PSA Grading Standards

PSA Card Grading Standards

PSA Photograde™ Online - Take a visual tour of the PSA Card Grading Standards.

  • GEM-MT 10: Gem Mint
    A PSA Gem Mint 10 card is a virtually perfect card. Attributes include four perfectly sharp corners, sharp focus and full original gloss. A PSA Gem Mint 10 card must be free of staining of any kind, but an allowance may be made for a slight printing imperfection, if it doesn't impair the overall appeal of the card. The image must be centered on the card within a tolerance not to exceed approximately 55/45 to 60/40 percent on the front, and 75/25 percent on the reverse.
  • MINT 9: Mint
    A PSA Mint 9 is a superb condition card that exhibits only one of the following minor flaws: a very slight wax stain on reverse, a minor printing imperfection or slightly off-white borders. Centering must be approximately 60/40 to 65/35 or better on the front and 90/10 or better on the reverse.
  • NM-MT 8: Near Mint-Mint
    A PSA NM-MT 8 is a super high-end card that appears Mint 9 at first glance, but upon closer inspection, the card can exhibit the following: a very slight wax stain on reverse, slightest fraying at one or two corners, a minor printing imperfection, and/or slightly off-white borders. Centering must be approximately 65/35 to 70/30 or better on the front and 90/10 or better on the reverse.
  • NM 7: Near Mint
    A PSA NM 7 is a card with just a slight surface wear visible upon close inspection. There may be slight fraying on some corners. Picture focus may be slightly out-of-register. A minor printing blemish is acceptable. Slight wax staining is acceptable on the back of the card only. Most of the original gloss is retained. Centering must be approximately 70/30 to 75/25 or better on the front and 90/10 or better on the back.
  • EX-MT 6: Excellent-Mint
    A PSA EX-MT 6 card may have visible surface wear or a printing defect which does not detract from its overall appeal. A very light scratch may be detected only upon close inspection. Corners may have slightly graduated fraying. Picture focus may be slightly out-of-register. Card may show some loss of original gloss, may have minor wax stain on reverse, may exhibit very slight notching on edges and may also show some off-whiteness on borders. Centering must be 80/20 or better on the front and 90/10 or better on the reverse.
  • EX 5: Excellent
    On PSA EX-5 cards, very minor rounding of the corners is becoming evident. Surface wear or printing defects are more visible. There may be minor chipping on edges. Loss of original gloss will be more apparent. Focus of picture may be slightly out-of-register. Several light scratches may be visible upon close inspection, but do not detract from the appeal of the card. Card may show some off-whiteness of borders. Centering must be 85/15 or better on the front and 90/10 or better on the back.
  • VG-EX 4: Very Good-Excellent
    A PSA VG-EX 4 card's corners may be slightly rounded. Surface wear is noticeable but modest. The card may have light scuffing or light scratches. Some original gloss will be retained. Borders may be slightly off-white. A light crease may be visible. Centering must be 85/15 or better on the front and 90/10 or better on the back.
  • VG 3: Very Good
    A PSA VG 3 card reveals some rounding of the corners, though not extreme. Some surface wear will be apparent, along with possible light scuffing or light scratches. Focus may be somewhat off-register and edges may exhibit noticeable wear. Much, but not all, of the card's original gloss will be lost. Borders may be somewhat yellowed and/or discolored. A crease may be visible. Printing defects are possible. Slight stain may show on obverse and wax staining on reverse may be more prominent. Centering must be 90/10 or better on the front and back.
  • GOOD 2: Good
    A PSA Good 2 card's corners show accelerated rounding and surface wear is starting to become obvious. A good card may have scratching, scuffing, light staining, or chipping of enamel on obverse. There may be several creases. Original gloss may be completely absent. Card may show considerable discoloration. Centering must be 90/10 or better on the front and back.
  • FR 1.5: Fair
    A PSA Fair 1.5 card's corners will show extreme wear, possibly affecting framing of the picture. The surface of the card will show advanced stages of wear, including scuffing, scratching, pitting, chipping and staining. The picture will possibly be quite out-of-register and the borders may have become brown and dirty. The card may have one or more heavy creases. In order to achieve a Fair grade, a card must be fully intact. Even though the card may be heavily worn, it cannot achieve this grade if it is missing solid pieces of the card as a result of a major tear, etc. This would include damage such as the removal of the back layer of the card or an entire corner. The centering must be approximately 90/10 or better on the front and back.
  • PR 1: Poor
    A PSA Poor 1 will exhibit many of the same qualities of a PSA Fair 1.5 but the defects may have advanced to such a serious stage that the eye appeal of the card has nearly vanished in its entirety. A Poor card may be missing one or two small pieces, exhibit major creasing that nearly breaks through all the layers of cardboard or it may contain extreme discoloration or dirtiness throughout that may make it difficult to identify the issue or content of the card on either the front or back. A card of this nature may also show noticeable warping or another type of destructive defect.

Half-Point Grades:

Cards that exhibit high-end qualities within each particular grade, between PSA Good 2 and PSA Mint 9, may achieve a half-point increase. While PSA graders will evaluate all of the attributes possessed by a card in order to determine if the card may be eligible, there will be a clear focus on centering.

Generally speaking, a card must exhibit centering that is 5-10% better, at minimum, than the lowest % allowed within a particular grade. It is important to note that there may be cases where the overall strength of the card, such as the quality of the corners and print, will give the card the edge it needs despite the fact that it may exhibit only marginal centering for the grade. This is especially true for cards that find themselves within the bottom half of the PSA 1-10 scale.

Finally, keep in mind that qualifiers will not apply to grades that achieve the half-point increase since, by definition, these cards have to exhibit high-end qualities within the grade in order to warrant consideration. For example, there will not be cards graded PSA NM-MT-Plus 8.5 OC or PSA EX-MT-Plus 6.5 PD since the half-point is reserved for high-end cards within each grade.

At this time, only cards qualify for half-point grades. Coins, pins, tickets and packs will not receive half-point grades.

QUALIFIERS:

PSA will grade nearly every card submitted. Cards having significant flaws will receive "qualified" grades as follows:

  • OC (Off Center):
    When the centering of the card falls below the minimum standard for that grade will be designated "OC." PSA determines centering by comparing the measurements of the borders from left to right and top to bottom. The centering is designated as the percent of difference at the most off-center part of the card. A 5% leeway is given to the front centering minimum standards for cards which grade NM 7 or better. For example, a card that meets all of the other requirements for PSA MINT 9 and measures 60/40 off-center on the front automatically meets the PSA front centering standards for MINT 9. If a card meets all of the other requirements for PSA MINT 9 and measures 65/35 off-center on the front, it may be deemed to meet the PSA front centering standards for MINT 9 if the eye appeal of the card is good.
  • ST (Staining):
    Cards with staining below the minimum standards for the grade will be designated "ST."
  • PD (Print Defect):
    Cards with significant printing defects will be designated "PD."
  • OF (Out of Focus):
    Cards with focus below the minimum standards for the grade will be designated "OF."
  • MK (Marks):
    Cards with writing, ink marks, pencil marks, etc. or evidence of the impression left from the act of writing will be designated "MK."
  • MC (Miscut):
    Cards that exhibit an atypical cut for the issue or ones that contain partial portions of more than one card will be designated "MC."
  • UNGRADEABLE CARDS:
    PSA will not grade cards that bear evidence of trimming, re-coloring, restoration, or any other forms of tampering, or are of questionable authenticity. In addition, PSA does not grade autographed cards dated earlier than 1998 or any cards manufactured by Star except Star Baseball and 1996 Star Topps (reprint) Basketball Cards; only factory imprint signatures can be graded.

The Grading of Hand-Cut Cards

PSA will grade virtually any card that has been hand-cut off of a panel, box, etc. (Post Cereal, Hostess, Bazooka, Strip cards, etc.) keeping the following information in mind. This service does not include traditional sheet-cut cards. PSA will not grade cards cut from sheets that can be obtained in a normal fashion. For example, PSA will not grade a 1979 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky card cut from a sheet because that card was issued in non-sheet form. On the other hand, PSA will grade a 1959 Bazooka or 1961 Post Cereal Mickey Mantle because those cards could only be obtained in one fashion - removed by hand from a box or panel.

In order for PSA to actually assign a grade to any of the cards that possess visible/defined borders on all four sides, evidence of that border must be present or the card must exhibit virtually-full borders based on the design of the specific issue. If the cut exceeds the visible border for the card in question, PSA will encapsulate the card as "Authentic" only. If the card is severely undersized and suffers in overall eye appeal, the graders may deem the card not suitable for authentication or reject the card as minimum-sized altogether.

Keep in mind that, for cards that do not possess visible/defined borders, the cards must still fall within a certain size requirement for that particular issue in order to qualify for an actual grade. In other words, the borders must be virtually full in order for a grade to be rendered. Otherwise, as stated above, a label of "Authentic" will be assigned or, in some cases, the cards may fall short of the size requirement altogether. This is not an exact science. PSA will do its best to provide consistent guidelines for these types of cards.

In addition, PSA will allow cards that have had a coupon or tab removed from the original card to be submitted under this service. For example, if a 1952 Red Man Tobacco card is cut at or outside of the established tab line, the card would be eligible to receive a numerical grade. On the other hand, if the 1952 Red Man Tobacco card is cut inside of the line (the line where the tab meets the interior of the card), then the PSA graders will be precluded from entering a numerical grade. Cards that are cut within the limits established for a particular issue will be encapsulated and designated as "authentic" by PSA. All of the cards eligible for this service will be designated as "Hand-Cut" on the PSA label to distinguish them from the intact, "with tab" or "with coupon" examples.

PSA suggests that, in order to achieve the highest grades, the cuts of the cards should be relatively close to the visible borders without exceeding the limit. Cards that exhibit a clean, accurate and properly shaped cut have the best chance at achieving the highest grades. Eye appeal is very important. When it comes to excess paper or cardboard around the edges of the visible borders, the graders will place significant importance on overall eye appeal. Keep in mind that all cards of this type will be designated as "Hand-Cut" on the PSA label for accuracy. In addition, if the customer chooses, PSA will grade and encapsulate entire panels if those panels will fit in any of our current PSA holders. With the exception of the aforementioned items, normal grading criteria will apply.

The Grading Approach to Pins/Coins

The grading of pins or coins often comes down to the strength or weakness of the eye appeal since the material in question is far less susceptible to wear than cardboard or paper. The areas/defects that PSA graders focus on include but are not limited to: scratches, dents, severity of rust (if present), centering of the picture (obverse and reverse), compression of the pin/coin, the overall condition of the paper (if present) on the reverse and overall print quality. Since collectible coins/pins often differ in their makeup, sometimes greatly, it is very difficult to apply one uniform grading standard to all collectibles that fall into this category. The factors above represent the basic, key elements in the PSA grading approach. At this time, pins and coins will not receive half-point grades.

No Grade Definitions

If the grade of your card is available and is listed with one of the following grades, this card was determined to be ungradable for the following reasons.

  • N-1 Evidence of Trimming - When a card's edge has been altered, a card doctor may use scissors, scalpel, cutter, or any other cutting instrument. A trimmed card may show one of the following: Hook up or down, have one razor sharp edge, a difference in toning along the edge, a wavy look.
  • N-2 Evidence of Restoration - When a card's paper stock is built up - for example, when ripped corners are built up to look like new corners.
  • N-3 Evidence of Recoloration - Where a card's color has been artificially improved.
  • N-4 Questionable Authenticity - This is the term used when a card is counterfeit or the autograph is deemed to be unauthentic.
  • N-5 Altered Stock - This term is used when the paper stock is altered in one or more of the following ways: Stretching and trimming, recoloring and restoring, trimming and recoloring, restoring and trimming, crease or wrinkle is pressed out, or gloss is enhanced.
  • N-6 Minimum Size Requirement - When a card is significantly undersized according to factory specifications. You will not be charged the grading fee.
  • N-7 Evidence of Cleaning - When a whitener is used to whiten borders or a solution is used to remove wax, candy, gum or tobacco stains.
  • N-8 Miscut - This term is used when the factory cut is an abnormal cut. You will not be charged the grading fee.
  • N-9 Don't Grade - When we do not grade an issue. The cards may be oversized or an obscure issue. You will not be charged the grading fee.
  • N-0 Authentic Only - This means that PSA is only certifying that the item is genuine, without a numerical grade. This may be due to the existence of an alteration, one with malice or otherwise, a major defect or the original submitter may have requested that PSA encapsulate the card without a grade. The "Authentic" label means that the item, in our opinion, is real but nothing more.

The Importance of Eye Appeal and Subjectivity in Grading

Over the years, more and more collectors have come to understand the basic guidelines behind PSA grading. After grading for well over a decade, PSA grading standards have truly become the official standard for the most valuable cards in the hobby. That being said, there are a host of grading questions that arise and the one basic question that comes up the most has to do with eye appeal and centering.

While it's true that a large part of grading is objective (locating print defects, staining, surface wrinkles, measuring centering, etc.), the other component of grading is somewhat subjective. The best way to define the subjective element is to do so by posing a question: What will the market accept for this particular issue?

Again, the vast majority of grading is applied with a basic, objective standard but no one can ignore the small (yet sometimes significant) subjective element. This issue will usually arise when centering and/or eye appeal are in question. For example, while most cards fall clearly within the centering guidelines for a particular grade, some cards fall either just within or just outside the printed centering standards. The key point to remember is that the graders reserve the right, based on the strength or weakness of the eye appeal, to make a judgment call on the grade of a particular card.

What does this mean exactly?

Well, take this example. Let's say you have a 1955 Topps Sandy Koufax rookie card that is right on the edge of the acceptable guidelines for centering in a particular grade. The 1955 Koufax card has a yellow background that tends to blend with the border of the card. In other words, the contrast isn't great, so poor centering may not be much of an eyesore – the borders are not clearly defined. In this case, if the card exhibits extremely strong characteristics in other areas (color, corners, etc.), an exception may be made to allow an otherwise slightly off-center card to fall within an unqualified grade (no OC qualifier). This is a rare occurrence but it does happen.

On the other hand, there are cards that technically fall within the printed PSA Grading Standards that may be prevented from reaching a particular unqualified grade because the eye appeal becomes an issue. For example, a 1957 Topps Sandy Koufax card has great contrast between the white borders and the picture because the background is very dark. It is possible that a 1957 Topps Sandy Koufax, one that technically measures for a particular grade – let's say 70/30, may be prevented from reaching that unqualified grade because the market would view that card as off-center – based on eye appeal issues. Again, this is a rare occurrence but it does happen from time to time when a judgment call has to be made on a card that pushes the limits for centering.

In conclusion, the issues discussed do not apply to the vast majority of cards that filter through the PSA grading process each day but this is an issue that needed some clarification in the marketplace. The bottom line is that there are times when a PSA grader must make a call on a card that falls on the line between two grades and that final determination is made based on experience, eye appeal and market acceptability.


PSA Ticket Grading Standards

Full Tickets

  • GEM-MT 10: Gem Mint
    Attributes include four sharp corners, centering of approximately 55/45 to 60/40 or better on the front and back of the ticket, sharp focus and virtually full original gloss. The ticket must be free of staining; however, an allowance may be made for a slight printing imperfection, if it doesn't impair the overall appeal of the ticket. No punctures or holes may be present with the exception of those that are obviously required on the ticket. Ticket printing quality of crucial game information must be in the "Medium/Dark to Dark" range in order to qualify for this grade. In other words, noticeable fading may prevent a ticket from reaching Gem Mint status.
  • MINT 9: Mint
    Quality must be very close in nature to a Gem Mint 10 but the following allowances may be made. Very light "touches" at one of the corners may be acceptable so long as the corner integrity remains intact. A slight surface "dimple" may be allowed if extremely limited.
  • NM-MT 8: Near Mint-Mint
    A ticket of this quality will appear to be a Mint 9 at first glance but one of the following additional defects may be present. Very light "touches" at two corners, apparent to the naked eye, would be acceptable under this standard. A very slight surface abrasion or evidence of modest surface damage, on the front or back, may be acceptable if limited. For instance, a faint impression from a paper clip would be an example of this type of acceptable defect. "Medium to Medium/Dark" printing of crucial game information is required. Centering must fall within approximately 60/40 to 65/35 or better on the front and back.
  • NM 7: Near Mint
    A ticket of this quality will appear to be a NM-MT 8 at first glance but one of the following additional defects may be present. Beyond light corner "touches" evident at up to all four corners, minor fraying may be present at up to two corners as long as the integrity of the each corner remains intact. The ticket may show slight staining in a limited area. Two light surface abrasions may be present. Here, a minor printing defect may be acceptable. Graphic or text focus may be slightly out of register. A very slight loss of original gloss may be acceptable. Centering must fall within approximately 65/35 to 70/30 or better on the front and back.
  • EX-MT 6: Excellent-Mint
    Quality must be very close in nature to a NM 7, but up to two of the following allowances may be made: Fraying may be present on up to three corners. A very light surface crease may be present. Two or three light surface abrasions may be present. A minor printing defect is acceptable, such as "out of register" focus of graphic or text elements. Minor loss of original gloss may be acceptable. Centering, as in an EX-MT 6, must be 70/30 or better, on the front and back.
  • EX 5: Excellent
    A ticket of this quality may appear to be an EX-MT6 at first glance, but up to two of the following additional defects may be present: Fraying may be present on up to all four corners. One light-to-medium surface crease may be present. The ticket may show some obvious staining in a limited area on the front or back. Two to three surface abrasions may be present. One or two minor printing defects may be noted, such as a graphic element or text focus that is slightly out of register. Visible loss of original gloss may be acceptable. Some surface paper loss, resulting from prior gluing or taping of the ticket to an album page, for example, may be acceptable and is restricted to the back of the ticket.
  • VG-EX 4: Very Good-Excellent
    A ticket of this quality will appear to be an EX 5 at first glance, but up to two of the following additional defects may be present: Two light-to-medium surface creases may be present. A fold or full crease that does not cross the entire ticket may be present. The ticket may show some obvious, mid-range to dark staining in a limited area on the front or back. Defects such as general wear; print defects, loss of original gloss and paper loss on the reverse may be slightly more severe.
  • VG 3: Very Good
    Quality must be close in nature to a VG-EX4, but up to two of the following additional defects may be present: All of the ticket's corners, and in some instances the ticket's edges, may exhibit noticeable to pronounced wear. The surface quality may be subject to three or more light-to-medium surface creases; this ticket may also show some warping. A fold or full crease may exist and extend or cross over the entire ticket. Several surface scratches may exist. One or two non-game related punctures or holes may be present. Medium-to-heavy staining, and/or loss of print in one to two areas, on the front or back, may exist. Discoloration as in "yellowing" or fading of original ink color or very slight darkening in the case of a thermal-type paper stock ticket, over most or all of the front and/or back of the ticket may be observed. Original gloss may be entirely absent. Some surface paper loss may be visible on the front or back of the ticket. Defects such as general wear, print defects, and loss of original gloss may be slightly more severe.
  • GOOD 2: Good
    A PSA Good 2 must be close in nature to a VG 3, but up to two of the following additional defects may be present: two or more medium-to-heavy surface creases may be present, and this ticket may also show noticeable warping. Up to two folds or full creases may exist, and each one may extend or cross the entire ticket. Multiple and deep surface scratching may exist. Three non-game related punctures or holes may be present. The original gloss may be entirely absent. Defects such as general wear, print defects, staining, paper loss and fading of original ink may be slightly more severe.
  • PR-FR 1: Poor to Fair
    A PSA PR-FR 1 will appear obviously abused: the ticket's corners and edges exhibit pronounced and extreme wear. Multiple creases, scratches, non-game related punctures and extreme warping may be present. Heavy staining, paper loss, fading and numerous print defects may be present.

STUBS: The same basic criteria (as for full tickets) apply to stubs, with the additional tearing/removal factor of the "audit stub" (by the gate attendant) or, in some cases, a "fan stub." The shape and severity of the tear/removal of the stub, with all other condition qualities being equal, may affect the final grade of a stub. As expected, the more severe and less defined the tear/removal, the lower the grade of the stub. In some cases, no excess tearing (beyond the acceptable limits for a stub) will be allowed within a particular grade. For example, a PSA Gem Mint 10 "fan stub" may not exhibit any evidence of excess tearing at all. Submitters will have the option of choosing not to have a grade assigned to the tickets and, instead, merely have the tickets authenticated and encapsulated. Those tickets will be labeled "AUTHENTIC." Graders also reserve the right, based on eye appeal, not to render a grade on a severely damaged ticket stub and, instead, apply the "AUTHENTIC" label. That way, the ticket is authenticated and protected in the PSA holder – it simply is void of a specific grade.

QUALIFIERS

PSA will grade nearly every authentic ticket submitted. Tickets having significant flaws will receive a "qualified" grade as follows:

  • OC (Off Center):
    When the centering of the ticket falls below the minimum standard for that grade, the ticket, will be designated "OC". PSA determines centering by comparing the measurements of the borders from left to right and top to bottom. The centering is designated as the percent of difference at the most off-center part of the ticket. Some small leeway may be given to a ticket if the eye appeal is strong. For example, a ticket that may technically fall outside the range of acceptable centering for the grade may still qualify for that grade if the eye appeal is good.
  • ST (Staining):
    Tickets with staining below the minimum standards for the grade will be designated "ST."
  • PD (Print Defect):
    Tickets with significant printing defects will be designated "PD."
  • OF (Out of Focus):
    Tickets with focus below the minimum standards for the grade will be designated "OF."
  • MK (Marks):
    Tickets with writing, ink marks, pencil marks, etc. will be designated "MK."
  • MC (Miscut):
    Tickets with a factory miscut, such as a diamond cut, or when another ticket's image is on the original ticket will be designated "MC."
  • Full Tickets:
    Full tickets that show evidence of alteration will be labeled "AUTHENTIC" and with one of the following qualifiers:
  • Reattached:
    Any full ticket that has been separated and reattached with glue, tape, staples or other adhesive.
  • Reinforced:
    Any full ticket that has any perforations still attached and has been glued, taped, stapled together to keep the ticket from completely separating.
  • Trimmed:
    Any full ticket that has evidence of trimming.
  • Cancelled:
    Any full ticket that has been hole punched, stamped, etc.

A Note About Ticket Grading
Keep in mind that ticket grading is based, in part, on eye appeal. That being said, there is some degree of subjectivity applied to the ticket grading process based on the strength or weakness of the overall eye appeal. At this time, tickets will not receive half-point grades.

A Note About the PSA Ticket Price Guide
All listed prices are for Season tickets, unless otherwise specifically noted. Box office and third-party issued tickets are generally of less value and, in some cases, significantly less value.


PSA Pack Grading Standards

  • GEM-MT 10: Gem Mint
    A PSA Gem Mint 10 pack is a virtually perfect pack that should exhibit pristine corners and edges, which are free of any holes, tears or wear of any sort (including not having any wear to the corner folds). The seal on the reverse must be virtually undisturbed and free of any soiling or toning. The sealed folds on the reverse must also lay flush to the pack and not exhibit any lift from the seal. In addition, the pack must be "fresh" in appearance and free of any water or mildew damage to the wrapper or gum in order to qualify for this grade. There may be an allowance made for a small printing imperfection as long as the pack still shows superb eye appeal.

    Note: The top card within a cello pack must be centered approximately 65/35 or better.
  • MINT 9: Mint
    A PSA Mint 9 pack is a pack that appears to have all the attributes of a PSA Gem Mint 10 but it may exhibit one of the following flaws: a slight touch of wear on one corner (absent a hole or tear in the wrapper), minor toning or soiling to the seal on the reverse or a slight centering imperfection to the wrap. In addition, the pack must be "fresh" in appearance and free of any water or mildew damage to the wrapper or gum in order to qualify for this grade.

    Note: The top card within a cello pack must be centered approximately 80-20 or better.
  • NM-MT 8: Near Mint-Mint
    A PSA NM-MT 8 pack is a pack that exhibits similar attributes to a PSA Mint 9 but it may possess one or more of the following technical imperfections upon close inspection: slight wear at one or two corners, a pin-sized hole at one of the corners, a wrinkle in the surface of the wax/cellophane wrapping, slight toning or soiling on the seal, very slight toning of the wrapper itself and/or a slight centering imperfection to the wrap. In addition, the pack must be "fresh" in appearance and free of any water or mildew damage to the wrapper or gum to qualify for this grade.

    Note: The top card within a cello pack must be centered approximately 90/10 or better.
  • NM 7: Near Mint
    A PSA NM 7 pack is a pack that exhibits similar attributes to a PSA NM-MT 8 but it may possess one or more of the following flaws: there may be slight wear on all four corners, a few pin-hole sized tears on the corners or edges, a very minor tear in the wrapper itself, light toning or soiling on the seal, and/or a small stain, possibly due to water or mildew damage. A small allowance may be made for very light gum bleeding or soiling through the wrapper, not to reach the size of the gum contained within.

    Note: This is also the highest grade a cello pack can receive if the top card is 100/0(miscut).

    Note: This is the highest grade a pack can receive if the wax wrapper is a complete manufacturer miswrap, where there is a severe centering imperfection to the wrap.
  • PSA EX-MT 6: Excellent-Mint
    A PSA EX-MT 6 pack is a pack that exhibits similar attributes to a PSA NM 7 but it may possess one or more of the following flaws: wear may be present on all four corners and/or the pack may show light tearing on multiple corners. In addition, the pack may exhibit light tears on the edges of the wrappers, wrinkles on the surface of the wax/cellophane wrapper along with other types of small surface defects. The reverse seal may have soiling or toning as a result of water or mildew damage, as long as it is not deemed severe. The gum or wax wrapper can begin to show bleeding or soiling through the wrapper, but it must be limited to the size of the gum.
  • PSA EX 5: Excellent
    A PSA EX 5 pack is a pack that exhibits similar attributes to a PSA EX-MT 6 but it may possess one of more of the following flaws: wear may be present on all four corners along with one or two clear corner tears and/or edge tears. Under this grade, a pack may exhibit staining or discoloration of the wrapper, possibly due to water or mildew damage. The surface of a cello pack may exhibit a large split through the protective wrapping. That wrapping may also be misaligned but, in order to qualify under this grade, a sizeable portion of the seal must remain secure. In addition, the surface of the wrapper may show soiling damage from the gum or wax.
  • PSA VG-EX 4: Very Good-Excellent
    A PSA VG-EX 4 pack is a pack that exhibits similar attributes to a PSA EX 5 but it may possess one or more of the following flaws: wear will, most likely, be present on all four corners along with holes and/or tears on the corners and edges. A severe tear to one of the edges may be acceptable under this grade. The seal may be misaligned and partly raised but a somewhat sizeable portion of that original seal must remain intact. The surface of the pack may exhibit some discoloration, staining or soiling, possibly due to water or mildew damage. A cello pack may have a couple of severe splits through the protective wrapping as long as all the contained cards are held securely in their package.
  • PSA VG 3: Very Good
    A PSA VG 3 pack is a pack that exhibits similar attributes to a PSA VG-EX 4 but it may possess some additional, severe flaws such as moderate tears on all four corners and along the edges. The seal may be heavily worn and the pack may be visibly soiled. The surface can be discolored, stained and have heavy mildew damage that begins to bleed from the surface of the wrapper into the edges of the pack.
  • PSA Good 2: Good
    A PSA Good 2 pack is a pack that exhibits similar attributes to a PSA VG 3 but it may possess some additional, severe flaws. Major tears may appear on all four corners and along the edges. The seal may have heavy soiling or even residue from a foreign source, which hinders the eye appeal substantially. The corners and edges of the contained cards may be exposed; however, the cards must still be held in place by the package and cannot show any evidence of removal.
  • PSA PR-FR 1: Poor to Fair
    PSA PR-FR 1 pack is a pack that exhibits similar attributes to a PSA Good 2 but it may possess some additional, severe flaws. Severe water damage may be present where it has seeped into the pack itself, affecting the cards contained within. In fact, the pack may show signs of warping as a result of the water damage. The wrapper may not be completely legible from staining, discoloration or other wear and tear but it must remain legible enough for the experts to determine authenticity. In addition, while the pack itself may be severely damaged, some portion of the original seal must be intact.

At this time, packs will not receive half-point grades.

The PSA Unopened Pack Grading Approach

First and foremost, authentication is the most crucial step to the PSA grading process. With the prices generated by unopened packs in the marketplace, most notably in relation to vintage material, resealing and the outright counterfeiting of packs have been major industry problems. PSA will not grade any pack that has been deemed by the experts to be resealed, repaired or altered in any way. If a pack cannot pass this first step in the PSA process, the packs will not be eligible for encapsulation.

The Importance of Eye Appeal

The eye appeal factor is virtually as important to pack grading as it is to the approach used in trading card grading. There are, however, some unique condition obstacles that many packs are subject to. These include but are not limited to obstacles such as gum and/or wax residue that can alter the overall freshness of a pack and, in turn, hinder the grade. The presence of defects like mildew staining and gum or wax bleeding can lower the technical grade and detract from the overall eye appeal, depending on the severity.

In addition, while the centering of a pack wrapper is important, the pack grading approach does not view wrap centering in terms of percentages. The key factor, regardless of the technical measurement of the centering, is whether or not the centering (or lack thereof) of the wrap affects the overall eye appeal.

There are instances where wrapper centering issues are the norm. Packs found from the 1977 Topps football issue provide great examples of this frequently seen problem. The wrappers designed for that product clearly do not fit the way that most factory wrappers should. So, in a case like this, the pack graders will take that particular year into consideration before rendering their opinion. As long as the wrapper isn't a complete miswrap or entirely defective, then the centering of a wax wrapper should not hinder the grade substantially unless it affects the overall eye appeal.