Walking Through the BGS Process

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Want to tour the BGS facilities? Well, unfortunately due to security, we just can’t let you in. But we can take a virtual tour .

Let’s imagine we are one of your trading cards for a moment and take the tour through the grading process.

So, let’s get packed into a box and dropped off in the mail and head to Beckett Grading Services in Dallas, Texas!

Beckett Grading Services (BGS) receives the box from the delivery person. The box is placed with many other boxes from around the world that are received everyday.

One by one, each package is opened and logged into our system. The cards are counted against the submission form. Once everything is logged and matches up, the cards and paperwork are placed into a bin and locked away with other bins ready for the next step.

Those bins still locked into secure transport cabinets are transported to the BGS invoicing department. It is here where your order is calculated, the guaranteed turnaround time is established and the due date is set. Your payment is processed and you have been sent an email letting you know everything is moving right along. From here, each bin containing an invoiced order is transported to our vault. Each order patiently waits for the next step in the BGS process, the verification department.

It is the verification department where some important things happen.

Once the bin is received in verification, the expert verifiers ensure each card is identified properly. When you filled out your submission form, were you not 100% sure what year a particular card was from? No problem! That is one of the jobs of our verification team.

Once each card is properly identified, a unique sticker is produced for that card. That sticker contains the unique submission number, a unique serial number for that card, a barcode, the due date and a place for graders to assign grades.

This is where any personal identification information is removed from the order. This ensures the graders are receiving an anonymous bin of cards to grade.   All those rumors of graders knowing whose cards they are grading are eliminated with this step. The bins are now returned to the vault to sit with hundreds of other bins that share the same due date. Next, it is on to the graders!

Each morning, the vault is opened and a secured transport cabinet is filled with the orders that are next in line for grading.

The grading staff, comprising of a staff of senior graders and junior graders, receive bins of orders to grade.

The grader will take a card from the bin, carefully remove it from its holder, and begin examination. The card is examined first to determine its authenticity and that is has not been altered. Once the card has been deemed to be authentic and unaltered, the condition is assessed. If a card is deemed to be altered, the card will either be sent back to the customer with a note stating what the alteration is, or if the customer has chosen to have altered cards encapsulated, the card will be encapsulated and the label will read “Authentic- Altered.”

For modern cards, each card is graded by assigning a numerical grade to each of the four subgrade categories.

Those four subgrades are:





The overall numerical grade is not a simple average of the four subgrades. BGS uses an algorithm which determines the final grade using the four sub grades on the front label of the card holder. The lowest overall grade is the first category to observe because it is the most obvious defect, and the lowest grade is the most heavily weighted in determining the overall grade.

For example:

Centering = 9.5

Corners = 9.5

Edges = 9

Surface = 8

Final grade = 8.5

The reason that this card received an 8.5 is that even though the Surface grade was an 8 (the lowest grade overall), the 9.5 grades on Centering and Corners were strong enough to bring it up a full point to reach the 8.5 level.

Another example:

Centering = 9.5

Corners = 9.5

Edges = 8.5

Surface = 9

Final grade = 9

Upon first glance, it may appear that this card should’ve received a grade different than a 9. The most this card could receive was .5 (or one-half grade) above the lowest sub-grade. The Edges were the lowest in this case, hence, the card received the overall 9 grade. Even though Centering and Corners received grades of 9.5, a key point to remember is that the minimum requirement to receive a grade of Gem Mint is to have at least three grades of 9.5 and the fourth to be no less than a 9.

Also, please note that the final grade rarely, if ever, exceeds two levels above the lowest of the four characteristic grades. For example, if a card has characteristic grades of Centering 10, Corners 6, Edges 10 and Surface 10, the final grade will be a “7” (of which is exactly two grading levels above the lowest characteristic grade).

The graders use is a 1-10 scale:

1 – Poor

1.5 Fair

2 – G (Good)

2.5 –G+

3 – VG (Very Good)

3.5 – VG+

4 – VG-EX (Very Good-Excellent)

4.5 VG-EX+

5 – EX (Excellent)

5.5 – EX +

6 – EX-NM (Excellent-Near Mint)

6.5 – EX-NM+

7 – Near Mint

7.5 – Near Mint +

8 – Near Mint-Mint

8.5 – Near Mint-Mint +

9 – Mint

9.5 – Gem Mint

10 – Pristine

A Pristine 10 with all four subgades of 10 is what is known as a BGS Black Label Pristine. This is the highest possible grade combination and is “holdered” with a black label with gold type.

Once each card has been assigned a grade, the cards are placed in a custom BGS inner sleeve and placed with the rest of the cards in the bin. The bin is now sent to the next step in the BGS process, the Labeling department.

It is here in the labeling department where the labels that will go into the BGS encapsulation with the card are created. The labels are placed with each corresponding card and the bin is now ready for the final step in the grading process, “Slabbing.”

The encapsulation department encases the cards and labels inside of the BGS holder, or commonly called a “Slab” in the hobby. Each card and its label are placed in the bottom half of the proper size holder. A top half of the holder is placed over the top and the entire encapsulation is placed inside of the ultrasonic welding machine. This ultrasonic machine applies an ultrasonic frequency to certain parts of the holder that are designed to make contact with each other and weld the plastic completely. This solid weld seal around the holder ensure the holder is tamper and water resistant.

Each card now safely sealed in the BGS encapsulation is now placed into a bag to protect against scratching and are placed back into the bin.

Your cards have had quite the journey so far. But we have one more stop before your cards reach you. The cards must now be packaged and shipped. The shipping department checks each card before securely packing them for the trip home. Once they are logged into the system as shipped, you will receive an email letting you know the process is now complete. In this email, you will receive any tracking information and a link to see what the final grades are!

It is a detailed process that takes many dedicated and passionate people to get your cards graded and encapsulated safely and securely and back to you. It is a process BGS has been doing everyday since 1999.

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  1. dominic 1 March, 2018 at 10:24

    I have received cards that are not in the proper size slab. The card is a lot thinner than the huge slab it was placed in. The card jiggles around when moved or lightly shaken. Plus, why is the Auto grade on the front and sometimes on the back? Why can’t you make it consistent?

  2. Larry Fassauer 2 March, 2018 at 10:09

    I agree with Dominic on those questions. But I also notice on a recent slab I got the card graded a 10, but the slab they put it in is terribly scratched bad. You would think with the price they charge they would give you a slab that wasn’t tore up.

  3. Dale 25 March, 2018 at 08:45

    If I were to get a card autographed, then send it in to be graded, would it be considered to be an altered card and sent back? I have a few items i want to get graded and the autograph authenticated.

  4. Frank Chiaramitaro 29 March, 2018 at 06:26

    I need help, i submitted some cards to be graded a while back and I wanted to bump up the service I chose and no one i’ve called has been able to help me, I was wondering how I would be able to change to choose the 10 day service, thanks

  5. Bradley Schwab 2 April, 2018 at 14:12

    Does Beckett accept reviews on cards Beckett has already graded? Is the process the same as it would be if i were sending in PSA graded cards for review? i bought a michael jordan 886-87 rc graded mint 9, and sub grades are 9.5, 9.5, 9 and 8.5 which was it’s surface grade. i cant see it missing any gloss, color, and wanted to get it reviewed to see if it would be considered a gem mint grade.

  6. Julius Mixon 18 April, 2018 at 10:57

    I just sent my cards to be graded. I got no receipt when my credit card was charged, no email saying they received my cards, no email saying the process was complete and no tracking number. And I paid for two days then around. I’m not rushing them at all because I know grading and slabbing takes time, but email communication with updates would be nice

  7. Kevin Corblies 21 April, 2018 at 23:02

    How much is it per card to be graded? What should they be in when shipped type of holder? How many cards can be sent for grading at one time? Thank you!

  8. Tom 22 April, 2018 at 13:29

    How are others supposed to know the answers to the above questions if all you do is refer them to the BGS team?

    • Ryan Cracknell 22 April, 2018 at 17:02

      @Tom — For a couple of reasons. 1) This part of the site is monitored primarily by the editorial team. Rather than acting as a go-between where things can be lost in translation, there’s an easy way to get personalized questions answered as well as offer a means to keep the dialogue going if needed. 2) Sometimes answers aren’t one-sized-fits-all so questions need to be addressed based on specifics on what people are looking for.

  9. Starlord_ashes 13 May, 2018 at 01:49

    What happen when some cards are revealing themselves as fake copies during your process ? Are they destroyed directly or are they sent back to the owner with some good information ?

  10. Jeff Gallwey 19 May, 2018 at 11:55

    This was a great article, I truly appreciate the insight into the grading process. I’m wondering if you could update or expand on this article to talk about how non-guaranteed submissions are handled ? For instance where do they sit in line ? Do all guaranteed orders always have to be processed first ? Is there anything that advertises current estimated wait times for these types of orders ?

  11. John Hund 2 July, 2018 at 18:09

    Hello, I would be interested in how to train to be a card grader. What is the process that your graders go through and how long does it take? Also, I am in California. Does Beckett have a grading center in multiple locations? Would they provide training to anyone? Thanks for your time

  12. Joe Roux 15 October, 2018 at 14:24

    Hello Mr. Cracknell,
    My father recently passed away and left my mother over 1,000 baseball cards starting back in 1957. What would be the best way and least costly to find the value on all these cards. We have a bunch of Mickey Mantles and when we look at the value guide, I understand the value is based on pristine but if we felt it was on maybe a 6 out of 10 what percentage would we take off the pristine value. I am just trying to fine the fastest way to get an idea on what these cards are worth. Thanks for your help!!

    • Ryan Cracknell 17 October, 2018 at 12:34

      @Joe – There’s a lot that goes into vintage. If you have a local card shop or show, the best place to start would be to take them there. They can give you an idea of the condition and how to check. With that many cards, it might even be worth a bit of a drive if you don’t have one close by.

      As for the price guide, Beckett’s online guide has price for varying conditions. It’s not as fast as scanning a print edition but there’s lots in there. It can be accessed here, although a subscription is required: https://www.beckett.com/opg?utm_content=bkthp&utm_term=opg

  13. Eric 17 October, 2018 at 11:56

    @ryan – why do you not just answer the question when someone ask you ? you keep referring questions here and there and they do not get answered. It is as easy as typing a referral response… :#LazyMuch#MyFingersHurtMommy#JustBeProffesional#JustDoIt

    Just saying it would be more professional and keep customers inclined to use your services, people get redirected everyday in the world they do not need it here with their investments or personal collectibles, again just saying.

    • Ryan Cracknell 17 October, 2018 at 12:26

      @Eric – The explanation is a simple one — I’m on the editorial side of things, not grading. I don’t have the expertise in grading nor do I have the answers they are looking for (not to mention access to customer accounts). We also work in different places so it’s not a matter of popping down the hall.

      Referring people to the contact page gives them direct access to the people who have the answers they’re looking for, whether by phone or by email, from people who are not online. This also helps people get personal answers rather than generic ones.

      Is it perfect? Maybe not. But it’s the best I can do working from my space and others from theirs.

  14. Lily 10 November, 2018 at 22:39

    how to properly pack the cards when sending them for grading? I wish there was a video on how its done.

    Does anyone from Canada knows anything about customs and tax when my cards return to me??
    I mean I have tons of cards i want to get it graded but I am afraid when the cards coming back to me with huge insurance value might be tax.

    Anyone know from Experience??? I already had a chat with Beckett Representatives but I was told it depends on my County…. !! Soooo Not sure where to ask…. and I am from Vancouver B.C … thzzzz

    Hope someone can let me know : )

    Also had a problem with my BGS9 card ((serial number showing a totally different player n grade)) which i already reached out with the team 3 times in the email. First email sent waited 2 weeks with no reply so i sent another one out asking. They said they will have someone in touch with me very soon…. Waited another 3-4 months with no reply still and reached out couple days ago still waiting for a reply. Any help would be appreciated !!!!!!

    • Ryan Cracknell 12 November, 2018 at 17:51

      @Lily – If you check with a local shop, the easiest route would be to do a group submission. A couple of major distributors work with Canadian shops, which makes it easy. I believe they’d handle the shipping and packing as well.

  15. THOMAS P GIARRANTANO 4 May, 2019 at 10:39

    i would like to know what is the cost of grading cards if more than one card

  16. Mark Bourgelas 19 May, 2019 at 11:35

    I have a bccg 10 mint or better card, if I were to send it in to get graded by bgs, would it be guaranteed to come back pristine, since beckett bccg has already said it was a 10 or better?

  17. Mark Dierkes 8 July, 2019 at 18:31

    Would you agree a better selling point for graded cards is an entire 10 or 15-card subset or simply getting surefire HOF’ers and putting them up for auctions?

  18. Vincent Turner 25 September, 2019 at 07:24

    If you are in a different location and cannot answer the questions, how about a direct telephone number to the person they need to talk with, and how about no rationalizations.

  19. John Mooney 19 December, 2019 at 12:10

    I. Recently gave my lifelong collection of sports cards to a major internet Co. And they said that they were going to tear off all of the BCCC graded cards because they don’t accept them because they haven’t been graded properly and that PSA and SGC graded cards bring in a lot more $ because of the inferior grading and that serious collectors won’t buy csds that have a BCCC label on them, why would the card Co. Have done that? Now a lot of my cards are now being sold ungraded!!!

  20. Anthony Malandro 23 January, 2020 at 21:12

    I was away the Pirates Fest and met Bryan Reynolds and had him sign my 2 of 99 Topps 14 x 10 Poster Card. it’s a special
    Order direct through Topps. So it is large. Would they be able to Certify and Encapsulate this card/poster ? And what would the ball park price be ?

  21. Benjamin Burke 5 February, 2020 at 17:21

    Anyone notice in photo at top the inspector guy has fingers all over cards no gloves. I don’t know if just me but I always b@#$%^ when someone is putting fingers on cards or sliding them while opening packs and looking. ive heard prints on surface of card is not something that helps your grade . packing for shipping soft sleeve put a little sticky tab on soft sleeve for easy removal of card by the puller ( to me I believe helps a little in the prevention of damage when removing card and makes there job a little easier ) and put inside the proper fitting hard sleeve

  22. michael arcangel 2 March, 2020 at 10:03

    i just recieved my rated card with a grading of 7.5 -near mint +- i didn’t get any sub grading in the four areas of review – i did request that and paid for that . i got subgrading on the other card i submitted for review at the same time . any reason this wasn’t provided ???? the subheading helps to understand the issues on a specific card !

  23. fbbustam 3 May, 2020 at 17:54

    hi,, I am based in Canada and looking to grade my cards,,, is this possible,
    if yes, can you point me to the right form to use.


  24. Charles J DiDonato 30 May, 2020 at 11:23

    Ryan, thank you for the nice article on your internal grading process! I have a question that hopefully you or your senior management team has discussed. It seems that BGS graded cards do not command the same prices as PSA graded cards when offered for sale. You can verify this on EBAY sold auctions data. I deal primarily in Michael Jordan cards and know this to be true, as I am both a buyer and seller. Why do think this is? Is it a credibility issue? Or possible an inconsistent grading practices issue that causes potential buyers to devalue BGS graded cards? I would really appreciate your thoughts on this verifiable phenomenon. Thanks much! Charlie

    • Ryan Cracknell 30 May, 2020 at 13:14

      @Charlie – I did not write this article.

      You would need to ask the people buying the cards as to why they’re paying what they are. Currently, the highest priced 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan is a BGS 10 that went for $100,000 and that was several years ago. The set registry may be one reason. Some collectors prefer consistency in their graded cards and stick with one company. I’m sure other people have other reasons but I can’t speak for them. Personally, I buy the card first. And if I can find one in the same condition for a better price, I see great value in that.

  25. Javier ramos 18 June, 2020 at 09:47

    Hey Ryan, instead of you keep forwarding questions directly to other areas, teams, or links, try and at least offer some information or advice to these customers, or potential customers, before writing them off quickly. We understand if your too busy to sit there and type a few sentences, but maybe someone else should get in and help you on your busy days. Not trying to down you, but just understand your in the customer service department. And customers keep you in that chair. We all love Beckett. So, just keep it that way for us by being there ok? Have a great day.

    • Ryan Cracknell 18 June, 2020 at 10:52

      @Javier – I understand completely. That said, I am part of editorial, not grading and not customer service. Therefore I don’t have access to a lot of the tools required to help. If I could do more to help I would. The best I can do with our current set up and try to direct folks to the best place where they can reach somebody directly.

  26. Justin Wang 23 June, 2020 at 20:45

    hi curious if centering only consider the front of the card or also the back? I have noticed some Beckett graded 9.5 for something off center on the back a lot so curious if they only grade the front or?

  27. Richard Spurrier 5 August, 2020 at 16:17

    How much do I need to pay in advance for grading my card? Do I need to prepay u or wait until you grade it. If so how much? I’m. not in a hurry to receive it back, just your average turnaround time. Tks for your help
    Rick Spurrier

  28. John wojcik 11 September, 2020 at 18:11

    very helpful have me sold have 2 Mike trout topp s 2011 to get graded but just don’t know the right price to put on submission for valve prices are all over the place

  29. Keith 4 October, 2020 at 15:53

    I have three (3) 2017 Historic Autographs Scripts of the same player. BGS slabbed the cards and were sold this way. The players name is wrong for all three of these cards. Could I send it back in to get a corrected name on the name plate?

  30. Todd Sterhan 9 December, 2020 at 22:44

    Is it acceptable to submit ungraded cards in top loaders with penny sleeves? In the past I read that BGS prefers cards to be submitted in semi-rigid card holders (card saver I or II), but those are tricky to use on thicker cards because of the pressure they put on the corners. The vast majority of collectors/sellers on eBay ship cards in top loaders. Many collectors also prefer to tape shut the open end of the top loader to prevent the card from sliding out, and even seal the top loader in a team bag. I just want to make sure top loaders are acceptable for submission (and not an inconvenience to the graders).

  31. Jesse Schlenker 19 December, 2020 at 21:57

    I was considering Becket for grading but this guy Ryan Cracknell can’t seem to answer any questions, he can only refer so what’s the point of him even replying? To show us how we will get the run-around with this company? A lot of questions could’ve been solved here and a lot of time saved but no……

    • Ryan Cracknell 20 December, 2020 at 21:45

      @Jesse – This page is not monitored by the grading department. I am in editorial and don’t know the ins and outs, particularly in an up-to-the-minute fashion. The contact page is literally the opposite of a “run-around.” It has direct contact info, both email and phone numbers, of multiple people who can answer individual questions.

  32. MeddleEarth 3 March, 2021 at 20:15

    What is the address of Beckett Grading Services? Where do I mail in my cards to be graded?
    And is it okay if I send using USPS?
    Thank you

    • Eric Norton 4 March, 2021 at 11:55

      You can send your cards with whatever carrier you would like. The address is:
      Beckett Grading
      4635 McEwen Road
      Dallas, TX 75244

  33. D 11 March, 2021 at 15:07

    If a card is graded 3 10s and 1 9.5 for the subgrades is it still considered pristine or would it be a gem mint 10?

  34. Jerry Hurtt 8 April, 2021 at 11:31

    Hello, Im trying to figure out the process of getting cards graded. I realize they need to be mailed to Texas, but how does the payment process work??

    • Eric Norton 9 April, 2021 at 05:00

      Payment will occur after your submission has been graded. When you fill out your form you will need to place a CC number on the form so it can be on file.

  35. Alan Anwiya 18 May, 2021 at 03:08

    Hello I’ve listed my fedex account number to be used as return to Australia for my express submission do I have to do anything else like create a label and email to Beckett or what? Also my grading status says label printed is it getting shipped after that ?

  36. Jason 9 June, 2021 at 06:42

    Love how the article picture shows a guy in a Beckett shirt looking at PSA graded cards LOL

    • Eric Norton 9 June, 2021 at 08:19

      That’s actually very common as customers often send in cards for our GCR (Graded Card Review) service.

  37. Edward McArdle 28 July, 2021 at 15:10

    I received a BGS slab that had been damaged in return transit (the plastic was cracked on the upper corner edge). How do I go about getting that card re-encapsulated?

  38. Jeff 14 October, 2021 at 09:42

    Some dumb questions:

    1. If I submit via mail, will there be any email notification that it was received (I have an online account with Beckettt)
    2. It is going to BGS, but if it was before 1980, will BVG grade it?
    3. Once it is graded, will the grade be available online or just when sent back?

    Thank you!

    • Eric Norton 18 October, 2021 at 08:49

      1. You would receive an email once the submission is processed into the system.
      2. Yes, it would be BVG.
      3. Once the submission is completed you will receive an email letting you know what the grade is and it will be on the Pop Report/ Card Look Up as well.

  39. David K Anderson 25 May, 2022 at 18:05

    Hello! At EXACTLY which point in the grading process does the grade get entered into the BGS Population Report? For whatever reason, no one seems to know. Do tell.

    Keep up the great work!


  40. li 15 July, 2022 at 18:01

    Whether the card is carefully cleaned before it is sealed?
    because as sweat etc. can erode the card!

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