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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – SGC Grading Service Review

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – SGC Grading Service Review

Posted on 13 March 2013 by Tim Danielson

I have already discussed the reasons to have your cards graded and cited some examples from different companies.  This week I will provide an in-depth look at the card grading service offered by Sportscard Guaranty, SGC.

SGC has long been a popular choice for card grading with collectors, especially for vintage cards.  One of the most popular features SGC offers is their detailed grading scale.  Their 1-100 scale offers accurate and consistent grading of all cards.  For collectors more comfortable with a 1-10 scale, they also offer the equivalent grade.  Other popular features SGC offers are their guarantee and unique holder.

SGC does offer several different tiers of grading fees, based on the type of card and desired turnaround time.  SGC also offers many different monthly and themed grading specials.  SGC allowed me to send in four cards under the ‘EXPRESS’ tier (10 day turnaround time) for purposes of review.  My cards were returned in six days.

When starting the on-line submission form, the first thing I noticed was that the form was buried and required lots of clicking to get to.  I did have to create an account and sign-in, but even with expecting that, the from was not right there.  The form itself is very easy to use and complete.  The form has fields to input very detailed information about the cards you are submitting and charts to calculate the service fees, return postage and insurance required to send your cards back.  There were a couple of broken links and fields that did not allow me to complete the on-line submission form though.  In the defense of SGC, at the time  of my submission, I do know that they were in the process of creating and up-loading new monthly specials which may have created the broken fields.  Collectors can hand write an invoice for cards they are submitting or request a submission form/kit.

Cards that I submitted for grading:

1980 Topps #482 Rickey Henderson RC – SGC Grade 84 – NM

Topps Henderson

This card came back graded pretty much exactly what I thought it would.  The card is just a touch off center, has one rough spot on an edge and a very small amount of fraying on one corner.  For cards from 1980 and earlier, the industry standard expects them to be in Near Mint condition.  Price guides have their high book price meant to be for cards that are Near Mint.  Vintage cards with a higher grade than Near Mint can easily command prices several times that of the high book price.

1979 TCMA Rickey Henderson Minor League card – SGC Grade 20 – Fair

TCMA Henderson

I was a little surprised at the grade assigned to this card.  The centering is comparable to the Henderson Topps RC but the edges and corners or much cleaner and in better shape.  I will admit that there is a small blue ink mark on a back corner of the card.  I thought based on the physical condition of the card, especially the front, that this would have graded in the 50′s or 60′s.  After reviewing SGC’s grading scale though this grade is accurate and consistent with the descriptions of a 20 grade.

2003 Magic the Gathering Lone Wolf Foil – SGC Grade 88 – NM/MT

Lone Wolf

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 sent in a foil version of a card in my signature deck to illustrate that SGC also grades non-sport cards.  I was pleased with the grade of this card knowing that it had been shuffled and played out of my deck a couple of times.

2008-09 Upper Deck Champs C373 Gray Wolf Mini – SGC Grade 96 – MINT

Gray Wolf

This is another non-sport card even though it was packed out in a Hockey card product.  The illustration here is that SGC grades and has holders for 206, Tobacco, and Allen & Ginter sized cards.  I selected this specific card as it was recently pulled form a pack and presumably in Mint condition.  I was correct in my assumption of a grade as this came back graded as an almost perfect example of the card.

I highly recommend SGC’s grading service for a few reasons.  SGC’s prices for both the per card grading and return postage are much more reasonable compared to other similar grading services.  I really enjoy the 100 point grading scale.  I feel this gives you a more accurate description of the condition of your cards.  Many other companies only use a 10 point scale or only use half grades like 8.5.  I absolutely love the black frame SGC puts around the card.  It really highlights your card and makes it stand out.  The very quick turn around time was a nice surprise and the customer service is top notch.  Keep an eye out for SGC’s monthly specials for submission.  Depending on the amount and type of cards you want graded, these specials can save you a few dollars.

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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Dual Threat – 10 Players To Know Who Cover Multiple Positions

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Dual Threat – 10 Players To Know Who Cover Multiple Positions

Posted on 13 February 2012 by Dennis Lawson

Check your league’s rules closely.  If a player only needs 5 games at any given position to qualify for use at that position, then here are 10 players to keep in mind.  You can never have too much quality depth.

Courtesy of Minda Haas

  1. Alex Gordon (1B – 7, OF – 148) – Gordon’s numbers in 2011 were good enough to make him a legitimate top 10 guy at 1B, even though he spent most of his time in the outfield.  With the recent migration of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder to the AL, Gordon could be the forgotten man.  Do not make that mistake on a guy who hit .303/.376/.502/.879 with 101 runs scored and 87 RBI.
  2. Mike Napoli (C – 61, 1B – 35) – Napoli may be one of the few guys worth selecting as a starter for 2 positions.  Think for a moment about the potential for someone who hit 30 HR while batting .320/.414/.631/1.046 in just 432 plate appearances.
  3. Lance Berkman (OF & 1B) – With 126 appearances in the outfield and 21 at first base, Berkman may be the most obvious player on this list.  If he comes close to duplicating his .301/.412/.547/.959 line with 90 runs and 94 RBI from 2011, his stock will likely stay high, especially in NL-only leagues.
  4. Ben Zobrist (2B – 131, OF – 38) – Zobrist’s 2011 campaign was good for his career high in runs (99) and RBI (91), and it was not even his best season for WAR (5.1 vs 7.0 in 2009).  He does not appear to be a candidate for any significant regression, and the depth at 2B in the AL is not what it once was.
  5. Daniel Murphy (1B – 52, 2B – 24, 3B – 28) – Getting a guy who covers 3 bases represents a decent amount of insurance.  Getting a guy who did so while also hitting .320/.362/.448/.809 represents a whole lot of insurance.  In some small leagues, he might be available as a backup.  In large leagues, he may very well be someone’s starter.
  6. Jack Hannahan (1B – 8, 3B – 104) – If you are looking for a guy with a lot of potential upside at the corner infield positions, then keep Hannahan in mind.  He managed 40 RBI and 8 HR in only 366 plate appearances.  He probably will not push your team over the top, but he may provide some good numbers for short stretches.
  7. Pablo Sandoval (1B – 6, 3B – 107) – While Sandoval certainly makes my top 10 for guys at the hot corner, it is his ability to also play 1B that makes him a little more valuable than others at that position.  Not many players can cover the corner infield spots and post a .900+ OPS.  Sandoval can.
  8. Ruben Tejada (2B – 55, SS – 41) – Tejada will not bring with him the promise of great power numbers, but he can get on base, and that cannot be considered a bad thing.
  9. Martin Prado (OF – 100, 42 – 3B) – Under no circumstance would I rate Prado a really high draft pick, but he makes a lot of sense as a 4th outfielder who can also give you some time at 3B.  He is only 2 seasons removed from a 100 run, 66 RBI season, so you could do worse in terms of a backup at 2 positions.
  10. Allen Craig (OF – 48, 2B – 8) – If Craig has a regular spot to play this season, he can be an impact player on offense.  Just consider his 2.9 WAR in only 75 games played in 2011.  If not for offseason knee surgery and questions about playing time, Craig would rate slightly higher up this list.

Yes, there are a lot more where these guys came from, but I’ve got to keep a few to myself.  After all, I play fantasy baseball, too.

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