Which grading service to use?

I am completely new to grading. I recently acquired some 1st edition base set cards and think I should grade them due to the value. From what I’ve seen, PSA seems to be the gold standard and most popular service but I’ve heard A LOT of negative things about them and have witnessed PSA slabs that were graded incorrectly (cards with big scratches getting 9s & flawless cards getting below 9).
Also on their website I see things about maximum declared value for the express grading. It says $75 up to $2,499 and $200 per card up to $4,999. This seems expensive and I believe a first edition base set card could be over $2,499.
I was also considering Beckett and CGC. My concern about CGC is the recent negative attention they got for shilling on this forum.

I saw all that to ask: which grading service is the best to use when grading cards that are NOT mint. Should I even grade 1st ed base cards if there are flaws? Considerations are price, quick turnaround time, and the value that will be added to the card by having it encapsulated with one of these company’s logos.
Also any advice about how to insure cards when shipping them?

I’m not aware of CGC shilling on here (meaning)? Please elaborate as I am now curious.

My opinion here,

Rule of thumb, PSA trumps all and that’s just about it…with Pokémon cards.

Unless you get into sports cards then there’s that.

Turn around times suck at PSA I know, but it will be much more worth it. PSA has better buying and selling power out of the 3.

Nothing wrong with the other 2 companies. Just my 2cents

All companies fuck up. But with Pokemon cards I would go PSA

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Should you grade? Yes.

Pros and cons of psa:
-Extremely slow for lower tiers
-Expensive for higher tiers
-Possibility of upcharges
-Not great customer service
-Higher, sometimes significantly higher prices on open market

CGC gets rid of the first four but prices are lower on the open market than a comparable quality PSA card, and that is obviously a VERY important consideration.


If you have genuine 1st edition shadowless base set holos, you will have no choice to pay for one of the higher options which also include faster turnarounds… and yes they are worth grading. Like there’s someone who might be willing to pay a hefty premium to get a naturally warranted PSA 1 :joy: for their PSA 1 collections…

But depending on condition and how many you have it could definitely end up costing you a few grand maybe even 5 figures so hold that into consideration… which holos are we talking about?

If not if you got a good price, you can always take some really good pictures and put them on auctions up on eBay / find someone privately to take them off your hands, like many here would be more than likely to do :wink:

Like you said, psa is the gold standard. If your card is absolutely perfect and has a chance at a black label or bgs 10 (like modern chase cards), that is when I would use Beckett

I can’t locate it now but I believe it was in smpratte’s story on instagram that said employees of CGC were basically hyping up the company on this forum while trying to appear as legit customers and that multiple posts were all coming from the same IP address.

Thank you for the advice. The most valuable are Blastoise and Venu so those are a no brainer to grade, but then there is a Chansey with some significant scratches on it. Trying to determine if I will recoup the $75-$200 cost of grading the Chansey when I try to sell it after. Like will a PSA 4 (making up that grade) Chansey sell for $200 more than a raw Chansey in the same condition?

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Solid points, thank you

Probably will end up going with PSA despite all the negative factors. Not thrilled about it but when people search on ebay, I think they will search PSA before others

Thanks, I agree with your points

Yes 100%! Was just making sure you meant 1st edition holo. They are most definitely worth grading :blush: *just making sure you didn’t have like a beat up 1st edition jungle Pikachu that went through the wash* then I would have told you meh send that on bulk. Chansey is one of the more difficult ones to grade “10” but you already know it’s poor so as long as you have realistic expectations, you won’t be disappointed!

If it’s to flip / resell, then I understand your concern of recouping your $ and you will (right now especially). If you’re looking to flip and especially take advantage of current price swings, then if the cards are beat up and indented etc. But other things are actually great (think centering is almost flawless, surface, etc. ) then just rush BGS as the other thread proves with that IG guy who crosses cards, you will likely get a 1-3 grade bump sending to BGS over PSA for beat up cards and right now people flocking and buying up aren’t as educated / unsophisticated and throwing money anywhere and wherever people are telling them to, so you will definitely get more bang for buck! And you can begin your journey of card collecting + selling and earning a bit of income! Good luck :blush: