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Standardised rating system for cards
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Bronze Card Talk Member
Picture of btlfannz
posted
I have come to the conclusion that our hobby is in dire need of a standardised rating system for grading cards. Recently I have bought three lots of early Beatles sets cards such as Hard Day's Night, Beatles Diary and Ser.1. My game plan is to replace all sub standard cards in my collection with better condition ones.

From the first lost I received of 130 cards I literally trashed 114 of them. They were listed as very good to excellent but were comprised of (not creased) but totally crumpled cards, cards with the white selvedge trimmed, cards with tears on the back and most with sellotape.

The second lot of 9 cards I trashed four of them (stains, pin-holes etc) also listed as very good.

Finally, I have today received a further 15 cards (this time listed as excellent) of which I have rejected 5 as being so badly aligned that there was no visible selvedge or otherwise having seriously soft (call that 'rounded') corners.

We desperately need an established rating scale to stop this sort of nonsense. OK I recognise that people who sell cards on Ebay will always have differing opinions on what is VG vs Ex but even if we could reach some sort of agreement between us would help. Just for a conversation starter for 10 how about this:
Mint - no card damage whatsoever including perfect centring and sharp corners

Excellent - Minor damage by way of barely visible marks, sharp corners reasonably well centred

VG - Not so sharp corners, slightly off centre, slight creasing no pinholes, no tearing.

Any other card that has damage to the extent that it is not collectible (tears, rips, trimmed, creases, seriously off centre, and so on should be classed as non-gradeable.

Suggestion? Comments?

____________________
My dog is a RotweillerXLabrador. He'll bite your leg off but he'll always bring it back to you.
 
Posts: 509 | Location: Auckland New Zealand | Registered: January 26, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
posted Hide Post
Oh boy, you could write a whole book on this one. Big Grin

There is a standardized rating system for cards, the grading services use it all the time when they slab cards and give them a number. The big problem is that regular people, both buyers and sellers, have selective blindness and choose to ignor it. Another problem is that many people don't actually understand it. They know a higher number is better than a lower number, but if you are not using graded numbers but terms, they often don't understand what VG, or G or EX really means.

Good is actually pretty bad. VG is often not much better than good. Excellent can have flaws. In fact a certain number of flaws are built in and considered acceptable in each grade. The only cards that are regarded as ungradable are counterfeits or repaired or trimmed cards. They can have holes, they can be off center, they can have mashed edges, they can be creased and they will still be in some grade, just not a high one. And certain products are given to certain damage, so a VG on an older card that seems damaged may be an average grade for that card set.

Add in the selective blindness bit, sellers always see a better card and buyers always see a worse card, well you can see how badly that can wind up. All I can say is that if you buy a lot of cards and you have to toss out that many for such horrible condition, you should return the whole thing for misrepresentation.

The grading services like PSA and Beckett used to explain their grades. I have not checked those sites in a long time because I don't subscribe to using them except in very specific circumstances, but I'm sure you can find their standards some place.

It won't result in universal acceptance, but honorable knowledgeable parties already do have a certain idea of what these grades should look like. If they are not honorable, a standard doesn't matter at all. Wink
 
Posts: 9441 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
NSU Writer
Picture of Don Norton
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We already have a grading system. The problem is getting sellers to abide by it. If the cards you received were as bad as you say btlfannz, they should have been labelled as "poor".

It may be almost impossible to find mint cards that are more than 50 years old, but they do exist There are a lot of honest dealers of old cards listed in the Wrapper. Try some of them.
 
Posts: 2868 | Location: Crystal Lake, IL | Registered: December 04, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Obi Wan Chrisobi
posted Hide Post
The problem with any grading or rating system is that they are open to interpretation and not everyone agrees on what constitutes what grade. Two different people can look at the same card and give two different grades for it. For example, the line between Fine and Very Fine isn't that much and people will argue endlessly as to which category a given item will fall into.

The simple truth is that there is no substitute for seeing a card and judging it's condition for yourself as to whether or not it meets your standards. Buying online precludes in person visual inspection so you really should insist on pictures of the actual card before purchasing it. If the seller won't post or email pics of the items they are selling, then buyer beware.

____________________
"These aren't the cards you're looking for...."
 
Posts: 425 | Location: Canada | Registered: August 07, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
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It seems clear, that if you have had this happen 3 times in a row, that you are buying sight unseen through a site like Craigslist. I have a little sympathy, but not a lot. You are simply learning a lesson that most already have; inspect the cards quickly before purchase, or buy from dealers and sellers that have earned trust in the marketplace. There has been a grading system for 50 years. Good luck getting everyone to use it perfectly all the time. I get that you are probably looking for a deal, and perhaps you will find one someday, but you are more likely to find what you have here; someone who doesn't care about cards, perhaps a non-collector or someone who needs the money, just looking to get rid of what they have. Maybe you need to stick to eBay, where there are scans and a return policy. Caveat emptor.
 
Posts: 31 | Location: Rochester, NY | Registered: September 09, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Silver Card Talk Member
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I stopped collecting certain ungraded vintage cards (mainly non-sport and boxing cards from overseas) because of this. My idea of "very good" condition was just too far apart from a lot of the sellers I was buying from. Too many of the cards were actually "poor" in my book. Not to mention the alterations -- apparently trimming or touching up borders with black markers seems to be much more common than I realized. I just couldn't trust anything I was buying. I'm talking about vintage cards, not modern. If I'm buying anything vintage now, I almost always buy professionally graded, usually by PSA. Even though the vast majority of non-sport collectors are against professional grading (and admittedly, I'm not one of them), you have to admit that this thread makes a great argument for it, or at the very least, why it exists.
 
Posts: 2136 | Location: Pennsylvania | Registered: September 14, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Platinum Card Talk Member
Picture of Raven
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quote:
Originally posted by Logan:
Not to mention the alterations -- apparently trimming or touching up borders with black markers seems to be much more common than I realized. I just couldn't trust anything I was buying.


As far as I know, any attempt to "fix" or "restore" condition voids the card and renders it ungradeable. If it has a pin hole or edge chipping, which is very common among vintage black border cards, it will subtract from the grade, but not nullify the card. If someone fills that hole or uses black marker to enhance the edges, you can consider the card destroyed.

That is what I was taught, if it has changed I didn't get the memo. Big Grin
 
Posts: 9441 | Location: New York | Registered: November 20, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Bronze Card Talk Member
Picture of btlfannz
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by boadster:
It seems clear, that if you have had this happen 3 times in a row, that you are buying sight unseen through a site like Craigslist. I have a little sympathy, but not a lot. You are simply learning a lesson that most already have; inspect the cards quickly before purchase, or buy from dealers and sellers that have earned trust in the marketplace. /QUOTE]


Just for your information all three purchases were different sellers, all three came from Ebay and all three had high rated sellers rating. Some photos were provided but (typically) they looked OK. I simply ordered off a list of cards that were said to be available. The listings ranged from VG to Ex.and a handful of the cards were adequately described as excellent. Sadly, too many substandard cards were included.

____________________
My dog is a RotweillerXLabrador. He'll bite your leg off but he'll always bring it back to you.
 
Posts: 509 | Location: Auckland New Zealand | Registered: January 26, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
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VG-EX, which is PSA 4, are cards that one would expect would have some roughness to them. Since you seem pretty rigid in your standards, perhaps you should look for cards listed as EX-NM or simply NM, and maybe then you would get what you are looking for...Me personally, I pretty much only collect graded items...
 
Posts: 31 | Location: Rochester, NY | Registered: September 09, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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