CSG Grade School: How Graders Grade Your Cards

Posted on 10/12/2022

CSG uses a blend of proprietary technology and tools to grade and authenticate your cards. Here's how you can evaluate your cards at home.

Andy Broome, Vice President of Certified Sports Guaranty® (CSG®) is hosting CSG Grade School, and in this video explains: How do graders grade your cards?

Remove the card from its sleeve

The first thing graders do is take the card out of the semi-rigid holder and the penny sleeve, which is the recommended way of submitting. (We'll talk more about that in future episodes.) Here, we look at the four areas of the card that we examine.


First, graders look at centering. CSG graders measure centering using a ruler. Many cards have obvious distinct borders, but some cards do not. For example, the modern Panini Prizm is a great example without defined borders. In this case, we look at the different design devices and determine what the original card designer had in mind for centering for that card. We measure top to bottom, left to right margins. And then we use our grading chart to calculate what the overall centering grade would be.


Next, CSG graders look at the surface of a card, using a specific light source. The lamps used have an LED light — a nice, clean white light — which is what you want for grading cards. Now, it’s time to sheen the surface of the card. This involves holding the card perpendicular to the light source, and then moving it around so the reflection of the light bulb is on the card. It appears that the image is washed out. But what we're looking for is surface imperfections, such as wrinkles, creases, dimples and even alterations.

Corners and Edges

Next, CSG graders look at corners and edges using a loupe. We look at all four corners, both front and back. And as we do that, we also look at the edges. Now, when we sheen the surface for edge grade, that's also a time when we would notate any significant damage to the edges.


The other area that graders look for when grading cards is any types of alterations and if the card is counterfeit. If either one of those issues are detected, then the card will go on to a different process where we use proprietary technology for further examination.

That, in a nutshell, is how CSG looks at cards when you submit cards for grading. Get your cards graded at CSGcards.com and follow us on social media @CSGcards.

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