The Best Sports Card Grading Company?

In the realm of sports card grading, a plethora of companies—such as PSA, BGS, SCG, FCG, HGA, and GMA, among others—compete for attention. The perennial question surfaces: “Which one should I choose?” However, the answer to this question hinges on your specific objectives.

Are you seeking cards for profitable resale? Do you intend to keep them in your personal collection indefinitely? Are you after a swift turnaround, willing to compromise on cost and potential value? The considerations are multifaceted.

From my perspective as a sports card collector:

PSA stands out as the dominant force in slabbing. Historical data consistently show that PSA cards fetch top-tier prices more frequently. Although their grading process takes longer, higher graded cards tend to sell better.

There’s often chatter about PSA being stringent with 10s. As a collector, I yearn for perfection, but not every printed card can achieve a flawless 10.

BGS, in my opinion, comes next in line for slabbing. Returns may be slightly lower compared to PSA unless it’s a GEM MINT 10 or Black Label. Occasionally, a 9.5 might rival a PSA 10’s value, depending on the card. Personally, I’m not a fan of BGS due to their bulky cases, demanding more space.

SGC likely earns the third spot. Their sleek cases enhance the allure of vintage cards remarkably. Many collectors who opt for SGC mention receiving their cards back within weeks—an advantage until it comes to selling.

SGC cards typically fetch around half the price of PSA cards, a fact observable in recent sales. It’s regrettable because their slabs are visually appealing, albeit slightly taller than usual, which could be seen as a minor flaw.

FCG, a new entrant with lightning-fast turnaround times, attracts attention, but serious or investment-driven collectors tend to steer clear. Speed doesn’t always equate to correctness. While I hold no grudge, I found it challenging to sell my FCG cards.

GMA appears to grant 10s generously, even to cards with noticeable flaws like off-centering. I tested this by purchasing a GMA 10, revealing leniency in their grading standards.

HGA initially seemed promising but encountered numerous online issues swiftly. Though their concept was sound, limitations stemming from a refusal to grade a significant number of cards raise concerns.

While HGA produced some of the best slabs in my opinion, my attempts to contact them for inquiries yielded no response.

There are other grading companies, but I wouldn’t recommend them based on my experiences. My opinions stem from navigating the resale market as an investment collector.

What should you do?

Ultimately, follow your instincts. However, choosing a grading company solely for its speed and expecting investors to pay PSA 10 prices is unrealistic and likely to lead to frustration.

PSA’s preeminence is rooted in demand.

In conclusion, a universally adopted AI grading system could level the playing field among all graders. However, it’s crucial to recognize that every grading company has its own set of issues or drawbacks.

Make your choice wisely, but be aware that each decision carries consequences.