Empresa europea de grading

Grading standards: How are your cards graded?

Fantasy Cards Authenticator has spent a lot of time putting together a great team of professionals with a great deal of knowledge about trading cards. The aim is to use all that knowledge to define a rigorous and objective grading or authentication process. 

We have acquired all the necessary tools and updated equipment to perform a grading process in which the personal opinion and subjective ratings are avoided in favour of real and tangible data. This means that your cards will be analysed by using the same forensic equipment that is used by police or airport control officers.

As good collectors, we take the grading and authentication process very seriously, and thus, the final score obtained by your cards will accurately reflect their real condition.

Grading de cartas en España

Characteristics that we analyse during the process.

The grading score of a card is based on the analysis of various features:

AUTHENTICITY
Even if it does not affect the final rating of the card, it is a key factor that determines whether or not a card goes through the analysis phase. The authenticity of the collectible item is very important for FCA. This mean that any fake cards, also known as counterfeits, will not progress from this step. They won’t be evaluated nor encapsulated.
SURFACE
Even if it does not affect the final rating of the card, it is a key factor that determines whether or not a card goes through the analysis phase. The authenticity of the collectible item is very important for FCA. This mean that any fake cards, also known as counterfeits, will not progress from this step. They won’t be evaluated nor encapsulated.
CORNERS

The general condition of the four corners that make up the card is also considered. In this section, we check if corners are perfectly defined and well cut. Any defect or damage, either to the front or back, will impact the final score.

EDGES

The condition of the four edges of the card is also analysed. The cut and the integrity of the edges is checked as well as the presence of damage marks, whitening, and the general condition of the paint. 

CENTERING

As the previously described features, centering is also analysed in both front and back part of the card. It is evaluated how good the centering of the card content is, by measuring and analysing the outer frame. The final grade will depend on the detected deviation in any of the three variants: vertical, horizontal or rotational.

Grade definitions at FCA

In the card collecting world the grading scales are normally defined with English identifiers.

It is important to note that FCA uses a 0.5 jumping grading scale in scores below “9-Mint”. This means that if your card scores a 8.5, the NEAR-MINT label will be accompanied by a “+”, indicating the slightly higher grading score due to a better condition.

Additionally, we have an important new in grading scores above 9 points. It is not the same scoring a 9.3 or a 9.8, is it? For this reason, we use a 0.1 jumping grading scale above 9 points. You will be able to differentiate more accurately between cards in mint condition.

A general view of the grading scale that we use is shown below.

Take into account that what is shown here is a simplified version of the scales defined in the grading protocols and of the results obtained by the data analysis programmes.”

10 / GEM MINT / PERFECT
The name makes it clear that is a card in a perfect condition. The surface must not have any damaged or dirt and it must be absolutely intact. The holographic art must not have any breaks or damage to the brightness. The corners must be perfectly preserved and cut. The centering must be perfect. All these characteristics are verified and revisited visually, using digital augment elements and forensic documentation analysis machinery and tools. 
9 / MINT / M
The card has no visible damage. Only cards that have defects that are detected by the forensic equipment will be accepted. Therefore, the surface will be well preserved and the corners and edges won’t show any wear and tear. However, slight defects from the cut process could be accepted. 
8 / NEAR MINT – MINT / NM – M
The surface can show minor damage. The printing must be intact. Corners can have minimal wear and tear. 
7 / NEAR MINT / NM
The card will be in a general good condition. The surface can show minor definition defects or damage if they are barely visible. Corners and edges can have slight wear and tear.
6 / EXCELLENT – NEAR MINT / EX – NM
Cards are in good condition, but with damaged surface, edges or corners. This damage will be visually perceptible. Corners may show irregular patterns or be slightly damaged.
5 / EXCELLENT / EX
In general, it is a card in a good condition. It may have minimal damage to the surface as well as light folds. The corners will appear a firm and consistent, but superficial damages are accepted. 
4 / VERY GOOD / VG
Card will show aesthetic damage but none that impact the card integrity. Wear and tear and slight dirt is acceptable at this grade. Corners can show damages but folds on them are not permitted.
3 / GOOD
The card shows a general good condition. It may have small wrinkles and damage to the corners, as well as some wear and tear.
2 / FAIR
A card rated with this score shows a general damaged condition. It will normally have a dirty surface, general wear, and folds and wrinkles. 
1 / POOR
It is the worst condition that a card can be in. As an example, cards of this standard may exhibit folds, wrinkles, wear and tear, damaged surfaces, breaks, inner layers of the cards visible, etc.
Cartas gradeadas en Europa
Grading cartas custom o personalizadas

Other kind of identifiers that your cards can receive

We will show you here what other gradings can your cards achieve after being analysed by our team. Here, we explain what each identifier means and what implications it has.
ART
This identifier is for original cards that have been artistically modified. These cards will not receive a grading score in the label, only the ART identifier. However, they will be encapsulated.
ALTERED
This identifier is assigned to cards that have been altered with the aim of restoring some damaged characteristics. This process is normally performed on old cards. Of course, the ALTERED status will only be given by cards that are authentic. Cards will not receive any grading score in the label, but they will be encapsulated. 
COUNTERFEIT / COPY / FAKE CARD

Counterfeit or fake cards are not included in our grading process.

These cards WILL NEITHER BE graded NOR encapsulated.

Cards will be returned to the customer indicating that are counterfeit. The authentication service will be charged in full.