By: John R Olson
In general there are several items to consider when choosing a card grading service to evaluate the value and condition of your football cards and especially your rookie football cards. The items a collector should consider is reputation of the company, cost of using the service and the value of the cards after grading.
Grading services have been around for over 20 years and reputation is very important in choosing a card grading company. The most established card grading company is Professional Sports Authenticator. PSA has very experienced graders and very good at grading vintage cards and rare cards. PSA carries a reputation in the industry as being well respected and accurate in their evaluation of card value. The primary negative with PSA is that it can be quite costly to get cards graded. A collector must join the PSA collectors club and then pay additional fees to get their cards graded. For the collector who only wants to grade a limited amount of cards each year the costs can add up. The best way to get a small number of cards evaluated is to go to card shows where evaluators can grade your cards on site.
Beckett’s offers two levels of grading services: their premium service BGS and the vintage service BCCG. In terms of reputation the BGS premium grading has the highest standards of the Beckets grading services. The Beckett’s premium grading service is widely considered to be some of the toughest standards in the industry. You may not get as high as with other services, however, a really great card that gets a high grade with BGS will carry a substantial amount of value. Beckett’s charges a set fee for grading normal cards and additional fees for older autographed cards.
Both SGC and GAI are the other card grading companies that I would recommend. SGC while being relatively new has a different grading scale than both PSA or BGS. The SGC grading scale goes from 1 to 100, unlike PSA and BGS which go from 1 to 10. This allows SGC to give in their words a “more accurate and true” evaluation of the card. The grading performed by SGC is considered by most to be the most accurate in the industry, however, the age of the company simply doesn’t carry as must weight as PSA or Beckets.
GAI has some innovative features in their grading service. A collector has the ability to check online the status of their submissions. GAI much like PSA requires a membership to get cards graded. The premium membership service gives it members several free evaluations per year and other parting memorabilia. Of the four companies discussed here GAI carries the least weight for a choice of grading companies.
Card Grading Companies: Who’s Best!
The leaders of the pack are still PSA and BGS. The reputation, age and experience of both of these companies ensure that the collector gets an accurate evaluation of their trading cards. If you are dealing with vintage cards, the most trusted card company would be PSA. If you have a “perfect” card the company that will hold the highest resale value is likely BGS or SGC, with BGS being the more trusted of the two. Remember the majority of cards are bought and sold online now and the most common cards sold online today are BGS and PSA cards. With either company you can’t go wrong!