TCGplayer Unveils Industry-Leading Card Conditioning Standard

SYRACUSE, N.Y., February 28, 2022 – TCGplayer, the leading technology platform for the collectibles industry and operator of the largest online marketplace for trading card games, today unveiled its new Conditioning Guide — an industry-leading card conditioning standard. The Guide, developed in partnership with TCGplayer’s top sellers, reinforces the Company’s unwavering commitment to authentication and has been adopted by TCGplayer’s state of the art Authentication Center.

“Since we launched our Direct by TCGplayer program, TCGplayer has saved time and labor for thousands of local hobby stores, and authenticated approximately 115 million cards. As the program has evolved, we’ve leveraged our deep industry knowledge and invested in a team of highly trained experts to deliver consistent quality to our customers,” said Chedy Hampson, Founder and CEO of TCGplayer. “Today, we are taking the best practices we’ve developed from our Direct program and codifying them for the broader TCG community. We are standardizing the conditioning process used to determine the correct quality of a card and creating a more consistent customer experience for everyone, advancing our never-ending work to establish a Community for All across the hobby collectible ecosystem.”

“At TCGplayer, we’re constantly innovating, evolving our authentication process, and investing in and scaling our world-class Authentication Center to ensure we maintain the highest standards of trading card authentication anywhere in the market,” said Raymond Moore, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of TCGplayer. “By clearly defining a consistent standard and creating an easy-to-use Conditioning Guide, we empower our sellers, increase confidence across the tens of millions of hobbyists we collectively serve and create a culture of accountability across the hobby collectible industry. We’re also making training easy, releasing condition verification tools to streamline the training process and ensure that customers know what to expect from your conditioning process both in-store and online.”

Authentication Process
TCGplayer uses the term conditioning to describe the act of evaluating a collectible card game product and categorizing it with a non-numeric quality label. When a card is conditioned and subsequently verified by a TCGplayer expert, customers have confidence knowing that the card they ordered has been through a rigorous authentication process. TCGplayer’s authentication process includes:

  • Confirming the identity and quality of each collectible card game product. As outlined in TCGplayer’s recently refreshed Conditioning Guide, TCGplayer has created common quality labels or card conditions, which allow for different frequencies of imperfections across five categories: Near Mint, Lightly Played, Moderately Played, Heavily Played and Damaged. With the enhancements unveiled today, including standardizing Conditioning Overlays and introducing a controlled points system, TCGplayer has minimized subjectivity from the conditioning process, implementing objective ways to measure a card’s condition while increasing transparency into the conditioning process. Importantly, this new standard was developed in partnership with some of TCGplayer’s largest sellers to ensure broad industry adoption and consistency across the greater collectible card market.
  • Rigorous training process. TCGplayer’s team is highly experienced; the Company manages the most exhaustive catalog of collectible card games anywhere in the industry, and its team is responsible for authenticating more than 100,000 cards a day. Additionally, each TCGplayer authenticator receives approximately 250 hours of training before being considered an authentication expert. All TCGplayer authenticators are required to complete regular and ongoing training to ensure the highest standards of authentication are upheld. In connection with today’s announcement, TCGplayer has also released easy-to-use condition verification tools that enable sellers to easily train in-store staff, reduce errors and set clear definitions so their customers know what to expect from their conditioning process.
  • A scalable multi-step process delivered by highly trained experts. TCGplayer’s authentication process is led by more than 300 authentication experts and enhanced by new technologies like image recognition and automation through the Company’s Roca Robotics offering. When a card receives the TCGplayer authentication guarantee, customers can rest assured knowing that it was verified by a human, not just run through a machine.

Jim Sorel, President of Super Games Inc. said: “TCGplayer's new enhanced conditioning guide will be a tremendous help to both sellers and buyers on the platform. Having a more clear-cut, quantifiable system to grade cards will greatly reduce condition disputes based on misunderstanding between buyer and seller. As a company that ships tens of thousands of cards weekly to both TCGplayer Direct and our TCG customers, I look forward to a dramatic reduction in returned cards and big increase in satisfied customers. It should be a Win-Win for everyone!”

Behman Zakeri, General Manager of Collector’s Cache said: “A unified set of card condition definitions is critical for clear communication and expectations across our industry. With so many high value cards entering the market and publishers introducing even more foils and high-end cards, we all need to have a shared criteria for identifying a card’s condition. By adopting TCGplayer’s standard and aligning on a clearer definition for Near Mint Foil, we can empower sellers to offer more cards to the market.”

Heath Newton, Owner of Cape Fear Games said: “A community-driven condition guide is something that we’ve needed for years. Sharing this level of detail with the public creates a more unified and well defined conditioning definition going forward. It's also very useful for our in-house training, which I plan on incorporating into onboarding with our newest hires. Now my team can get customers the cards they want in the right condition every time they shop — no more surprises!

Key Authentication Highlights

In 2021 alone:

  • TCGplayer authenticated approximately 32 million cards.
  • TCGplayer expanded its Authentication Team by almost 150%.
  • TCGplayer conducted more than 20,000 hours of training throughout its Authentication Center.
  • TCGplayer developed and launched an authentication program for a new product line.

To date:

  • TCGplayer has authenticated approximately 115 million cards.
  • Approximately 30,000 local hobby stores and online sellers have adopted TCGplayer’s Conditioning Guide.
  • Tens of millions of hobbyists rely on TCGplayer’s authentication program to ensure they get exactly what they ordered, in the right condition, safely and with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

About TCGplayer
TCGplayer is the leading technology platform for the collectibles industry. Founded as a digital media platform within the collectible hobby space, the Company has grown from its initial roots working inside Syracuse-based hobby stores selling comic books, sports cards, CDs, collectible cards, action figures, and tabletop games into an expansive e-commerce marketplace. TCGplayer develops applications and technologies that are revolutionizing the collectibles marketplace by connecting thousands of hobby and collectibles businesses with customers around the globe. The Company's e-commerce and data management tools power sales through physical stores, websites, mobile apps and the TCGplayer Marketplace. TCGplayer prides itself on creating a culture that fosters camaraderie, embraces diversity, and exudes passion and provides stock options to all of its employees. The Company has been ranked amongst New York State's 50 best employers and's top 100 companies for women in the U.S. and certified a Great Place to Work by our employees five years in a row.