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This new eBay rival for TCGs wants to make buying and selling ungraded Pokémon cards less of a headache

Ungraded will snap pictures of your raw cards so they can be checked out in 3D by potential buyers.

Image credit: Ungraded

Speaking from experience, buying and selling rare Pokémon cards on the internet can be a bit of a nightmare. Outside of the cards pricey enough to be officially graded and sealed inside a fancy case by the likes of PSA, looking for less top-dollar cards (look, I’m not Post Malone) comes with the constant risk of stumping up the cash for something that either doesn’t arrive at all, arrives in a condition different to what you were expecting or turns out to be a complete fake.

I’m therefore intrigued by the lofty promises being made by new TCG marketplace startup Ungraded, founded by a couple of Cornish Pokémon card collectors (that is, the collectors are Cornish - they're not collecting Pokémon called Pastyrnip or something) who reckon they’ve come up with a way of trading cards for real money without the fuss and frustration of rolling the dice online.

Some of the most valuable Pokémon cards of all timeWatch on YouTube

As the name suggests, Ungraded plans to focus on ‘raw’ cards for the likes of Pokémon, Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh!, as well as other trading cards like those for football or American sports, that haven’t yet been given an official rating of their condition.

Rather than requiring sellers to send their cards off to a separate specialist and pay to get them graded or - on the opposite end of the spectrum - end up listed with a couple of blurry photos on something like eBay, Ungraded's seemingly unique imaging technology will snap enough high-resolution photos of cards submitted by sellers to create a 3D preview for potential buyers to peruse.

The apparent promise is that the company’s “groundbreaking” 3D technology is accurate enough to let customers properly judge a card’s condition by rotating and zooming in on the digital replica formed by hundreds of ultra high-definition photos - even being able to view things like CMYK print patterns, as well as any scuffs, scratches or centring - meaning they can be seemingly assured of its condition before placing a bid, even without seeing it in person.

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It’ll be free for sellers to sell cards worth over £25, with buyers paying a fee equal to 20% of the card’s sold value for those worth up to £250; more expensive cards will then lower the rate to 17.5% for cards up to £1,000 and 15% for the most pricey cards over a grand. Cards listed with a fixed price won’t have an extra buyer fee attached - sellers will instead pay 15% - and cards worth under £25 will charge the seller the difference between 20% of the card’s value (paid by the buyer) and the £5 minimum fee.

As cards listed for sale are sent off to Ungraded to be snapped and uploaded, any cards that aren’t sold after 30 days will be charged an unsold fee worth 1% of the card’s average price every 30 days after that - so best hope your card goes quickly. When they are sold, Ungraded says it’ll cover costs like postage and insurance - so sellers should just have to send their cards in.

Ungraded plans to launch its marketplace this July, running a series of auction drops from the end of May that will include Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic: The Gathering cards. It sounds fairly ambitious, as these things do, so it'll be interesting to see how it fares come the summer.

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