Detailed explanation of the certification procedure
Our grading process, ie card certification, is offered with two types of service, Standard and Digital. We follow a rigorous procedure, developed by an experienced team of professional collectors, which makes use of innovative and scientific technologies and methods, specific for collectible cards. The evaluation of parameters is based on objective mathematical criteria, in order to guarantee the maximum reliability of the evaluation.
Upon arrival each package is delivered to the front desk staff, who open it carefully and through the order's code on the shipping label identify the order in our database to check that the contents of the package match with the placed order. If everything has been filled in correctly, the check-in is passed and the order goes on, otherwise any inconsistencies between the order and the cards in the package are notified to the customer and the grading is suspended.
All the cards of a 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 and a serial number for that specific card. Each type of personal identification is removed to guarantee impartiality of the grading for every single customer
The anonymous containers are taken and brought from the front desk to the grading department.
The grading staff extract the card carefully from its protection and lay it down on a rubber coated countertop designed to avoid any scratch to the card during preliminary operations.
The card is examined first to determine its authenticity and any alterations. The card is rejected if it is fake or signed, and it will not be encapsulated, but returned to the owner. The card that turns out to be authentic but altered will not receive the qualitative evaluation (grade from 1 to 10) and can be encapsulated with the acronym AA (authentic-altered) if the user has indicated to do so by checking the related option in the online request form. The cards that do not comply with some elementary parameters are considered altered, that is they show:
In all certification practices, both standard and digital, the card undergoes the following checks.
The grading staff proceed with a primary analysis, that is the first optical (visual) front and back verification with a Visolette 5x magnifying lens and 12x magnification crystal optics. The exam is carried out both on the front and on the back for the evaluation of the standard parameters of edges, corners and surfaces to define wear values, quality and any printing errors.
The staff proceed with the cleaning of the scanning surface, arrange the card and performs a digital scan to carry out the mathematical evaluation of the centering parameters.
On the basis of the analysis of the standard parameters in question the qualitative grades are issued and the mathematical calculation is carried out following an algorithm that determines the final standard grading value (base qualitative grade, in the hexagon).
Our algorithm was developed by a team of collectors and experts and, through a weighted average, calculates a final value that considers the relative weight of each value.
At this point, if our client has chosen to perform a digital grading, the card will undergo further specific checks, otherwise we pass directly to the next step.
If the customer has chosen a digital grading, the card, after receiving the standard checks will also undergo other specific checks.
Through a thorough analysis of the scan of the front and the back our staff determine the values related to the cleaning of the support, the chromatic parameters and the sharpness of the images, errors and printing micro-defects. The high resolution scan and the software tools that we use allow in fact a very precise evaluation of these aspects. During the analysis, even the smallest signs of wear invisible to the standard analysis on corners, edges and surfaces of the front and back are finally identified.
The card is placed again on the rubber coated countertop. With a Wood's lamp (fluorescent) a careful inspection is carried out in search of any traces of grease, fingerprints, liquids, stains and/or invisible impurities to standard optical frequencies.
At this point Graad's final Bonus value is calculated. The value is determined thanks to a specific, innovative algorithm different from the one used for the standard grading. It quantifies to the collector the global value of the outcome of this in-depth analysis, thus offering a bonus value to the card that can go from 0 to +10. Of course a card that reaches a poor base score (standard quality value) will not be able to reach a high bonus value as probably the conditions that allow to obtain a bonus are not present. However, it is possible for example that a card receives a low base score due to a single serious condition (a distinct cut on an edge, for example) but that for the rest it is in excellent conditions. In this case therefore an "atypical" final assessment could occur with a standard quality value lower than the bonus value. However, they are rare exceptions.
At this point the card is registered and sent to the labeling and encapsulation department.
The staff ensure that all the card's data match with the GR.A.AD's certificate and there are no errors, then proceed to print the paper certificate that will accompany the card in the case. Through the registration number each card is then associated with the physical label of its own Graad certificate marked with a unique numeric code and a QR-Code for direct access to the digital page relative to the online Graad certificate. The card and its Graad certificate are placed in the first section (base) of the case that is then covered with the second section (cover).
The two halves of the plastic polycarbonate case finally 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 interval (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 lesion, even microscopic, to the card inside of it. Furthermore this system prevents any tampering with the case, since welding is impossible to open up without destroying or damaging the case itself.
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.
The staff carry out the last check to verify that the final customer (numbered) correctly receives all their own cards (associated with the same order's number), to avoid shortcomings, mixups or other deliveries mistakes and thus guaranteeing the customer a complete and perfect return package.
The box is then closed, sealed and sent at 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 related links dedicated to the cards with the final evaluation.
Our customer service is at your disposal from Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., via one of the following channels: