Basketball Cards Graded: A Comprehensive Guide


Basketball cards have been a popular collectible for decades. They hold nostalgic value for many collectors and can also be a valuable investment. However, not all basketball cards are created equal. That’s where grading comes in. In this article, we’ll explore the world of basketball cards graded and provide you with everything you need to know to get started.

What is Grading?

Grading is the process of evaluating the condition of a basketball card and assigning it a grade. The grade is based on a variety of factors, including the card’s centering, corners, edges, surface, and overall appearance. Grading is typically done by professional grading companies, such as PSA or Beckett.

Why Grade Your Cards?

Grading your basketball cards can provide several benefits. First and foremost, it can help you determine the value of your cards. Cards in better condition typically fetch higher prices than those in poorer condition. Additionally, graded cards are often considered more valuable and desirable by collectors. They are also more likely to be accepted by auction houses and other resellers.

The Grading Scale

Most grading companies use a 10-point scale to grade basketball cards. The highest grade is typically a 10 (Gem Mint), while the lowest is a 1 (Poor). Here is a breakdown of what each grade means:

Gem Mint (10)

A Gem Mint card is virtually perfect. It has no flaws, even under close inspection. The card must exhibit perfect centering, sharp corners, no visible print lines, and no surface wear. Only a small number of cards receive this grade.

Mint (9)

A Mint card is also in exceptional condition. It may have one or two minor flaws, but they are not noticeable unless closely examined. The card must have sharp corners, good centering, and no visible surface wear.

Near Mint-Mint (8)

A Near Mint-Mint card is in excellent condition. It may have a few minor flaws, but they do not detract from the overall appearance of the card. The card must have good centering, sharp corners, and no visible surface wear.

Near Mint (7)

A Near Mint card is in above-average condition. It may have some minor flaws, such as slightly rounded corners, but they are not very noticeable. The card must have good centering and no major surface wear.

Excellent-Mint (6)

An Excellent-Mint card is in very good condition. It may have some noticeable flaws, such as slightly frayed corners or minor surface wear. However, these flaws do not detract from the overall appearance of the card.

Excellent (5)

An Excellent card is in good condition. It may have several noticeable flaws, such as rounded corners or surface wear. However, the flaws are not severe enough to significantly impact the card’s appearance.

Very Good-Excellent (4)

A Very Good-Excellent card is in fair condition. It may have significant flaws, such as creases or major surface wear. However, the card is still presentable and may be desirable to collectors.

Very Good (3)

A Very Good card is in poor condition. It may have significant flaws, such as creases, major surface wear, or a significant centering issue. However, the card is still recognizable and may be desirable to collectors on a budget.

Good (2)

A Good card is in very poor condition. It may have major flaws, such as severe creases or significant surface wear. The card may still be recognizable, but it is not desirable to most collectors.

Poor (1)

A Poor card is in terrible condition. It may be missing pieces, have severe creases, or significant surface wear. The card is not desirable to collectors and is typically only valuable as a placeholder.

Getting Your Cards Graded

If you’re interested in getting your basketball cards graded, the first step is to choose a grading company. The most popular grading companies are PSA and Beckett, but there are other options available as well. Once you’ve chosen a grading company, you’ll need to fill out a submission form and send your cards in for grading. The grading process can take several weeks to several months, depending on the company and the number of cards being graded.


Basketball cards graded can be a valuable addition to any collection. By understanding the grading scale and the benefits of grading, you can make informed decisions about which cards to grade and which to keep as-is. With the right approach, grading can help you get the most out of your basketball card collection.