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09-24-2004, 09:31 AM
Posted By: <b>John</b><p>Topic #4<br /><br /><img src="http://photos.imageevent.com/piojohn3/giveaway/websize/useablevs.jpg"><br /><br />At the risk of opening a monumental can of worms. I’m going to touch on a touchy subject. Graded cards and the companies (reputable) that grade them. If I could have one little request, I would like to see this topic not turn into passionate rants about bad experiences or mistakes that have been made if possible. I’ve seen some of those posts in the past(wow)<img src="http://photos.imageevent.com/piojohn3/smileys/143.gif">. So I’ll keep it simple in the question form. I am really curious to your views on the following questions. But if you have to rant go right ahead free country! And as always heated discussions are welcome.<br /><img src="http://photos.imageevent.com/piojohn3/smileys/-45.gif"><br /><br /><br />1.)Which of three major companies do you use and trust the most and why?<br /><br />2.)Which of the above companies seems to have better resale if any in your opinion?<br /><br />3.)Do you feel graded cards have had a positive or negative effect on our hobby?<br /><br />4.)Do you feel ultra high-end mega buck cards are a sound investment, or overpriced hype and marketing?<br /><br />5.)Does having your cards graded always assure you better profits when selling vs. non-graded?<br /><br />6.)Which of the above companies is the most consistent in there grading in your opinion?<br /><br />7.)Do you feel any of the above companies are biased or give special treatment and considerations to larger customers of there’s. As compared to the avg. consumer?<br /><br />8.)Do you ever feel graded cards and companies will go away or will they become even more prominent in our hobby?<br /><br />Also if you can’t tell I had to kill some time this morning while I wait for this conference call.<br />

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09-24-2004, 10:28 AM
Posted By: <b>murcerfan</b><p>....."grading companies are a cancer".<br /><br />but the damage is done, they have slithered in under the door and multiplied.. and what once was a hobby is now something different..IMO.<br /><br />also my opinion as to your questions:<br /><br />1. SGC. Many of my experiences with PSA were unsatisfactory. <br /><br />2.) Historically PSA. lately pre-war stuff has seen SGC at par (and often better).<br /><br />3.) mixed bag; 60% negative and 40% positive.<br /><br />4.) I feel ultra high-end mega buck cards are a terrible investment.<br /><br />5.) Only death and taxes are certain<br /><br />6.) SGC........ by a landslide<br /><br />7.) Yes. although I have much more faith that SGC has not engaged in this "practice". <br /><br />8.) see answer to #7<br />

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09-24-2004, 11:08 AM
Posted By: <b>Greg Ecklund</b><p>1.) If I were to use one, I would use SGC. I have never submitted a card myself, though I do buy graded cards and break them out of the holders.<br /><br />2.) PSA and SGC are pretty much equal now<br /><br />3.) Negative - not only has it brought an increased amount of insane prices and speculation, but people have also started using the holders as a crutch. Rather than educating themselves about characteristics of certain cards or sets, some people will blindly buy the slab without questioning it.<br /><br />4.) Anyone paying up for some of the high graded cards as an investment is simply relying on the greater fool theory, just like people who bought stocks like CMGI at $200 or Cisco at $80. The ones that stand out are people paying $40-100 for 8 and 9 60's and 70's Topps commons and thousands for Albert Pujols or LeBron James rookies graded 10. <br /><br />5.) Graded cards will almost always bring better profits, especially when selling on EBay<br /><br />6.) SGC seems the most consistent to me, although obviously none are perfect.<br /><br />7.) I have seen good arguments that PSA gives special treatment - I haven't seen that out of SGC yet<br /><br />8.) I çan't see them going away anytime soon, but I'll never say never

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09-24-2004, 11:36 AM
Posted By: <b>gdporter</b><p><P>I, too, am waiting on a conference call - so here goes my response to your legnthy set of questions.&lt;/P&gt;<br /><P>By way of background, though, some of you may know that three years ago I made a point of trying to understand the grading companies.* Prior to the summer SportsFest, I carefully put together a panel of ten different cards spanning from 1887 to 2001, some graded and some ungraded, and then spent two solid days doing nothing other than sitting with the then-chief grader of each grading company (PSA, SGC, GAI, Beckett, SCD and one or two others that do not*merit comment)*and discussing their evaluation of each of the ten cards.* Given the size of my collection, and my decision to grade much of the collection, this was an important point for me - and most, but not all of the grading companies were wonderfully cooperative (PSA being the least cooperative in that instance).* The result was informative, but not dispositive; suffice it to say that the*two graders who stood out with their knowledge, skill and maturity were Mike Baker (GAI) and Derek Grady (formerly SGC).* Since that time I have graded well over 2,000 cards from my collection, and after a brief hiatus to re-think my overall strategy, have begun grading again.* In keeping with the theme of this Board, my comments are based solely on grading vintage cards.&lt;/P&gt;<br /><P>1 - WHO DO YOU TRUST:* The answer is GAI and SGC.* I have seen far too much variation in the "standards" for PSA cards, though it is possible that some of the reason for this is the evolving grading standards over time and my inability to tell the "vintage" of the grade.* Though GAI and SGC use different standards that are somewhat evident side-by-side, I have found them both to be consistent - and in both cases they have been completely open and accessible when I have questions about the grades - which is to me an essential part of the grading relationship.* That said, I also believe that both of them are "tougher" than PSA, though in significantly different ways.* SGC is tougher than GAI on overall card condition, but is more relaxed than GAI when it comes to centering issues.* Both are downright maniacal in spotting "trimmed" cards, though they often differ on which cards*were the trimmed ones*- I have given up fighting them on this since it is clear that they genuinely believe what they say, even though I often disagree.* I have seen postings on this site regarding problems with GAI holders, etc.*but I have never had any*problems with them*(other than an occasional late delivery).&lt;/P&gt;<br /><P>2 - RESALE VALUE:* In the realm of internet commerce, PSA is the standard-bearer.* That said, I will usually not buy PSA cards based on their grade*unless I have personally examined them.* I often buy SGC cards site unseen and have always been satisfied.* Though I have not had the occasion to purchase that many GAI cards as yet,*my confidence level in them is equal to SGC.* But, I have to admit that for the widest possible resale market, PSA is the answer (for now).**&lt;/P&gt;<br /><P>3 - IMPACT ON HOBBY:** I would have to say "positive", with some reservations.* Grading of cards is/was an essential component to permit the hobby to be accesible through the internet.* How many times have I been ripped off by a dealer's promise that I was purchasing a NMT card?* With ANY of these grading companies, the standards are FAR FAR more accurate.* The result is that I feel more comfortable with the value of my collection and its liquidity, which permits to invest more and enjoy more.* And since I am a butterfingers of major proportion, it is nice that I can drop a card without losing a fortune in the process. The problem is, of course, the obsession of some hobbyists to collect the grade instead of the card - when deciding which cards to sell or keep, I have often kept the lower-graded-but better-looking card and sold the other.&lt;/P&gt;<br /><P>4 - HIGH-END VALUES:* I believe that high-end cards hold their value much better than lower-end cards (though depending onthe issue, a high-end card could be a strong VG-EX).* But "ultra high end" can be quite tricky.* Is a 52 Topps Mantle PSA9 worth more than Leon's Four Base Hits Kelly - heck no.* The "ultra-high-end" cards are often roiled in price based on a few elite collectors, and I watch my dollars pretty carefully when I play with them.* My "ultra-value" cards are almost all rarities, rather than super-high-grades.&lt;/P&gt;<br /><P>5 - GRADING FOR PROFITS:* If I get a good grade, absolutely!* If I get a "bad" grade that does not reflect the visual appeal of the card, then probably not unless (as is the case for certain older issues) there is value in merely confirming that it is genuine and untrimmed.&lt;/P&gt;<br /><P>6 - CONSISTENCY:* Answered in 1, above.&lt;/P&gt;<br /><P>7 - SPECIAL TREATMENT:* Rumors abound (as do "unexplainable" examples in select dealer cases).* I will let others speak to this issue, but I alas have not yet been able to claim any such special privilege.&lt;/P&gt;<br /><P>8 - FUTURE:* I absolutely believe that graded cards (even if the grade is merely "Authentic") is a permanent fixture of our hobby.* The growing presence of forgeries, and the amazing level of sophistication in doctoring of cards, cements the importance of such services, even while the internet commerce demands it.&lt;/P&gt;<br /><P>Look forward to seeing the other posts.&lt;/P&gt;

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09-24-2004, 11:51 AM
Posted By: <b>bcornell</b><p>I'll pick one to answer: is grading good for the hobby?<br /><br />I'd give that a qualified "yes". Grading companies didn't come out of a vacuum - there was a significant amount of fraud that went on in the 80's. When prices escalated, some people realized that taking a pair of scissors (or a knife, etc.) to a card was a quick way to increase a card's value... grading was largely, but not totally, a reaction to this. Grading and graders have their faults, but they have made it less easy to get away with badness.<br /><br />When I hear people complaining about How Bad Things Are Now, I assume they weren't collecting 15-20 years ago or they'd know better. <br /><br />Bill

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09-24-2004, 12:11 PM
Posted By: <b>John</b><p>I hope you guys are aware you don't have to answer them all its not the SAT's just think of it as a grab bag of questions pick the ones you like. And everyone automatically gets 200pts for filling in his or her name.<img src="http://photos.imageevent.com/piojohn3/smileys/143.gif"><br /><br />

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09-24-2004, 12:34 PM
Posted By: <b>jamie</b><p>1.) Which of three major companies do you use and trust the most and why?<br /><br />&gt;SGC- I've never heard an instance of a trimmed card making it into one of their holders<br /><br />2.) Which of the above companies seems to have better resale if any in your opinion?<br /><br />&gt;PSA<br /><br />3.) Do you feel graded cards have had a positive or negative effect on our hobby?<br /><br />&gt;Both. On one hand, they've made the prices for low-mid grade cards plummet, which, for the collector on a budget, is very good news. But the move from cardboard to antiseptic slabs of plastic with a premium given for the least amount of handling is a little troubling. It sort of takes some of the fun away from what used to be a hobby.<br /><br />4.) Do you feel ultra high-end mega buck cards are a sound investment, or overpriced hype and marketing?<br /><br />I'm guessing the grading phenomenon is here to stay. High-end collectors are always looking for a way to get a leg-up on their competitors and this would seem to be the defining way. The PSA set registry has fueled a lot of this.<br /><br />5.) Does having your cards graded always assure you better profits when selling vs. non-graded?<br /><br />&gt;yes- I can't think of an instance where it wouldn't.<br /><br />6.) Which of the above companies is the most consistent in there grading in your opinion?<br /><br />&gt;GAI and I also think they're the toughest<br /><br />7.) Do you feel any of the above companies are biased or give special treatment and considerations to larger customers of there’s. As compared to the avg. consumer?<br /><br />&gt;PSA- I've seen numerous threads about certain dealers walking off with handfuls of 10's<br /><br />8.) Do you ever feel graded cards and companies will go away or will they become even more prominent in our hobby?<br /><br />&gt;more prominent and probably will find other ways to scrutinize cards<br /><br />

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09-24-2004, 12:55 PM
Posted By: <b>Judge Dred</b><p><br /><br />"At the risk of opening a monumental can of worms". That about sums it up for the subject matter. Is the horse dead yet or can we still beat it? That carcass will be around for a long time so I'll try and not kick it in this thread. <br /><br /><br /><br />1.) Which of three major companies do you use and trust the most and why? -<br /><br />A) I use SGC and PSA. I would purchase BVG and SCD graded cards but I wouldn't submit to them. <br /><br /><br />2.) Which of the above companies seems to have better resale if any in your opinion?<br /><br />A) PSA has the best resale value. I don't know why, probably because they have been around the longest and because they know how to promote themselves. I realize that John was hoping that this subject wouldn't degenerate into a thread full of passionate rants about bad experiences or examples of poor services rendered so I'll stop before I get started. <br /><br /><br />3.) Do you feel graded cards have had a positive or negative effect on our hobby?<br /><br />A) I feel that grading serves a few good purposes:<br /><br />- Provides a means of protection for the cards.<br />- The opinion that a card is authentic (from a reputable grading service) will make it more of a "liquid" asset. It makes it easier to sell and it also provides a buyer with a little more comfort when a purchase is made.<br />- It gives people a reason to exercise their first amendment rights to debate the credibility of grading services and why each of them should get out of the industry or at least improve their services. Then there are those that might debate that the grading services are rarely wrong and that they are the final word on rendering an opinion on a card (not too many in this category, I'm sure). A good percentage of our posts would be mundane if there wasn't a grading service to poke fun at or call ridiculously absurd in their grading opinions. <br /><br />Then you have to look at the other side of the coin -<br /><br />- Grading services are not consistent in their subjectivity. It's hard to train many people to conform to one standard. One man's (or woman's) mint my be anothers excellent. But lets not go there.<br />- There is no "Industry Standard" as far as grading goes. You have PSA that offers qualifiers. SGC which doesn't offer qualifiers and then you have others that provide their opinions on corners, surface, centering etc. I still don't understand that madness because nothing seems to average out with those numbers. For example, I have a T206 card that has an 8 on centering, 4 on corners \ edges and a 7 for surface (by the way the image is BEAUTIFUL) yet the overall grade is a 4.<br />- People rely on grades to assign a value to a card. There are just too many cards out there that are overgraded and the buyer ultimately suffers (if they bought the grade and not the card - I hope people understand what I mean by that).<br />- A legitimate grading service should not be linked to retail sales because within the framework of their business lies a conflict of interest. <br /><br /><br /><br />4.) Do you feel ultra high-end mega buck cards are a sound investment, or overpriced hype and marketing?<br /><br />A) I don't collect this stuff thinking that it's going to increase in value. I collect these pieces of cardboard (and other related items) because I love baseball and I love history. What better way to mix that combination. Any "market" can crash. I think there's something called supply and demand that drives a market. If you pay top dollar for a card an nobody else wants it at that price then what is the true value of the item? I suppose if this whole thing went down the tubes and nobody gave a rats a$$ about these things then we could always pour some ketchup on a '33 Goudey Ruth and have a nice stale meal piece of cardboard with a little flavoring - kind of like the food they (used to) serve on airplanes.<br /> <br /><br />5.) Does having your cards graded always assure you better profits when selling vs. non-graded?<br /><br />A) I'm sure that there could be two sides to this answer but here's mine. <br /><br />- If the card is graded by a legitimate service then you have a better chance of maximizing your compensation (cash or trade) for the card. In this day and age of collecting I'd be hesitant to purchase a card that has the appearance of being a high grade card because there's a good chance the card may have been trimmed, cleaned or otherwise altered (restored). <br /><br /><br /><br />6.) Which of the above companies is the most consistent in there grading in your opinion?<br /><br />A) In order:<br /><br />- BVG or SCD<br />- SGC or PSA <br /><br />I honestly have to think that all grading services were tougher on grades when they started. As they expanded and had to hire more people the ability of the companies to maintain a strict quality control went down. Also, the perception that a grading service was too tough didn't help them because then nobody would want to submit to that service because people were afraid of having a "4" in their collection. You have to wonder if some of the grading services were afraid of alienting their business by being to tough and if so did these services "lower the bar" on their standards to make them look enticing? <br /><br /><br /><br /><br />7.) Do you feel any of the above companies are biased or give special treatment and considerations to larger customers of there’s. As compared to the avg. consumer?<br /><br />A) I wont even touch that question.<br /><br /><br />8.) Do you ever feel graded cards and companies will go away or will they become even more prominent in our hobby?<br /><br /><br />A) Did anyone here ever collect coins many years ago? Before grading the hobby seemed to be doing fine. After grading the hobby seemed to slow down. I think that coins and baseball cards are different. How many homeruns did George Washington hit? How many strikeouts did Thomas Jefferson have in his career? Ben Franklin didn't steal many bases. Oh yeah, baseball wasn't around in those days.<br /><br />As long as there is a demand for graded or authenticated material there will be grading services. This hobby has seen some really interesting times in the past 20 years. Highs and lows that would boggle the mind. At one time there seemed to be a baseball card shop "just around the corner." Then reality set in and a lot of them went out of business. <br /><br />What would be interesting to find out is the demographics of the serious vintage collector. <br /><br />- How old are you? <br />- How long have you been collecting? <br />- How much do you spend on baseball cards (or memorabilia) every year? That last question would be optional. <br />- What is your level of education? <br />- Ethnic background (probably a lot of people would think that this isn't a necessary question but I think it could be relevant). <br /><br />I'm sure that there is more to add. Maybe it's a thread that can be opened in the future.

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09-24-2004, 01:01 PM
Posted By: <b>Judge Dred</b><p>I was logged in when I started that last response but it took so long to complete that I was logged out when I finished. <br /><br />One last comment - I still feel the jury is out on GAI. I'm sure many will disagree with me on this.

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09-24-2004, 01:37 PM
Posted By: <b>Jason</b><p>Well I've been collecting since 1987, and I remember PSA coming around in 97 or so... I stopped collecting from 98 until this past May. So I never owned a graded card until this past May. (Learned a lot since then a more to go)<br /><br />But here is goes.<br /><br />1). I like SGC. When I first got back into collecting this past spring I signed up with PSA and took advantage of the six free grades. When I got them back I wasn't happy with a couple. It was my lack of knowledge in the grading process that was the problem but PSA wasn't willing to entertain my questions or concerns. So I went to SGC. I've submitted 50 cards and been happy with them.<br /><br />2). Best Resale... Overall PSA really without question. The set registry success insures this. However when it comes to Pre-war especially T and N cards I think SGC does just as well if not better in some cases.<br /><br />3). At first I thought a negative but now I think graded cards is a positive. Being where I live I have to buy everything online as there is nothing local. Having cards graded gives me a better idea of what I'm bidding on vs. raw. I can't tell you how many cards I bought in 97-98 that claimed to be Near Mint or higher ended up being EX or EX-MT.<br /><br />4). Depends on what high ends you buy. I remember an article of 1951 Mantles selling for high dollars only to drop in price by 60K as more appeared. That doesn't seem like such a good investment. However a PSA 9 or any rookie hall of famer and such should always be a good investment I would think.<br /><br />5). I like graded now. To be honest sure I pay more but I know what I'm getting and it really does make collecting funner.<br /><br />6). I like SGC for consistency. PSA I don't have many issues with but I do have a few PSA T201's that I'm leery of crossing over to the same in SGC, but I won't know for sure until I find out. I only have one GAI card and I hate the holder and I'm leery of the mark it got again though I won't know until I try and cross it.<br /><br />7). Bias... hard to say. SGC seems to be pretty fair across the board, and I find them accessible and they come across as nice guys. I've heard of dealers going to GAI for the .5 grades and getting deals, and I know some PSA guys that defend that company to no end, so it makes me wonder but nothing I could substantiate.<br /><br />8). Can't see graded cards coming to an end. Its too popular for that. And its helped us understand the sets we collect a lot better. For instance you'll see 50's and 60's commons go for huge dollars because we've learned that that particular card is really hard to come by in high condition in comparison to its counterparts.

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09-24-2004, 02:15 PM
Posted By: <b>warshawlaw</b><p>1.) Which of three major companies do you use and trust the most and why?<br /><br />--SGC, hands down. They have the nicest looking holders and grade cards the most consistently. I always found that PSA came back with at least one or two really off grades per load I sent them. You also cannot compare the drop-worthiness of PSA and SGC holders. The PSA holders crack or shatter every time; the SGC holders, not. Every single graded card I have ever had damaged in the mail has been a PSA card. Also, PSA uses those darn card condoms to encapsulate offsized issues, which are most of the prewar cards, and they look like crap and let the cards slide around way too much. <br /><br />2.) Which of the above companies seems to have better resale if any in your opinion?<br /><br />PSA generally brings slightly better prices, esp. on postwar stuff. SGC and PSA are equal, possibly SGC even a little better on the really old stuff BUT the really old cards are so desirable over the last year or so that I don't think it matters which from among the big companies are doing the slabbing. <br /><br />3.) Do you feel graded cards have had a positive or negative effect on our hobby?<br /><br />Depends on your perspective (there's a lawyer answer for you). <br /><br />Financial: When the slabbing phenomenon first hit, it very quickly jacked up prices on higher end cards in what had been a pretty stagnant market. So, if you were "in" with your cards already, you made a lot of money, as was the case if you had a good eye for grades and were able to buy raw cards for %'s of Becketts and have them slabbed. On the other hand, it really jacked up prices and brought the investment weasels back into the fray, pricing many cards out of the reach of many people. <br /><br />Mail Order: I do feel that the grading "thing" has been a boon to mail order buying. I was so dissatisfied with what I was getting via mail order that I'd virtually stopped buying that way prior to the slabbing thing. I now deal almost exclusively in slabbed cards through the mail. It has cut my returns down almost 100%. That is a good thing.<br /><br />4.) Do you feel ultra high-end mega buck cards are a sound investment, or overpriced hype and marketing?<br /><br />Again, depends on your perspective. As the stock marketeers often say, never wrong, only early. Prices historically (and we are talking 30 years here) generally trend up on cards. The question is whether your cards will trend upwards slowly or quickly. The 9-10-11 hype is just that, hype. If I showed you a PSA 8-9-10 side by side without the grades, I suspect that most of the time you would not be able to pick out one from the other. Also, these cards are so pricey already that there is a very thin market for them. Now, if you have some raw cards that come back 9-10, as some of mine recently did, yahoo, jump on the money train. I personally do not buy anything graded higher than a 7 unless I get it for a 7 price. <br /><br />5.) Does having your cards graded always assure you better profits when selling vs. non-graded?<br /><br />Depends on the issue. For prewar cards, absolutely, especially if in nicer shape. For modern stuff, not unless you get a 9-10-11<br /><br />6.) Which of the above companies is the most consistent in there grading in your opinion?<br /><br />SGC, hands down. GAI is consistent too--consistently overgraded. <br /><br />7.) Do you feel any of the above companies are biased or give special treatment and considerations to larger customers of there’s. As compared to the avg. consumer?<br /><br />I have no evidence of that, but I do believe that it happens, although not in the way you may be thinking. My experience has been that once a grading company staff gets to know you, esp. if you are an advanced collector, they will take your word for what it is you are submitting. It doesn't change the grade, but it does get you encapsulations on cards that are so rare that there is no way they'd know what they were unless you told them. Is that preferential treatment? I'm not sure. After all, if I am the expert in the particular field, does it matter if I opine that my XYZ card is what it is, when the alternative is to come to me to ask me what it is? <br /><br />8.) Do you ever feel graded cards and companies will go away or will they become even more prominent in our hobby?<br /><br />I think they have reached about the plateau they will hit in terms of influence. I do think that they will face an increasingly small market unless they figure out new ways to market themselves, because the supply of vintage cards is finite and they are rapidly chewing through it. The set registry thing was a brilliant scheme to get commons graded. They are going to have to come up with something more, though, to survive. I foresee them moving increasingly into encapsulation of miscellaneous paper items (tickets, autographs, programs, checks, photos, etc.). <br />

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09-24-2004, 02:33 PM
Posted By: <b>Mark</b><p>Too many questions for my feeble mind to remember - I'll generalize.<br /><br />Grading companies are a blight but one that is here to stay.<br /><br />They do perform a service as I have purchased some fakes and trimmed raw cards on eBay. Graded cards significantly lower the chances of getting robbed (I know all of them have made mistakes, but the clear majority of graded cards are real and unaltered).<br /><br />Resale is better on graded cards.<br /><br />I buy graded C55s and Diamond Star baseball. There are way way more PSA graded versions of those two sets than the other companies. <br /><br />For the reason above I like PSA despite all the bad things I've read about them on these boards. In addition the CU boards are way more populated than SGC and I never look at GAI so I don't know about them. The PSA set registry has thousands of sets and many many registrants. Not so at the other two. Surfing through any eBay vintage category you see a clear majority of graded cards are from PSA. Finally once you pick a grading company you are an investor. You want them to succeed to insure the value of what you've invested in having your cards graded by them.

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09-24-2004, 04:50 PM
Posted By: <b>Brad Freeman</b><p>As mentioned above I think that the jury is still out on GAI since it is still a relatively young company. I will say, however, that the cards that I have sent to GAI and those that I have purchased in GAI holders have definitely been very strictly graded. I have had cards graded by SGC and PSA as well and I think that PSA is somewhat more inconsistent in the application of its grading standards. Bottom line: I would not hesitate to buy a GAI or SGC graded card. My experience has been excellent. I still buy PSA cards but I really like to get a good look at them first.

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09-24-2004, 07:44 PM
Posted By: <b>JimB</b><p>Grading is done by human beings at all three of the reputable grading companies and opinions are involved. Sometimes technical numerical grades do not equate with eye appeal and because card monetary values have have so heavily been linked to those third party grade numbers in recent years, they have driven the market more than the actual cards and their visual appeal. <br /><br />Apparently I am in a minority here, but I think PSA, SGC, and GAI are all relatively consistent (remembering that opinion and human error are always possible and do occasionally happen). I had a GAI E95 Wagner in a 4.5 that I thought was undergraded. I brought it back to GAI for review at a show and they held to their grade (none of the three ever admit a mistake in grading; cards have to be poppped out of their holders and resubmitted). I brought it to SGC at the same show and it crossed into a SCC 5 holder. This was an accurate grade. Does it mean SGC inflates grades or is easier than GAI? I don't think so. I have seen other instances where the opposite has happened and GAI gave the half grade bump. In each instance I think the bumps were 100% accurate. My opinion is that all three are roughly equivalent, the PSA cards definately return higher sell prices today. That may change and they may even out, but I think that is the case today, even on T cards and early E cards. I personally consider the grading of the three companies to be roughly equivalent and based on my own evaluation of a card consider them to be basically working on the same grading standards. <br /><br />I wish PSA would start using half grades like the other two. Any opinions on that?<br /><br />In general I also think third party grading has been good. I agree with Bill's comments above about the practices of dealers 10+ years ago. It has been particularly helpful for consistency in mail order and now the internet. Before a dealer would claim a card was nm and it often would arrive and be in ex condition. I do think that the prevalence of grading companies has helped to establish a standard by which we describe and lable grades.<br /><br />To answer some of the second set of questions above, I am 37 years old, have been collecting since I was a kid, have been attending shows and collecting vintage material since about 1980 and my education includes an MA and PhD.<br /><br />Jim

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09-24-2004, 08:38 PM
Posted By: <b>Pcelli60</b><p>I prefer PSA and SGC..The impact of these companys is so great that most of us have learned to live with it. But personally I dont care for it. Basically it reduces fraud and protects. But its too frequently used to 'jack-up' prices. People get caught up on the 'slabs'..

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09-25-2004, 01:26 AM
Posted By: <b>Brian H (misunderestimated)</b><p>1.) Which of three major companies do you use and trust the most and why?<br />I use both PSA and SGC. So far I personally have had no negative experiences with either company. PSA is larger and far more bureaucratic if any problems arise. SGC is smaller and you can even talk to the graders if need be. Both make mistakes. It is easier to get SGC to fix its errors because it is smaller. I generally like the SGC holders more and also their expanded grading scale. Conversely, PSAs cards are generally more marketable although this is less the case with vintage than more recent issues.<br />In particular I like the job SGC does relative to PSA with Old Judges and Mayos. I think SGC figures the peculiarities of the set into its grading more effectively -- SGC recognizes the inherent problems of the cards and is not as fixated on grading the backs as PSA.<br />For me the jury is out on GAI. I think that GAI grades a bit more generously than the other two based on my admitedly limited experience. <br /><br />2.) Which of the above companies seems to have better resale if any in your opinion?<br />I think PSA wins this one. SGC is certainly close on vintage (pre-WWII) cards -- especially the less popular issues where the PSA Registry isn't affecting the market as much. <br /> PSA pretty much obliterates SGC on what I call the baby boomer cards (1948-1980). After that SGC is barely a player and BGS is PSA’s primary competition. <br /><br />3.) Do you feel graded cards have had a positive or negative effect on our hobby?<br />I think that on the whole they are a good thing – especially when purchasing online. I must emphasize that this only applies to the better grading companies. While there will always be subjectivity in grading and even (very rarely) detecting trimming and other mischief, the better grading companies have decreased that subjectivity significantly. <br /><br />4.) Do you feel ultra high-end mega buck cards are a sound investment, or overpriced hype and marketing?<br /><br />No clear answer: Some are — some aren’t. <br /><br />5.) Does having your cards graded always assure you better profits when selling vs. non-graded?<br /> Not always but most of the time. After all many of the buyers of non-graded cards (especially dealers) are thinking about grading the “raw” cards. Also, much of the time I find myself being skeptical about certain ungraded cards because they are not graded. “Why didn’t the seller get them graded?” I wonder. “Were these raw beauties returned as ungradeable?” I sometime fear. I am especially weary of ungraded decent condition cards from certain sets – T205, T202, Mayo and Cracker Jack come to mind.<br /><br />6.) Which of the above companies is the most consistent in there(its) grading in your opinion?<br />Over the short haul both PSA and SGC are fairly consistent – if you go back more than a few years there is less consistency. Because vintage cards are generally graded with the same small allocation of time as newer cards and they are far more complicated and rare the graders tend to make more errors and there tends to be more of a difference from grader to grader over time. I don’t feel sufficiently informed to comment on GAI.<br /><br />7.) Do you feel any of the above companies are biased or give special treatment and considerations to larger customers of there’s. As compared to the avg. consumer?<br />I would be surprised if this didn’t go on to some degree with all companies. I have heard stories and theories about preferential treatment (especially on the part of PSA which has graded the most cards by a lot) but I have no first hand knowledge.<br /><br />8.) Do you ever feel graded cards and companies will go away or will they become even more prominent in our hobby?<br />I don’t think they will go away – I think that all of the grading companies discussed above may not exist in their current form in the near-future. I recall a rather loud rumor a year or so ago that GAI and SGC were going to merge. Also, I haven’t examined the books (accounting) so I don’t know how these companies – or their parent companies – are doing. If nothing else the holders generally keep the cards safe and confer some legitimacy on the cards inside.<br />

Archive
09-25-2004, 08:51 AM
Posted By: <b>Jeff Lichtman</b><p>It's fashionable to complain about the grading companies, however, the reputable ones simply protect you from fraud. I never bought a slabbed card until after I spent nearly a thousand bucks on a NM 56 Mantle and learned after submitting it to PSA that it was trimmed. Since most of us buy our cards from ebay there is limited ability to look the cards over prior to buying them. In addition, about 90% of ebay sellers overgrade their cards. Maybe one of ten advertised as NM could ever come back as a PSA 7. Unless your money means nothing to you, it makes no sense to spend a lot of money on an ungraded card. If everyone was honest, I would rather have ungraded cards so that I could enjoy them more instead of storing a bunch of hard plastic slabs. Unfortunately, sometimes it rains, terrorists blow themselves up and the world isn't perfect. Until we fix all these problems, I'll never spend a decent amount of money on an ungraded card again.

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09-25-2004, 02:23 PM
Posted By: <b>Scottopotamus</b><p>1.) Which of three major companies do you use and trust the most and why?<br /><br />I use SGC for my low grade T206 collection. They are consistent and don’t give out higher grades to preferred members. Their holders also add to the presentation appeal of vintage cards.<br /><br />2.) Which of the above companies seems to have better resale if any in your opinion? <br /><br />PSA seems to be the highest at present, but I believe that will change over the next few years. I look for SGC to take the top spot and GAI to improve quite a bit while PSA will drop down a notch or two.<br /><br />3.) Do you feel graded cards have had a positive or negative effect on our hobby?<br /><br />I view graded cards as an overall positive as it allows people to buy from sellers that they do not personally know. That being said, “off brand” grading companies (PRO, etc.) are a black eye on the hobby.<br /><br />4.) Do you feel ultra high-end mega buck cards are a sound investment, or overpriced hype and marketing?<br /><br />I don’t buy cards as an investment, but there does seem to be a lot of hype (especially on modern cards) to have a “1 of 1”.<br /><br />5.) Does having your cards graded always assure you better profits when selling vs. non-graded?<br /><br />I mainly buy cards and rarely sell, but seeing a graded card for sale allows me to raise my bids more than on a raw card.<br /><br />6.) Which of the above companies is the most consistent in there grading in your opinion?<br /><br />SGC. They are consistent from card to card and submitter to submitter.<br /><br />7.) Do you feel any of the above companies are biased or give special treatment and considerations to larger customers of there’s. As compared to the avg. consumer?<br /><br />I have no personal knowledge of this, but rumors persist of PSA giving special treatment to certain individuals.<br /><br />8.) Do you ever feel graded cards and companies will go away or will they become even more prominent in our hobby?<br /><br />We will decide this question by our actions. SGC, GAI, & PSA will be around, but the “off brand” grading companies will be used for more and more only for scamming activities, which seems to be their intended purpose.<br /><br><br>Scottoptamus<br />My T206 Web Site<br /><br /><a href="http://www.freewebs.com/scottopotamus" target=_new>http://www.freewebs.com/scottopotamus</a>

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09-25-2004, 02:34 PM
Posted By: <b>Julie Vognar</b><p>the lack of availability of an ungraded card of the quality and type I wanted. Except fot the three N162 chess cards. I think they look nice in their SGC holders.<br /><br /> <img src="http://www.network54.com/Realm/jphotos/N162msz.jpg"> <br /><br />The other day, when I was taking my smoke-damaged cards out of their Mylar sheaths to clearly show the damage in my scan, I thought, "How wonderful they feel! How shiny the M101-4 is!" Wouldn't give that up for extra dough...<br /><br />If I HAD to get my cards graded, it would be by SGC.

Archive
09-25-2004, 06:56 PM
Posted By: <b>Peter</b><p>1.) I've only just started buying graded cards, and mostly for Tobacco-sized cards, but I find I've been buying SGC primarily. It just seems that with some of the more oddball stuff (European tobacco, soccer/track cards, etc.) is SGC graded, and it seems to go a little cheaper than similar grades for PSA. But that just may be my limited anecdotal experience or due to the lack of PSA cards driving PSA prices up.<br /><br />2.) PSA seems to have better resale, but I've never sold any myself. <br /><br />3.) Like any other trend or fad, it has its positives and negatives. Positives are that it gives hobbyists some agreed upon, presumably objective and competent arbiters of authenticity. Is every card they grade legit? No, but as with the current card companies' certified autograph programs, it's as close to knowing the card is authentic as you are going to get.<br /><br />4.) I'm not an advanced or rich enough collector to go after the really high-end stuff. High-end is what it is, the high-end. Would love to own some high-end stuff but will settle for a few nice mid-range cards in its place.<br /><br />5.) Not about the resale for me. But after getting back into the vintage market I noticed that a) in looking at my old vintage stuff, there were a lot of subtle hairline creases, dents, nicks, and spots that I never really looked for, b) haven't been collecting vintage long enough to be able to spot the good fakes or trim jobs (the obvious ones I'm OK with spotting), and c) being burned a couple times on eBay where seemingly Near Mint cards (from the scan and a seller's description) showed up at my house with subtle hairline creases. Whether it was dishonesty or oversight by the sellers, or damage during shipping, I'd rather go graded. <br /><br />That said, I'm not one of those folks that use the grade as a crutch. I've seen 70s from SGC that are 95-5 left-right and I've seen PSA 4s that look as good as PSA 6s. I always look at the scans or the cards carefully now, make sure there's no creases (my main sticking point) or holes or markings that are being glossed over. I'll take a PSA 3 with great eye appeal and no creases over a SGC 70 that's got 99-1 centering.<br /><br />6.) PRO! Everything's a 10 with them. At least they're consistent.<br /><br /><br />7.) Dunno.<br /><br />8.) Here to stay. It's its own little niche now. I'm guessing modern grading may decrease since it's being overused and in doing so, prices are falling (I remember when the 1993 SP Jeter was something like $10,000 in PSA 10, it's maybe 1/5 of that now), reducing the allure. It won't explode again unless there's some new innovation, and I really can't imagine what that possibly could be.<br />

Archive
09-25-2004, 07:07 PM
Posted By: <b>Peter</b><p>3.) Do you feel graded cards have had a positive or negative effect on our hobby?<br /><br />&gt;Both. On one hand, they've made the prices for low-mid grade cards plummet, which, for the collector on a budget, is very good news. But the move from cardboard to antiseptic slabs of plastic with a premium given for the least amount of handling is a little troubling. It sort of takes some of the fun away from what used to be a hobby.<br /><br />&gt;&gt;&gt;Jamie, I used to feel the same way. I always preferred keeping all of my nice vintage stuff in a book together, just like I'd love filling page after page with hot rookie cards from the same set. Of course, I am the same guy who when working at CVS in college, would lovingly and obsessively fix the toothpaste and soap shelves so that there was just a wall of perfectly stacked boxes. So you get an idea of how much I enjoy the aesthetic appeal and symmetry of collecting. <br /><br />&gt;&gt;&gt;I also didn't like that you couldn't actually touch the cards when they were in a holder. But then I realized, for the most part, my cards go right into the binder anyway, and I almost never remove them unless I'm reorganizing the binder for some reason. Couple that with the chance for damaging cards during handling, the musty smell of some of the older ones, and the fact that a few literally look and smell like they've been stored up someone's a$$ for the last 50 years, and I realized that the actual touch-feel part of collecting was overrated, for me at least. <br /><br />&gt;&gt;&gt;My reason for jumping on the grading bandwagon is that partially through my own fault, a lot of the cards I've gotten are in worse condition than I thought, with some of the more subtle flaws that I didn't see and that unscrupulous dealers had no problem overgrading. Additionally, the problem of trimming, retouching, forgery, and dumping of mislabled reprints on eBay contributed to my decision.

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09-27-2004, 09:06 AM
Posted By: <b>jamie</b><p>peter,<br />as far as buying vintage- i wouldnt touch anything ungraded because, youre right, there are just far too many forgeries out there. it used to be when you did get a counterfeit, it was at least passable until you did some major scrutiny. now folks are printing cards on cardboard off their computers. graded is the way to go.<br /><br />there's something nice about rifling through an old cigar box with a bunch of beat up cards though. a hunk of plastic just feels a little removed to me although i guess youre right- before it was plastic sheets and binders (and on occassion frames) so maybe im just fighting the ineveitable

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09-27-2004, 10:37 AM
Posted By: <b>Josh K.</b><p>Jaime/Peter<br /><br />For what its worth - I also enjoy being able to put my cards in binders and flipping through them regularly. That was a big problem when I first started buying graded cards - I simply stuck them in a shoebox. <br /><br />Ive recently discovered/found that Ultra Pro makes pages to hold slabs from PSA and BGS/BVG. These pages are molded plastic and the slabs look real nice in them and are very secure. In addition, the PSA pages also hold GAI slabs (slightly tighter, but they still fit). For some reason, they do not make pages for SGC slabs yet. However, I was told (and recently confirmed) that the normal four card binder pages from Ultra Pro will hold SGC slabs. Ive found that they hold the SGC slabs well but not perfectly - still better than a shoebox though.