Not all cards within the same grade are created equal. Cards in the top 30% of the eye appeal scale statistically garner superior market prices – 200%+ of market average for cards at the top of the range. PWCC has the data to prove it.

Eye Appeal of Vintage Cards


70% of Market Supply

First 20%

Eye Appeal Below Average

BELOW AVERAGE
SOLD $1,775

Next 50%

Eye Appeal Average

AVERAGE
SOLD $2,250

PWCC-A Sticker Top 30%
Eye Appeal Above Average

ABOVE AVERAGE
SOLD $2,475

PWCC-E Sticker Top 15%
Eye Appeal Exceptional

EXCEPTIONAL
SOLD $2,861

PWCC-S Sticker Top 5%
Eye Appeal Superior

SUPERIOR
SOLD $3,350


Background

There exists a range of visual quality within all technical grades rendered by 3rd party graders (PSA, SGC, BVG/BGS). While graded accurately, the acceptable technical range carries variance of visual quality, resulting in some cards possessing premium eye appeal. For example, according to stated standards, a NM-MT 8 can tolerate centering registration of 65/35 or better; as such, cards centered both 50/50 and 65/35 are eligible to receive a technical grade of NM-MT 8. However, in this example while the grades are the same, the eye appeal is certainly not equal as the desirability associated with a 50/50 centered card is considerably higher among investors.

Market valuation relative to eye appeal is an investment variable largely in its infancy. Eye appeal should continue its current trends to have an increasing impact on a trading card’s market value for the foreseeable future. Investors are encouraged to take notice of this topic and invest accordingly.

Assessing Eye Appeal

Eye appeal has always been a significant factor in determining the market value of a trading card. Investors quickly notice widely varying sale price when studying auction sales for a specific card in a specific grade over a short time. To an investor unaware of the importance of eye appeal, the market can appear volatile beyond what is accurate or true. Since 2015, PWCC has worked to aid investors by highlighting trading cards that possess eye appeal in the top 30% of the market, using our PWCC Certified A, E, and S designations. On average, PWCC Certified cards have consistently sold for 130-200% of average market. Our desire is to empower investors with a consistent and unbiased eye appeal assessment overseen by Brent Huigens, the founder of PWCC and a card expert with more than 25 years of experience in the industry. All trading cards from 1986 or prior with a market value over $250 are eligible for eye appeal review.

While eye appeal varies, the technical accuracy of an assigned grade generally does not. Some trading cards simply appear better than others, but on technical merit, PWCC consistently supports the assigned technical grades assigned by the industry's most respected professional grading companies.

PWCC Marketplace relies heavily on the expertise of professional grading. In building this program, PWCC actively sought counsel from grading companies surrounding eye appeal and its long-standing effect on market value.

PWCC-A Placard
Above Average (PWCC-A)

An eye appeal assessment for cards in the ‘Top 30%’ of the quality spectrum. Cards with a PWCC-A designation consistently sell higher than the market average.

PWCC-E Placard
Exceptional (PWCC-E)

Cards with an eye appeal in the ‘Top 15%’ of the quality spectrum. Cards with a PWCC-E designation have statistically sold for over 160% of the average market price.

PWCC-S Placard
Superior (PWCC-S)

Cards with an eye appeal in the ‘Top 5%’ of the quality spectrum. Cards with a PWCC-S designation have statistically sold for nearly 200% of the average market price.

Derek Jeter

Modern Cards & Eye Appeal

The modern trading card marketplace (1987-present) is arguably the fastest growing and most-intriguing sector of the market in part due to the international appeal for sports like basketball and hockey, as well as non-sport productions like Magic the Gathering and Pokémon. Modern-day trading cards are seeing an industry-leading ROI and have become some of the most intriguing investment pieces in the marketplace.

Eye appeal is a topic which matters less in the modern card realm as the grades and condition variance for modern productions is more subtle. Technical grading standards are extremely tight because of these subtle variances and as such, eye appeal varies less within a single grade for most modern card productions. While some modern card productions show greater eye appeal variance than others, PWCC has chosen to only designate eye appeal on vintage cards where the variance is pronounced and therefore more significant to investors and their strategies.

Have more questions about Eye Appeal?

Frequently Asked Questions