What is the "Expert Grading Report" option?

The grading certificate a document that is both a certificate of authenticity and a detailed grading report, including the conclusions of the grading team that analysed your card. This document will explain the determination of each of the sub-scores assigned to your card by prioritising on a diagram the major and minor defects affecting it (handling, wear and tear and production). The grading report will also include the most specific information about your card, such as its four centring ratios, its exact weight, its thickness, but also its printing particularities and possibly the context of its distribution.

Each Expert Grading Report can be downloaded from the Site in the unique grading form of a card when this option has been chosen for its grading.


Can I dispute the scores on my cards?

We understand that it is sometimes disappointing to receive a grade below our initial expectations. A collector's love and passion sometimes causes him to lose sight of the real condition of a card that bears witness to his history. It is not uncommon for particularly small or inconspicuous flaws, which only become apparent under adequate lighting or magnification, to escape even the most careful inspection by an individual. Nevertheless, our grading process, based on a standardised criteria analysis grid, guarantees you an accurate, regular, thorough and impartial rating. For more information on our grading protocol and evaluation criteria, please visit the Grading page and our Grading Scale page.

However, if you feel that your card has been subject to an obvious grading error, you can send us your request by e-mail to the following address:  [email protected].


Can I send you cards that have been engraved by another company?

Yes, you can send us cards that have been graded by other companies. The ordering procedure and the grading fee are the same as for the certification of a non-graded card, but you will receive a €1 credit note for each card submitted in crossover. You will be able to mention that your card has already been graded by another grading organisation in the "Comments" field of your order basket.


Do you grade the cards by computer or by hand?

The authenticity and condition of each card is independently assessed by hand by 2 to 3 experts equipped with sophisticated analysis equipment and with continuous information monitoring to keep their knowledge up to date in order to maintain a faithful and harmonised application of our grading scale. However, our graders are computer-assisted for certain tasks requiring mathematical accuracy, such as measuring the centre of gravity. Safeguard's aim is to offer expertise that combines the analytical skills of an experienced human eye with the rigour of an objective assessment.


My card is slightly curved, will this affect the scoring result?

This is possible and will depend in particular on whether the curvature is natural or not and on the intensity of the curvature. A minor deviation in flatness formed naturally will have no effect, whereas a slightly more pronounced curvature or one resulting a priori from handling, will be likely to cause its surface sub-grade to fall. On the other hand, excessive curvature or torsion will lead to a refusal of grading in order to avoid an unsightly final result in our case.


Can I apply for a 'special grade'?

The awarding of a special grade is at the sole discretion of Safeguard and cannot be requested by the customer when placing an order. The customer may, however, leave a comment in a special area to enable him/her to make any comments or observations on this subject.


What are "special grades"?

Sometimes a production accident is sufficiently notable or singular to constitute what is sometimes called an "error card" or "misprint card", sometimes making the evaluation of certain characteristics unsatisfactory with regard to the usual grading criteria. This type of card may be given a special grade rather than an overall grade, depending on your wishes, and in any case will only receive numerical sub-grades in the categories not affected by the particularity of production that affects it (e.g. no centring numerical sub-grade for an "Off-centered" card ("N/A": Not Applicable instead) but the other three numerical sub-grades will be maintained). As for the classic rating, the attribution of this grade will depend on the successive appreciation of several of our specialists to determine whether the card in question is eligible or not.

On the other hand, marked or inked cards will also be given a special grade (MK: Marked) but will not receive an overall grade.

Nota Bene: When a production "oddity" directly concerns the design of a card, the latter will sometimes be considered as a "variant" (e.g. Red Cheeks Pikachu - Base Set 1st Edition) or a "variant error" (Wartortle Evolution Box Error - Base Set 1st Edition) and will thus be given a regular grade but with a specific additional mention. The mention of a design error on a box label will depend on its importance and the frequency of its occurrence.


What is the Authentic grade?

Authentic is a grading option where a card will be given an "A" grade instead of a numerical grade and sub-grades if its condition does not meet the minimum grade specified at the time of ordering. This is often the preferred service when only a card with sentimental value is to be protected and its condition might indicate an unsatisfactory grade.


Are all cards graded exactly the same and with the same severity?

At Safeguard, every card is given the utmost attention, regardless of its condition, rarity or stated value.

While we grade all cards against the same criteria in accordance with our grading scale, the wide divergence in production quality between them, depending on their date of printing or place of production, means that we sometimes have to adjust slightly the consideration given to some of their original defects.

For example, the cards in the EX Dragon Frontiers set are notorious for frequently having particularly pronounced print lines. These cards will sometimes benefit from a slightly more lenient gradation for these original imperfections.

On the other hand, cards with an exemplary production quality, such as those belonging to the Aquapolis set, will be evaluated with a higher level of requirement.


Do all graded cards benefit from sub-grades?

In the interests of transparency and explanation, each card to be graded will be assigned four sub-grades to give an additional level of detail to its main characteristics and to justify the assignment of its final grade. The only exceptions concern certain cards that have received special grades (e.g. Off-centered) or cards graded Authentic. In these specific cases, these cards will be given "N/A" (Not Applicable) sub-grades according to the characteristics concerned by a major production error.