Understanding Subgrades

At Rare Edition, we offer subgrades for free with every card we grade

Subgrades are a set of four additional grades your card receives during our grading process, focusing on the four key features of a card: the corners, edges, surface, and centering. Each of these four elements are looked at multiple ways throughout our grading process, including our Computer Vision and AI systems as well as being reviewed by our grading team and senior grader.

Some card companies provide subgrades as an add-on to a submission, while other companies don’t provide subgrades at all. At Rare Edition, we believe that adding subgrades is important for collectors to know exactly what makes a card worth collecting. Knowing whether a card has sharp corners despite some minor surface damage can make a difference to some collectors!

Adding subgrades is important for collectors to know exactly what makes a card worth collecting

You may look at the subgrades on a card and think, let’s add these up and divide the result by four. Contrary to the way most of our minds work when seeing those four numbers lined up, determining the overall grade for a card requires a bit more than some addition and division.

While an overall card grade does take into consideration all four subgrades, it is not an average. A card’s lowest subgrade is usually the defining factor in a card’s overall grade, and even three strong subgrades cannot override the damage of a very low fourth subgrade. More often than not, the overall grade can only be a half point above the lowest subgrade, and sometimes quite a bit lower.

An important thing to note on cards that grade a 10. There are two ways for cards to receive a 10: First, a card that has a single 9.5 subgrade can still be a 10 if the other three subgrades are a 10; these cards are called Pristine. Second, a card can grade a 10 if it has a 10 in all four subgrades, and these cards are called Perfect. Receiving a Pristine graded card is difficult enough, while cards that are labeled as Perfect are extremely rare and very coveted.

Subgrades offer more transparency and insight

Subgrades offer more transparency and insight into what went on when a card was graded, and providing transparency is one of our core values at Rare Edition. We take this a step further by providing full grading reports that detail exactly why a card received the score it did. It’s why we provide our subgrades and grading report for every card submitted to us, free of charge.

As always, if you have any questions, let us know on social media! Just reach out to us at @rareeditionco and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.