Why PSA Will Beat Out BGS
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When I was younger I used to think graded cards were the worst! Despite hating them, I understood they were an inevitable part of the hobby. People needed to be able to judge the condition of cards and simply putting nr-mnt wasn’t going to cut it, as that’s obviously subjective. Outside of that, it was also needed to deem cards authentic, especially ones that were easily replicated and before our time.
But yeah, I never wanted to pick them up, I was a fan of raw cards, but at times I was forced to, mainly if the card was a 1/1 or extremely rare, a little case wasn’t going to stop me from being a super collector. I’d typically go for BGS, I was an avid supporter of their pricing guide, look back at it that sounds weird, as it’s rarely referenced today, but back then it was the only way to put a dollar amount on your card. Because I was so loyal to the magazine and the trading forums I stayed away from PSA and honestly, so did the rest of the hobby. I mean when you think about it, it makes sense, we all purchased the Beckett magazine, we bought, sold and traded on the Beckett forum, we couldn’t be out here with a PSA card! That was like wearing Adidas shoes with Nike shorts, you just don’t do that, well, unless you’re in the NBA.
So yeah, I wasn’t actively buying graded cards back then. I think what ultimately turned me off of them was the size of the case, compared to a top-loader or a magnetic holder, they just didn’t look right, especially side by side. Back then you would keep your cards ina 4-row white box and the graded cards didn’t fit in there. The cases were big, clunky and aesthetically they just weren’t pleasing.
Even as an adult there are some things that I don’t like, the different color labels make me itch. I understand it’s meant to separate the grade classes, but it’s just such a pain to look at it. I don’t mind the gold or even the black, but I just hate that my BGS 9 is in the same class as a BGS 8.5. If I had it my way I’d much rather have all the slabs be gold and let the grade do the separating. With that being said, I know this doesn’t bother everyone, some people don’t suffer from OCD like me and those labels could be blue, green, or purple and it still wouldn’t affect the hobby’s perception on them.
As a kid I never really paid much attention to PSA, I knew they were leaders in authenticating, but in terms of grading, I told myself they were the cheaper, less important brand.
Boy was I wrong… Today, PSA is right up there in the ranks with BGS, some might say they are even more popular than Beckett’s brand. I know they are winning when it comes to price. What’s their claim to fame? The PSA Registry. Collectors can display and organize their sets by utilizing this tool, it lets them know what card they need and what their set completion percentage is. Because of this tool, people are more excited to buy PSA then they are BGS, as they want that cohesiveness… I guess I’m not the only one who cares after all?
What else makes PSA special? They don’t have subgrades, I know to some that might seem like a bad thing, but it’s not… Let me tell you why.
The Future of Cards
Currently, there are 3 places to consistently buy cards online, eBay, COMC and forums, however, in the future, I think the world of buying sports cards will look a lot different.
How many of you have heard of The Pit? It’s a sports card exchange, basically, it allows you to sell cards as if they were stocks. How many of you have heard of StockX? They have a similar platform, except they consider themselves the stock market of things, they too are beginning to list sports cards.
These types of markets will continue to emerge and sports cards are the perfect commodity… if you don’t complicate them. These platforms will likely not list raw base cards because of the quality control, it would take forever for them to receive cards, look them over and then grade them, so they’re more likely to list these items using a 3rd party grader. BGS is an option as they are respected (somewhat) amongst the community, however, the multipliers make this extremely hard to do so. What if an investor prefers 9.5 centering over 9 corners. What if I only consider a GEM MNT card as all 9.5? There are so many variables that go into a BGS grading system, thus making them harder to list.
A seller or exchange would essentially have to list multiple variations of the card… This is likely not going to be the case. Either that or consider all 9.5 as true gem mint cards, this may happen, but won’t bold over well with investors/collectors.
This is where I think PSA will continue to have a leg up against BGS. Their grading system is tough, but it’s simple. Exchanges could simply say PSA 10 and that’s what the user would get, same with the grades underneath that. You can already see this happening over on Stockx… But I could be wrong.
Aside from the future exchange, I think new collectors will be looking for a more cohesive set of cards when it comes to buying. The world is based on ecosystems, rarely do you see a house with some Google products and some Amazon products, people are typically all or nothing, I don’t think that will change with cards.
I think this is again where PSA excels. The consistent label just makes them more collectible. When I’m selling a BGS 9 that silver tab might as well say “LESS THAN” on it because that’s how it makes me feel. Meanwhile, a PSA 9 doesn’t bother me, because it looks no different than my 10. We see this happening a lot of with phones, the Samsung Note 10 looks just like the Note 10+ if the two differed then many would see the Note 10 as inferior and likely pass on it… It’s silly, but one has to think like this when investing.
Again, I could be wrong, but if I was a betting man (which I am) I’d go PSA all day. I’m not saying BGS graded cards will diminish in value, but I do think they’ll be harder to move once these other platforms begin.
Who do you grade your cards with? Are you team BGS or team PSA? Let me know in the comments!
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