What is Sports Card Grading and Encapsulation?
The Mobile Authentication Network is the new kid on the block in the authentication grading space for trading cards and memorabilia that has been behind the curtains and in the industry for the last 20 years.
Authentication is the process of a person first verifying the originality or genuineness of a trading card with respect to certain qualifying attributes of the trading card. Grading is assessing the quality and condition of a trading card using A 10-point grading scale. Grading will only take place after a trading card has been deemed authentic.by our professional graders.
Whether vintage or modern the Mobile Authentication Network authenticates and grades cards throughout the hobby. Learn about our grading process below.
The Trading Card Authentication & Grading Process
A series of Mobile authentication Network graders review your cards for authenticity. If genuine, the Mobile authentication Network looks for evidence of doctoring, such as re-coloring, trimming and reprinting of the card
MAN will not grade cards that bear evidence of trimming, re-coloring, restoration, or any other forms of tampering, or are of questionable authenticity as per our professional graders
If your cards pass authentication, the Mobile Authentication Network grades the condition of each card on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being best.If your card is returned as ungradable, that determination was made based on one of the following reasons which are common practice among top 3rd party grading companies in our industry
N-1 Evidence of Trimming - When a card's edge appears to have been altered. A card doctor may use scissors, scalpel, cutter, or any other sharp instrument. A card that appears trimmed: A hooked appearance along the edge, unusually sharp or uncommon edges for the issue, an inconsistent tone to the color of the edge in question or a wavy, unnatural look to the edges.
N-2 Evidence of Restoration - When a card's paper stock appears to have been 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 appears to have been artificially improved.
N-4 Questionable Authenticity - This is the term used when a card appears to be counterfeit or when the autograph is deemed to be not genuine.
N-5 Altered Stock - This includes, but is not limited to characteristics on the card that appear to show some form of alteration such as paper restoration, crease/wrinkle pressing or enhanced gloss.
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 abnormal for the issue, causing the card’s edges to deviate from their intended appearance. Grading fees are not charged in this instance.
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 MAN 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 MAN encapsulate the card without a grade. The "Authentic" label means that the item, in our opinion, is real but nothing more.
AA Authentic Altered - This means that while MAN is certifying that the item is genuine, due to the existence of alterations, the item cannot receive a numerical grade. The term altered may mean that the card shows evidence of one or more of the following: trimming, recoloring, restoration, and/or cleaning. Items receiving the "Authentic Altered" designation, in our opinion, are genuine with the presence of some type of alteration. This is done on a case-by-case basis only, and must be notated on the submission form at the time of submission.
The Mobile authentication Network 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
Over the years, more and more collectors have come to understand the basic guidelines behind sports card grading. Even though we have not been “officially” grading for well over a decade, MAN grading standards of integrity will truly become the official standard for the most valuable cards in sports card collecting.
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 a 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 remember the graders reserve the right, just like a plate umpire, to make a judgment call on the grade of a particular card based on eye appeal.
The Grading Scale
Today's sports card market requires a very specific grading scale. MAN uses A 10-point grading scale that is accurate and consistent with the current industry. Many industry experts agree that accurate grades mean more accurate prices for your sports cards. Collecting graded sports card is not just a hobby it is also investment for your financial future and is enjoyable for the whole family.
These grade descriptions are guidelines, designed to somewhat explain how the evaluation process of the Mobile Authentication Network (MAN) team works as they establish a specific physical condition grade using our 10-point grading scale. Many other factors that may contribute to the final assigned grade might not be specifically spelled out in these overly simplified descriptions. The basics of SPORTS CARD GRADING ARE DETERMINED BY FOUR KEY CATEGORIES AS FOLLOWS:
CENTERING - Insert the Chart
CORNERS - four sharp corners, fuzzy, dinged, and or bent
EDGES – the rim of the card front and back along all four sides
SURFACE – even flow of gloss, no dings, knicks, indentations, or creases. no lifting or separation on either front or back of the card
Grades from each of these key categories will be considered in determining your card's final overall grade for example a 10 card would be described as follows:
A "virtually flawless" card. 50/50 centering, crisp focus, four sharp corners, free of stains, no breaks in surface gloss, no print or refractor lines, and no visible wear under magnification.
Once the team at the Mobile Authentication Network (MAN) successfully grades your sports card using our 10-point grading scale then it is encapsulated to protect the newly graded card from tampering
PACK-PULLED, PRE-CERTIFIED AUTOGRAPHS
The Mobile Authentication Network (MAN) will grade a pack-pulled, pre-certified autographed card (post-2000) using the same industry standards and the same fee structure to the client. No additional charges for grading and encapsulation this type of card.
Mobile authentication Network (MAN) encapsulates each card in its own sonically sealed, TAMPER PROOF CASE. The card's grade and certification number are displayed on the Mobile Authentication Network (MAN) label. ALONG WITH CARD manufacturer name, card number year produced and if available number of cards produced as well as the players’ name.
The Mobile Authentication Network (MAN) utilizes a tamper-evident holder to encapsulate collectibles have helped provide peace of mind to both buyers and sellers
The following are some tips on ways to potentially reduce the risk of being victimized by counterfeiters and con artists. As stated earlier, the Mobile authentication Network holder is tamper-evident as a result of the sonic weld that seals the two parts of the holder together on multiple pressure points on the holders. This is, of course, not the same thing as tamper-proof, which would mean the holder could not be opened or violated. For a number of reasons, it is important that the holder is not actually tamper-proof (does not allow a representative from the Mobile Authentication Network) access to the card if necessary. For example, if the outside of the holder is scratched or damaged in any way, it must be possible to safely remove the card so a re-holder service can be performed without harming the collectible inside.
Tamper-evident means that if someone does attempt to violate the holder, it will leave some evidence that the holder has been compromised. There are different ways that the holder will show evidence of such tampering.
One way the Mobile Authentication Network holder may show tampering is what is commonly referred to as "frosting" along the edges where the clear plastic starts to exhibit a cloudy appearance. In some cases, you can actually see minor fractures or cracks in the plastic as a result of the violation. This occurs when the sonic weld is broken and can be seen in various degrees.
Another way the MAN holder may show tampering is the feel of the plastic itself. Prior to the pieces of the MAN holder being welded together, the plastic is mildly flexible. Once the sonic weld takes place, the strength of the weld creates a very firm, virtually inflexible bond between the pieces of the holder. On the other hand, once the sonic weld is broken (as a result of tampering) the plastic becomes more flexible again.
In some cases, a person will attempt to glue the holder back together to make it appear as if the holder is original. No matter how much glue they use, the sonic weld is still broken, allowing the plastic to once again become somewhat flexible. In fact, with pressure applied along the edge with something as simple as a fingernail, the holder may often start to make a cracking noise and pop open. In many cases, the holder requires no pressure at all as one or more of the edges are already open.
These are just some basic reminders and suggestions of how to avoid buying items that are purported to be Mobile Authentication Network (MAN) authenticated or graded but, in reality, are not. A few precautionary measures can help protect you from buying fraudulent items and enhance your overall collecting experience. If you have any suspicions whatsoever, take a day or two to consider your decision and consult with colleagues or trusted advisors.
The Mobile Authentication Network Guarantee of Grade & Authenticity is paramount to third-party grading. Subject to the exceptions noted below, the Guarantee ensures the accuracy of the grade assigned to any Mobile Authentication Network (MAN) graded sports card.
The Mobile Authentication Network guarantees that all cards submitted for grading shall be graded in accordance using the customary industry standards
If the Mobile authentication Network (MAN) concludes that the card in question no longer merits a MAN grade assigned or fails to meet MAN‘s authenticity standards, at MAN’s discretion. You will get a full refund and your card returned.
Certain exceptions to the Guarantee apply, including, but not limited to, the following: the Guarantee does not apply to any card as to which a clerical error has been made with respect to the assigned grade or description; the Guarantee does not apply to any card that has been removed from the MAN holder or any card for which the MAN holder shows evidence of tampering; the Guarantee does not apply to any card that has been environmentally damaged due to improper storage or natural disasters, such as fire and flood; the Guarantee does not apply to cards exhibiting environmental deterioration subsequent to initial grading; the Guarantee applies only to the grade assigned to the card and does not apply to the authenticity of any autograph nor the grade assigned to any autograph; and the Guarantee does not apply to, and cannot be utilized by, the original submitter (or the original submitter’s agents, employees, affiliates or representatives) of the graded card.
ALL PERSONS HEREBY: (I) CONSENT TO PERSONAL JURISDICTION OF THE COURTS OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA WITH RESPECT TO ANY LEGAL ACTION TO ENFORCE THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF, OR OTHERWISE ARISING UNDER OR WITH RESPECT TO, THIS GUARANTEE; AND (II) AGREE THAT THE SUPERIOR COURT OF FLORIDA, COUNTY OF PALM BEACH, OR, IF APPLICABLE, FEDERAL DISTRICT COURT SITTING IN THE COUNTY OF PALM BEACH, STATE OF FLORIDA, SHALL BE THE SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE VENUE, AND THE STATE OF FLORIDA SHALL BE THE SOLE FORUM, FOR THE BRINGING OF SUCH ACTION; AND (III) AGREE THAT THIS AGREEMENT SHALL BE CONSTRUED AND INTERPRETED IN ACCORDANCE WITH AND SHALL BE GOVERNED AND ENFORCED IN ALL RESPECTS ACCORDING TO THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA. THE GUARANTEE DOES NOT APPLY TO ANY CLAIMS BROUGHT OUTSIDE OF THE COURTS OF PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA.