Walking Through the BGS Process
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.
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.
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
2 – G (Good)
3 – VG (Very Good)
3.5 – VG+
4 – VG-EX (Very Good-Excellent)
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.
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?
@dominic — The BGS team will be able to answer your questions and address any concerns: https://www.beckett.com/grading/team
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.
@Larry — You can reach out to the grading team to see if anything can be done to help you: https://www.beckett.com/grading/team
How do u go about getting a card graded?
@Linda: The BGS page can be found here: https://www.beckett.com/grading and submission forms here: https://www.beckett.com/images/BGS_subform.pdf
If you have any further questions, please contact a member of the BGS team here: https://www.beckett.com/grading/team
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.
@Dale – Please contact a member of the BGS team here and they can help you out: https://www.beckett.com/grading/team
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
@Frank – Please contact a member of the BGS team here: https://www.beckett.com/grading/team
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.
@Bradley — Some people do resubmit. You can contact a member of the grading team with any questions on specifics here: https://www.beckett.com/grading/team
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
@Julius — Please contact the BGS team through this page and they should be able to help you out: https://www.beckett.com/grading/team
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!
@Kevin – Prices can be found here: https://www.beckett.com/grading/compare-our-services
There’s no limit on how many cards you can send in. The grading team handles orders of all sizes.
How are others supposed to know the answers to the above questions if all you do is refer them to the BGS team?
@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.
When will September 2017 non-guarantee orders be worked on?
@adam — Please check in with a member of the BGS team for an update on your order: https://www.beckett.com/grading/team
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 ?
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 ?
How much does it cost to have a card graded?
@Benny – Price can be found here: https://www.beckett.com/grading/compare-our-services
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
@John — The application can be viewed here: https://careers-beckett.icims.com/jobs/3068/beckett-grading-services%2c-sports-non-sports-grader/job
You can also reach out to the HR team through the application with specific questions.
Hello I have a card graded by CSA, was wondering would you put it into a BGS slab?
@mike – Shouldn’t be a problem. You can reach a member of the BGS team directly through this page: http://beckett.com/grading/team
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!!
@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
@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.
@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.
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 !!!!!!
@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.
What grade would i get if i had 8.5, 9.5, 10, 10?
i would like to know what is the cost of grading cards if more than one card
@THOMAS – Grading prices and options can be found here: https://www.beckett.com/grading/compare-our-services
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?
@Mark – BCCG is a different program than BGS. We’re on the editorial side here but if you reach out to a member of the grading team here: https://www.beckett.com/grading/team, they can answer any of your questions.
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?
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.
@Vincent – Contact for the grading team can be found here: https://www.beckett.com/grading/team
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!!!
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 ?
@Anthony – If you contact Beckett Authentication through this page, they will be able to give you the exact specifications: https://www.beckett-authentication.com/contact-us
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
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 !
@michael – Please reach out directly to a member of the grading team via this page: https://www.beckett.com/grading/team
What does “moved to repository” mean as a part of the grading process?
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.
You can submit if you’re in Canada. The grading site is available at: https://www.beckett.com/grading
If you have any further questions, please reach out to a member of the team directly at https://www.beckett.com/grading/team
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
@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.
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.
@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.
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?
@Justin – Centering applies to both the front and the back.
What does moves to repository mean?
Sorry. “moved” to repository
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
@Richard – Pricing is available on this page: https://www.beckett.com/grading/compare-our-services
How come no answer to moved to repository???
@Allen – The best way to get answers regarding grading is through the contact page here: https://www.beckett.com/grading/team
The editorial team mans this area and we have nothing to do with grading.
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
If i am from the uk how easy is it for me to get my cards graded with beckett ?
@Kenny – Details on the various grading options and price can be found here: https://www.beckett.com/grading/compare-our-services
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?
@Keith – Please check in with a member of the grading team directly through this page: https://www.beckett.com/grading/team
My cards have been sent to the repository. What is that?
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).
@Todd – According to the submission forms, penny sleeve and semi-rigids are preferred: https://www.beckett.com/grading/bgs_submission_form
If you check in with a BGS rep, they can answer with more specifics: https://www.beckett.com/grading/team
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……
@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.
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?
You can send your cards with whatever carrier you would like. The address is:
4635 McEwen Road
Dallas, TX 75244
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?
That would be a Pristine.
Hello, my order has been sent for 8 months and there is no news
You want to reach out to email@example.com for an update on your order. That would be the fastest way to get the assistance you need.
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??
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.
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 ?
Alan, if you reach out to your grading rep or firstname.lastname@example.org a BGS Rep can assist you here.
Love how the article picture shows a guy in a Beckett shirt looking at PSA graded cards LOL
That’s actually very common as customers often send in cards for our GCR (Graded Card Review) service.
It has been 10 months since my card arrived at beckett. I don’t receive any emails? email@example.com he does not reply to you
I would suggest reaching out directly to your grading rep. I would start with firstname.lastname@example.org.
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?
@Edward — Sorry to hear that. The best thing to do would be to give someone a call directly through this page and they will let you know what to do: https://www.beckett.com/grading/team
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?
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.
getting curious im sure everyone else is also some people can’t wait some can keep up the good grading beckett you guys are great thanks
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!
Whether the card is carefully cleaned before it is sealed？
because as sweat etc. can erode the card！
What does it mean when it says your cards are moved to repository status?