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We're going to try something here on NSU Card Talk -- a special events forum where for a limited period of time, we'll open up the forum for Q&A with the manufacturers and other hobby insiders. For the first one, we're handing the mic over to Andy Broome, Senior Vintage Card Grader with Beckett Grading Services (BGS).
Andy will be by shortly to introduce himself. After that, feel free to ask anything you like about Beckett Grading Services or grading in general, the grading process, etc. Please be sure that your questions appeal to the entire Card Talk community rather something specific to your own collection or your account with BGS (though I'm sure Andy would be happy to field those via e-mail).
I know grading in non-sport (and in sports as well) is controversial with some loving it and seeing benefits to it while others loathe it. Andy knows this too. So feel free to ask Andy whatever you like and express whatever you like about the grading process...just don't beat on Andy himself.
Thanks and hope everyone likes this new forum category.
My Name is Andy Broome with Beckett Grading Services. We are the same company as the Beckett magazines but we operate as a separate division.
A brief introduction about Beckett Grading and me:
Beckett Grading Services (BGS) started in 1999. We grade and authenticate all type of cards, photographs and magazines measuring up to 8.5” x 11.” We are currently the only company that can encapsulate items up to 8.5” x 11” and up to a 1/4” thick. We can protect those thick memorabilia cards!
We are the only grading company that grades photographs.
We are the only company that offers encapsulation of cards as authentic and authentic-altered without a numerical grade if you want a card encapsulated for protection and not have a numerical grade..
We are partnered with James Spence Authentication (JSA) to authenticate autographs. Any autograph that is not a certified, pack-pulled auto must be authenticated by JSA before we can grade and encapsulate it.
I am the senior vintage card grader with BGS. I also am involved in product development and marketing and I edit the grading newsletter “The Report Card.”
I have been a collector since 1983. I have been professionally grading and authenticating cards full time since 2000.
I am still a collector and I focus on vintage sports and non-sports, original comic art and sketch cards.
I also enjoy drawing sketch cards and my first set is the Breygent Comic Sketch cards.
I want to thank Harris and Roxanne this opportunity to answer your questions about card grading and what products Beckett has to offer. Everyone has their opinions and I respect that.
This is your chance to ask your questions, dispel myths or suggest ideas!
I will be at the Philly show in May and I welcome everyone to stop by and say hello. If you have a question and want to talk in person or you want to submit cards in person and save from shipping them, I will be there both days of the show.
We wanted to take this opportunity and answer any questions collectors may have that will not be attending the show.
Because of space and time, if you have additional follow up questions, or just prefer to contact me directly with a question, please feel free to PM me or email me directly. I am more than happy to give you my email.
And with that, let's have the first question!
Hi Andy, welcome to Card Talk.
I'm one of those people who has not had any cards graded, or bought a graded card. I don't see a need for them, I keep my valuable cards in sleeves and/or top loaders.
Perhaps you can explain why we would want to encase our cards in "slabs" of plastic.
i can see the value in autographs being authenicated, since high value ones are being faked, but what about older cards like Horrors of War, Mars Attacks or Red Menace?
Grading isn't for everyone or every card. Many cards are just fine properly protected in sleeves and holders like top loaders and card savers.
Why grade a card?
For vintage cards (Beckett calls any card made 1980 or older vintage) there are 2 main reasons to grade or encapsulate.
1. Condition. A vintage card in high grade will bring a premium when it is sold. Buyers want to be assured the card is in fact high grade and not tampered with or worse, counterfeit.
2. Protection. Some collectors opt for encapsulation with a numerical grade. The card is protected in a tamper-resistant holder with UV protection and the card is identified on the label.
I personally have cards in my collection that are encapsulated as authentic only because I know if and when I disappear, my wife wouldn't know a Mars Attacks card from a Battlefield Earth card. She can at least read the labels in the holder if and when she has to sell them off.
Aside from the above reasons, card doctoring and autographs are a real problem for both vintage and modern.
Much more a problem on the sports side. Grading with a reputable company helps rest a buyers mind that the card and auto are all original.
What is ironic but also sad is that it isn't just expensive cards or autos that are "messed" with.
|Silver Card Talk Member|
Welcome and thanks for taking all of our questions, you are a brave man.
When looking to keep our cards in the best shape possible do you suggest putting them right from the pack into holders? I have come across a few really nice autos, like Shatner from Twilight Zone, which I took from a pack and put right in a holder while other I sort with the rest of my inserts then put in binders.
Ok 1 more pack then I'am done...no really..wait how many are left in that box?
Well, either brave or dumb. No, I'm a collector too so I know what it is like from both sides of the fence.
I want to learn as much as I can about the hobby I spend most of my money on.
Sometimes finding good information is hard. It's not fun learning about things like card trimming the hard way!
I will tell you what I practice and what I tell customers. I use the "penny" or "soft" sleeves, the ones that you find in 100-count bags and I use either top loader-type holders or Card Saver-type holders.
When I break a box, I take the better cards and place them is a soft sleeve and then a top loader. I may remove the cards later but for now they are protected and can be stored without me worrying about them.
If there are more then a few cards, I will use the Card Saver-type holders and soft sleeves. These take a little practice but take up less room in a box.
Inserts I sometimes place in a soft sleeve and then a box, like a shoebox - the 2-row boxes. They are protected until I decide what to do with them later.
I may decide later to place the set and inserts into a binder.
It sounds like extra work but it's worth it!
When submitting cards for grading or encapsulation, believe it or not, the Card Saver-type holders and a soft sleeve are the best holder to ship the cards in. The card cannot move around and bang up the corners and edges.
|Silver Card Talk Member|
Hi Andy. By any chance are you Canadian? I'm also here in Dallas and I possibly sat next to you on a DFW to San Diego flight (or vice versa)
but its been a few years.
I do have a question. Do you grade & authenticate phone cards? When Bettie Page first came out of hiding, Argo City released some Bettie Page cards and she signed a fairly small number of them that were sold at a premium (over the non-signed copies) Well I have one and thats why I ask...
A couple of questions about your autograph authentication.
Do you grade autographs only on cards? Or do you also do photos/ball/other types of memorabilia?
Once authenticated, must they be encapsulated or is there a stickering option, like PSA?
Do you have a "quick glance" option, where someone can pay a fee to get an opinion, before submitting for the whole authentication or encapsulation process?
Is there a list of names that you do authenticate and a website for submission?
I am not Canadian although I am a fan of Toronto! Good card show up there twice a year.
The grading department is always on the go around the country so there is always a chance your flight is made worse by having to sit next to one of us. If you get stuck next to me...God help you.
We can grade phone cards. I will have to look into the signed Page cards. PM me the info and let me look into those.
We grade and encapsulate all type of autographs! Not just cards. We can encapsulate signed items up to 8.5" x 11" and up to 1/4" thick. Beside cards, we've encapsulated signed 8x10's, programs, postcards, newspaper clippings, notecards, scraps of paper, menus, magazines and just about whatever else you can put a signature on.
Any pack-pulled certified auto can be submitted directly to Beckett for grading and or encapsulation.
Any autograph that is not certified by the card manufacturer (ie, pack-pulled) the item must be submitted first to our partner James Spence JSA (spenceloa.com).
A list of people they can authenticate is on their website but honestly, there are very few they do not have the proper examples of and can authenticate.
Most signed items that are submitted to JSA and encapsulated by us is a flat $20. It is $30 if you want a numerical grade. There are a few exceptions, especially on the sports side with guys like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb. They will cost a little more.
If you can make it to a card show where both BGS and JSA are setup, that is a great opportunity to find out about your autos and ask questions before you submit. You can find a list of upcoming shows on the grading web page.
We offer a pre-grade service on-site at many of the shows we attend. As an example, we will have graders on-site at the Anaheim Wizard show this coming weekend. I personally will be at the Philly Non-Sport show and can help with your cards. Although I will not be pre-grading, I can still give you some advice!
--edited to add---
For items that will fit in our holders, you can have them encaspulated and not stickered.
If you would rather JSA use the sticker, you can have any item stickered and a certificate made for that item. The fee for having an item stickered is found on JSA's website.
If you have an item such as a card. my opinion and what I reccommend is that you have it encapsulated and not stickered. That way, the item is certified as long as it is in the holder but there is not a sticker and item is in original condition if you choose to remove it in the future. That is my personal opinion. Everyone differs on that. That is a choice the submitter has to make.This message has been edited. Last edited by: abroome,
|Bronze Card Talk Member|
Thanks for taking the time to visit and answer our questions. I have a set of promotional non-sport trading cards that are extremely rare. Only 2 complete 10 card sets are known to exist. I am not really that comfortable mailing these to you for grading and slabbing because if they were to get misdirected, they are not replaceable. Would you ever consider slabbing the cards right at the Philly show so I can avoid the fear of loss?
(Sorry, I am very attached to these cards)
Thanks for your time,
I understand you not wanting to part with your cards for even a few days. While it is actually rare for anything to get lost, it can happen. We receive literally 10's of thousands of packages a year and we have VERY few problems with deliveries. Shipping companies actually do a great job nowadays. They want to make sure your package arrives, they don't want to have to pay the insurance claim!
We only encapsulate on-site at one show a year, the National. It takes dozens of people and trucks of equipment in order for us to encapsulate on-site.
Luckily, the National this year is in Baltimore, just down the road from Philly!
I suggest coming down to the show, check it out and get your cards graded.
If you've never been to a National, it is a sight to see. Its one HUGE card show!
I will suggest whatever day you do go, stop by the Beckett booth early. We get backed up fast each day so the earlier you get there, the sooner you can get your cards done.
Ask for me (Andy) at the National booth and I will give you a non-sport special for on-site service.
And by the way, we will have specials on pricing for those of you that want to drop off a submission instead of shipping it to us. We will cover the armored air shipping from the show back to our offices!
I want to add here to the autograph discussion above...
We are looking into grading and encapsulation of baseballs so stay tuned for that announcement by this summer.
Very exciting news for auto collectors that have baseballs in his/her collection.
|Bronze Card Talk Member|
Thanks Andy for taking the time to answer.
If I wanted to call you to discuss possibly shipping the cards to you, where can I reach you?
Pm me and I will get you my email and contact info.
--edited to say actually, I am not sure about PM'ing on the board. My email is:
abroome @ beckett.com
Just take out the spaces.
|Platinum Card Talk Member|
What guarantee does Beckett offer that the Beckett Graded cards I buy are authentic, not altered with, or worse, counterfeit?
What recourse would I have if I were to buy an encapsulated card that was counterfeit?
Great question Jon.
Our reputation as being a top grading company for the last 11 years stands as a testament to the quality of grading and authentication you will receive from our graders.
Our competitor Card Trade magazine put out by Krause Publications used to have the best of the industry awards. One of the categories was for best grading company as voted by the readership of their magazine. This award was given out for 6 consecutive years at the annual Hawaii Conference. We won all 6 of those awards.
Our senior graders have all been with BGS for 10+ years. I'm actually the "new kid" with BGS. I joined the team nearly 6 years ago now. The amount of experience they have with detecting counterfeits and alterations is amazing. We as a team have training meetings to discuss counterfeits that are new to the market and we train on alteration techniques. We have to stay one step ahead of the card doctors.
We stand behind the authenticity of cards residing in Beckett holders. Although exceedingly rare, if a problem is found, it would be handled on a case-by-case basis as far as restitution, based on fair market value, if any problem was found. If you come across a card you have a question about, we would be glad to review the card for you.
|Platinum Card Talk Member|
That is excellent to know.
I've found a few graded counterfeit Katie Holmes autographs on eBay in the last year or so.
This one, for example:
I alerted the seller to the fact that it was a counterfeit and they pulled the auction. I believe I still have that seller's contact information how should I have them go about getting restitution for this card?
That is an example our graders would need to see in person to review.
At the risk of bogging down the thread, if you want to shoot me an email about the card, I would be happy to discuss it with you.
|Platinum Card Talk Member|
When it comes to grading certified autograph cards, does the quality of the autograph count or is the grade based simply on the condition of the card, i.e. centering, corners, edging and surface. I'm not speaking of bad penmanship now, which of course you can't rate. I mean things like a fading signature, or beading, or a sticker/cut that is put on crooked, or an autograph that is cut off the card or hidden under a cut out.
These things noticably affect the overall look, and therefore the potential value of a certified auto, but are they reflected in the grade? Or do you need a grade for the autograph separate from the card? Thanks.
We grade the card and autograph separate. Each will get their own grade on the label.
The card grade is based on the corners, edges, centering and surface.
The physical condition of the autograph is what is assessed, not the penmanship.
On the sports side, there are some real "dandy" signers. One guy even uses a check mark for his signature. This doesn't factor into the grade at all. We are just looking for condition.
What does count is if the auto runs off the card/sticker, if it is streaky, faded, smudged, etc. These are the condition issues that will determine the grade of the autograph.
Sticker autos are a little different. The condition of the sticker will weigh on the card surface grade. If the sticker is damaged, etc the surface grade of the card will reflect that.
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