way we can have a contrast from the zoomed images and get an overall better understanding.

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If all other parameters are nice, like surface and centering, then a card with that wear should be a 9.

Hey thanks for piping in guys. I think I see what your saying with their pickiness for the back because the back of this card is flawless in my eyes. As requested by Scott here’s the back and then the entire front:

Also I have this brand smacking new Moltress Quick Starter holo I wanted to get an opinion on. It looks packs fresh new and has zero scratches or wear on the surface but their is this small bump on the top edge/corner. It looks like it was probably from the way it was cut but not sure. It doesn’t stand out much in the picture but when you rotate the card forward and backward in the light it stands out. The centering is off and I’m not sure how much it will take a hit from that either. Here’s a few pics:




It all depends on how noticeable the damage appears and how many points of imperfection there are. I’ve seen PSA 9s with 1-3 imperfections (similar to your Natta Wake Pikachu), and some with 1 fairly noticeable scratch. Usually a single scratch or dented corner justifies a PSA 9 (given that the rest of the card is flawless). If your Natta Wake Pikachu only had a single corner with light wear, it probably would have been a PSA 10. Hope this opinion helps! :blush:

This is a great thread! For the longest time I thought many of my cards weren’t PSA worthy but after seeing this thread, I’m starting to think that many of them rate on the higher end of the PSA scale!

That moltres if lucky will get a nine. The cantering is off and that one corner has wear…

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Thanks for the response guys. This is helpful for figuring out grades. The cantering does worry me with the moltres. I have this bad feeling it may get an 8. If the corner was perfect would the centering be worthy of a 9?

To save you a little bit of heartache, I strongly believe with that bump the Moltres will get an 8. The damage is too severe for a 9 (source: I’ve graded many similar cards which all received 8’s. The rest was flawless so I thought a 9 was possible but alas no it wasn’t)

Here’s my suggestion: put it in a pile of textbooks for a couple months and it might flatten itself out :blush: (source: has worked for me :grin:)

Also your Natta Wake Pikachu is a more understandable 9 when you see the full card :blush:

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The photo of the entire card does look like it is a 9 for sure.

For the Moltres, just grade it and see what happens!

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Once you get a few submission under your belt you will have a better understanding of what to expect when grading. I would suggest using the regular service for your first time.

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