Big update from HGA!<br />
Since we acquired HGA less than five months ago, we’ve really rolled up our sleeves. We’ve been on the phone non-stop with our customers, old and new, hearing firsthand what they appreciate about HGA and where they think we can do better. We’ve also been paying close attention to the card grading conversation—checking out the most popular podcasts and videos out there. We’ve taken in the praise, the criticisms, and everything in between. It’s clear to us now more than ever what folks are looking for in a card grading company, not just HGA but across the board. We’ve even turned down a few interesting offers to be acquired because we believe in what HGA’s future holds. This announcement is to let you know that we’ve been listening, analyzing, and making changes to be the company our community wants us to be. Here is what we’ve learned…

From card submitters in the industry:

  • Trust is paramount for those sending us their cards. We've noted that cards hold varying degrees of value to our clients; some are traders focused on profits, while others are collectors who are less concerned with fluctuating market prices.
  • Clear pricing matters. Card collectors prefer knowing the cost upfront, without the uncertainty of prices based on the ever-shifting value of their cards.
  • Integrity in grading is a must. Our clients expect a fair assessment that's not influenced by the fee they pay or their status as submitters.
  • Customers are looking for efficiency and speed when it comes to turnaround times. There's a rising tide of frustration with card grading services, HGA included, that have historically set expectations high with quick turnaround promises but have fallen short in delivery. Such delays are not just inconveniences; they can directly impact the market value and sales opportunities for our clients. There's a clear need for a reliable timeline, giving submitters the ability to plan for when their cards will be back in their hands and ready for the market.
  • Simplicity in the submission process is a consistent request. Customers want to enjoy their hobby and not spend hours trying to protect, preserve, or improve the value of their cards.
  • Confidence in the accuracy of grades is non-negotiable; submitters need to trust the grades assigned to their cards.
  • We're aware of the counterfeit risks that are out there for HGA and other companies and know the need to protect our customers with enhanced slab/label security measures.

This feedback prompted a comprehensive review of our operations, from the user experience on our website to the intricacies of our ordering process. We’ve tapped into the knowledge of our veteran team members for insights into HGA’s historical and daily operational challenges. This deep dive has given us invaluable perspective on the industry’s history and our company’s trajectory.

This exploration has broadened our understanding of the industry at large, the specific journey of our company, and the evolution of card grading. It’s been eye opening and a greatly productive process. If you’ve had the opportunity to speak with us, we’re about real and raw feedback. We’re more concerned on how we can improve HGA than how great we are as a card grading business. While we are new owners, we’ve known of HGA since the beginning but we uncovered some real and raw truth we wanted to share with you:

  • Upon analyzing our ordering system's backend, we discovered an astonishingly high 88% bounce rate during the ordering process. To put it plainly, this means that 88% of potential customers who initiated an order on our website did not complete it. Customer service reviews indicated that many customers were confused about how to place orders, with numerous inquiries on this issue. Interestingly, over 60% of individuals who signed up for a free membership did not follow through with an order. This data suggests that the demand for our product was significantly higher than we initially expected post-acquisition of HGA. At its peak, HGA was processing upwards of 70,000 cards per month, which led to a temporary shutdown to manage the backlog and overhaul our website and ordering systems. After relaunching, we've seen a decrease in orders, and our recent findings have shed light on some of the underlying causes.
  • Our research indicates a divide in preferences concerning sub-grades: while some customers appreciate them, a growing number do not. We're observing a trend within the industry away from sub-grades, which streamlines the grading process and results in a higher frequency of grades at the top of the scale. This move favors a simpler system where a 10 becomes more common, as opposed to a 9.5 Gem Mint
  • We've gained insight into past errors HGA has experienced, which are, unfortunately, common setbacks within the card grading industry. These include issues such as inaccurately graded cards, counterfeit cards slipping through our verification process, unmet delivery timelines, and incidents of cards being damaged or lost.
  • We've taken note of customer feedback expressing frustration with our previously complex array of membership options and the dissatisfaction with pricing structures that failed to adequately reward our members.

Taking all the feedback and information we’ve gathered from our customers and the industry into account, we’ve been making strides in implementing changes that we believe will propel HGA to new heights and transform the industry in ways our customers and potential customers are looking for. As the new kids on the block in this industry, with relatively little background in card grading, we’ve encountered some skepticism from industry vets about our ability to navigate these waters. But coming in fresh, without any preconceived notions of “how things are done,” means we’re laser-focused on listening to you—the customer. That’s the key in any business, right? With this fresh perspective, we’re pumped to unveil some immediate changes and hint at more exciting developments that are on the way.

  • We've made significant enhancements to our internal processes and systems. Unlike other grading companies that don't face the same production complexities, we’ve developed a more sophisticated operation. Typically, a grader doubles as a researcher, printing basic labels at their desk and placing them with the card in a slab. However, at HGA, we've specialized our workflow. Cards are first processed by our receiving department, then move to research where every detail is verified, and authenticity checks are performed to weed out counterfeits. The cards then advance to grading, where their condition is meticulously assessed. Next, our labels are produced on high-quality printers, using durable plastic materials, before being precisely cut and paired with the corresponding card. The assembly continues in our slabbing department, where cards and labels are enclosed in crystal-clear cases, ensuring no debris is trapped inside. We use sonic welding technology for a seamless seal on over 90% of our cards, setting us apart from the more common snap-together or glued cases. The final step involves our shipping department, which ensures your card arrives back to you securely. This rigorous process ensures we're delivering what we believe to be the best-looking product on the market—even if some loyalists to other brands might dispute that, we know we have the best-looking slab and label! 😉
  • We've carried out significant improvements to our website’s ordering portal. Previously, placing an order was a complex task that took too much time, causing a lot of customers to give up in frustration before completing their orders. Matching cards to labels was another challenge. Now, all that has changed. The updated system is more user-friendly, requiring less information from you, and the label selection process has been simplified, making it straightforward for even those less familiar with technology. You can now place orders for multiple cards quickly and effortlessly. Plus, we've introduced a notes section for bulk submitters to add comments about their customers or specific cards, enhancing the personalization of each order.
  • We are showing our lead times live on our website and ordering portal. We've taken our customers' concerns about turnaround times to heart, and we're pioneering a new level of transparency in the industry. Before you place an order, you’ll see what our current turnaround time is (right from the website). We now offer options for a 2-day guarantee, a 10-day guarantee, and a 60-day estimate. Soon, you'll be able to see the current lead times for all orders placed and shipped that same day. This means no more guessing whether you'll be waiting the full 60 days. For example, thanks to our process enhancements, our lead times have been significantly reduced, averaging around 10 days currently.
  • Membership Changes from multiple levels to one VIP level. Responding to what we’ve heard from you, we’ve revamped and simplified our membership model to give our members real value. Now, we’re offering a single VIP membership tier that unlocks substantial savings, exclusive monthly and quarterly deals, a newsletter packed with insights, and a lot more. For our existing Gold and Platinum members, consider yourselves upgraded! You’ll enjoy all the perks of VIP status at no extra cost until it’s time to renew.
  • We’ve enhanced our Personal Collection option at only $12 for members. For those who value preservation over grading, we've enhanced our PC (Personal Collection) option. This service is for customers who wish to have their cards securely encased with an attractive label, bypassing the grading process.
  • We are maintaining our “no minimum submissions” threshold and still offer our best price regardless of the size of your submission. We considered introducing a minimum submission requirement for optimal pricing. However, after listening to our customers and industry feedback—where many shared that they need to accumulate enough cards to qualify for the best rates—we've chosen a different path. At HGA, there's no minimum submission threshold. Whether you're sending in a single card or a hundred, you'll access the same great pricing.
  • We are eliminating sub grades and the 9.5 to match current industry trend. In response to the substantial feedback we’ve received, we have decided to align with industry standards by discontinuing the offering of sub grades. Consequently, we will also be eliminating the 9.5 grade. We recognize that sub grades, which were modified by HGA prior to our acquisition, have been valued by some of our customers. However, the trend in our industry is moving away from sub grades, and we see the need to adapt. In PSA’s Sept-Oct 2023 report, there was an average of 54% 10’s given out. For HGA, that average has been around 15% for 10’s and about 30% for our 9.5’s, so we have been known in the industry of being a consistent and fair grader that doesn’t just put out 10’s easily. Moving forward a current 9.5 graded card will be a 10 if the sub grades equal 37.5 or higher as long as none of the sub grades equal less than a 9, and there is no more than one 9 on a card. This will make HGA’s 10 rate closer to 40% blended with sports and TCG. Keeping in mind that we don’t charge our customers based on giving 10’s and values of cards, we feel this is where we should be at HGA. For our customers that have a 9.5 that meets the new standard, you are able to send that card back in to us and we will crack and reslab with a 10 grade for $12. Our updated grading scale can be found here: HGA Grading Scale
  • We've expanded our Premium Label offerings, enhancing our services to better meet our customers' needs.
  • We’ve revamped our custom label program to ensure that it offers a genuinely bespoke experience. Previously, HGA provided "custom labels" that were cost-effective but not exclusive, leading to instances where customers saw their label’s design on someone else's card. We’ve taken this feedback seriously and agree that true custom labels should be unique. Now, every custom label will be one-of-a-kind. Customers can collaborate with our designers, going through up to three proofs to perfect their design before finalizing it. This ensures each label is a distinct creation, a real 1 of 1. Plus, we're developing a system that allows only the original customer to reorder their specific label. This exclusive service is available to our VIP members, with the initial design priced at $75 and any subsequent uses of that label costing just $10 (when available).
  • We’ve upgraded our headquarters, moving into a new facility. Our new facility is more than triple the size of the previous HGA space. This expansion isn’t just about size—it’s about providing a superior experience for our customers, a better work environment for our team, and engaging more with our community. It also opens up exciting possibilities like hosting tours and live signing events with athletes and trading card game artists.
  • We are launching a new division working with High School and younger leagues: We're forging ahead with a new division unique in the industry, focused on our custom label creation. This division will employ former professional athletes from across the nation to collaborate with various sports organizations, including high schools and AAU leagues. These organizations will be able to offer personalized labels and cards for their players. This initiative is thrilling for several reasons: it provides opportunities for former professional athletes to stay close to their sport and introduces card collecting hobby to a younger audience like never before.
  • Discord server coming soon: We’re laying the groundwork for an active exchange of ideas and feedback. It's clear from what we've observed in the industry—where unanswered emails and inadequate customer service are all too common—that many grading companies aren't listening. But we at HGA are different. We value your input, recognizing that while we can't fulfill every wish, every piece of feedback is crucial. This Discord channel will be a place where you can tell us what's hitting the mark, what's missing it, and brainstorm the next big innovations with us. It will be a place that HGA customers can connect with each other and have a sales/trading opportunity. It's about shaping the future of HGA together, acknowledging that while we might not be able to be everything to everyone, we certainly can try to be the best for you. Stay tuned for the invite, and let's start the conversation.
  • 20% off to all of our current customers who send us cards through the end of the month! We want you to experience our revamped system, so we invite you to use the code TRYUS20OFF to get 20% off your submissions through the end of this month! Please note this discount does not apply to shipping and handling, is limited to one use per customer, and the offer expires at midnight on March 31st, 2024. Don't miss this chance to see what we're all about!

We’ve poured significant time and money into adapting HGA into the kind of company you, our customers, truly want. And we’re not done yet. We’re busy working on even more exciting updates, including awesome new partnerships, new program for our bulk submitters, a network program to partner with card shops, better tech platforms, and more. We’re so eager to share these with you, but we just had to let you in on the latest improvements that we’re rolling out right now. We’re going to be pushing out more updates soon so stay tuned.

If you’re a current customer of HGA, we’re deeply thankful for your trust and want you to know we’re committed to taking care of our customers. For those who might have stepped away due to previous grievances or concerns we haven’t yet addressed, we’re eager for the opportunity to win back your confidence and business. Please let us hear from you. To anyone considering HGA for the first time, we invite you to experience our unparalleled service. We’re confident that no one else can offer the exceptional care we’re ready to provide. Give us a try!

We anticipate that you might have questions or feedback, and we encourage you to reach out. You can email us at, message us through our website, or join the conversation on our Discord servers (when available).

Josh Smith and Trevor Jones, Co-CEOs

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(*excluding shipping. Limit one discount per account. Offer ends 3/31/2024).