25 Jun

How and Where to Grade Collector Cards in Canada

Take your Card Collection to the Next Level with Professional Card Grading

Take Your Card Collection to the Next Level with PSA Card GradingMillions of people all over the world collect trading cards. It’s a popular hobby here in Canada. Everything from autographed baseball cards, to trading card games like Yu-Gi-Oh! The Card Game, can be extremely valuable. But if you want to know the true value of any card, you’ll need to get it professionally graded.

While there are a number of grading services available, some are vastly more respected than others. We’ll talk about the different services, the process of card grading, what you can expect to pay for it, and reasons why you should (or shouldn’t) have your card collection graded by a professional authentication service.

Table of Contents

Professional Card Grading Services FAQ

We’ll kick things off with some Frequently Asked Questions to help you get a grasp on the process of card grading, and why it matters. Click any question to jump to the answer, or keep scroll down.

  1. What is card grading?
  2. Why does card grading matter?
  3. Are graded cards more valuable?
  4. Are all collectible cards worth having graded?
  5. Is card grading expensive?
  6. Are all card grading services the same?
  7. How do I submit cards for grading?
  8. What if I collect Gaming and Non-Gaming cards?
1. What is Card Grading?

Card grading is a specialty service provided by third-party authenticators who closely inspect every aspect of a card for authenticity and quality. When a card owner submits a card for grading, it comes back with a certificate and grade value. Grading services almost always grade cards on a 10-point scale, with 10 being the absolute best; a grade given only to the most pristine, mint-condition cards. The grade a card is given determines its value for future sale.

2. Why does getting a card graded matter?

For a true collector, or a reseller of collectible cards, the benefits of accurate grading are incontrovertible. Generally speaking, the condition of a card is subjective. Professional grading translates opinion into indisputable fact. Anyone can assume their card to be in mint condition, but rarely is that the case. Likewise, anyone can forge an autograph, but when authenticated, an autographed card’s value can rise tremendously.

3. Are graded cards more valuable?

Generally speaking, yes. So long as the card has collectible value, and it receives a positive grading, it will be more valuable than an ungraded edition of the same card. Card grading will almost always increase the value of a card, compared to an ungraded card. 

4. Are all collectible cards worth having graded?

Individually, no. The vast majority of cards are not worth the cost of having them graded. Rare cards, vintage cards, or cards that are in high demand are the only ones that should be considered. If you have a large collection of cards, it may be worth sending in the entire collection. We cover this topic in more detail below.

5. Is card grading expensive?

Yes. Plain and simple, yes, you’re going to spend a decent amount of money to get your cards graded with any respectable service. How expensive it is will depend on which grading company you go with, what services you need, and how many cards you’re sending in. On top of that, you’ll need some supplies to submit your card(s) – things like penny-sleeves, card saver holders, packaging materials, etc. If you’re not serious about your card collection, grading may not be for you.

6. Are all card grading services the same?

Not at all. Each card grading company has its own standards for grading, and its own pricing schedule to go along with it. Furthermore, some only deal in a limited selection of cards. BVG, for example, only grades vintage cards from 1980 and older. PSA and SGC deal in cards of any age. Please see our section on Respectable Card Grading Services for more information.

7. How do I submit my card(s) for grading?

The short answer – put them all in sleeves, put the sleeves in a card saver holder (use more than one if necessary), package it with protective materials and send it off to a pro card grading service with instructions and the appropriate fee enclosed. For the long answer, see our detailed section, How to Send Cards in for Grading, below.

8. What if I collect Gaming and Non-Gaming cards?

Some grading services, like Beckett, will ask you to identify whether you’re submitting “Gaming” or “Non-Gaming” card types. Gaming cards are any type of card that can be played with – things like Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Magic: The Gathering, or Flesh and Blood. Non-Gaming covers absolutely everything else, in both Sports and Non-Sports categories. If your collection includes both Gaming and Non-Gaming cards, and are required to specify one or the other on the submission form, you will have to choose just one type, and create a second submission for the other. You may or may not be able to send all of your cards in the same package with two submission forms. I would suggest contacting the grading service and asking how to proceed in such cases, just to be sure.

Respectable Card Grading Services

I’m sure there are plenty of respectable companies out there willing to grade your cards. As for which ones Canada’s premier collectors and resell merchants respect most, there are three that immediately come to mind.

PSA Authentication & Grading Services

Professional Sports Authenticators (PSA) is the number one name in card grading services; the pinnacle of collectible authentication. PSA deals mostly in trading cards of all varieties and autograph authentication. Autographs don’t have to be on cards to be eligible. If it’s a picture or photograph, a piece of sports memorabilia, a game ball or trophy – anything you can manage to ship through the mail can be authenticated. PSA even offers a quick-grading service that can be far cheaper, letting customers know if their valuables are worth sending in for grading before committing to the standard price line.

See our Complete PSA Review below for more info.

SGC Card Grading

Sportscard Guaranty Corporation (SGC) is an exclusive card grading company known for its high standards and professionalism, particularly in recent years. For almost two decades, SGC graded cards on a scale of 10-100, which may have been the most notable hinderance to the company’s growth. Since transitioning to a standardized 1-10 scale in 2018, combined with streamline rebranding efforts, SGC has risen to the number 2 spot in North American card grading services. An upfront pricing model and expedited services (at additional cost) are some of their finer selling points.

See our Complete SGC Review below for more info.

BGS / BVG Beckett Grading Services

Beckett is an industry-leading two-part card grading company, comprised of Beckett Grading Services (BGS) and Beckett Vintage Grading (BVG). BGS deals in modern card assessments, that being any card made in the last 30 years (i.e. 1981 – 2021). BVG deals solely in vintage cards and collectibles; vintage being any collectible, sports or non-sports card printed more than 30 years ago (pre 1980). This BVG card grading walk-through provides unique insight into the process behind grading and authenticating collectible cards and merchandise.

See our Complete BGS / BVG Review below for more information.

The Cost of Card Grading

Grading a trading card can be rather expensive, depending on where you go and what services you’re looking for. Judging the condition of a card is the most common service, and could cost you anything from a few dollars, to a few thousand. The cost of grading any card is generally base don the graded value of that card. A card valued at $400 might cost $20 to grade, whereas a card valued at $5,000 will cost a lot more. It’s not a percentage per say, but a rising scale. Additional services, such as authenticating an autograph on anything from a collectible card, to a photograph, or sports paraphernalia like a game ball or boxing glove, will cost extra.While prices and availability do change and fluctuate, here’s some basic pricing info taken from the three top card grading services in North America.

PSA Pricing: The cost for grading any card with a value of up to $499 most cards is $20 per card for PSA Club Members, and $50 per card for non-members. There is a 10-card minimum for each of these services. Cards valued higher than $499 will cost anywhere from $100 per card (value $500-$999), up to $10,000 per card (value $250,000+).

SGC Pricing: SGC doesn’t offer special membership pricing. Everyone pays the same amount, with the standard being $30 per card, graded at or below $1,499 value. Prices scale up from there, wit the highest being $3,750 for a card valued at or above $100,000. Oversized items, custom encapsulation, and advanced research of non-standard issue cards are also available at addiotnal cost.

BGS / BVG Pricing: For in-store grading, Beckett has a very simple pricing guide, based solely on the number of cards being appraised. 1-3 cards costs $12/card, 4+ cards costs $10/card. For expedited grading, the cost rises to $18/card. In-store grading is available at a series of approved retail locations, but they’re all located in or around Texas. Beckett is not currently accepting mail-in submissions. Check the website for updates as to the status of mail-in submissions.

Are My Cards Worth Grading?

Honestly, most cards are not worth the cost of getting graded. 99.99% of all trading cards are so common that they are worthless. In order to be worth grading, a card must feature all of the following qualities:

  1. Very good, excellent, mint, or pristine condition.
  2. Rare, as in very limited in existence; either because only a limited number were ever produced, or because they’re so old that most quantities no longer exist.
  3. In demand. Only cards that people actually want, will have any real value to them. An autographed 1998 Topps Peyton Manning Rookie Card – in great condition – would be worth grading. A 1998 Topps Ryan Leaf Rookie Card… not so much.

An exception to #3 would be cards that belong to a specific team or set. Any member of the starting roster for the 1985 Chicago Bears or 1972 Miami Dolphins, for example, would be worth grading, as team collectors seek out these cards. Vintage cards are often worth grading, especially when they are in good condition. Collectors love a good NM-MT card from yesteryear, and will pay top dollar for it when graded as such.

What grading companies look for in a card are the centering, corners, edges and surfaces. A perfectly centered cards always grades better, while a card that is noticeably off center will grade much worse. It’s all about the eye-appeal for collectors. Corners and edges should be in peak physical form for a high grade, and there should be no marks or stains on the surface of the card. If a card features these blemishes, it must be extremely rare/in demand to be worth grading.

Your best bet is to look over a card, slowly and meticulously, with a magnifying glass. If you still believe it worthy of a superior grade, then you should consider sending it in for grading. 

How to Send Cards In for Grading

Before you send your card collection in for grading, there’s a few things you need to know. First of all, you’re probably going to pick up some supplies. Shipping any card that you believe has enough value to grade, means subjecting that card to unseen forces. To make sure it gets where it’s going, without any sort of damage, is paramount. So, make sure you have the following items ready.

  • Penny Sleeves – clear, plastic card sleeves, designed to protect a card from fingers and any other unclean elements, aptly named for their cheap price. Every card should be placed within a penny sleeve prior to shipping.
  • Semi-Ridged Card Holders – These are similar to penny sleeves, but are made of semi-ridged (they barely bend) plastic. Combined with penny sleeves, the4se card holders offer ultimate protection.
  • Sturdy Cardboard – Get a piece of sturdy cardboard and cut two pieces from it. Each piece should be slightly larger can the size of a card.
  • Oversized Shipping Container– It is recommended to use an oversized container (box) to ship your collection. It doesn’t have to be huge, but larger than the size of the contents. This way, the cards won’t get damaged if the parcel is dropped or banged around during transit.
  • Packaging Materials – Your oversized container should be filled with soft, cushioning packaging materials, such as packing peanuts or bubble wrap, to keep your collection extra safe.
  • Packaging Tape – Last but not least, real packaging tape (not standard transparent tape, or duct tape) should be used to secure the parcel.

To prepare your cards for shipping, place each one in a penny sleeve, then in a semi-ridged card holder. Do not use any other types of sleeves or holders, such as screw downs or snap-tights. Although rare, cards can be damaged when opening these types of cases. If you use them, the grading service is likely to return the cards back to you without grading them.

Secure the entire stack of cards between the two sturdy pieces of slightly oversized cardboard, then secure the bundle with a rubber band. This will protect the edges of the cards from bending. The rubber band should be tight enough that the cards can’t fall out, but not so tight hat it risks bending any card edges.

Next, fill your oversize box with a small amount of packaging material. Place the bundle of cards in top of this packaging material, then fill the rest of the box with more packing peanuts or bubble wrap. Complete and insert the submission form you printed out, along with payment, if necessary. Wrap the entire box in packaging tape. Don’t just get the edges. Remember, card grading is expensive – don’t go cheap on the packaging.

Finally, follow whatever instructions are provided by the card grading company to mail the package.

Important Notes…

Every grading company has their own method of submitting cards and other collectibles for grading. Be sure to carefully read over the instructions provided by your chosen grading service. You’ll be instructed to fill out a submission form to include with the package. Fees will either be paid online before shipping, or must be included in the package. Be sure to pay the correct amount, including grading fees and any other extras. It should also include the price of shipping the collection back to you.

When estimating the value of your cards (necessary for most price calculations), do your research. Don’t undervalue your cards to keep the price down, but don’t overvalue them in hopes of getting a higher assessment, either. A professional grading service will give you a proper grade and value based on the card alone, not the amount you pay for it. And if you undervalue the cards, you’re likely to have it sent back, ungraded, or (if you’re lucky) you’ll receive a notice of further payment due before a grading certificate can be processed.

Top Card Grading Services Reviewed

Next up, you can read our comprehensive reviews of the three top card grading services in North America. As you’ll soon learn, there are pros and cons associated with each. None are bad, but some are better in certain circumstances. It all depends on what type of collector you are, and what services you need. Click on of the review links below, or keep scrolling to read each one in turn.

PSA Card Grading Review

PSA Card Grading ReviewPSA Card is the world’s premier destination for card grading services. The opinion of a PSA certified card grader is valued above all others, while PSA graded cards, accompanied by a certificate, are unquestionably trusted. With more than 40 million cards graded, worth a cumulative declared value of more than $1 billion in the last 30 years, PSA’s self-proclaimed status as “the largest and most respected third-party authentication and grading company in the world for trading cards and memorabilia” rings true. PSA offers a number of useful resources for card collectors, free of charge. They include an SMR Price Guide, Population Report, and Auction Prices Realized.

Adding to the company’s superior reputation is a cash-back policy guaranteeing the accuracy of all PSA assigned grades, provided that the item remains safely sealed within its tamper-evident encasement. Should a card fail to pass PSA authenticity standards beyond its original grading value, PSA will either offer to buy the card at current market value (if it’s no longer of gradable), or refund the difference between the current and original grading values.

PSA is a very transparent service, with upfront pricing and clear information about past grading statistics. Both can be viewed online anytime, free of charge. This is helpful, because it allows customers to make educated decisions in terms of what is and isn’t worth grading, and the ideal value of a card to be graded. Vintage card sellers are often drawn to PSA for easily verifiable grade certification via auction warehouses and websites, like eBay.

Due to PSA’s meticulous grading process, any card with a PSA grade of 10 tends to be worth more than a SGC or BGS card grade of 10.

Pros & Cons

Pros: As the industry leader, the level of respect commanded by a PSA grading is unparalleled, often resulting in higher card values than rival grading services.

Cons: PSA is the most expensive of all card grading services, especially if you’re not a club member.

PSA Grading Scale

Since its establishment in 1991, PSA always graded cards on a scale of 1-10. It wasn’t until 2008 that they decided to grade with half-points, but they rarely issue them, and will only do so on scores of 1-9. There’s no such thing as a 9.5 grade from PSA – it’s either 9 or 10. This is one of the main reasons collectors might choose another grading service, if they feel their card should be higher than 9, but might not achieve the perfection of a PSA 10.

Grade Notation on Card Condition
1 PR 1 Poor
1.5 FR 1.5 Fair
2 GOOD 2 Good
3 VG 3 Very Good
4 VG-EX 4 Very Good-Excellent
5 EX 5 Excellent
6 EX-MT 6 Excellent-Mint
7 NM 7 Near Mint
8 NM-MT 8 Near Mint-Mint
9 MINT 9 Mint
10 GEM-MT 10 Gem Mint

Some PSA graded cards will note a Qualifier next to the grade, such as 5 (ST). This means the card is graded 5, with a deduction for “Staining”. Qualifiers that can and will effect PSA grading include:

  • Off-Center (OC) – The cards image is not perfectly centered. This is generally very noticeable. The more noticeable it is, the more it will effect the grade.
  • Staining (ST) – Staining is most common in vintage cards, and will always reduce the value.
  • Print Defect (PD) – The most common print defect is something known as “fish-eye”, or “snow”. It happens when a small white dot appears anywhere on the card. Even the tiniest of print defects will prevent a card from receiving the highest grade.
  • Out of Focus (OF) – This is rare, especially in modern print, but will cause a drastic reduction in value.
  • Marks (MK) – A mark is defined as “writing, ink marks, pencil marks, or evidence of the impression left from the act of writing” will ensure a card gets the MK designation. It’s not always cause for diminished value, as it can include an authenticated autograph.
  • Miscut (MC) – This is similar to a card being off-center, except that it’s not the image alignment that is off. It could be a portion of the card cut off in printing, or an oversized cut.
Services and Cost of PSA Grading

Important Update

On March 30, 2021, PSA’s most common services, including Value, Economy, Regular and Express packages, were temporarily suspended due to overwhelming demand and backlog. A letter to customers from PSA President Steve Sloan notes submissions coming in at “never-before-seen levels”.

On July 1, 2021, another customer update was issued, announcing the reinstatement of Express grading services, with a higher price level of $200 (up from $150).

We’ve highlighted below all suspended services at time of writing. Please check the PSA Pricing Guide for current service availability. If your desired service is currently suspended, have a look at our SGC Review for other options.

PSA card grading is not cheap, by any means. Fortunately, there’s an upfront pricing guide to inform customers of what they can expect to pay, before preparing a submission. The following price chart and services information comes directly from the PSA website, current August 4, 2021.

  • Grading: The authentication and grading of a raw card using the PSA 10-point grading scale.
  • Crossover: For cards previously graded by other companies that you want to cross over into a PSA holder.
  • Review: For cards previously graded by PSA that you feel might be worthy of a higher grade.
  • Reholder: For any PSA-graded card that you wish to have encapsulated using PSA’s most current holder.
  • Autograph Authentication: Free with card grading services.
Package Per Card Additional Information
Value
Club Members Only
SERVICE SUSPENDED
$20 10-card minimum, with declared value of up to $499
Economy
For Non-Members
SERVICE SUSPENDED
$50 10-card minimum, with declared value of up to $499
Regular
SERVICE SUSPENDED
$100 For cards with a declared value between $500-$999
Express
$200 For cards with a declared value between $1,000-$2,499
Super Express $300 For cards with a declared value between $2,500-$4,999
Reholder $10 For cards with a maximum declared value of $4,999
Add-On Grading $25 Add autograph authentication to a previously PSA graded card with declared value up to $250.
Walk-Through $600 For cards with a maximum declared value of $9,999
Premium 1 $1,000 1 business day; with a maximum declared value of $24,999
Premium 2 $2,000 1 business day; with a maximum declared value of $49,999
Premium 3 $3,000 1 business day; with a maximum declared value of $99,999
Premium 5 $5,000 1 business day; with a maximum declared value of $249,999
Premium 10 $10,000 1 business day; with a maximum declared value of $250,000+
PSA Collector’s Club
1 Year Gold Membership
$99/yr 1-Year Gold Membership, with over $200 worth of products and services, including:

  • 6 complimentary grading submissions – guaranteed 7 business-day-turnaround
  • 1-year subscription to Sports Market Report
  • 1-year subscription to the PSA Population Report and SMR Online
  • Monthly grading specials
PSA Collector’s Club
2 Year Platinum Membership
$179/yr 2-Year Platinum Membership, with over $350 worth of products and services, including:

  • 10 complimentary grading submissions – guaranteed 7 business-day-turnaround
  • 2-year subscription to Sports Market Report
  • 2-year subscription to the PSA Population Report and SMR Online
  • Monthly grading specials

SGC Card Grading Review

SGC Card Grading ReviewSGC is has been around since 1998, but it took two decades for the company to earn the respect of card collectors; mostly because PSA and BGS were so backlogged, everyone began looking for a faster alternative. SGC stepped up and proved its worth. That was in 2019. Now, SGC is held in high regard – not necessarily for the value of its highest graded cards, but for its expedience and cost efficiency. While an SGC grade won’t garner the same price as an equivalent PSA or BGS grade, it will draw far higher value than an ungraded card. For resellers, the quick flip is often all they’re interested for.

The GoSGC website offers a lot of basic services for free. These include things like Population Reports and an Authenticity Code Lookup to verify the authenticity of any SGC-graded card. For paying customers, they offer a range of services, including raw card grading, crossovers, reviews, custom encapsulation and advance research of non-standard issue cards. SGC works with standard size cards and reholders, as well as oversized cards and reholders.

Anyone familiar with the grading industry will probably tell you the top three services are, in order, PSA, BGS and SGC. Why do we have SGC in the number two spot? Well, we couldn’t move it above PSA – that would just be crazy. However, SGC is the only one of the top-dogs that hasn’t suspended any of its services. Both PSA and BGS are so backlogged, they’ve suspended all but their most expensive service packages. The GoSGC website, on the other hand, states in big, bold letters:

GET THE SERVICE YOU DESERVE
NO BACKLOG, NO BLOATED TURNAROUNDS, NO GAMES
Just accurate grades in a timely manner. Starting at $30/card.

It’s not that SGC didn’t experience the same level of overwhelming demand. In fact, for a brief time, the price of grading was increased to $75/card in an effort to slow the submissions and get caught up. However, as of May 9, 2021, the price was reduced back to the standard $30/per card, as promised, and all orders continue to be completed in a timely manner; that being 20-25 business days for standard service, and 1-3 business days expedited.

Pros & Cons

Pros: Fastest and cheapest of all industry-leading card grading services. Good for a quick resell. No services suspended at this time.

Cons: SGC grades never draw as high a price as equivalent PSA/BGS grades.

SGC Grading Scale

SGC has a broad grading scale, but not nearly so broad as its early days. Originally, the SGC graded cards on a scale from 10 to 100. It wasn’t until they shifted to a standardized 1-10 scale, with half-points to quantify “tweeners” (i.e. cards valued between whole points), that the company rose in popularity. The current grading scale, notations and corresponding conditions are as follows:  

Grade Notation on Card Condition
1 PR Poor
1.5 FR Fair
2 GD Good
2.5 GD+ Good +
3 VG Very Good
3.5 VG+ Very Good+
4 VG/EX Very Good-Excellent
4.5 VG/EX+ Very Good-Excellent+
5 EX Excellent
5.5 EX+ Excellent+
6 EX/MT Excellent-Near Mint
6.5 EX/MT+ Excellent-Near Mint+
7 NRMT Near Mint
7.5 NRMT+ Near Mint+
8 NM-MT Near Mint-Mint
8.5 NM-MT+ Near Mint-Mint+
9 MT Mint
9.5 MT+ Mint+
10 GM GM Gem
10 PRI PRI Pristine (“virtually flawless”)
Services and Cost of SGC Grading

SGC card grading isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s far less expensive than their competitors. An up-front pricing model ensures customers know what they’re getting into before submitting their collection for appraisal. The info chart below comes direct from the SGC Services & Pricing Guide.

  • Grading: The authentication and grading of a raw card using the SGC 10-point grading scale.
  • Crossover: For cards previously graded by other companies that you want to cross over into an SGC holder.
  • Review: For cards previously graded by SGC that you feel might be worthy of a higher grade.
  • Reholder: For any SGC-graded card that you wish to have encapsulated using SGC’s most current holder.
  • Custom Encapsulation: Ultimate card protection customized to denote it’s part of the owner’s private collection.
Declared Valued
of Standard Size
20-25 Days Expedited 1-3 Days
Up to $1,499 $30 $250
$1,500-3,499 $85 $250
$3,500-$7,499 $250 $250
$7,500-$19,999 $500 $500
$20,000-$49,999 $1,000 $1,000
$50,000-$99,999 $2,000 $2,000
$100,000+ $3,750 $3,750
Declared Valued
of Oversized
20-25 Days Expedited 1-3 Days
Up to 3,499 $100 $250
$3,500-$7,499 $250 $250
$7,500-$19,999 $500 $500
Declared Valued
of Reholder
20-25 Days Expedited 1-3 Days
Up to $1,499 $30 $250
$1,500-$7,499 $75 $250
$7,500+ $250 $250
Declared Valued
Oversized Reholder
20-25 Days Expedited 1-3 Days
Up to $1,499 $100 $250
$1,500+ $250 $250
Additional Services Price Description
Custom Encapsulation $60 Custom encapsulation fee is added to base fee. 
Advance Research $60 For non-standard issue cards; price added to base fee.

BGS / BVG Card Grading Review

BGS Beckett Card Grading ReviewBeckett Grading Services (BGS) has been an industry leader since 1999. That was the year Beckett Publications, a leading provider of collectible new since 1984, decided to launch its own card authenticator division. The company’s unparalleled reputation in the collecting community instantly drove BGS to the number two spot in North America’s card grading market, where it remains today. The only reason we’ve listed BGS in the third spot is because SGC is more economical, and these days, remarkably faster.

Prior to 2019, BGS was noted for its expedient services. An overwhelming demand for card grading caused a backlog that drove a lot of customers to SGC. The events of March 2020 didn’t help to speed things up, either. In fact, at time of writing, their estimated turnaround times are listed as “approximately 11+ months” for economy submissions, 8+ months for standard, 20-30 business days for express, and 10-15 business days for premium.

BGS does still have one service others have a hard time competing with, and that’s their specialized vintage card services. Beckett Vintage Grading (BVG) is an exclusive service that deals only in vintage cards, dated more than 30 years old. Outside of an often exorbitantly priced PSA grading, there’s nothing more valuable than a good quality grade from BVG.

Beckett is also known for providing a unique Report Card with each card they grade (at additional cost, of course). The report gives details on various aspects of the cards condition, leaving “no confusion as to why your card received its grade”. The four key categories Beckett grades by, and comments on in its reports, are, in order of grading impact: Corners, Centering, Surface, and Edges.

The highest BGS / BVG graded cards are easy for any collector to identify at a glance, sue to their premium label coloring. A card with a grade of 9.5 to 10 receives and gold and black label on the cardholder, while a grade of 8.5 to 9 is labeled in silver.

The only turn-off we’ve experienced with BGS is that card collection submissions can be difficult to process via the website. You must have a free registered account to start a submission, but after doing so, the form may or may not work. When you fill out the top section and press Submit, it may load the second section, or it may clear/reload the first. We’ve seen others complain of this problem, as well. As an alternative, you can print the submission form, fill it out, and contact support for further instruction.

Pros & Cons

Pros: The only service reputable enough to rival PSA, at a fraction of the cost.

Cons: Slow turnaround times, and still more expensive than SGC.

Beckett Grading Scale

Beckett’s grading scale closely mimics that of SGC, more so than PSA, by way of half-point grading and descriptive qualities. cards can receive a grade of 1 to 10, with half-points available at all levels. A high grade will draw a premium price, based on the cards overall value among collectors – perhaps not quite as high as PSA, but far better than SGC. Many collector’s who believe their card is worthy of at least a 9.5 grading will choose BGS over PSA, simply because PSA will only grad at 9 or 10, not 9.5 (i.e. a 9.5 BGS is better than a 9 PSA). The BGS / BVG grading scale and descriptions are as follows:

Grade Notation on Card Condition
1 POOR Poor
1.5 FAIR Fair
2 G Good
2.5 G+ Good +
3 VG Very Good
3.5 VG+ Very Good+
4 VG-EX Very Good-Excellent
4.5 VG-EX+ Very Good-Excellent+
5 EX Excellent
5.5 EX+ Excellent+
6 EX-MT Excellent-Near Mint
6.5 EX-MT+ Excellent-Near Mint+
7 NEAR MINT Near Mint
7.5 NEAR MINT+ Near Mint+
8 NM-MT Near Mint-Mint
8.5 NM-MT+ Near Mint-Mint+
9 MINT Mint
9.5 GEM-MINT Gem-Mint
10 PRISTINE Pristine

As stated above, for an additional fee, BGS / BVG will provide a report card with the graded card. This report card revealers the individual grade for Corners, Centering, Surface and Edges. The overall grade of a card is determined by the grades given in these four categories, but it is not a direct average of those scores.

Beckett describes the process thusly:

“Beckett Grading Services uses an algorithm which determines the final grade using the 4 sub grades on the front label of the card holder. The lowest overall grade is the first category to observe because it is the most obvious defect, and the lowest grade is the most heavily weighted in determining the overall grade…

“Corners are punished hardest, Centering next, Surface/Edges the least. How much the overall grade is higher than the worst subgrade depends on which subgrade is the worst, and also depends on how much the other three subgrades are better than the worst subgrade…”

Services and Cost of BGS / BVG Grading

Important Update

As of June 7, 2021, Beckett has moved to suspend its Economy, Standard and Express packages, leaving only the Premium service available to customers. The bad news – Premium is the most expensive, costing $125 (w/o sub-grades) or $250 (w/ sub-grades) per card. The good news is that Premium packages ensure the quickest turnaround time of “approximately 10-15 business days”.

Beckett Collectibles President, Jeromy Murray, said in a letter to BGS customers:

“The reason behind this decision is simply to allow us to focus on the growing backlog we have and to get as many cards back to customers as possible, before the National.” 

For serious collectors with high-value cards, BGS is by far the best route for grading. It is the only service to offer a simple pricing schedule for all cards, with no bearing on ‘declared value’. A card worth $$200 costs the same to grade as a card worth $200,000. The price difference comes by way of turnaround.

If you want your cards graded and returned quickly, you’ll pay a much higher price for it. If you don’t mind waiting longer – and I do mean a lot longer – the cost is incredibly cheap (in comparison to PSA).

The chart below depicts the current pricing menu for Economy, Standard, Express, and Premium grading – with or without Sub-Grades (i.e. Report Card). Note that some services may or may not be available at this time due overwhelming demand. All suspended services (current June 25, 2021) are noted below. Please check the current Beckett Services page for availability, and Turnaround Times for current approximation of wait times.

Package Per Card Turnaround Time (time of writing)
Economy
w/ Sub-Grades
SERVICE SUSPENDED
$20 Approximately 11+ Months
Economy
w/o Sub-Grades
SERVICE SUSPENDED
$35 Approximately 11+ Months
Standard
w/ Sub-Grades
SERVICE SUSPENDED
$30 Approximately 8+ Months
Standard
w/o Sub-Grades
SERVICE SUSPENDED
$50 Approximately 8+ Months
Express
w/ Sub-Grades
SERVICE SUSPENDED
$100 Approximately 20-30 business days
Express
w/o Sub-Grades
SERVICE SUSPENDED
$150 Approximately 20-30 business days
Premium
w/ Sub-Grades
$125 Approximately 10-15 business days
Premium
w/o Sub-Grades
$250 Approximately 10-15 business days
Autograph Authentication +$2.00 $2.00 fee per autographed card is in addition to base fee

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