After attempting to keep up with an overwhelming number of trading card submissions, Beckett Grading Services has announced that it is temporarily suspending its grading services.
PSA, the sports collectible industry's largest grading service, suspended its services in March due to what it called an "avalanche" of card submissions. Now Beckett, the second-largest card-grading company, has made the same move.
"Beckett will suspend all grading submissions other than our Premium Level," Beckett President Jeromy Murray said in a statement on the company's website Tuesday.
"All orders that are submitted under the Express, Standard, and Economy level will be returned to the customer, ungraded. The reason behind this decision is simply to allow us to focus on the growing backlog we have and to get as many cards back to customers as possible, before the National. This is not ideal for anyone but something our competition has done. We now feel this is right the move for Beckett. Again, this is going to be temporary and something we believe will improve our availability for the remainder of 2021 and into 2022."
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PSA suspended its services because of a backlog of as many as 10 million cards, which left customers waiting as long as nine months to get their cards back. Murray told SCD in March that Beckett was also backed up by about a million cards.
“It’s millions upon millions of cards and thousands upon thousands of orders that are still in our vault,” Murray said. “We’ve had to expand our vaults; we’ve had to expand our workspace. We’re hiring as quickly as possible and have done a really, really good job adding to our operations staff and our operations into our graders."
Beckett's move comes as it prepares for the National Sports Collectors Convention, which looks like it will be held as planned July 28-Aug. 1. Beckett plans to have a big presence at the National and suspended its services to help prepare for the biggest event of the year. It plans to be onsite for card grading and authentication. It will also have its new Beckett Shield protective products available for purchase.
"We plan to fully support this show, as we have for years," Murray said. "Specifics are still coming together, but please know that Beckett will be onsite for your card grading and autograph authentication services. ... More details will be announced in the coming weeks but please know, Beckett will once again be your one-stop shop to meet all your grading/authentication needs, to service your pricing needs, and now a place to grab your card sleeves/cases."
Beckett is also "strongly" encouraging customers to use its online submission form when submitting BGS or BAS orders.
"Using this platform will create a much more efficient order submission process," Murray said. "Conformations, updates, and moving cards through the system will also be positively affected and shorten the timeline."
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Despite the temporary shutdown, Beckett and Murray are encouraged and excited about the growth of the industry in the past 18 months.
"It seems like yesterday Beckett and others in the collectibles world were in the midst of trying to figure out what havoc COVID-19 was going to have on our industry," Murray said. "No shows, card manufacturing shutdowns, problems getting supplies, and shops closing were just a few of the things many of us worried about and dealt with over the past 12+ months. Thankfully, it appears that many of those concerns/issues are subsiding and our market has flourished to levels we have never seen.
"It is truly exciting to be involved in this industry and to see the growth we are all experiencing. We believe the best is yet to come!"