The Graading process

Detailed explanation of the certification procedure

We offer two different types of grading services, Standard and Digital. We follow a rigorous procedure, developed by an experienced team of professional card collectors, that uses innovative and scientific technologies and methods, specific for collectible cards. The evaluation is based on objective mathematical criteria, in order to guarantee the maximum reliability of the evaluation.

Package check-in

When a package arrives in our offices, our front desk staff will open it carefully and, through the order number (prited on the shipping label) will identify the order and check if the cards in the package match the ones entered in the online order. If everything is fine, the order is ready for the next step. Otherwise, we will notify the customer and ask for instructions.  

Anonymous Registration

All the cards of the package are inserted inside anonymous containers and sealed to guarantee safety throughout the grading phase. Each card is associated with a unique label containing the order's information. Any personal information is removed to guarantee the impartiality of the grading.

Delivery to the grading department

The anonymous containers are brought from the front desk to the grading department.

Rubber coated countertop

The grading staff carefully extracts each card from its protection and lays it down on a rubber coated countertop designed to avoid any scratch to the card during preliminary operations.

Preliminary verification of Authenticity and alteration

The card is examined to determine its authenticity and the presence of possible alterations. If the card results to be fake, it will be rejected and sent back to its owner without being encapsulated. If a card turns out to be authentic but altered, it will not receive the qualitative evaluation (grade from 1 to 10) and will be encapsulated with the acronym AA (Authentic-Altered) after consulting the owner.
Let's now see when a card is considered altered:

  • visible mark/marks made by external agents like colors, pens, pencils, markers
  • damaged cards for at least 50% of the surface
  • Missing, cut, completely worn out corners
  • cuts by scissor, cutter, chisel or other type of tools
  • re-coloring or drawings
Learn more   certifiable cards

Standard grading

For both Standard and Digital grading, the card undergoes the following checks:

Optical analysis with 5x + 12x Visolette lens

The grading staff proceed with a primary analysis. This is the first optical (visual) front and back verification with a Visolette 5x magnifying lens and 12x magnification crystal optics. Both the front and the back of the card will be examinated for the evaluation of the standard parameters (edges, corners and surfaces) to define wear values, quality and any printing errors.

Scanning and centering

The staff then proceeds with the cleaning of the scanning surface. Right after that, the card / stickers is ready to be digitally scanned for the mathematical evaluation of the centering parameters.

Calculation of the final Grade

Our algorithm was developed by a team of collectors and experts and is designed to calculate the final grade of the card / sticker through a weighted average that assignes different weight to different parameters.

At this point, if the client asked for ouri Digital grading service, the card will undergo further specific checks. Otherwise we pass directly to the next step.

Digital grading

If the customer has chosen our Digital grading, the card, after receiving the Standard evaluation, will also undergo an even more specific and meticolous examination.

Digital scan analysis

Through a careful, in-depth analysis of the scanned front and back of the card / sticker, our staff will asses the chromatic parameters, the sharpness of the image, possible errors and printing micro-defects. The high resolution scanner and software we use in this phase of the grading process allow a very precise evaluation of those parameters: even the smallest signs of wear, invisible to the standard analysis, can be detected.

Fluorescent lamp

The card is placed once more on the rubber coated countertop to avoid any damage. With a Wood' fluorescent lamp, our staff will carefully look for of any traces of grease, fingerprints, liquids, stains and impurities not detectable with a Standard evaluation.

Calculation of Graad's Bonus value

It's now time to calculate Graad's final Bonus (from 0 to +10). The Bonus is determined thanks to a specific, innovative algorithm different from the one used for our Standard grading. Usually, if a card / sticker reaches a poor grade with our Standard service, it will not be able to obtain a high Bonus value. However, it is possible that a card receives a low Standard grade due to a single serious flaw (a very distinct cut, for example) but, apart from that, it's in excellent conditions. In this case we will have an "atypical" final assessment with a Standard grade lower than the Bonus. However, these are pretty rare exceptions.

Delivery to the encapsulation department

The card is registered and sent to the labeling and encapsulation department.

Association to the certificate

Our staff ensures that all the card's data matches with the certificate and there are no errors; then proceeds to print the paper certificate that will accompany the card in the case. The card and its Graad certificate are then placed in the case and are ready to be encapsulated.

Learn more   GRAAD's certificate

Ultrasound welding of the case

The two halves of the plastic polycarbonate case undergo the ultrasound welding process, a process that creates an incresing intermolecular clutch between the two sections of the case which leads to a localized increase in temperature concentrated in an extremely short time (in the range of tenths of a second) and causes the fusion of the junction area. Under the action of a constant force, the two fused micro-surfaces penetrate one another and weld without the need for glue or additives. The main advantage of ultrasound welding is the extreme rapidity and neatness: only the specific junction area is involved in the process, and this guarantees a defined and precise fusion of the case that prevents any type of damage, even microscopic, to the card inside of it. Furthermore this system prevents any tampering of the case, since welding is impossible to open up without destroying or damaging the case itself.

Packaging the order

Each card, now sealed in its protective case, is inserted into the return shipment box together with the others of the same order. When the order is completed, the box is sent to the shipping department.

Final check

It's time for the last check to verify that the final customer (numbered) correctly receives all their cards (associated with the same order's number), to avoid mixups or other mistakes and thus guaranteeing the customer a complete and perfect return package.

Return shipment to the customer

The box is then closed, sealed and shipped to the return address indicated by the customer. A confirmation email informs the customer of the shipment. From this moment on, in the Reserved Area of the website, the customer can find all the details related to the final evaluation.

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