Grading For Profit FAIL

These days, there’s nothing greater than pulling a Tiger Woods certified autograph. If that once in a lifetime pull comes from a mid-level priced product, it’s an even bigger accomplishment. When Wax Heaven reader, Larry, pulled his, he immediately went on eBay and sold the card.

He made well-over $2,300 in the sale.

Larry was even honest in the description when he told potential buyers that the card was slightly mis-cut. Two months later, that very same Tiger autograph returned to eBay, this time in a Beckett Grading Service slab. Unfortunately, the card graded a “6.5” due to the bad off-centering job and ultimately sold for $650 dollars less.

This goes to show that while there is lots of money to be made from collectors who get their cards graded, all it takes is one nasty grade to lose boatloads of money in the final selling price. When you think about the fact that grading costs from $9-$26 dollars per card, this collector paid to lower the value of his Tiger Woods autograph.

2009 Upper Deck Goudey



  1. I’m with James, I would’ve busted it out of the slab if it got a low grade.

    One thing I don’t understand about grading is how a card can get a perfect BGS 10, yet not score all 10s in all four criterias.

    This past summer, I remember seeing a “perfect” Michael Jordan rookie card sell for $82,000. But if you saw the card, it had a score of 9.5 for surface. Now to me, that isn’t a perfect 10. Shouldn’t a card score all 10s to be considered a 10? Makes sense to me.

    Here’s a link to the card:

  2. One thing I don’t understand about grading is how a card can get a perfect BGS 10, yet not score all 10s in all four criterias.

    A card can have a 9.5 in a sub-category and still get a 10 = it’s decided by a group of graders on whether or not the imperfection is subtle enough to still have the eye-appeal of a 10.. In most cases, it’s won’t get the 10 – but a 9.5 in surface in that case was deemed not to detract much at all, which makes sense.. The only way you’d be able to tell the difference between a 9.5 and a 10 in surface would be to hold the card under magnification at the perfect angle in the perfect light..

    All that is assuming that things are run by the book however, and that there are no shady graders that may be able to be swayed in some way.. Whether or not that’s true, I can’t really help ya, lol.

  3. I’m not a fan of getting cards graded, never have been. If there happens to be a graded card in a collection I buy, thats fine. But I’m not going to go out of my way to send cards in to get BGS slabbed. Let other people pay for the corners…

  4. Just because it is a premium name, when it comes to grading the raw copy maybe just fine not graded. I can see if you have a nice copy of a 86 Jordan, a vintage card or even a 2001 Pujols, but when you see any flaw, leave it be. 2300.00 guy made out of a 75.00 to 95.00 box, and the guy who bought learned a lesson, just because the name says Tiger, it doesn’t mean that you will be getting any more than what you paid. Grading is a great tool, as long as it doesn’t make you one.

  5. Knowing that the card is not centered, the guys should have just had the card slabbed and grade just the autograph. He was really a moron for getting the card itself graded.

  6. Why the hell would anyone sent THAT particular card in that condition (centering) in for grading and expect to profit on it? That’s just stupid.

    Grading for profit can be done, but it’s one of those practices where you need to be “all-in” in order to maximize profits. This means grading in bulk to save on costs.

    As for grading in general, I really like the BGS/BVG slabs for vintage cards (1980 and earlier). For a while I REALLY liked the slabs for all of my good PC rookies, but the practice of grading/slabbing is expensive and a grade of “8.5” is kind of a turn off. I don’t mind buying 8.5 cards for my collection, but the slabs are kinda ugly in that particular grade.

  7. It makes sense to have the card slabbed for protection but yeah, he could have gotten it dubbed “authentic” and been off much better.

  8. another point is the fluctuation of ebay auctions altogether

    who is to say that the 6.5 had THAT much of an effect on the end price when sometimes ebay is just weird like that?

  9. The card-grading industry is the biggest scam around. Most of the graders are no more qualified than an experienced collector, high-volume submitters get preferential treatment (i.e. higher grades), and with PSA joining everyone else last year in having 17 different grades, the difference between grades is now so miniscule as to be pointless.

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