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how cards are graded by Graad?

Welcome back with the Broker Brothers. In this article, we will discuss the methodology used by Graad in grading cards, leaving the floor directly to its co-founder Luigi Pignalosa, who was kind enough to answer even the most uncomfortable questions we asked him. Today we will cover some very interesting topics, including the discussion about the severity of Graad's grading.

For those who don't know us, we are two guys, Federico and Mauro, who have been talking about the Pokémon market and collecting for over a year now. Our guides have now reached tens of thousands of people, to our and your satisfaction

We have noticed that in the collecting community in the various GCCs, Graad has received some complaints about the severity of their ratings. In this short interview, we asked a few questions directly to Graad itself. Our questions will be answered directly by the co-founder of Graad, Luigi Pignalosa, who is mainly in charge of the marketing and communication side of the company.4

Later on, at the end of the interview, we will also give you our opinion on the matter.

First of all, Luigi, what methodology do you use to grade?

"We at Graad use a scientific and objective method. There is no subjectivity in our work. The collectable is analysed according to certain objective parameters, e.g., the 8 card parameters in the standard certification. For each parameter, a specification is created and tested that defines the conditions for which a partial grade is awarded. The partial grade (e.g. "forehead edges = 8") is given according to the "forehead edges" specification that describes all possible cases for that partial, and for each case determines the grade. Our evaluator, therefore, cannot decide the grade (the grade is not subjective, based on his experience or sensitivity) but must look at the paper and check which grade in the specification corresponds to the status of that parameter. Thus, the evaluator works using the scientific criterion whereby the measurement is given according to an objective and fixed reference scale'.

OK, so in simple terms, the evaluator does not make a subjective assessment. There are predetermined parameters that help determine the final grade, but concretely how is the final grade determined?

"Through an algorithm and not through a mere arithmetic average. This is because the arithmetic mean does not really respond to the collector's way of thinking. The algorithm, on the other hand, simulates the way a team of collectors thinks, it is a complex formula that manipulates the values of the partials so that under certain conditions, a certain partial grade has weight, but if the conditions change, the weight it has in determining the final grade also changes. For example, if the surface partial grades are low, centring has considerable weight, but if the surface grades are very high (9 or 10), then it loses importance if it is not high (6,7,8). So a card with surface 9 and centring 6 is not penalised so much for this centring, and maybe in the end, the grade is 9 or 8.5 but not 7.5 as if it were just an arithmetic average (9+6=15, 15/2 = 7.5, rounded final grade 7). This is just one example among many cases and situations that the algorithm adjusts differently from a simple average. So we understand that often collectors, by averaging the partial marks, believe that we have 'got it wrong', and it is indeed for this reason that we were initially hesitant to show the partials. But we precisely decided to show the partials out of transparency, and knowing that, we would then have to explain well the difference between our system and what the collectors imagined or assumed.

Many in Italy criticise you for the excessive severity of the grades. What do you think?

"When we decided to create GRAAD (so we are talking about 2016, when it was still just an idea), we gathered a team of professional collectors, programmers and mathematicians to discuss a number of issues and to decide how to set up a series of choices that would then give the character and methodology to our brand of certifications. The mathematicians had the task of translating the collectors' indications into 'formulas' to work out a precise and objective algorithm that would give all certifications a certainty, objectivity and impartiality that represent our most important innovation in a world of bodies that certify cards through subjective appraisals. Now, the issue of the range for measuring the quality value of the cards (rating from 1 to 10) has been a much-discussed topic by the team, right from the early design stages.

The severity was a choice dictated by the need to use a single range for all cards and all games, regardless of the age of the card. So, our system is undoubtedly strict in certain cases, stricter than some collectors who have a "wider" sensitivity for grades and how much a certain type of wear weighs. Some, for example, value corner wear more, others less. Some are horrified at the slightest pressure point. Others are more tolerant. Some are stricter with old cards and stiffer with recent ones. Others still think differently... But unless you give up this subjective and personal sensitivity, you will never have a valid and strong tool that is unique for everyone.

So Graad has earned a reputation as a strict certification house, but for us, it is a real service to the public. GRAAD prefers not to work on false commercial gratifications, but on the seriousness and quality of the grade. In the long run, we hope, collectors will understand better and better that an objective and stable, unambiguous, strict and unquestionable grade is actually a great guarantee of value for them (as well as a greater effort for us). Not knowing all this work of ours behind the creation of GRAAD leads to the fact that, on average, the collector who receives grades sometimes thinks they are lower than he expected. Still, our is a mathematical system designed over three years of experimentation by a team, and his is a subjective judgement".

Pictured is a beautiful Shiny Magikarp

So if we understand you correctly, you just said that, on average, it is harder to get a 10 Graad than a 10 from another gradation house. Do you think this is an advantage?

"Our strictness leads to a higher value of high grades. So we hope to make the public understand that one of our 10s is often worth more than a 10 with other marks. I know, it is difficult, but if collectors understand this, eventually the market will also be fairer, and Graad cards will grow in value."

Now if you allow Luigi, we will ask you some more *hot* questions. What do you think about those who criticise Graad, saying that it is actually *a shop*

We would like to remind our readers that the owner of Graad, Daniele Sarriano, is also the owner of Pianeta Hobby, one of the best-known stores in our environment.

"Graad was born from the dream of a team that initially dreamed, talked, reasoned, and hypothesised that they could do better. Daniele Sarriano, owner of a shop in Milan, had the intuition to take it seriously and expand the team to include investors, mathematicians and a marketing and communication expert (that's me) to turn those ideas into an innovative brand. Thus, a team of various skills was born: professional collectors, mathematicians, communication experts, investors, programmers, and graphic designers. So yes, Graad was born in the orbit of a shop. But that was just the embryo. GRAAD then became, first and foremost, a team (when the brand did not yet exist). What did this team do? It took on a challenge and ran with it, at that stage, mainly with the help of mathematicians. It was a close discussion on a number of issues to decide how to set up a series of certification choices that would then give the character and methodology to our certification brand. The mathematicians had the task of translating the collectors' indications into 'formulas' in order to work out a precise and objective algorithm that would give all certifications a certainty, objectivity and impartiality that represent our most important innovation in a world of bodies that certify cards through subjective appraisals made (in the best of cases) by different experts with different ideas, sensitivities and grades'.

What do you say to the haters who accuse you of not being able to grade?

"Maybe someone thinks they know how to evaluate cards better than we do? Maybe. We, for our part, did three years of experimentation and research before going to market, developed an objective and stable system with the algorithm, and then constantly monitored the statistics to update the algorithm and improve it, so those who think they know how to evaluate cards better than us can prove it by opening their own certification house and showing the public that they know how to do better than us.

Pictured is a beautiful blue-eyed white wizard dragon

We will now turn over to you one of the most absurd criticisms we have received over the years. We already know the answer, but if you want, we will leave you the honour of answering, "GRAAD does not have the PERMISSION/ CERTIFICATE to grade cards".

"Ah... Now I'll ask the certifying body if they will certify us a certificate to certify the cards."

Of course, guys, there is no permit/certificate for grading. Grading companies are private businesses.

Thank you for the interview, Luigi. You have been very kind!

In the photo, Graad co-founder - Luigi Pignalosa

Our opinion

Well, guys, first of all, we would like to thank Graad and Luigi for the interview. We hope his answers have helped you solve some of your doubts about their grading method.

We will not go into the preference of Graad because that would enter into the subjective. If you mainly follow us, you will be interested in the buying and selling side of collectables. In our experience, it is possible to make very good money even with Graad. Otherwise, we would not even have considered a collaboration.

We personally are chameleon-like and therefore recommend that you also use more than one gradation house. Each has positive and negative factors. For our part, to date, we prefer Graad and Psa. If you would like to have a comparison between the various entities, we leave you with this article - link.

To date, we have made considerable capital gains by grading with Graad – and the writer knows how to sell, and sell a lot of cards. Given this, why not use the service?

Example Capital Gains

We also want to remind you that our sinful discount code GLURAK is active on the Graad website for a 15% discount. The discount is cumulated with the one linked to the quantity of cards sent.

If you have any doubts or concerns about how to grade your cards, we refer you to our guide - Link



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