Making the Grade — Minting and Grading NFTs

What differentiates two seemingly identical trading cards by over five or even ten million dollars? Grading services quantify how close to perfect an item is. While a Gem Mint rating of 10 is absolutely free from imperfection, each part of a card is scrutinized during the grading process. For instance, a card pulled from a pack, never touched by human hands, may not receive a gem mint 10 grade due to an off-centering print-run error. Though an unopened pack in pristine condition may guarantee an “unplayed” condition, it does not guarantee it is free from error. Below, we’ll walk through some real-world factors that go into the card grading that Mint State Labs has incorporated into its patent-pending minting and grading system.

Centering tool and example of surface imperfections

Grading is a quest to seek perfection. When a collectible card is submitted for grading, it undergoes a series of rigorous examinations. Two critical components to determining a grade are centering and surface. These imperfections can vary within print runs affecting a single batch to the entire run itself.

  • Centering is determined by comparing the measurements of the border around the image, from left to right and top to bottom. The cutting process is seldom perfect and often leaves cards off center.
  • Surface review scrutinizes every detail of the face and obverse, looking for signs of physical wear and print-run errors. Print lines are generated by the printing process and maybe minimal to noticeable, scratch-like imperfections.

There are only three 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle cards known to be absolutely flawless. An oversaturated image or a few degrees off center may unfavorably affect an overall grade. Though, it’s not always the card free from imperfections that’s sought after. Physical print-run errors so egregious may be even more rare than a perfect specimen. A card so off center it’s missing a portion of the image, or text is simply missing may command a high level of respect due to scarcity.

Example of missing text

NFT card packs minted will contain a set number of NFT cards. Opposed to random number generation to determine the outcome of an NFT card pack when it’s opened, cards are systematically generated when the card pack is minted. This means the contents of NFT card packs are determined when it was minted.

Infusing elements from the physical print-run process, MSL is bringing the beauty of earthly nuance to the digital world. With a unique minting method, NFTs may possess various types of production-style errors. Though unlike many errors typically found due to low quality or hasty production, every blemish has been carefully and methodically developed.

Collectible grading has never before found its way to NFTs and MSL has bottled the essence. Adding the depth and elegance of physical collectibles, graded NFTs create nuance in an otherwise ordinary market. Limited runs of sought after collectibles empower enthusiasts to achieve their completionist goals. This, coupled with life-like defects, graded NFTs elevate the relationship between collectors and collectibles. No longer only looking to collect for completion, but for perfection.

Beautifully imperfect NFTs in tandem with true-to-form collectible grading is the foundation of Mint State Labs. Breaking the NFT mold, MSL’s patent pending Minting and Grading service is forever changing the trajectory of NFTs.



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Mint State Labs

Mint State Labs


NFT Minting and grading service for creators to realize their dreams and collectors to fulfill theirs.