Tag Archive | "Beckett Grading Services"

Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – Beckett Grading Service Review

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – Beckett Grading Service Review

Posted on 22 February 2013 by Tim Danielson

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+

Beckett wolf 1

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+

Beckett wolf 2

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

Beckett Chan

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

Beckett Henderson

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.


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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – JSA Autograph Authentication Service Review

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – JSA Autograph Authentication Service Review

Posted on 08 February 2013 by Tim Danielson

This week, as part of my on-going series of card grading services, we divert a little and look at autograph authentication and grading.


James Spence Authentication (JSA) does not grade cards specifically, rather they authenticate and grade autographs.  JSA offers this service for sports figures, celebrities, actors, music entertainers, historical and political figures autographs.  From former Presidents to rock stars to sports heroes, JSA is the place to go to verify if the autograph is authentic.

A black eye on the hobby of sports card collecting has been people trying to sell fake autographs.  As the industry leader, JSA has provided piece of mind to collectors for years.  JSA authenticates autographs on cards and other memorabilia including bats, balls, gloves, helmets and jerseys.

Besides the obvious reason of a higher resale vale for graded autographs, JSA’s service can also include a Letter of Authenticity for insurance purposes.  While other grading services may appeal to dealers and resellers, JSA autograph authentication will also benefit other collectors and historians.

JSA does have a partnership with Beckett Grading Services, BGS.  Thanks to this partnership collectors can have their autographs authenticated and graded as well as the card itself graded and encapsulated.  This offers a collectors a ‘one-stop-shopping’ experience where they send in a raw ungraded autographed card and receive back an encased dual graded collectible.  For purposes of this article I will be reviewing the autograph authentication by JSA only.  Among other techniques, JSA authenticates and grades autographs against other know autographs from the subject and considers legibility, penmanship, and cleanliness or neatness of the autograph.

Autographs I submitted to JSA for grading:

2002 SP Authentic #87 Sean Casey – JSA autograph grade – 9 MINT (BGS card grade – 9 MINT)


I obtained this autograph through the mail, (TTM).  I have and have seen several other Sean Casey autographs on baseballs, in person, and on pack pulled cards to be very confident in the authenticity of this one. Sean Casey’s autograph has been very consistent through the years.  Another positive indicator that this autograph is real is that Sean Casey was never a super star that commanded a high premium.  No one is going to make money from selling fake Sean Casey autographs.  It may be difficult to see in the picture, but there is ‘streaking ‘ in the ‘S’ and ‘C’ of the autograph.  This is a sign that the autograph is hand signed with a Sharpie marker and not auto-penned.

1987 Topps #478 Dave Dravecky – JSA autograph grade – 8 NM-MT (BGS card grade 8 NM-MT)


This is another autograph I acquired through the mail.  I have also observed several Dravecky autographs and felt confidant about the authenticity of this when I sent it in.  Although very consistent with his autograph during his retirement, the biggest difference and probably the reason for a grade of 8 is that this autograph was signed with a ball point pen.  Pen ink can be more likely to fade over time than a Sharpie marker.

1983 Topps #180 Rickey Henderson – JSA Unable to Authenticate


This was a little bit of a disappointment for me.  I was not disappointed in the services provided by JSA, rather I was disappointed that I paid a fair amount of money to purchase this card on-line.  This makes me  two for two at buying fake Henderson autographs on-line.  On the contrary, I am happy that JSA has expertise and experience to accurately identify legitimate and questionable autographs.  Rickey Henderson is a Hall of Fame whose autographs and memorabilia can command premiums, if they are real.  Maybe what made this autograph difficult to authenticate, or easy for a scammer to fake, is the fact that it is signed with a felt tip marker.

Before sending an autograph into JSA be sure to visit their fees page to not only check their prices, but also to verify then can take and authenticate your autograph.  There are several benefits of having your autographs authenticated by JSA.  Some of these advantages are: Quick and simple online confirmation of your certification number.  Increased value, for faster sale of memorabilia.  Secure, virtually impossible to replicate proprietary watermark James Spence Authentication Letter of Authenticity with corresponding high-resolution image and a unique certificate sticker.  Guaranteed acceptance of our Letter of Authenticity by collectors, dealers, and ALL auction houses worldwide, or your submission fee will be reimbursed.  Peace of mind that your memorabilia is deemed authentic and ready to be sold, passed along to a family member, or cherished forever, and all numbered Letters of Authenticity are fully transferable without resubmission.  For these reasons, I recommend James Spence Authentication services for collectors, dealers and historians alike.  The piece of mind and protection offered by JSA when coupled with Beckett Grading services will be worth the money.

Until next week, keep collecting, collect for the joy of the hobby and collect for the fan in all of us.


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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – To Grade or not to Grade

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – To Grade or not to Grade

Posted on 31 May 2012 by Tim Danielson

One of the most important rules about baseball card collecting is that ‘condition is everything.’  You may own the rarest, most highest valued baseball card in the world, but if it looks like it went through your bike spokes and then thrown in a shoe box, then it is not worth anything.  One option collectors have is to have their cards professionally graded.

There are a few card grading companies that collectors can use, but I will reference the biggest two here.  Both ‘Professional Sports Authenticator’ PSA, and ‘Beckett Grading Services’ BGS offer different levels of grading packages and pricing.  At the simplest level, card grading is based on four components: centering, corners, edges and surface.  These four categories are then given a number grade from 1-10.  There are specific guidelines and characteristics that are used to help determine a cards condition.  The centering of a card is just that.  Is the picture centered left to right and up and down?  There is a measurement used to gauge the percentage “off-center” the card is.  The corners need to be sharp and un-frayed or rounded.  The edges should be straight with no chipping or layering.  Both the surface of the front and back of the card cannot have any scratches, dents or dings. The higher a card’s overall grade, the higher a card’s value.  ‘Gem Mint’ cards often sell for several times the listed value of the same un-graded card.

To better answer the question of weather or not you should send your cards in though, you need to ask yourself another question.  What do you plan to do with your cards?  If you are a collector who buys and sells cards for profit then grading your cards may be a good idea.  Follow the basic stock market principle, “buy low, sell high.”  Buy raw or un-graded cards, send them in and hope for high grades, and then turn around and sell the grade 9 and 10 cards for more then you bought them for.  Keep in mind though that it does cost to have the cards graded in the first place.  Both companies have different rates depending on how many cards you send them at one time and the turn around time you would like them back in.

Some collectors are player or team collectors, or someone who will never sell or get rid of their cards.  Having your cards professionally graded may not be worth it.  A grade 8 on your card will not increase the sentimental value.  If you are never going to sell them anyway why would you need to know that you could sell it for more if it were a grade 10?

I am a player collector, and will never get rid of my cards until my kids inherit them.  I also have a few graded cards however.  I have never paid to send my cards in though.  The cards I have were picked up in trades.  There is a novelty to graded cards.  Seeing a card encased in a permanent holder and being able to look up the individual barcode/serial number on the company’s website is pretty cool.  Cards graded from the same company all stack very well as the cases are made to nest together.  I will be running a series highlighting different card grading companies in the future.  In the meantime,   please enjoy some examples of graded cards.

Here we see three different copies of the same card, graded from three different companies.  “The Final Authority” is no longer doing business.  Note the individual sub-grades for the four characteristics.

Here are a couple of more of my graded cards of my favorite player.

Until next time, keep collecting, collect for the joy of the hobby and collect for the fan in all of us.

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