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While there are several card grading and authentication services, the hobby acknowledges BGS (Beckett Grading Services) and PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator) as the leaders. Grading companies received a lot of attention with the introduction of E-bay and other on-line auction houses/ stores where the person bidding on/ buying a card is not able to physically see or handle the end product he is purchasing. A graded card serves two main purposes.

First, the buyer doesn't have to rely on the seller's description of the card and whether that description is accurate or truthful. A third party has examined the card and attached their non-subjective score (or grade) as to its condition to it. Factors that affect a card's grade are centering, overall condition, crisp corners, etc. The re-sale value of cards graded highly by either BGS or PSA can be considerable.

The second purpose is establishing the card's authenticity. Having a card graded also guarantees that the card is not a counterfeit. This is especially useful for high dollar, often counterfeited cards, like Michael Jordan's rookie, or seldom seen, scarcer vintage cards. Other miscellaneous benefits include the card's protection.

Once a card is graded, it is "slabbed" in a thick plastic card holder that can not be opened without obviously breaking the slab. This is a plus for the collector to know that the card will be in the same condition once received as it is in when purchased (and to know that the card can't be switched with another one).


While both companies make themselves available for in-person submissions at trade shows, most submissions take place through the mail. Show schedules and instructions for mail-in submissions can be found on their respective websites, and include directions for how cards should be packed (such as what card holders to use).


Prices vary between companies and depends on the order size and number of days allowed for the grading to take place. In other words, the more cards you send in to be graded and the longer you're willing to wait, the cheaper it'll be. BGS prices range from $7-32, plus shipping back to you. PSA takes the value of the ungraded card into consideration and requires certain service levels based on that value. Their prices range from $6-250, plus shipping, and include the option of same day mail-in service.

(800) 325-1121
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Beckett Grading Services
4635 McEwen Road
Dallas, TX 75244-5308