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Graded Sports Cards – The Qualifiers

Graded PSA Sports Cards

Having your sports cards graded can be exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. You’ve done a great job so far keeping your sports cards in pristine condition. Preserving them the best you can – either in a card binder, or in penny sleeves and a top loader. Making sure you don’t keep taking them out and handling them.

You know you have some cards that could be worth a lot of money. But you also know, having your cards graded could potentially bring in a lot more. Everyone hopes for that perfect grading.

Whether it be a PSA Gem Mint 10, a Beckett (BGS) Pristine 10 or Gem Mint 10, or a SGC Pristine or Gem Mint 10. Your cards appear to hit all the markers – 4 Perfect Corners and Edges. 50/50 Centering. The gloss is intact and not even a hair on your card. But have you ever thought about the Qualifiers? There’s a lot that goes into having your cards graded. Let’s review these qualifiers:

What Are Qualifiers?

Qualifiers mean that a card meets all the criteria but has “failed” in one standard area. For instance, a card which encompasses all the qualities of a NM-MT 8, but is 90/10 centered left to right, will be graded NM-MT 8oc. OC = Off Center. The qualifiers simply indicate that the card would have graded its given score perfectly had it not been for the qualifier; however, the qualifier was not damaging enough to lower the score.

Now that we learned what the OC Qualifier means, let’s discuss the others.

What Do The Qualifiers Mean?


 = Miscut. A card that has been miscut, or cut incorrectly, by the printing press.


 = Marks. This card has some kind of written marking on it, which is not due to printing errors. For instance, pen ink or pencil. As well as, impression marks from writing on something atop of the card.


 = Off Center. A card that while in printing, did not come out centered properly. But falls within a 5% leeway of it’s given score and is not within range of the score below it, it may receive this Qualifier.


 = Out of Focus. Blurriness or focal issues are noticed.


 = Print Defect. Noticeable factory print defect. Which can include spotting, discoloration.


 = Staining. Significant staining from water, wax, coffee, gum, or otherwise. Which are below the minimum standards for the given grade.

What Do the Qualifiers Look Like?


psa qualifiers - miscut we buy graded psa sports cards When 1 or more white border sides are missing, the card is considered a miscut. In order to “qualify” as an OC – Off Center, all four sides to the white border must be present.


psa qualifiers - marks Marks – Ink mark not associated with the printing of the card.


psa qualifiers - off center we buy graded psa sports cards Off Center – When all four sides of the border can be seen but do not appear to be even.


psa qualifiers - out of focus Out of Focus / Blurry. Rico Petrocelli is just illuminated and beaming in this card!


psa qualifiers - printing defect we buy graded psa sports cards Printing Defects – Coloration is way off and there are noticeable white spots in the discoloration area.


psa qualifiers - staining we buy graded psa sports cards Staining. There is a smudging or smear of something not related to the printing of this card.

My Card Came Back With a Qualifier, Now What?

Many collectors are okay with the qualifiers and their identification on a graded card. However, when it comes to a monetary value. It can make an impact. No, it does not mean don’t have your card graded. It means, use common sense when sending cards off to be graded. If the value of the card will not be at least what you have invested in it, then having it graded might not be worth it’s efforts UNLESS you are doing it to keep your cards in the best condition you can.

Which Grading Companies Use Qualifiers?

PSA most certainly uses the Qualifiers. As we can tell in the examples above. However, it should be noted that SGC and BGS (Beckett) do NOT utilize the qualifiers. Please note: This can be BOTH a good thing and a bad thing, per say.

Graded PSA Sports Cards

Sell your Graded PSA Sports Cards to Vermillion Enterprises. Bring your collection in today for a valuation and offer! We pay cash!

For More Information on Qualifiers Check out these YOU TUBE Videos:



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