In light of the latest price hikes at PSA, investors and collectors seek new card grading firms to save money and get the cards they purchased back faster. This is what the video today will cover—the pros and cons of a few of the other card grading firms that are available. The ones I’ll discuss today are the most popular ones I’ve heard about. There are likely to be more general, but I’m going to talk about the top ones. Always conduct your research about the companies that grade cards. These are my thoughts and my personal opinion. Always choose the card grader that is the best fit for your needs. Let’s jump into this list.
Beckett Grading Services (BGS)
The first company we’ll discuss is a well-known rival of PSA and, of course, BGS, also known by the name of Beckett Grading Services—highly regarded in the field and a long-standing competitor of PSA. Prices range from around $20 for the economy, without sub-grades, to $250 with sub-grades. This is a reasonable price, sort of similar to the older PSA pricing. Benefits for using Beckett. First of all, the top-quality BGS cards are sold at the best cost, comparable to PSA. They’re nearly in a neck-and-neck. PSA can outsell BGS 9.5, but they’re not the only ones. BGS 9.5 generally, However, their grades are highly regarded, especially when you’re getting a flawless Black Label 10. They are sought-after. They are an established and well-known card grading business. They have a fair price to be as well-respected in the industry as they have become. Absolutely the best two within the field, and they have an extensive database of the cards they’ve graded, so you can go through their pop reports and all kinds of information, which is an advantage when you use BGS.
The negatives of BGS. My opinion is that I’m not a big admirer of their slabs, but that’s me. Others feel the exact as me, but I think it’s too heavy of a slab. It isn’t easy to put into my situation. I prefer the PSA slabs as they’re slightly smaller, and I can put more into the case. It’s just a bit thicker, which isn’t a good thing for me. I’m not a big fan of subgrades. For me, it’s all personal preference. I prefer the precise numbers that PSA provides. PSA 9 and PSA 10, but I’m aware that a lot of people like the subgrades. This isn’t working for me. Some like using Beckett for their thicker cards, as they offer subgrades, and they generally sell well, as opposed to at least the PSA 8 or a PSA 9 since they don’t provide any sub-grades. It could be due to their slow turnaround times, similar to PSA. They’ve been bogged down since COVID came into effect, and it isn’t easy to get cards out also. However, they’re not as packed as PSA is. However, they do have a slow turnaround time.
The following company is SGC, another well-known grade card manufacturer. SGC has been operating since 1998. Pricing is highly competitive, ranging between $25 and $200 for cards up to around $3,500. However, they do offer pricing above the $3,500 limit for cards.
The pros are generally faster turnaround times. They don’t offer more cards than PSA and Beckett, which is why they offer a quicker turnaround time. Customers appreciate their customer service, and that’s an enormous benefit. If you have questions or have issues with your order, SGC offers cheaper than PSA and Beckett. They specialize in old-fashioned cards, so should you have retro cards that you aren’t ready to ship to PSA as you don’t want to spend the cost and do not want to wait around for the cards, SGC is another good alternative. They have the same system of grading as PSA. They do not use subgrades. They use the 9.5, which PSA doesn’t do; however, they also employ a single-number system similar to PSA’s without subgrades. I like the simplicity that their slabs have. It’s not very vibrant, but it’s still a black pattern. It’s a simple design, and I like it.
Pros and cons of the use of SGC. The grades of SGC cards don’t have the same amount of value in cases as a PSA or a Beckett. They’re a third-tier card in this regard. On the other hand, they offer a good amount of room around their slab, so it was not a big issue for me. Also, I prefer PSA slabs. PSA slabs, but that’s only my personal preference. The slabs with the most negligible thickness and minimum space as is possible.
These are the primary two well-known brands that the majority of you have likely had a taste of. Next, let’s discuss some fresher names out there or brands that you may haven’t heard of recently.
Hybrid Gaming Approach (HGA)
The first one I’m going to discuss is HGA that is also known in the industry as Hybrid Grading Approach, and I’ll discuss why they’re called that in a moment. The company just came onto the marketplace in 2021. Prices range from around $20-$100 per card, which makes them highly affordable. They have a distinct design of grading to other card firms. I’m going to read directly on their website. The website states, “HGA revolutionizes the field through the use of software that allows us to analyze, scan and classify cards without the need for subjectivity. Every card is scanned with high resolution. The scanner is more effective than a magnifying glass and can detect blemishes that are the size of a speck of dust.” This is why they’re making use of software that is likely changing the game in the process of grading.
They have a lot of pros. I discussed their cost-effective and straightforward pricing that is easy to understand. You pay for the service you’re using and not necessarily by the amount on the card. For PSA, Beckett, and SGC, they let you pay based on the value on the card. In the case of HGA, you produce according to the level of service you select. They have fast turnaround times at the moment, and the reason is that they’re limiting it to around 1500 cards per week. They’re not accepting many cards, which makes it very difficult to submit the submission process because many people are testing them in the present. This makes it very difficult to have your cards evaluated. If you’re fortunate enough to join HGA, I’m sure they offer spots on Fridays and Thursdays, so you should check their Instagram feed for this. What people are enjoying with HGA is the color-matching slabs. I believe this will be an exciting development for the business. This isn’t for everyone. Certain traditionalists might not like it, but the younger kids, and flippers and such It just can be paired with a beautiful Luka card, or if you’ve had a gorgeous Hakuna card, no matter what you’ve got, you could choose the right color and match it to the card that I think is amazing. It certainly is striking, and my personal opinion is that it will increase the worth of the particular slab, provided that the grade is correct, and that’s what software implies that this could be the scenario.
Cons: It’s not clear the slabs they’ll offer in terms of cost. We’re not sure about their consistency in grading, and they’re using software, so it’s likely that they’ll be uniform, but we’re not sure what the actual price will be offered from these graded slabs. It will take time to grade some cards and then get them out there and market. It’s likely that at the close of the year in 2021, we’ll have a better idea of their performance than PSA, Beckett, and SGC. They also offer sub-grades which is similar to Beckett, and I’ve spoken about this before. Another issue is that it’s difficult to grade cards by them currently. It’s because they’re expanding their offerings. They’re trying to ensure that they can streamline their processes. They want to get their card as fast as they can. Therefore they’re restricting the number of cards they will accept every week. They’re somewhat of an unknown in all this grade-making. I’m sure they might be a player. It’s just a matter of how fast they’re getting their cards back and the price they’ll sell for. If they can be competitive with Beckett or even close to it, I believe that many customers will choose to switch to them simply because they love the shade match on the slab. I like the way it looks.
CSG – owned by CGC
The next one we’ll discuss is CSG. CSG is part of CGC. It’s like playing alphabet soup. CGC is the comic book rating firm. They’re well-known within the business, but CSG is their brand new trading card business. It was launched in 2021. Prices range from $8 up to $100. I think this is pretty decent pricing in the beginning.
Pros. Affordable pricing, only $ 8 for a 60-day turnaround time. Also, CGC, their parent company, has a stellar reputation within the comic book industry when it comes to grading them, so I hope they have a good team of graders on the premises and several good processes in place. If you have efficient operations, you’ll have satisfied customers. Also, you’ll have consistently graded cards, and you can return people’s cards promptly. Finally, the turnaround time will likely be pretty quick because they aren’t stuck with thousands of cards from PSA or Beckett.
Cons. We’re not sure what the cost will include for the slabs. Will they be able to hold their weight? Do they have the potential to be in the same league as Beckett and SGC or maybe PSA? It will be interesting to see. They have the first card that they graded, which is available for sale as of recording this video. It’s a 2003 LeBron James Topps Chrome Refractor, and I believe, was graded as at a 9.5. When they made this video, it was valued at 50k. The final price was $98,100. This is a reasonable price for their first graded card. It’s likely to have some added value since it’s the first card; however, it will be interesting to see where it will end up and what other cards could end up. Another downside is subgrades, and I’m not a fan of subgrades. It’s also a bizarre green hue in the slab. I’m not sure the reason why they picked green. It’s not compatible with a lot of cards, except golf cards. It’s an intriguing note. I’ll be giving my Tiger Woods and Jack Nicholas cards to them. In this, they will have the green slab on them and match it to the grass. I’m sure it’ll appear pretty impressive, so I’ll offer an idea to you. You could mail your golf cards to CSG.
The next one is expected to be GMA Grading. You’ve likely seen their products on eBay. They’ve been in business since 2003, and it’s of a challenge. I’ll go over the issue in a moment. However, prices range from $8 up to $20, so it’s not too bad.
Pros such as cheap pricing. They’re likely to have decent turnaround times since they’re not being flooded with cards.
Cons, I’m talking about having existed since 2003, but they’ve never established their name, which is an indication. I was doing some research to make this video, discovered the site, and decided to shout out to rookiecollector.com. He has done a ton of study on GMA and stated that the slabs feel lightweight and cheap. The card can bounce around inside the slab, which is a pain. Sometimes, it happens with other players, but that isn’t very good. This is going to harm your credit card. The label appears cheap, and, as far as I could tell, he didn’t know either. There was no online database to confirm that the grade and determine how many students they assessed. There wasn’t any report on the population. It wasn’t on their site. Their value will not be at the same level as any of these other companies I’ve mentioned. I would not be using GMA for anything at all. Sure of these companies for grading cards are going to be better choices for you.
This is the conclusion. If you do not want to utilize PSA in the future if you decide to use, then the most obvious option to make is Beckett. Beckett is an obvious choice. I’ve previously discussed them. It’s just a matter of when they increase their rates and how long their turnaround time is. If they cannot get your money back in some time, you might consider using other sources. If you can join them, I recommend giving HGA a final big shot. I am a massive fan of their slabs. I think it’s going to be fascinating to observe what happens with these slabs. They’re a wildcard in this entire procedure, and should that not work, then you’ll likely be forced to utilize CSG which, I’m sure many of you do not like the green slabs, but CSG’s pricing is extremely low, and if you’re involved in the game of card flipping, you’ll need an item graded. They’ll be the best option for you and something that you must look into if their grades will be accurate and you are in a position to give your cards back in some time.
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