Tuesday, September 18, 2012

To Grade Or Not To Grade...That Is The Question

Grading services have come and gone over the years, I have an old Tuff Stuff magazine that I counted thirteen different grading companies for cards.  In my recent rant on relics and in light of last weeks FBI raid on a supplier of Topps and Upper Deck, even grading worries me.  If I have a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle, yes I understand to grade it.  As a collector since 1985 I have never looked at any of my cards and said, I want to spend $10 to slab it.  I have dozens of "slabbed" cards, I feel detached from those cards.  As a collector, I'm weird, if I can't touch it, smell it, or lick it (pun intended) it isn't real to me.

 Somebody actually spent money to grade a 2000 Skybox basecard.  
Book Value without slab 50 cents, with slab, 50 cents.
Someone at BCCG had to be laughing all the way to the bank.

Again, I can see older vintage cards worth a lot of money to be graded, but why would I grade a current card from lets say, Topps?  If you go on their customer support site, if you receive a damaged card then you can send it back for a replacement for current products.  So to be technical about it, to me then a damaged card would be one that isn't rated a 10 right?  Why would anyone spend $10 to grade a current card that is only worth $1 and try to sell it on ebay for $100 as a GEM 10?  In addition there are again so many variables from company to company, lets say today PSA is the top company, you go out and grade all your vintage rookie cards.  Ten years from now you find out that PSA was giving false grades, now your card is inside a sealed plastic block and could be worthless because of the grader.  Like what we are seeing in the fake relic world in game used cards, when there is money to be made people come out of the woodwork to try to tell you they are the best.  I don't own one card that is graded that I want, I even have a PSA graded Pippen Rookie card, but I would rather have the one in my top loader instead.

While there are people who pay top money for graded cards, there will always be people trying to take your money to grade your cards for you.  It is bad enough the card companies get our money, then there are the supply people we buy our boxes and sleeves, then there are the slab guys.  No thanks slab guys, I will use that extra money I don't use slabbing my cards and buy more cards!

Does anyone actually really open packs and sends in the cards right away?  If you did grade it and it gets sent back as an 8.5 would you send it to Topps and demand a replacement for a defective card?  Chew on that for the night! Thanks for reading as always.


  1. I recommend you read the book 'The Card" about the T-206 Wagner. The author spends some time exploring the world of card grading and cites a couple examples of people sending in cards, getting them back graded, then cutting them out of the slab and re-submitting them and getting completely different (and sometimes higher grades). There was even some discussion about collectors sending in their 1952 Mantle and getting a different Mantle back slabbed. Kinda scary.

  2. Personally I have no opinion on slabbed cards. I do own a couple, but, I don't go looking for them. I don't think I would ever send any of my cards in to be graded.

  3. yes, unless I'm selling a card at some high end auction where a grade would matter, I will not spend any money on grading.


No negative comments please, this blog is for fun and not intended as a business...just a collector giving some views.