eBay Guides - Graded Sports Cards Buying Guide
Skip to main content

 Reviews & Guides

Graded Sports Cards Buying Guide

Whether you're a die-hard sports fan or just want to increase your sports card collection, you'll score every time with the wide variety of graded sports cards available on eBay Canada.

Learn About Graded Sports Cards

Learn About Graded Sports Cards

Grading cards is big business and an objective, trustworthy grading system is a necessity. The Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) created the most common grading system, ranging from 10 to 1.

  • 10: Gem Mint. The sports card is as perfect as possible. Corners are sharp, colour is glossy, and the card is free of any staining. The image is centred.

  • 9: Mint. Only very minor flaws. Slightly off-centre, slight printing imperfection, but otherwise an excellent sports card.

  • 8: Near Mint-Mint. Excellent sports card, slight fraying might be present. Slightly off-white borders.

  • 7: Near Mint. Close inspection reveals slight surface wear or slightly frayed corners. Mostly glossy picture, slight printing errors.

  • 6: Excellent-Mint. May have a printing defect or visible surface wear, but there is no loss of overall appeal.

  • 5: Excellent. Minor corner rounding. Edges might have minor chipping. Minor noticeable surface scratches.

  • 4: Very Good-Excellent. Slightly rounded corners, surface wear, some original gloss.

  • 3: Very Good. Some rounded corners, slight surface scratches or scuffing.

  • 2: Good. Several creases are apparent. Corners rounded. No gloss.

  • 1: Poor to Fair. The sports card shows advanced wear. Corners are rounded, edges chipped and frayed. Pitting, chipping, and scuffing are all very apparent.

Back to topBack to top

Choose Sports Card Grading Services

Choose Sports Card Grading Services

There are four main sports card grading and authentication services. The PSA, BGS, SGC, and GAI.

  • Professional Sports Authenticators (PSA): PSA pioneered the grading scale detailed above. They are part of Collectors Universe, a publicly traded Nasdaq company. They have graded some of the most valuable sports cards ever sold and are an industry leader. However, you need a membership to take advantage of their grading directly; otherwise, you need to work through a dealer. PSA/DNA also has an online "QuickOpinion" program that allows potential buyers to have listings evaluated for a minimal cost. Within 24 to 36 hours PSA/DNA will return one of three opinions: "likely genuine," "unlikely genuine," or "cannot render an opinion."

  • Beckett Grading Services (BGS): The BGS is affiliated with Beckett magazine and also uses a 10-point scale. What makes BGS unique is that it also offers a secondary rating for, say, corners or edges. Many people believe the BGS scale is graded more strictly than the PSA scale. eBay also teamed with Beckett to develop a "Value Guide" for sports cards, available at Beckett's Web site.

  • Sportscard Guarantee (SGC): The SGC grading scale starts at 10 (poor) and goes up to 100 (pristine).

  • Global Authentication, Inc. (GAI): The GAI was started by two former PSA employees and carries a lot of that prestige with it. In addition to sports cards, they also grade movie memorabilia.

Authentication services such as OnlineAuthentics.com and Sports Card Digest (SCD) also support the sports cards industry, complementing the work done by grading services.

Make sure you review eBay’s information on Opinions, Authentication & Grading and the Autographed Items policy before you place a bid or buy an item.

Remember: eBay does not review listings for authenticity or quality in any way. It is up to you to research the card you are interested in and the grading of that card before placing a bid or buying it.

Back to topBack to top

Collect Graded Sports Cards

Collect Graded Sports Cards

Buying graded cards is a great way to round out your collection. Not only are you provided additional assurance of their quality, but most grading companies will seal your sports cards in a hard plastic case, helping to protect them from damage.

When buying graded cards on eBay, make sure the seller has all the original documentation that came with the card when it was graded. This will help to ensure that the card has been taken care of and that the grading is official. Always get more information about the grading of a card from the seller by using the Ask seller a question under the seller's profile on eBay.

When checking on the price of graded cards, do some research. The price of a card is dependent on the quality and the rarity of the card. Check to see how other similar cards of similar quality have sold on eBay. Were they able to get “book” value for them? More than book value?

The Web sites of many grading services often have population records to show the relative scarcity of a card in a given condition. You can use them, and the amount of listings you find on eBay, to determine if the card is very hard to find or fairly common.

Back to topBack to top

Find Graded Sports Cards on eBay

Find Graded Sports Cards on eBay

Once you know what type of Graded Sports Card you want, go to the Sports Mem, Cards, & Fan Shop portal, click Cards, and start searching for item listings on eBay.

  • Categories: The Categories list on the left side of each page will help you narrow down your listings by item type. You'll find links for Baseball-MLB, Football-NFL, and more. As you dig deeper into the site you'll also be able to narrow down your choice by brand.

  • Keyword search: Search eBay listing titles for specific words. For example, if you want to find Honus Wagner, type "Honus Wagner" (without quotation marks) into the Search box. Click "Search title and description" to expand your results. Visit eBay's Search Tips page for more tips on searching with keywords.

If you can't find exactly what you want, try shopping eBay Stores, tell the eBay Community what you want by creating a post on Want It Now, or save a search on My eBay and eBay will email you when a match becomes available.

Back to topBack to top

Buy Graded Sports Cards with Confidence

Buy Graded Sports Cards with Confidence

Before making your purchase, make sure you know exactly what you're buying, research your seller, and understand how eBay and PayPal protect you.

Know your purchase

Carefully read the details in item listings.

  • Figure delivery costs into your final price. If you spend a lot of money, make sure the seller will insure the item when it ships.

  • If you want more information, ask by clicking the "Ask seller a question" link under the seller's profile.

  • Always make sure to complete your transaction on eBay (with a bid, Buy It Now, or Best Offer). Transactions conducted outside of eBay are not covered by eBay protection programs.

  • Never pay for your eBay item using instant cash wire transfer services through Western Union or MoneyGram. These payment methods are unsafe when paying someone you do not know.

Know your seller

Research your seller so you feel positive and secure about every transaction.

  • What is the seller's Feedback rating? How many transactions have they completed? What percentage of positive responses do they have?

  • What do buyers say in their Feedback? Did the seller receive praise?

  • Most top eBay sellers operate like retail stores and have return policies. Do they offer a money-back guarantee? What are the terms and conditions?

Buyer protection

In the unlikely event that a problem arises during your transaction, eBay and PayPal are there for you.

  • Pay safely with PayPal: PayPal enables you to pay without the seller ever seeing your bank account or credit card numbers. In fact, PayPal protects buyers 100% against unauthorized payments from their accounts. Plus, with PayPal Buyer Protection, your purchase can be covered up to C$1,250.

  • eBay Security & Resolution Centre: Visit the Security & Resolution Centre to learn how to protect your account and use eBay's quick and efficient resolution tools.

Back to topBack to top

 Content Provided By