Making the Grade

Two weeks ago, I asked readers of this blog if they collected graded cards. I also expressed my overall disdain of the whole card grading thing.

But earlier this year I sent in two cards to get graded. I figured that I couldn’t really have an opinion in the matter unless I experienced it.

Plus, Beckett gave me two free card gradings when I renewed my subscription to Beckett Hockey. What do I got to lose? Besides the postage fees, of course.

After careful consideration, I sent in the following 2 cards to Beckett Grading Services:

2008-09 Champ’s Hockey Neolithic Stone Tools – The reason I chose to get this card graded was that it is super thick, and I figured that a grading slab would be better protection than keeping it in the toploader it came in. Plus, this isn’t a card that I would display or put in a card page (obviously). So getting it slabbed seemed to be the way to go.

But would someone please explain how this card only received an 8.5?  It went from Upper Deck to me to Beckett. OK, I did handle it for about 5 minutes when I scanned it for a Card of the Week article. But I didn’t play a game of flips with it or anything like that.

Next up…

2009-10 Fleer Ultra Ice Medallion James Van Riemsdyk 1/25 – I sent this card to get graded purely for investment reasons. One day, I hope to sell or trade it to a James Van Riemsdyk collector. The card has a print run of 25, and mine is numbered 1/25. It also got a Gem Mint rating (9.5). I think if someone was a JVR fan, this would be a pretty awesome card to own.

And though it did get the coveted Gem Mint rating, again I have to wonder about some of the numbers. Why did the centering receive a 9.5 and not 10? The card is printed full-bleed, so there aren’t any “borders” that appear larger on one side than the other, like with older cards. The surface received a 10, so Beckett does give a perfect score to some things.

I will admit that I like having these 2 cards graded. They are pretty sweet cards to own, and slabbing them will retain their condition. Should I ever trade or sell them, the condition would never be questioned. But it is unlikely that I am going to send a bunch of cards to get graded anytime soon. And I’ll still shake my head at those who grade or buy graded “common” cards from the 1970s or 1980s.

If you haven’t already done so, please vote in the poll about graded cards (upper-right corner of this website). I am curious to know other collector’s graded card buying habits.


Author: Sal Barry

Sal Barry is the editor and webmaster of Puck Junk. He is a freelance hockey writer, college professor and terrible hockey player. Follow him on Twitter @puckjunk

9 thoughts on “Making the Grade”

  1. From my understanding, getting a 10 from BGS is darn near impossible.

    Who knows what kind of 'damage' a card can sustain from the packing and shelving process. Even the most minuscule nick knocks off a half point.

    Heck, I've messed up the odd corner just putting cards into penny sleeves.

    If every pack pulled card was a 10, then the whole grading thing would diminish real fast (for recent product at least).

  2. I've got a few graded cards that people have included in trade packages, but I've never purchased a graded card or sent one in myself. I remember buying some Donruss boxes back in the late 90's or early 00's that had a graded card as a box topper. Unfortunately, most of the ones I got were '87 Donruss which is ridiculous.

  3. Good points, guys.

    I don't get grading the near-worthless cards, like 1987 Donruss Baseball cards. So you pay $10 (plus shipping) to get a nickel card graded…it gets a 9.5…and then what? No one wants to pay a premium ($10-$20) for a common card just because it is deemed "mint."

  4. It's weird. I agree with your statement Sal about getting nickel cards graded, but I am currently on the hunt (well….not a thorough hunt) for a BGS 10 Trevor Linden RC. To my knowledge, none exist yet. I almost purchased a 9.5 at a show recently for $40.

    Clearly well above the $1 or so you can get his RC for, but there's something about getting that pristine 10 into the collection.

    Nothing that keeps me up at night looking for, but if I ever saw one, I'd seriously consider buying it…..even for a strong premium.

  5. True, a Linden RC is not an expensive card, but it is still an RC and those have a special significance with collectors. Getting a card like that graded makes sense. But getting, say a common 1990-91 Pro Set card graded seems silly by comparison.

  6. I have two graded cards in my collection. One is a 9.5 KSA graded Nick Bergfors Sweet Shot RC. What is funny about this card is I bought it on ebay for next to nothing and when it arrives I look it over to see what a 9.5 looks like and clearly there is a dinged corner on the card. I wonder if KSA dinged it when they slabbed it or if KSA considers dings a minor imperfection.

  7. Sorry, I did make a mistake. It wasn't KSA but rather PGC. I will post pics on my website tomorrow.

  8. I don't really get how that card was graded an 8.5 when the 4 subgrades they gave you average out to an 8.875. The card should have been graded a 9 easily.

  9. I pulled a Fleer Ultra Gold Medallion Rookie Card of Shea Weber, and it got a 10, but to me it didnt. The corners were all messed up and stuff. Alot of my Un-Graded cards were in better condition. Anyone?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *