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How to get MORE PSA 10s When GRADING Your CARDS

May 07, 2021 7 min read 1 Comment

How to get MORE PSA 10s When GRADING Your CARDS

So we're all looking to get more PSA 10s on the cards that we are sending off for grading, but how do we do that? I remember about a year ago doing my first submissions with PSA, and I was getting about a 50% PSA 10 rate, which was not very good. All I was doing was just looking at the centering and wiping it down with a microfiber cloth. In fact some of them I wasn't even doing that. I just sending the card off there.

So I wasn't doing a very good job of prepping my cards. Since then the last two submissions I've got back from PSA I went 21 for 21 and then also 17 of 22. So I've improved quite a bit on this and that's the information I'm going to be sharing with you today. That is, I'm giving you some tips on selecting your cards, and also some tools that you can use to help improve your PSA 10 rate. Then the third thing is if you've never ever graded any cards, and you have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm going to talk about the supplies at the end that you'll need, and then also maybe some submission groups that you can select from to get started submitting cards to PSA.

#1: The cards themselves

So first off let's talk about the card itself. You have to be picking good cards that have a chance at getting a PSA 10. That's obvious right, we can't be sending in crap cards, but we can't be selecting crap cards either. So first off for me personally, the cards that I like to choose are ones that actually have borders. Like with this Hank Aaron, it's got white borders on there so it's not easy to see any chipping on the outside. You get a card with like a black border or a red border, it’s very hard to get a PSA 10 on that because you can easily see the white chipping on the cardboard. Again, I like cards with borders like this because I can easily tell if they are centered. You want to be picking cards initially that have good centering, corners look sharp, surface has no issues, and the edges are nice and sharp as well. So that's the first step. We've got to be picking quality cards.

#2: The tools you need

So now that we've picked our quality cards and we're going to go through them all and see which ones that we want to submit to PSA, let's talk about the tools that you're going to need in order to make that happen to give yourself the best chance at getting a PSA 10. So the first thing, which has been an absolute game changer for me is a magnifying light. What do these things do? Well, you put your card underneath there and it'll magnify the image back up to you so you can see print lines and scratches. You can take an up close look at your corners and your edges. It's been an absolute game changer for me. I can't imagine how many print lines that I've missed without this thing. You’ve got to get one. They run like $30. Absolutely the best investment.

Number two what you'll need is a microfiber cloth. What these do is they can wipe down fingerprints and get rid of dust on your card. You gotta have one. Whoever’s sending you the card that you just bought from ungraded, they're just putting their fingerprints all over it. You don't want to have fingerprints on your card so get a microfiber cloth and just wipe down the front and the back of the card. It will not damage your card at all.

Third thing you'll need, speaking of fingerprints, it's some nitro gloves. I like having these on when I'm looking at my cards to submit to PSA that way I know that I'm not putting any dust or any additional fingerprints onto that card. You got to have some of these, they are absolute game changers so you don't get any fingerprints on your cards.

Number four, this tool is not a 100% necessary, but for beginners it could actually be a very good tool and it's called the grade master card centering tool. Essentially what it does, is you put your card underneath within the little diagram of this tool and essentially it tells you if your card is centered. It tells you if it's 50/50, it tells you if it's 60/40 or it's 45/55, and essentially it's got little numbers on the outside there and you can match that up with the percentage sheet that they have. I'll show a little diagram here on the video. Very easy to use, and again most of us can look at a card and see that it's centered but it's nice to have this tool in your arsenal in case you want to kind of reconfirm what you're already thinking, or sometimes you'll be surprised to say wow the center actually isn't as bad as I thought it was.

#3: How to send to PSA

So now that we've picked out the cards that we want to get graded, we've gone through and used our tools to make sure that we are selecting the best cards to get a PSA 10. Now we want to go ahead and send them off to PSA. What are the supplies that you're going to need for that?

Well first off you're going to need some penny sleeves. Just like the name says, they're super cheap. You put the card in before you put it in your “card saver one”, so make sure that you are putting your card into new penny sleeves before you send them off to PSA, Don't reuse the one that someone sent it to you in, that one's probably got dust and dirt in it. Always use a new penny sleeve. I buy these all the time. Buy them in bulk you're going to need a lot of them,

Second thing you need are the “card saver ones”. This is what you put the card into after you've already put it in the penny sleeve. PSA loves these things. Make sure that you're putting your cards in those before you're sending them off to your submission group.

Third thing you're going to need is some painters tape. Now you're going to need this for number four here, but painters tape, you don't want to be putting any on your card savers. PSA hates them, they will reject, them they don't want any painters tape or scotch tape. Don't put anything on there, but you're going to need painters tape for step number four so make sure you pick up some painters tape.

Number four you're gonna need some cardboard. What do you use the cardboard for? You're gonna put it on the top and also on the bottom of the stack of cards you're gonna be sending off to your PSA submission group. You're going to put painters tape to secure the cardboard on all the four sides. Again, don't use scotch tape! Painters tape is very easy to come off. Your group submission leader will thank you. Just use the painters tape on just the cardboard on the top and on the bottom.

Fifth thing you're gonna need is a box, obviously. You can get free boxes at the post office, just go down to your local post office and get a box, but you don't have to use theirs. You can use any box, but just make sure that you are giving enough room on each side of the cards to prevent any damage. You don't want to be shoving them in a box that's just right up against the edge. You want to make sure you're leaving at least a couple inches of room on each side. What I would suggest doing is getting a little bubble wrap after you've already made that sandwich with the cardboard, put some bubble wrap around it, put the bubble wrap on the bottom, on the top, so the cards sit right in between there so they don't get damaged when you are sending them off to your submission group.

#6: Submission groups

Last thing to talk about is submission groups. Who do you use? Me personally, I use gemmint.com. I like them because they have an online portal I can track exactly what step of the grading my cards are in. Other groups have those as well. I've heard pc sports cards has one as well. I'm sure there are other groups out there. Just make sure that you are picking one that has that online database.

Here's why. You don't want to be asking the group submission person “Where are my cards at? Where are my cards? Where are my cards?” It becomes way too much work. You want to make sure you use the online database so you can go ahead and see exactly what step your cards are in. Why are you using a PSA submission group as opposed to sending your cards directly to PSA? Well number one you get better pricing most of the time, and number two you get better customer service. You get your rep at your submission group that you can talk to if you've got questions on grading. If you've got questions on the submission process. Any of those types of questions, if you've got an issue with your order you can talk to that person and get an answer very quickly.

So hopefully this helps you guys get some more PSA times. I know we're all looking to do that again. Use those tools and make sure that you're very picky with the cards that you are sending off for grading. PSA is probably going to be raising their prices fairly soon here, so you're going to be paying a premium now. So make sure that you're doing your best work and sending off cards that you think are going to be having the best chance at getting a PSA 10.

1 Response

Karen Bruce
Karen Bruce

July 23, 2023

Thank YOU for very concise, easy to understand, informative steps about this “grading stuff”
I have been collecting for a couple of years and have never sent a card in for grading. I am excited to try, but the information on the process has seemed overwhelming. Your info has eased my mind a bit.
One question that you could maybe answer for us newbies is this…
When looking under a microscope…oh wow! You’re right. You can see a cavern where with the naked eye, you saw a smooth edge.
So my question is
With vintage cards, let’s say a ken Griffey jr rookie card where under magnification, I see slightly soft corners and edge nicks, to me, according that’s not a 9 or 10, so when is a 7 or 8 worth the money to grade when cards are vintage?
How do I know when a card may be coveted, even with wear?

I also have some AMAZING 90s marvel cards, where the ONLY thing I see wrong is centering. For 30 yr old cards it’s incredible. If I have 200 cards like that, should I grade them all? Can you grade a whole set?

I see limited info on marvel card vale’s compared to sports cards.

I know this is more than a comment, so my apologies.
I wish you’d book in person classes…there should be a zoom meeting or something that I could pay/hour to pick the brain of an expert.
I’ve gone into a couple shops and I feel like a tiny bunny with a flock of buzzards hovering above me…fast talking…”your cards are each worth 25 cents, I’ll buy that whole page from you”
Very uncomfortable for me.
Again, Thank you for your information!!!

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