Card Grading Companies
Sports card grading companies have become so much a part of the hobby that its hard to envision the sports collectibles industry without them. The growth of the Internet has led to the creation of hundreds of small card grading companies, many of which are one man operations. They compete against the larger, more established card graders for a piece of the high dollar card grading business. The multitude of different options is overwhelming and confusing, especially for newer sports card collectors.
The reason there are so many card grading companies is that they require very little startup costs to create. There are no official regulations or requirements governing who can and cannot offer sports card grading services. As such, anyone with a few bucks to spare, an interest in sports cards, and some ambition can easily start their own card grading business. Even with the best of intentions and a good eye for sports cards, these smaller companies rarely have anywhere near the expertise required to accurately assess the "real" condition of a card. Having your sports cards graded by one of these companies can translate into much lower sales prices on the open market, and can even diminish the value of cards in some instances, because potential buyers have no way of knowing how high (or low) the grading standards of the company are.
To assist collectors in finding the best grading solution for their specific needs, we have compiled a short list of the top sports card grading companies in the industry. Each of these card graders are known and respected throughout the hobby by the majority of collectors. Sports cards graded by these services carry the highest possible values on the secondary market because they are graded by properly trained experts using strict quality standards.
- Beckett Grading Services (BGS)
The Beckett name carries a lot of name in the world of sports cards and collectibles thanks to the publications and price guides that have served the hobby for years. Seeking to lend the value of that name to the card grading business, Beckett Media created Beckett Grading Services (BGS) in 1999, and it has been one of the leaders in its field ever since.
- Global Authority
When card grading and authentication company Global Authentication (GAI) ran into financial trouble in early 2009, it attempted to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. But a judge threw out the filing, forcing it to find another option to continue operating. Part of the solution was to sell off the card grading arm, which was reborn under new management as a new business called Global Authority.
- Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA)
In 1991, Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) was created with an eye toward quantifying the condition of cards, and the concept proved so popular that the company is currently the largest third-party authenticator in the industry.