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Instant card grading with AI? Yeah, it’s a thing

With top-of-the-line card-grading services already well established—and Certified Sports Guaranty card-grading service launching in February—is there room for one that is automated with the use of artificial intelligence?

Well, ready or not, one has arrived on the scene called Card-Boss, but whether it can compete with the big boys remains to be seen.

The CSG grading team is led by Andy Broome and Westin Reeves, who have more than 30 years of combined experience in sports card grading. Card-Boss, meanwhile, is an online, automated card-grading service that uses AI and image processing to grade cards instantly (OK, within 10 to 15 minutes to be more precise).

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“The sports card hobby has recently seen a surge in interest, partly due to the pandemic quarantine,” Card-Boss stated in its introductory press release. “With more enthusiasts submitting their cards for grading, traditional card-grading companies are backlogged for months. Card-Boss hopes to fill this need with its auto-grading service built on AI.”

It uses a patent-pending algorithm based on image segmentation and AI to grade the card on corners, edges, surfaces, stain detection and focus.

CSG also gives grades—numerically—for centering, corners, edges and surface, and an overall grade, such as the 9.5 Gem Mint given a 1986-87 Fleer Michael Jordan (shown here). It, too, utilizes AI as part of its grading process.

Card-Boss grades cards from A to F with an A awarded cards in the best condition. The platform is easy to use. You take a photo of the card, upload it to the site and wait for an email saying the card has been graded. Then, you go back to the site and check it out.

Card-Boss has a free introductory offer to use the platform, so for comparison, we downloaded a few cards that have already been graded by PSA that are currently up for auction at Clean Sweep. Here are the grades we got back from Card-Boss:

A T206 Honus Wagner that PSA graded a VG 3 was given D’s for Edge Detection, Corner Detection and Surface Grade. Overall, it was a D.

A 1915 Cracker Jack Joe Jackson that PSA graded a Good+ 2.5 was given an A for Edge Detection, a C for Corner Detection and a D for Surface Grade. Overall, it was a B.

A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle that PSA graded a PR 1 was given an F for Edge Detection, and C’s for Corner Detection and Surface Grade. Overall, it was a D.

A 1972 Topps Julius Erving that PSA graded a NM-MT 8 was given a D for Edge Detection, a C for Corner Detection and a D for Surface Grade. Overall, it was a C.

Of these cards, the Erving card appeared in the best condition, with sharp edges and corners, near-perfect centering and a clean face. We thought it deserved at least a B.

“Our mission is to ensure that every card collector gets access to automated card grading at the lowest prices possible, without delays or inaccuracies,” Card-Boss founder Tina Sebastian, a former software developer, said in a statement.

Check it out for yourself at card-boss.com. You’ll also want to check out CSG, the newest grading service on the block, at csgcards.com.

Shop Costco for collectibles? Yes, it’s true. A search on the Costco Wholesale website revealed some pricy collectibles that are being featured in a limited-time offer.

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For instance, you can purchase a Ty Cobb autographed bat for $159,999.99. It boasts of being hand-signed by Cobb in 1949 and a 10 grade for condition and signature from PSA/DNA.

Or, how about a Babe Ruth Autographed Home Run Special Baseball, graded a PSA 8 and coming with a letter of authenticity, for $63,999.99? Or a Ted Williams Autographed Game Model Bat for $1,199.99? 

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Or an autographed Aaron Judge Yankees jersey, obtained through the MLB Authentication Program, for $699.99? Or a New York Yankees World Series MVPs Autographed Baseball, featuring 10 Yankee MVP winners, also from the MLB Authentication Program, for $2,099.99?

Costco for collectibles—who knew?

The match game: Resolution Photomatching boosted its inventory of sports photos for its photo-matching business by acquiring a new photography collection that brings its total database close to 1 million.

“Sourced from a prominent sports photographer from the East Coast, the assemblage includes both his own photography and image lots he has acquired from fellow photographers over the years,” John Robinson of Resolution Photomatching told SCD. “Totaling roughly 100,000 photos, it includes baseball, basketball, football, and hockey images, spanning from the 1960s to present day. A vast majority of the images are not online in any other database.”

It’s the second significant new photography collection Resolution Photomatching has acquired in the past year.

Dave Strege is SCD Editor. Contact him at dstrege@aimmedia.com.