Should I Get My Basketball Cards Graded?

A dilemma that many collectors have is deciding if they will benefit from having their basketball cards graded. The answer could be determined by the age and condition of the cards, as well as the prices similar cards are going for. The reason why the cards were acquired can also determine if grading them makes sense.

Some collectors will have found what they think is a rare card in a large lot of cards, or they may have purchased a card they think is a bargain, but there is some doubt about how real it is. Sending the card to a grading company can give the collector the assurance that they have the rare card, and not a counterfeit version.

Grading can mean the cards are worth a lot more, as long as they grade well. A Max Zaslofsky 1948 Bowman card is valued at $115  when graded EX 5, $185  for EX-MT 6, $350.00 for NM 7, $475  for NM+ 7.5, $750  with a grade of NM-MT 8, $1325  for NM-MT+ 8.5, and a fortunate collector that happens to have a Max Zaslofsky that gets a grade of MT 9 from PSA could have a card worth $2,750.

Graded cards also have the advantage of being securely encased in a tamper-proof container. They can still be viewed, through the clear plastic, but are protected from nearly everything that can harm the card, and hurt its value. But among the various types of card collectors are those who don't want their card locked in a big piece of plastic.

Before deciding to send in a card for grading, a collector should use a ruler and magnifying glass to help make the decision. Measuring the border of the card, on the front and back, will give an idea of what the potential centering grade could be. If the card has poor centering, it may not be worth the cost and effort of sending it in to be graded. Another idea is to check the recent sales and also the population reports for the specific graded card. If the number of graded cards on the market is too large, they may not sell or will not sell for enough to justify adding another to those not selling. But if the cards are selling all the time, it could be a chance to sell at the right time.

 

For most cards from the last two decades, the production numbers are too high for many rare cards to appear. Sending a recent common card for grading may not be a good idea. There are exceptions, especially for low-numbered cards that can vary in condition. The 1990s Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems often appear with chipping of the edges, so getting a high grade for one of those cards could make the card extra valuable.

Vintage star cards that appear to have no wear and are well-centered are almost always worth grading.  Don't expect a windfall, but they'll be easier to trade or sell with third party grading.

If you're looking to simply build a nice collection and show it off, you should consider buying a basketball card display case for your best graded or ungraded cards.

1986 FLEER, Dominique Wilkins, #121, PSA 8, NM-MT, Hawks
1986 FLEER, Dominique Wilkins, #121, PSA 8, NM-MT, Hawks $46.00 (10 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1h 14m
1986 FLEER, Isiah Thomas, #109, PSA 8, NM-MT, Pistons
1986 FLEER, Isiah Thomas, #109, PSA 8, NM-MT, Pistons $20.52 (8 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1h 15m
1986 FLEER, Joe Dumars, #27, PSA 9, Mint, Pistons
1986 FLEER, Joe Dumars, #27, PSA 9, Mint, Pistons $16.50 (9 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1h 10m
1986 FLEER, Chris Mullin, #77, PSA 8, NM-MT, Warriors
1986 FLEER, Chris Mullin, #77, PSA 8, NM-MT, Warriors $26.00 (14 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1h 11m
1969 ELVIN HAYES, #75, PSA 7, NM, SAN DIEGO ROCKETS
1969 ELVIN HAYES, #75, PSA 7, NM, SAN DIEGO ROCKETS $40.00 (7 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1h 24m
1986 FLEER Sticker, Patrick Ewing, #6, PSA 9, Mint, Knicks
1986 FLEER Sticker, Patrick Ewing, #6, PSA 9, Mint, Knicks $17.10 (6 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1h 13m
1986 FLEER Sticker, Akeem Olajuwon, #9, PSA 8.5, NM-MT+, Rockets
1986 FLEER Sticker, Akeem Olajuwon, #9, PSA 8.5, NM-MT+, Rockets $10.99 (3 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1h 12m
8 1986 Fleer Basketball Cards BGS 9 All Cards .5 Away From 9.5 Great Investment 
8 1986 Fleer Basketball Cards BGS 9 All Cards .5 Away From 9.5 Great Investment  $1,000.00
Time Remaining: 29d 13h 46m
Buy It Now for only: $1,000.00
1986-87 FLEER JOE DUMARS ROOKIE PSA 7
1986-87 FLEER JOE DUMARS ROOKIE PSA 7 $12.99
Time Remaining: 28d 16h 24m
Buy It Now for only: $12.99
1986 Fleer Magic Johnson #53 Basketball Card PSA 7 Nr-Mt
1986 Fleer Magic Johnson #53 Basketball Card PSA 7 Nr-Mt $3.25 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 4d 23h 10m
1986 Fleer Clyde The Glide Drexler PSA 7
1986 Fleer Clyde The Glide Drexler PSA 7 $3.25 (2 Bids)
Time Remaining: 5d 8m
1955 All American Sports Club ROD HUNDLEY basketball rookie RC PSA 6
1955 All American Sports Club ROD HUNDLEY basketball rookie RC PSA 6 $299.00
Time Remaining: 6d 16h 49m
Buy It Now for only: $299.00
SCOTTIE PIPPEN rc #20 1988 89 fleer PSA 7 CHICAGO BULLS
SCOTTIE  PIPPEN  rc  #20  1988 89 fleer  PSA 7  CHICAGO  BULLS $2.46 (4 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 30m
1986 Fleer #7 Charles Barkley RC - BGS 9 - MINT
1986 Fleer #7 Charles Barkley RC - BGS 9 - MINT $45.00 (6 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 1h
1961 Fleer Wilt Chamberlain #47 In Action IA Rookie Card RC Graded PSA 9 MINT OC
1961 Fleer Wilt Chamberlain #47 In Action IA Rookie Card RC Graded PSA 9 MINT OC $499.95
Time Remaining: 4d 22h 23m
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1985 Star Clyde Drexler Slam Dunk 5X7 #2 BGS 7.5. Near Mint+
1985 Star Clyde Drexler Slam Dunk 5X7 #2 BGS 7.5.  Near Mint+ $0.99 (1 Bid)
Time Remaining: 5d 1h 38m
1970-71 Topps #123 Pete Maravich Rookie SGC 6.5 EX-MT+ *High End* Atlanta Hawks
1970-71 Topps #123 Pete Maravich Rookie SGC 6.5 EX-MT+ *High End* Atlanta Hawks $108.50 (5 Bids)
Time Remaining: 5d 17m
BGS 6 EX-MT 1986-87 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan Rookie 9.5 centering, 9 edges
BGS 6 EX-MT 1986-87 Fleer #57 Michael Jordan Rookie  9.5 centering, 9 edges $1,199.00
Time Remaining: 6d 22h 26m
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1986 Fleer #108 Reggie Theus PSA 9 Mint & Centered
1986 Fleer  #108 Reggie Theus PSA 9 Mint & Centered $6.16 (3 Bids)
Time Remaining: 1d 2h 5m
PSA 9 1986 Fleer Karl Malone Rookie Card #68 Mint Utah Jazz
PSA 9 1986 Fleer Karl Malone Rookie Card #68  Mint Utah Jazz $140.00
Time Remaining: 27d 19h 55m
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