We have already discussed reasons for having your cards professionally graded. Today we will look at the services provided by Beckett Grading.
Becket Media has long been the premier resource for collectors of sports cards. Starting with their monthly price guide magazines, Beckett Media now offers on-line price guides, collecting forums, a safe on-line trading environment, monthly, quarterly, and yearly publications. Beckett also offers pricing guidelines for cards, autographs, figurines and more for all sports, non-sport and entertainment cards.
Two very popular features offered by Beckett Grading are the simple but detailed grading scale and sub-grade report card. In addition to just giving a card a grade of 8.5, Becket assigns grades to the four different attributes the card is graded on. This way you can see that a card graded 8.5 has sub-grades of 10 for centering, 8.5 for corners, 9 for edges, and 8.5 for surface condition. Beckett also offers the industry’s first on-time money back guarantee. Either your cards are returned to you on time or you get a refund on the grading services. Other features offered by Beckett grading can be viewed here.
When staring a submission to Beckett grading collectors have several different options to chose form. They offer standard grading and encapsulation, vintage card grading for pre-1981 cards, an economical Collector’s Club Grading and a raw card review. Details and pricing of each can be viewed here. Both the on-line and printable submission form are very easy to use and understand. As with other companies, Beckett offers several different tiers of turn around time at varying costs and monthly specials. Beckett allowed me to send in four cards at the 5-day service level. My cards were returned in exactly five business days from the date Beckett received them.
Cards that I submitted for grading:
1980 Topps #482 Rickey Henderson RC – Beckett Vintage Grading 7.5 Near Mint+
This card came back pretty much what I expected it would. I was hoping for an 8 based on my comparison to other graded Henderson RC cards I have seen. After reviewing Beckett’s grading scale, the grade this card received is very consistent with the guidelines they have established. I was a little disappointed that the vintage grading did not include the sub-grades for the different card attributes. These are not included on any vintage graded cards, but it still would have been nice to know these sub-grades.
2009 Americana Stars Material Gold Proofs #1 Jackie Chan #/25 – Beckett Grading 8.5 NM-MT+
This card has sub-grades of 10 for centering, 8.5 for corners, 9 for edges, and 8.5 for surface. This card received the grade that I thought it would. I submitted this card to show that Beckett also grades memorabilia cards. I was very pleased to see that the thicker memorabilia card was placed into the same thickness holders as the rest of the cards. The recessed area inside the holder is just deeper to allow for the thicker card without adding thickness to the holder itself. From the side though you can see where the inner sleeve is separating on the edges.
1997 Magic the Gathering 5th Edition Wyluli Wolf (Rare)- Beckett Grading 8 NM-MT
One of my geeky pleasures, Magic is a collectable card game in the genre of Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, and other non-sports cards. Magic players often put more weight on the playability of their cards rather than the collect-ability of them. The super rare and valuable cards are usually put in a case never to see the light of day and a “proxy” card is used to represent them in a deck. If you actually want to play with your cards, people may just put every card of a deck into a penny sleeve and use them that way. All this in mind though I submitted this card to illustrate that Beckett also grades non-sport cards. This card received sub-grades of 9.5, 7.5, 9, and 8.5. I was impressed that Beckett was able to identify not only the edition this card is, but also the rarity.
2010 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini National Animals #NA26 Gray Wolf – Beckett Grading 9.5 Gem Mint
Receiving sub-grades of 10, 9.5, 9.5, and 9.5, this is practically a prefect example of this card. I was very pleased as this came back graded a little higher than I thought it would. For collectors and dealers looking to flip and make money off their graded cards, grades of 9, 9.5, and 10 often command higher premiums. The illustration here is that Beckett grades and has holders for 206, Tobacco, and Allen & Ginter sized cards.
Beckett has many strong points for collectors to consider when shopping for a grading service. From the very beginning both the on-line and printable submission forms are among the easiest I have used. I was able to track the status of my submission with e-mail updates of when Beckett received, graded and shipped my cards. I was actually able to log in and view the grades before they were shipped. In my opinion the two best features of Beckett grading services are the sub-grades and color coded labels. The sub-grades printed on the front of the label sticker give much more detailed information about your card. The highest graded cards, 9.5 and 10 receive a gold colored label and 8.5 and 9 grades receive a silver label. All other grades have a white label. This makes for easy identification of the highest graded cards. Compared to other services, Beckett’s holders appear to me to be a little less secure. The holders are nested and stack-able. Thicker memorabilia cards do not require thicker holders which is nice. Three of my four cards all had damage to the bottom left corner of the holders though. This damage is visible in the pictures above. The Allen and Ginter card which received the highest grade suffered the most damage, compromising the seal of the holder itself. I assume that this damage occurred in shipping as the damage is all on the same corner. Dealers who pay for insurance will not want to receive a Gem Mint card in a cracked holder. For collectors who plan to keep their cards will enjoy the ease of use, service and features offered by Beckett Grading services.
Until next week, keep collecting, collect for the joy of the hobby and collect for the fan in all of us.