Sports Card Grading Companies – Which companies grade sports cards including vintage basketball cards?
You may see graded cards encased in plastic holders from several different companies on sites like Ebay. There are many companies out there but the lesser known companies add little (if any) value to your cards. I would recommend only submitting your cards to BGS/BVG, PSA, or SGC. These are the big three grading companies. They are well respected in the industry and grades from these companies can increase the value of your cards exponentially if they are in high grades such as mint or gem mint condition. Further details about the grading companies can be found below.
The name Beckett is deeply connected to the sports card hobby. Dr. James Beckett was a university statistics professor who’s magazine went on to become the authority for sports card prices beginning with the first issue of Beckett Baseball Card Monthly in 1984. Beckett magazines contained condition guidlines along with pricing data. Beckett established card grading services for modern (BGS) and (BVG) (pre-1980’s vintage cards). BGS is unique from the other companies in that it provides a 4-scale report card (centering, corners, edges, surface) along with the final grade. This gives you more information about the card and why it received the grade.
PSA is the market leader in grading vintage cards and they have a sizable percentage of the modern sports card grading market. PSA is known for its set registry which lists how many of each card has been grade a particular grade. Some collectors compete in the set registry to have the highest grade collection or set. For example, a collect can have a compelete set of 1986-87 Fleer in PSA 8 form and log it in the set registry. High grade vintage PSA graded sports cards tend to return the highest prices at auction and it is believed that this is partly due to the set registry that PSA maintains.
SGC is a distant third in terms of market share for the sports card grading market but they are respected by collectors for high standards and quality grading. Unfortunatly, the resale of SGC graded cards is often less than those of BGS and PSA of the same grade. There are some SGC graded modern cards out there but most SGC graded cards seem to be vintage cards. SGC grades do add value to your cards but they would probably hold more value if they receive the same grade in a PSA or BGS holder. I would not completely shy away from purchasing these cards as you can find good values and there is a possibility of crossing it over into a PSA or BGS holder.
Grading Scales Comparison
|9.5||GEM MINT||10||GEM-MT||98||GEM 10|
|9||MINT 9||9||MINT||96||MINT 9|
|8.5||NEAR MINT-MINT+||8.5||NM-MT+||92||NM/MT+ 8.5|
|8||NEAR MINT-MINT||8||NM-MT||88||NM.MT 8|
|7.5||NEAR MINT+||7.5||NM+||86||NM+ 7.5|
|7||NEAR MINT||7||NM||84||NRMT 7|
|4.5||VERY GOOD-EXCELLENT+||4.5||VG-EX+||55||VG/EX+ 4.5|
|4||VERY GOOD-EXCELLENT||4||VG-EX||50||VG/EX 4|
|3.5||VERY GOOD+||3.5||VG+||45||VG+ 3.5|
|3||VERY GOOD||3||VG||40||VG 3|
Note that PSA does not have a grade equivalent to pristine. PSA 10 cards could be considered gem mint or pristine under the BGS and SGC scales depending on the specific condition of the card.