How phone cards are graded

Quality is determined by the condition of a phone card.
The condition of a phone card is the major consideration in determining its quality. Phone Card Grading (PCG) examines cards and evaluates each by the same objective criteria, many of which are unique to phone cards. You can depend on the fact that any two cards, even if they are graded years apart, will be evaluated by the same unchanging professional standards and fixed criteria.
Value is determined by the desirability of a phone card.
The value of a card is not just based on the grade however. The value is also based on personal interest, theme, issuing company, demand, how they were distributed, quantity printed, issue date, and visual impact. All these factors are important considerations when determining the desirability of a phone card. Some people collect by country of issue, some collect strictly by topic or theme (airplanes, animals, brand logos, etc.); others collect by other individual factors such as a particular sport or athlete. Rarity affects supply and demand. Easy to locate or common cards won’t command the same price as rare ones. Two different people may assign different values to a phone card based on their personal opinions. A higher grade may help you choose between two specimens of the same card.
In the end, the quality, value, personal taste, and market price all influence whether purchasing a phone card makes it worth the cost to you, the collector.

Criteria That Determine The Value Of A Phone Card To A Collector

These factors can change with market fluctuations and are often highly personalized. An image of the Eiffel Tower may have more value to a collector who got married there than to one who has never been to France. Phone Card Grading does NOT consider these kind of criteria when determining the grade or condition of a card.

Age of card

Conventional wisdom tells us that older items will generally have more value or be more desirable. But this is not always the case. The first USA card from the IntelExpo Conference in 1985, is listed for about $500.00 whereas some early AT&T TeleTicket phone cards from 1992 are worth more.


The quantity produced is a major factor. Many telecommunications companies would sometimes print very limited runs of a card for a variety of legitimate reasons. Many of these cards were unknown until the promotion was over and are simply not available. It can be expensive to track these down.


Some phone cards were never available to collectors. Other cards were left over from promotions or conferences. The prudent thing would have been to destroy the remaining cards. However, some companies sold their leftovers at prices well below the established market value, damaging the card’s value.


Collector demand is often increased by the design on a card as many collectors prefer to collect by theme or topic. Cards featuring Disney, Coca-Cola, and McDonalds artwork can be highly desirable. Celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, or Elvis and sports-related cards are in high demand.


Some phone cards are beautiful works of art. Landscapes, space images, animals, birds, flowers, and seascapes can be sought after simply for their appeal. These types of cards may also hold a sentimental appeal to certain collectors. For example, a particular dog or cat breed may be very personal.


Additional factors include the phone carrier, dealers' current stock levels, competition, issue price, condition, distribution, trendiness, uniqueness, origin, technology, and whether there is a bull or bear market. As with any other collectible, trends ebb and flow with fashions and current events.

Authentication & Grading

Your phone card will be authenticated and evaluated by our industry professionals and assigned a grade based on its condition.


Your phone card will be encapsulated in a protective case to ensure it retains its current grade and quality for many years.

Serial Number & Certificate

Your phone card will be identified by a unique serial number and delivered with a printable Certificate of Authenticity.

Phone Card Grading's Objective Fixed Criteria

Phone Card Grading utilizes standardized, objective, fixed criteria some of which are unique to phone cards during the grading process. Our guidelines and benchmarks are not influenced by personal choices or market fluctuations but instead are determined by industry standards in judging the condition of a phone card. Each card is evaluated both to the naked eye and under magnification to assess the following criteria. A final, overall grade will be assigned including all of these considerations and the quality of the phone card.


Phone cards surfaces should be free from smudges, nicks, scratches, discolorations, loss of glossiness, and doctoring.


Ideally, the edges of a phone card should not have fraying, chips, or nicks or show any noticeable wear or damage.


Similar to the edges, the corners of a phone card should be crisp and sharp or smoothly rounded without damage or wear.


Both the back and front of a phone card should be properly centered within acceptable industry guidelines.

Printed Information

Both sides of phone cards are evaluated to identify any imperfections in printing, fading, or missing information.

Variable Information

PCG considers card specific information such as batch or serial numbers, PIN codes, and condition of scratch-off areas.

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  • Authentication
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  • Slabbing
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