(Disclosure: I will use Boca Card Subs in the example for this post, in part because I wrote this while preparing an actual card grading submission. Boca is a supporter of Cardhound Vintage but this is not a paid spot or promotional piece. I use Boca because in my experience they do a good job, and my collection is all SGC. Other group sub processes will differ, but only slightly).

How (And Why) I Use a Group Sub for Card Grading

So, you want to submit some cards for grading. You can make an account and submit directly to SGC or PSA or your grader of choice. This is what I do for cards that require higher-tier or expedited service.

Or you can use a 3rd party group submitter to submit your cards for you. This is what I do for anything that falls into the standard tier of service.  Personally, I use Boca Card Subs, and since I was preparing a submission this morning, I thought I would walk you through their process.

What is a Group Submitter?

A submitter receives cards from multiple collectors, pools them together into large batch orders, delivers them to the grader, receives them from the grader, and ships back to you. Graders love their group submitters because it makes far fewer orders to process (since they are submitted in groups of 100 or so cards), and the submitter handles all of the check-in, receiving, packing, and shipping.

Grading companies give the submitters a bulk rate, and some of that savings is typically passed along to the consumer.

Why Use a Group Card Grading Submitter?

  • Typically, the cost to grade is a bit less. Not much however.
  • In the case of Boca, return shipping is much cheaper.
  • Boca checks orders in fast–and they are located in the same town as SGC. They pick up and ship daily. In my experience, their processing is faster than SGC.

I likely would not use a group if the submitter also had to ship my cards–I hate having cards in transit and with Boca, it’s just the usual there-and-back in terms of mail.

  • They return your card savers. Not a big deal but a nice touch!

How to Submit Cards Through a Group?

Step 1: Make an account or locate submission form

Again, every process is likely a bit different, but here are the basic steps. If needed, make an account. With Boca, you simply fill out a form–no account needed.

Step 2: Carefully fill out form with card info

This might take some research. Make sure your card, manufacturer, number, and any variation are listed.

For “value,” use whatever you would want to be reimbursed in case of loss. Save a copy or take a picture of the form.

Step 3: Prepare cards for shipping

I always take great pics of my cards before shipping. This is your evidence if anything gets damaged or lost, and would help in an insurance claim.

I have written about how to pack and ship, so you can read about that here.

Step 4: Ship and await further instructions

I have a private insurance policy that covers cards in the mail. Tracked packages through USPS only carry $100 of insurance–and collecting on a loss can be a hassle. I recommend private insurance.

If you have a policy, check the fine print: for example, my policy requires signature confirmation over $400 in value for reimbursement.

Once you are shipped and tracked, wait for contact. With Boca, you pay your fee once cards are received and checked in.

Step 5: Wait!

At the moment of writing, SGC is running behind at about 15-17 business days. So after about 3 weeks, you’ll receive notice that your cards are in Postgrading.

Step 6: Postgrading, Grades, and Scans

Once you are in postgrading, you’re just waiting for grades and scans to post. Once you have grades and scans you’ll get another email notice from Boca that your cards are now ready for return shipping.

Step 7: Return shipping

The notice will contain return shipping options (Priority, Express, Insurance, etc.). Choose the option that works for you, send payment, and wait for tracking.

Step 8: Enjoy!

It might sound like a lot, but card grading through a group is a straightforward process. Basically: send cards; send money; send more money; get your cards back! Here’s a recent result for me that is actually way cooler than it looks! Apparently this is the Holy Grail of Starting Lineup cards. Who knew? Not me!