Grading FAQ

Welcome to the Cardmarket Grading FAQ. Here you will find answers to many of the most common questions we get about our grading service. If you have any other questions, please contact Cardmarket Grading through the messaging app.

What is Cardmarket Grading?

Who does the grading?

We have partnered up with Guard and Grading Solution, a company based in Germany that specializes in trading card appraisal.

What makes Cardmarket Grading qualified?

They are officially certified by the DguSV—a state-certified group of professional appraisers—for trading card appraisal (they are officially "geprüfte Gutachter und Sachverständige" in Germany). Additionally, they have made sure to hire a full staff of experienced graders who have spent many years grading and appraising trading cards. Finally, they are fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and security, including, but not limited to 24-, 34-, and 48-Megapixel digital microscopes hooked up to integrated monitors and a new top-of-the-line ultrasonic welder for sealing. Fire-resistant high security safes are used for storing cards and both the inside and outside of the office are hooked up with cameras linked to the local police station.


The Slab and Materials

Can I see any previews of what the graded cards look like?

Sure! Below you'll find two pictures - one of the team hard at work grading a card and one of the finished product:

Cardmarket - English Mystical Archive Foil-Etched
Binders

What are the slabs made of?

The slabs are made of Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). This material is used by Porsche for their headlights. It is completely transparent, retains its appearance in all kinds of lighting, as it is highly resistant to any form of damage from light. It resists acids and alkalis, is UV resistant, and is resistant to scratches and other small surface damage. It is also durable and resistant to tampering.

How big are the slabs?

The slabs are 8,0 x 13,5 x 0,7 cm.

How are the slabs sealed?

The slabs are sealed using an ultrasonic welding tool. They are impossible to open without breaking the case and cannot be damaged during the sealing process.

Can I still remove the graded card from the slab if I need it for playing? 

It is very difficult to remove the graded card safely from the slab once it's sealed. Cardmarket Grading is capable of safely removing the card, so we recommend contacting them if it's essential that you safely remove the card. Please keep in mind that removing the card will destroy the slab.


Eligibility and Availability

Which kinds of cards can I have graded? 

You can have any MTG-sized collectible card graded. Additionally, Yu-Gi-Oh! cards are also available for grading. This includes sports cards and games that are not available on Cardmarket, provided the cards are "MTG-sized".

What card languages are eligible for grading?

You can have cards of any language graded.

How damaged can the card I send for grading be? 

The card should be intact (as in, not torn to pieces or water-damaged to the point of having no structural integrity), but most damage won't prevent your card from being graded. Cardmarket Grading does not, however, grade off-center, miscut, misprint, signed, or altered cards at this time.

Can I get altered or signed cards graded?

As stated above, Cardmarket Grading does not currently accept signed or altered cards.

Can I get my card graded from anywhere? 

Cardmarket Grading is available for all Cardmarket users.


The Grading System

What grading scale will you use? 

Cardmarket Grading uses the industry standard 1-10 grading scale rounded to the nearest 0.5 (i.e., a 9.5 is a possible grade; a 9.3 is not).

Are there subgrades?

The total grade is determined by averaging four 1-10 subgrades for Centering, Edges, Corners, and Surface.

The Centering grade is measured based on whether the content of the card is properly centered. While perfect 50:50 centering is required for a Gem Mint 10, community opinion on centering is somewhat divided. As such, below a 10, Cardmarket Grading is lenient on centering, even a 60:40 split can earn a 9.5 subgrade.

The Edges grade looks at the condition of the cards border. A Gem Mint 10 must, as a matter of course, have pristine edges with no chipping.

The Corners refer specifically to the four corners of the card. A Gem Mint 10 must have four perfect corners (usually they are sharp or rounded).

Finally, the Surface refers to the face and back face of the card. A Gem Mint 10 will have no irregularities (ink, scratches, clouding etc...) on the card's surface whatsoever.

How is the final grade calculated? 

The final grade is simply the average of all the subgrades rounded to the nearest 0.5 (see table: "Rounded to 0.5"), with a couple exceptions. First is for a grade of 10. A 10 must be perfect in at least three categories, with the fourth having a subgrade of at least 9.5 (see table: "Not a 10"). Additionally, a card may only be graded up to one point higher than its lowest subgrade (see table: "A Low Subgrade").

Final Grade Examples
Category Rounded to 0.5 Not a 10 A Low Subgrade
Centering 9.5 9.5 9.5
Corners 8.5 9.5 9
Edges 9 10 9
Surfaces 8.5 10 5
Final Grade: 9 9.5 6

Can we only get the card authenticated (not graded and slabbed)? 

Cardmarket Grading does not currently offer this service.

How do CM Grading grades compare to Cardmarket's card condition scale?

The card condition help page is meant primarily to help users identify the rough quality of a card by eyesight. As such, there is no direct 1:1 scale between Cardmarket's own Card Condition page, meant for evaluating cards by eye and a professional grading service, which has its own standards and high-tech equipment capable of determining the grade on a much more granular, minute level. Still, Cardmarket Grading has been kind enough to provide a rough equivalency between the two scales for users who are interested (this is not official and should not be used to mediate disputes):

Cardmarket-to-CM Grading Scale
Poor Played Light Played Good Excellent Near Mint Mint Gem Mint
1-2 2.5-3.5 4-4.5 5-6 6.5-7.5 8-8.5 9 9.5-10

Purchasing Gradings and the Cardmarket Marketplace

Why can't I buy gradings anymore?

Unfortunately, the total number of gradings we offer is limited. Occasionally, they may be sold out. Whenever this happens, we will do whatever we can to increase our capacity and meet demand.

Will Cardmarket integrate Cardmarket Graded cards into our sales options in the future?

We do have plans to eventually integrate a graded cards option when listing or searching for cards. Until then, please use the comments section when listing your cards if you wish to indicate that it's graded.

Is it possible to buy the Cardmarket grading product as a gift for another user?

It is not possible to gift a grading product to another user currently. You can, however, take advantage of our Cardmarket coupon system, which will allow other users to purchase a grading for themselves.

The card(s) I sent were not qualified for grading. Can I get a refund?

Yes! Cardmarket Grading does offer refunds for disqualified cards, but only for authentic cards. If your card was disqualified because it was a proxy (counterfeit), then it's not eligible for a refund. Contact Cardmarket Grading through the messaging app if you're interested in a refund.


The Shipping Process

How long does the grading usually take?

Depending on the number of cards, it can take up to 6 weeks (excluding shipping time). It may take longer when the demand is particularly high.

The process for sending my cards seems a little complicated, can I get some more help?

Feel free to check out our instructional video below (it's also available on the Cardmarket Grading product page). If you have any other questions about the process, please contact Cardmarket Grading.


cardPreview