I just started my first job and wanted to sell off my baseball card collection to fund my first Roth IRA. I had a few Mark McGwire 1985 Topps rookie cards that I wanted to unload and I heard of something that I thought would be a terrible thing, graded cards.
Graded cards is where a third party grading services professionally grades trading cards. The card may get graded 1-10 based on the condition of the card. I thought it was a bad idea because it would increase the price of cards and how do you know if the grading services gets the grading right? My view of the grading services grew dimmer a couple of years later when I submitted cards for grading and wasn’t exactly happy with the grades I got, but I cant blame them when the 1979 Topps cards I had were terribly off centered.
Now looking back, I think these graded services are great because I still cant tell the difference between a mint and near mint card. The grade services can serve as a guide because it sets a ruler of what I should pay for cards based on their grade. I bought a PSA 5 Roberto Clemente 1955 Topps rookie for about $2,200 in an online auction. Based on the price guide, I think I got a good deal and intend to hold it for a couple of years so it can further appreciate in value. I don’t think I’d spend $100 on a Clemente rookie if I couldn’t see it firsthand.
I think the graded cards have helped vintage cards appreciate more in value because of the premium placed on higher graded cards. It also allows collectors to better protect their investments by having their cards graded as well as helping buyers have some sort of idea exactly as to the quality of the card they are interested in buying.
I recommend anyone holding on to some vintage cards in decent condition to get them graded.