January 14, 2009

What Do We Have Graded?

Beckett (snarl) will be at the card show we are going to on Friday, and I am thinking about grading my Pujols rookie. And if the mail turns up another Pujols card before that, maybe 2. Is this worth it? I mean I am wondering if it ends up like an 8 or something, am I gonna be disappointed? I don't know.

We both have plenty of cards we could have graded, but how do you decide which ones? I don't want to just send things out to see what they end up being, or just to say I have a graded so and so. What about Jay Bruce or Joey Votto? (Just the first 2 rookies to come to mind.)

Basically, I am curious about what criteria everyone uses to determine whether or not something is worth grading.


  1. Gellman at SCU wrote an entry on the requirements for grading last year. I would only grade with PSA rather than Beckett. That's just preference. As for criteria, these are mine:
    1. Rookie card (preferably Bowman)
    2. Autographed
    3. Serial numbered more than 25

  2. If you want to save money, have them slab your credit card!

  3. I wouldn't grade anything that wasn't made before 1980 or a very valuable rookie after 1980. And I'd never want my cards to be in those ugly Beckett slabs. I'd rather have a non-graded card than something that Beckett has touched. Only PSA for me!

  4. When I got back into collecting, I found that I had a Jerry Rice RC. It was in pretty terrible shape, but still... IT WAS MINE! I had a free grading coming to me from Beckett, so I decided what the hell. It got a 4.5--and deservedly so. I also found that I had a Barry Bonds '87 Topps RC. It had been sitting in a binder for over a decade, so I assumed it was in decent shape. I was curious to see how Beckett would grade it. They gave it an 8. I also bought a Brett Favre Stadium Club RC and had that one done as well. I did my own little inspection on it and I thought it looked to be a 9 or 9.5. Beckett gave it an 8.5.

    So, to answer your question... apparently for me it needs to be a rookie card and has to look like it's in mint condition, unless the grading is for free--in which case it can look like it's been eaten by the family dog, cat, bird, fish, guinea pig, rooster, and iguana.


  5. I agree with Dave but I do have some exceptions. For example, my brother gave me a Brian Urlacher Bowman Chrome Rc for Christmas. This card looks like it could be a ten, so I am going to send this in along with a couple other cards. My Walter Payton Rc and I also have a Jerry Rice auto that was signed at a private signing so there is no sticker or stamp on the card saying that it is authentic. I could've sold this card if it was guaranteed a few different times. If your Pujols looks really good to you, then do it. It could be worth the money. What Pujols do you have?

  6. I have the 2001 Bowman, the generic one. I also have another one on the way from eBay, nothing fancy but a rookie none the less.

    I agree with what most of you are saying, I don't really care that much for the graded slabs but depending on who it is I feel like it might not be a bad idea. I'm going to consider my 2 Pujols and that's probably about it for now.

    By the way, slabbing my credit card sounds like the best idea yet.

  7. I think it depends on what you want to do with your cards.

    I'm not an "investor collector" but I like getting good cards graded because it provides some authentication and I like to actively show my cards to people.

    I'm not a buy it and throw it in the shoe box collector, I like to show different cards to people, kids, and handle them.

    Encapsulating them provides this great protection - that way I don't have to hand it to someone like it's a newborn baby.

    Just my 2 cents.

  8. I think JRJ has it right--it's primarily a bit of forethought about why you want to have cards graded in the first place.

    I have submitted only to BGS over the years, but I do own a number of PSA / SGC specimens, and even acquired a couple lame-offs here and there. I actually think that PSA's holders are quite unattractive compared to BGS. However, they are much flatter, making transport and storage easier.

    Here are some of the things I consider:

    - Grade, grade, grade--especially centering. Unless it's exceedingly rare or unusual, (especially for cards post 1980), make sure that you think is damn near perfect a specimen that exists.

    Trust me--even your evaluation will get hammered by their graders, and you'll be lucky to walk out with a 8.5 or 9. It's not just corners and edges.

    - Decide if you are slabbing for personal preservation of a keeper, or maximization of value for an intended sale. If for a sale, consider the point above, again. A 10 from BGS is a Holy Grail, but also is about as easy to acquire.

    - Check the population report on the Beckett website for each card you are considering. Grading yet another 85 McGwire or 87 Bonds or 89 Griffey is about as helpful as a three-legged spider.

    If you have a high-quality specimen within a low population (meaning your card might be king of it's kind in BGS), that could be a relative premium at sale, as long as that stays true.

    - I like to slab some oddball stuff, no matter how old, since the populations tend to be low (54 Red Heart, 06 Bonds road to 714 corrected version, etc.).

    - I have been very pleased slabbing *very* sharp looking older cards that aren't rookies, or "special", like 78 Bench and Carlton--they both came back 9.5s, and I like having high grades of some older star cards of no important year.

    - Beckett sometimes seems to be more generous with cards that get punched out of perforations (like 77 Topps Mexican Football), or have a fuzzy edge-cut as a common characteristic (84-85 OPC Hockey, for example). I have gotten what I thought to be much higher grades than would have come back on the cards that were submitted--even two digits worth, like a 5 to 7.5.

    Hope this helps!

  9. I appreciate everyone's perspective on this. I had an Alex Gordon graded a while back, Bowman chrome rookie because I thought it looked like a 9.5 or a 10, and it ended up a 9.5 which made me happy. I have a few other old cards I did just for their protection.

    I do agree that it is much easier to handle favorite cards when they are protected by cases, and over-protected by the slabs.

    I think this will depend on how much I end up finding to add to my collection. If I find a lot of cards, well BGS will wait, if not perhaps I will take the plunge on my Pujols cards.