Tag Archive | "Topps"

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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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.

BikeSpokes

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 – 2012 Topps Chrome

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – 2012 Topps Chrome

Posted on 04 January 2013 by Tim Danielson

BikeSpokes

Per box items:
24 packs per box
4 cards per pack
2 autographs per box

Topps sell sheet

These cards are basically identical to 2012 Topps Series 1, 2 and Pro Debut only in a chrome finish. The standard sized cards feature a full color action shot of the player. Bordered in silver/chrome, the card fronts list the set and player name. A rounded graphic in the lower left corner of the card fronts has the team logo. The graphic is trimmed in a similar color to the team color scheme. The card backs are photo-less and are horizontal in layout. The backs list moderate biographical information, complete career statistics, and career highlights.

What I pulled:
96 unique cards, no duplicates
78 base set cards = 78/220 = 35% of the base set
11 base refractor
2 blue refractor
1 gold refractor
1 red refractor
1 die-cut
2 autos

Base card front and back:

scan0006

The inserts: (not all scanned)
Blue refractor #/199 Encarnacion, Marcum
Gold refractor #/50 Bourn
Red refracrtor #/25 Teixeira
Dynamic Die-cut Hamilton

scan0007

The Hits:
Eric Surkamp auto
Liam Hendriks black refractor auto #/100

scan0008

************************************************** ********************************

Keeping with the same design across all of their products this year, 2012 Topps Chrome is pretty much identical to Series 1, 2 and Pro Debut. I absolutely love this year’s base card design though. It is simple and clean. I also really like the horizontal backs and the occasional horizontal fronts. The shot selection is great with some good actions shots and some candid moments. There are 20 base set car variations to chase, although I do not know if they indicated as such on the specific cards. The hits really lacked the wow effect. I think the Dynamic die-cut card looks cool though. After what, like 19 years, you would think someone would have figured out how to make these cards without ‘chrome curl.’ The curl was very evident as many of the sealed packs were warping! I actually would have preferred a few less refractors and a few more base cards in my box, but that will not make completing the base set that much harder.

The Bottom Line:
Loaded with RCs, I give 2012 Topps Chrome a shop around rating. It will should be easy to complete a base set with three boxes and some light trading. The refractors and serial numbered parallels will be fun to chase. Buy a box and trade your Tigers cards to me!

The Final Score:
Final Ratings (Out of 10):
Base set collect-ability: 3/10
Big-hit Hunter: 4/10
Prospector Hunter: 10/10
Value: 7/10
Overall Quality: 8/10

Overall: 32/50 (64% = D)
The biggest drawback being that set collectors will need 3+ boxes for a complete set.

Thanks to Topps for making this review possible!

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – 2012 Topps Heritage Minor League

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – 2012 Topps Heritage Minor League

Posted on 21 November 2012 by Tim Danielson

Per Box Items:
24 packs per box
9 cards per pack
2 autographs per box
1 relic per box

Topps sell sheet

2012 Topps Heritage Minor League depicts minor league players on the 1963 card design. The standard sized base set cards feature a color action shot of the player over a black and white background. Bordered in white, a colored graphic is at the card bottom with the player’s name, team name and color logo. The card backs are photo-less and horizontal in design. The card backs list moderate biographical information, last year and career statistics and moderate career highlights. Every card also has the mono-tone generic comic like the original 1963 card design.

What I pulled:
215 unique cards, no duplicates
202 base = 202/225 = 90% of the base set
(1-200 regular, 201-255 SP)
6 Prospect Performers
3 black border #/96
2 autographs
1 relic
1 printing plate

Base card front and back:

The inserts:
Prospect Performers:
Olt, Cole, Hamilton, Bradley, Arenado, Sanchez
Black border #/96 Jones, Jungmann, Sanchez

The Hits:
Sean Nolin auto
Luke Jackson auto
Gerrit Cole/ Jameson Taillon dual relic #/25
Archie Bradley Yellow Printing Plate 1/1

*****************************************************************************************************************************************************

2012 Topps Heritage Minor League is a great entry level product! Set collectors will have no problem putting the base set together with a box and some trading. I can not complain about the lack of a flashy design because this is rendered in the 1963 design. The low numbered relic was a nice treat and pulling a printing plate is always exciting! Prospectors will love this set. unless you really follow minor league baseball, you may not recognize many of the names in this product.

The Bottom Line:
I give 2012 Topps Heritage Minor League a buy rating. Collecting the base set will be easy. Prospectors will be very happy. Buy a box and trade your Tigers players to me!

The Final Score:
Final Ratings (Out of 10):
Base set collect-ability: 9/10
Big-hit Hunter: 8/10
Prospector Hunter: 10/10
Value: 7/10
Overall Quality: 9/10

Overall: 43/50 (86% = B)

Thanks to Topps for making this review possible!

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

The official grading service of Full Spectrum Baseball

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – 2012 Topps Chrome

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – 2012 Topps Chrome

Posted on 28 September 2012 by Tim Danielson

Per box items:
24 packs per box
4 cards per pack
2 autographs per box

Topps sell sheet

These cards are basically identical to 2012 Topps Series 1, 2 and Pro Debut only in a chrome finish. The standard sized cards feature a full color action shot of the player. Bordered in silver/chrome, the card fronts list the set and player name. A rounded graphic in the lower left corner of the card fronts has the team logo. The graphic is trimmed in a similar color to the team color scheme. The card backs are photo-less and are horizontal in layout. The backs list moderate biographical information, complete career statistics, and career highlights.

What I pulled:
96 unique cards, no duplicates
78 base set cards = 78/220 = 35% of the base set
11 base refractor
2 blue refractor
1 gold refractor
1 red refractor
1 die-cut
2 autos

Base card front and back:

The inserts: (not all scanned)
Blue refractor #/199 Encarnacion, Marcum
Gold refractor #/50 Bourn
Red refracrtor #/25 Teixeira
Dynamic Die-cut Hamilton

The Hits:
Eric Surkamp auto
Liam Hendriks black refractor auto #/100

******************************************************************************************************************************************

Keeping with the same design across all of their products this year, 2012 Topps Chrome is pretty much identical to Series 1, 2 and Pro Debut. I absolutely love this year’s base card design though. It is simple and clean. I also really like the horizontal backs and the occasional horizontal fronts. The shot selection is great with some good actions shots and some candid moments. There are 20 base set car variations to chase, although I do not know if they indicated as such on the specific cards. The hits really lacked the wow effect. I think the Dynamic die-cut card looks cool though. After what, like 19 years, you would think someone would have figured out how to make these cards without ‘chrome curl.’ The curl was very evident as many of the sealed packs were warping! I actually would have preferred a few less refractors and a few more base cards in my box, but that will not make completing the base set that much harder.

The Bottom Line:
Loaded with RCs, I give 2012 Topps Chrome a shop around rating. It will should be easy to complete a base set with three boxes and some light trading. The refractors and serial numbered parallels will be fun to chase. Buy a box and trade your Tigers cards to me!

The Final Score:
Final Ratings (Out of 10):
Base set collect-ability: 3/10
Big-hit Hunter: 4/10
Prospector Hunter: 10/10
Value: 7/10
Overall Quality: 8/10

Overall: 32/50 (64% = D)
The biggest drawback being that set collectors will need 3+ boxes for a complete set.

Thanks to Topps for making this review possible!

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

The official grading service of Full Spectrum Baseball

Comments (0)

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