How We Grade
Rare Edition is changing the way that cards are graded. Every one of our cards passed through the industry's most comprehensive grading process, leading to consistent, accurate grades for your cards. We do what our competitors can't: Tell you exactly why your card got the grade it did, every time. Read on to see how it works.
The Process
High-Res Scanning
Rare Edition takes every card sent to us and uses a high-resolution scan of the front and back to start our grading process. This scan allows our AI and CV tech to begin assessing the card for any damage, and is the backbone for our grader's review.
In-Depth Research
Our team researches every card sent in to ensure that the information we put on the certificate is accurate. Prizms and parallels are checked, checklists are reviewed, and if any changes are needed they're made by our team before the certificate is printed.
CV and Expert Grading
Our proprietary iPad grading system allows the graders to review the high-resolution scans of a card while also holding the card in front of them. The scans are compared and checked against the card itself, and our grading tea categorizes and updates any damage on the card so you can see it in our revolutionary grading report.
Certificate Printing
Once the card has been graded and researched, it's on to the certificate step. The card's information is printed onto our certificate, placed in the bottom part of our case, and the card itself is carefully put in. Special care is taken to remove any lint, dust, or hairs that may try to get in the case.
Welding and Encasing
The high frequency vibrations of our ultrasonic welder melt both pieces of polycarbonate together, creating an exceptional bond without the need for glue or adhesive. Once the pieces have been welded together, Corning® Gorilla® Glass is placed on the front and the back to provide superior scratch resistance and that premium feel our customers love.
Quality Control
Every card is checked prior to leaving our warehouse. Our team reviews each card to catch any issues that may have come up in the grading and encasing process, then passes the card along to be packaged and sent back.
Premium Packages Delivered Daily
Every card is sealed in our gold foil wrapper, then placed within a product box to protect it during shipping. Product boxes have a security sticker placed on them, then are put in their shipping box. That final box is sent back to you, ready to be broken out and enjoyed!
How We Reach Our Grades
Every card we grade receives its subgrades and overall grades based on data, formulas, and a series of rules. Our graders review all eight corners, all eight edges, both surfaces and both centering areas to feed back into our AI and CV tech, scouring every area for damage. Once we're satisfied we've seen everything on the card, we move into grading.

The most important thing to remember when looking at the overall grade of a card is that the overall grade is not an average of the subgrades. A series of rules and formulas determine the overall grade of a card. This is where the hard facts of damage meet the art of grading, and where grading companies may differ. At Rare Edition, we firmly believe that our 9.5 graded cards meet or exceed our competitor's Gem Mint graded cards, and we believe that our cards that grade a 10 are truly exceptional and will beat out the best our competitors have to offer.
Examples
9.5
Corners
9.5
Edges
9.5
Centering
10
Surface
9
At Rare Edition. a card can't score a 10 if there's a 9 or lower in any of the subgrades. We strongly believe that only the best cards can get a 10.
9.5
Corners
10
Edges
9.5
Centering
9.5
Surface
10
Similarly, if a card has two of the lowest subgrade, the highest grade a card can receive is that subgrade; that's why this card didn't get a 10.
7
Corners
8.5
Edges
7.5
Centering
8.5
Surface
6
Surface damage is a common reason for cards to get surprisingly lower grades. When the edge or surface is the lowest grade, the overall grade can't be more than 1 higher.
7.5
Corners
7
Edges
9
Centering
9.5
Surface
8.5
Corners and Centering are incredibly important. A card can never have an overall grade more than 0.5 higher than the Centering or Corners.
Corners: 5.5
A card's corners are critical, with crisp and sharp corners making or breaking many card's overall grade. For this specific card, over 50 years of travel before it reached Rare Edition resulted in some corner wear that brought its subgrade down to a 5.5. Each green overlay shows the general area where damaged was observed on the corners.
Damage Observed:
Light Damage
Damage
Edges: 8
Clean edges with few dents, chips, tears, or just general damage are important to score a high grade. For this card, the edges were in good condition for its age, despite some light chipping and a few light dents. We evaluate corners and edges eight times on a card: four for the front, and four for the back.
Damage Observed:
Light Damage
Damage
Light Chipping
Light Dent
Centering: 6
A well-centered card is critical for eye appeal. Many vintage sets are infamous for difficult centering and less-than-stellar quality control, and even modern and ultra modern sets can still have wildly off cuts. For this card the centering was off quite a bit, leading to a 6 subgrade.
Damage Observed:
Light Damage
Damage
Surface: 7
Without a doubt, surface damage is the hardest type of damage to see when a card has been encased. Rare Edition tracks all types of damage on the surface, and we're working on ways to show this damage in grade reports. Look for it coming soon!
Damage Observed:
Light Damage
Staining
Inking
Print Dots
Overall Grade:
6
EX-MT
Overall Grade Explained
Corners are critical to a card's overall grade. A card can never have an overall grade more than 0.5 above their Corner grade, so this card scored an overall grade of 6, despite a high Edge grade.

FAQ

Does a card's grade come from the computer, a human, or both?

Rare Edition combines both a computer's detailed review of a card and a human's understanding of what should and shouldn't be on a card. Without our AI and CV tech, it would be extremely time-consuming to identify every area of a card that may be damaged; Without the human element to classify and categorize damage, an AI / CV approach can be overly-aggressive or mis-categorize card features as damage.

Rare Edition blends these two approaches to create a consistent grade, and our grading team reviews every card grade to ensure that it matches our grading formulas and rules.

Can Rare Edition grade unlicensed or fan-made cards?

Rare Edition does not grade unlicensed or fan-made cards.

Can Rare Edition grade Pokemon or other TCG cards?

Rare Edition cannot grade Pokemon or other TCG cards at this time, but we are excited to offer this in the near future! Since our cases are manufactured to extremely tight specifications, it's not possible to encase TCG cards in our current case design. A new version of our case that can fit TCG cards is being designed, and once it is available we will happily grade all standard-sized TCG cards, including Pokemon, Magic, Digimon, or other card games.

Does Rare Edition have a pop report?

Rare Edition does not yet have a pop report, though we are actively working on creating one. Once we do, you will be able to see the cards we have graded so far along with the population of certain sets.

Who leads the grading team at Rare Edition?

Our grading team is led by a grading expert who has almost a decade of grading experience at two of the top three grading companies. This expert helps train our grading team members, identify inauthentic or altered cards, and provides guidance to the team on grading questions.