Grading Standards

Tree Frog Grading sets out standards that are used by all our graders to regulate the scoring against the four main criteria, and the overall grade given. These standards have been constructed in a way to remove subjectivity from grades and define unbiased awarding to TCG cards. Our ‘eyes on’ policy, allows any uncertainty to be verified and supported by a second grader, ensuring that the fairest and most relevant score is given.



Centering defines the relativity of the borders of card with each other. TFG calculates the ratio between the two worst opposing borders of a card, for example top to bottom or left to right. A perfect ratio would be 50/50 scoring a ‘10’ against this criteria. TFG does not grade cards with ‘OC’ for high grading cards that would otherwise miss out on a higher score due to a poor border.

TFG 10 – Centering must be approximately 50/50 front, 60/40 on back.

TFG 9.5 – Centering must be approximately 53/47 and at least 60/40 on back of card.

TFG 9 – Centering must be approximately 55/45 on front; 70/30 on the back.

TFG 8 – Centering must be approximately 60/40 on front; 80/20 on the back.

TFG 7 – Centering must be approximately 65/35 on front; 90/10 on the back.

TFG 6 – Centering must be approximately 70/30 on front; 90/10 on the back.

TFG 5 – Centering must be approximately 75/25 on front; 95/5 on the back.

TFG 4 – Centering must be approximately 80/20 on front; any Centering on the back.

TFG 3 – Centering must be approximately 85/15 on front; any Centering on the back.

TFG 2 – Centering must be approximately 90/10 on front; any Centering on back.

TFG 1 – Any Centering allowing on authentic card.


When grading against corners, TFG graders are looking for four, sharp, clean and prominent corners. Rounded corners and imperfections on 1 or more corners will result in lower grades.

TFG 10 – Four perfectly sharp, clean corners.

TFG 9.5 –  Four sharp corners under magnification, slight imperfection to no more than 1 corners under magnification.

TFG 9 – Four sharp corners to naked eye, very slight corner wear to no more than 2 corners under intense scrutiny.

TFG 8 – Very slight wear of 3 corners under close examination.

TFG 7 – Very minor wear on a maximum of 4 corners.

TFG 6 – Fuzzy or graduating corners on a maximum of 4 corners.

TFG 5 – 4 fuzzy or graduating corners, potential notching or minor damage

TFG 4 – Slight rounded corners, slight notching/layering of corners.

TFG 3 – Rounded corners, with noticeable notching/layering.

TFG 2 – Noticeable rounded corners, moderate layering/accelerated rounding.

TFG 1 – Extreme wear possible impeding on the frame of picture.


The edges of a card are an important aspect of a cards overall grade. Mint edges should be smooth with no chipping and full of intended colour. Increase of chipping, layering and discolouring will result in a lower score. TFG understands that the printing process of some older cards result in very minor chipping, and this is considered on grading.

TFG 10 – Perfect edges

TFG 9.5 – Perfect to naked eye. Speck of wear under intense scrutiny.

TFG 9 – Minimal unobtrusive chipping to no more than one border.

TFG 8 – Smooth borders. Visible specks of chipping multiple borders Slightly off-colour border.

TFG 7 – Minor chipping and/or slightly off-colour border.

TFG 6 – Moderate chipping and/or slightly off-colour border.

TFG 5 – Slight notching/moderate chipping. Moderate colour change.

TFG 4 – Heavily notched, off colour border. Slightly layered.

TFG 3 – Heavy notching and moderate layering. Heavy discoloration.

TFG 2 – Severely chipped/notched and/or layered. Considerable discoloration.

TFG 1 – Extreme chipping/notching and/or layering. Extreme discoloration.


At TFG we grade the surfaces of a card under both natural and LED light. Alongside visual inspection, we reinforce the process with high magnification optics to inspect the surface condition of cards.

TFG 10 – Sharp focus and full original gloss. No marks or staining. No metallic print lines under Magnification

TFG 9.5 – Sharp focus and full original gloss. No staining. Slight printing imperfection, if it doesn’t impair the overall appeal of the card, 1 subtle metallic print line.

TFG grade 9 – Very minor focus or colour imperfection. Very minor printing imperfections (2 allowed) 2 subtle metallic print lines max.

TFG 8 – A few minor focus or colour imperfections. Very minor surface scratches, magnification view only. 2 Metallic print lines max

TFG 7 – A few noticeable print spots or minor speckling is allowed. Minor colour or focus imperfections. Very minor border discoloration. A very minor wax stain on back. Solid gloss with a few minor scratches detectable upon close inspection. A few metallic print lines.

TFG 6 – Noticeable print spots. Minor colour or focus imperfections. Minor border discoloration and colour or focus imperfections. Minor wax stains or extremely subtle ink marks. Relatively solid gloss with minor scratches, but devoid of scuffing. Noticeable metallic print lines.

TFG 5 – Surface: Noticeable print spots. Minor colour or focus imperfections. Minor border discoloration. Minor wax stains or very light ink mark. Some gloss lost from surface with minor scratches, but devoid of scuffing.

TFG 4 – Heavy print spots. Hairline creases. Moderate colour or focus imperfections. Moderate border discoloration. Noticeable wax stains. Very light ink mark or tape stain. A good deal of gloss lost from surface. Very minor scuffing or an extremely subtle tear in the form of a touch of broken surface paper.

TFG 3 – Heavy print spots. Very minor creases. Noticeable colour or focus imperfections. Noticeable border discoloration. moderate wax stains. Light ink mark or tape stain. Very little surface gloss. Minor scuffing or a very minor tear.

TFG 2 – Severe print spots. Noticeable creases. Noticeable colour or focus imperfections. Noticeable border discoloration. Heavy wax stains. Moderate ink mark or tape stain. A surface devoid of gloss. Noticeable scuffing or a noticeable tear.

TFG 1 – Severe print spots. Heavy creases. Severe colour or focus imperfections. Heavy border discoloration. Severe stains. No original gloss. Heavy scuffing or a severe tear. To achieve the minimal grade, a card must be fully intact. If solid pieces of a card are missing because of a major tear, or there is a major deficiency such as the back missing from the card, this grade cannot be awarded.


Overall grades are given as a mean average against the 4 criteria. The averages and their associated grades are as follows:

Grade 1 – average 1-1.9

Grade 2 – average 2-2.9

Grade 3 – average 3-3.9

Grade 4 – average 4-4.9

Grade 5 – average 5-5.9

Grade 6 – average 6-6.9

Grade 7 – average 7-7.9

Grade 8 – average 8-8.9

Grade 9 – average 9-9.49

Bravo 10 – average 9.5-9.9

Alpha 10 – average 10

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