Which makes the grade?

The battle for graded supremacy: PSA vs BGS


As much as people want to say that they collect cards for fun, there are thousands of other people collecting for profit.  Over the last 10 years, card grading has taken off as the best way to ensure your cards will retain value.  Speaking generally, of course.  If a modern-day player falls off of the map, that perfect ‘mint’ grade might not mean as much down the road.

There are a handful of different slabs out on the market, but I wanted to focus on the top two: PSA and BGS.  Professional Sports Authenticators began in 1998 to help stop the production of counterfeit cards and has grown into a multi-media giant in the collecting world.  Its website boasts over 20 million collectibles being certified and they’ve become a household name.

Beckett Inc. is the parent of BGS, or Beckett Grading Services. They feature a 10-point scale with half-points given.  Something not found on PSA grades.  BGA also features color coded enhancements to easily tell which cards are ranked higher in the graded scale.  The gold strip at the top is definitely what you want.

They both offer a system for registering your graded cards and the ability to see how many grades your card has received.  This is called the Pop Report.  The population of cards with different grades can create a higher value if that particular card hasn’t graded as well.

For collectors interested in keeping up with their graded cards, PSA offers its magazine Sports Market Report, and BGS has graded pricing on its online price guide.

Well, then- what’s the difference?

Besides a difference in the shape of the slab, ( BGS has a more sturdy feel to it) there isn’t a whole lot of difference until you look at which cards are affected.

On a unscientific Twitter poll, collectors said vintage cards were best with PSA and modern day cards with BGS.  The thing is, BGS also offers BVG, which is specifically intended for vintage cards.

Let’s look at recent prices.

Vintage Cards- 1965 Topps Joe Morgan

Recently Sold PSA:

  • PSA 4 VG-EX     $16.00
  • PSA 5 EX             $22.58
  • PSA 8 NM-MT   $225.00


Recently Sold BVG:

  • BVG 4.5  VG-EX  $15.50
  • BVG 5.5  VG          $45.00
  • BVG 7 NR MT       $104.83
  • BVG 8   NM-MT    202.50


Modern Day Card- 2011 Bowman Chrome Bryce Harper

Recently sold PSA:

  • PSA 10 GEM MINT    $27.70
  • PSA 9 Mint                    $12.99
  • PSA 8 NM-MT              $3.25


Recently sold BGS:

  • BGS 9 MINT                    $9.39
  • BGS 9.5 GEM MINT     $22.50
  • BGS 10 PRISTINE        $91.00


When it comes to the vintage cards, PSA and BGS are fairly similar in pricing.  Those were auction prices, but definitely fluctuate enough to be similar in comparison.  When it comes to the modern day cards, because BGS goes up to 10, (not 11) they PRISTINE label is much sought-after.

Full disclosure-  I have purchased both PSA and BGS graded cards, and I just like the look and feel of them.  Makes it more than just a sports card.  I have also decided to send if my first cards for grading.  Stay tuned to see how I did!