The last time the National Sports Collectors Convention took place in 2019, the top three grading companies in the industry offered on-site grading: Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), Beckett Grading Services (BGS) and Sportscard Guaranty (SGC).
This year, two new companies will make their presence felt at The National: Certified Sports Guaranty (CSG) and Hybrid Grading Approach (HGA).
PSA and BGS made industry-altering news earlier this year when both companies had to halt part of their grading submissions because of backlogs. Both will offer on-site grading and authentication at The National.
Sports Collectors Digest caught up with representatives from PSA, BGS and CSG about their plans for the granddaddy of all shows. SCG and HGA did not respond to SCD’s request for information.
PSA EASES BACK IN
On July 1, after a three-month halt on grading submissions, PSA resumed its Express service for $200 per card.
“Our objective with introducing Express at this new price is to manage demand while continuing to allocate the lion’s share of our capacity to the existing backlog,” PSA President Steve Sloan said.
The National: Tips for attending biggest collectible show of year
Sloan noted that during the three-month shutdown, PSA was able to devote 98 percent of its available capacity to the backlog.
Getting caught up also will allow PSA to grade at The National. At past shows in Rosemont, Ill., dedicated PSA collectors weren’t deterred by the long lines to get their items graded. The company will have a small, dedicated team on site for this year’s event.
“Like most hobby enthusiasts, we’re excited about the return of the National,” Sloan said. “It’ll be a great opportunity for us to connect with customers, fellow hobbyists and business partners.”
PSA, which has its monster 90-by-45-foot booth located next to the Breakers Pavilion at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, will be providing onsite authentication, grading and encapsulation for all items, including crossovers, reviews and dual-service except for tickets and packs. On-site card grading will start at $250 per card and all "End of Show" orders must be submitted by noon (CDT) on Saturday, July 31.
PSA will require collectors to use the online submission center — found at PSAcard.com — to place orders prior to visiting the booth. The company noted it will not have any paper/carbon copy forms available for use at the booth and will not be accepting drop-off submissions for any take-home service levels. Every submission has to be received, graded and returned to customers at The National.
For autograph authentication, PSA will be offering a “Show Signer” special for items signed at the show for a discounted rate of $10. A $15 “Single-Signed Baseball” authentication special will also be in effect for any baseballs with an original authentication fee of $35 or less. Autograph encapsulation discounts will be available as well, including a $40 “Funko Encapsulation” special for the authentication and encapsulation of autographed vinyl figure boxes with an original authentication fee of $35 or less. Each of these autographed specials apply only to items with a maximum declared value of $200. For additional details on all of PSA’s special pricing, including for card grading, at The National, visit www.PSAcard.com/National.
BGS BRINGING MORE GRADERS THAN EVER
President of Beckett Collectibles Jeromy Murray is excited to be back at The National. And BGS is going full strength at the show with grading for its customers.
Murray said BGS will be bringing at least 25 percent more graders than it has in the past. However, it can’t have a full-blown staff of graders since the booth is limited. BGS has a 50-by-50-foot booth — the largest offered for vendors. Also, BGS will still have graders back at its Dallas office grading backlogged submissions.
BGS will have full-service capabilities at The National, including auto authentication with letters and certificates of authentication (COAs) and encapsulation of standard sized items. It will also have books, magazines and publications in its booth. New this year, BGS will have Beckett Shield products available for purchase.
“We’re going to be full on-site grading and authentication with slabbing and raw card reviews on the BGS site,” Murray said. “One difference there, more than likely we’re just going to be taking submissions coming back to Dallas for the Premium and Express services. We’re not going to be taking submissions for the Standard and Economy, more than likely. That stuff still needs to be mailed to the office once we open that service back up.
“Through The National, it’s just going to be Premium services offered. We’re doing our best to open up more and more services after the show.”
As of early July, BGS was still working on figuring out its best approach to accepting on-site submissions.
“We’re talking about limiting some of the big dealers that first will come in here and say, ‘Here’s 1,000 cards,’ and bog everything up,” Murray said. “We’re going to do our best to limit those types of submissions, so everybody can get stuff in. Once we announced that we were going to be offering grading on-site, the phones started ringing and they started coming in saying, ‘Hey, save me a spot in line for this many cards and this many cards.’ We want to make sure that everybody’s getting in.”
Murray said his grading staff will be able to knock out thousands of items per day at any of the service levels. If customers submit for on-site services, their items will be done by the time The National wraps up, he said.
Murray suggested collectors stop by the booth and ask when they can expect to have their graded items back. He said each person will be given a turnaround time and notified when their order is ready.
“One of the things that we’re really going to push this year is for people to have an online submission form filled out for a couple different reasons — for speed at the booth, to get the stuff dropped off, get it in line and get it processed much quicker,” he said.
BGS’s pricing structure for The National is as follows:
Raw card review:
• In-line service — $50 per card, $75 if subgrades are requested before grading.
• End of day service (must be submitted at least four hours before show closure) — $100 per card, $150 if subgrades are requested.
• Express service (approximately two hours wait) — $200 per card, $300 with subgrades.
• In-line service — $250 for vintage and modern cards with subgrades, $150 with no subgrades.
• End of day service (must be submitted at least four hours before show closure) — $500 for vintage and modern cards with subgrades, $300 with no subgrades.
• Express service (approximately two hours wait) — $1,000 per card.
• Recases — $50 per card.
CSG READY FOR FIRST-TIME EXPERIENCE
Having launched in mid-February, CSG has come into the industry at a crazy time. CSG, which is a part of the Certified Collectibles Group (CCG), will have more than 25 employees working The National, according to CCG President Max Spiegel.
Spiegel and his staff are excited to experience their first big show.
“We’ve attended a few small shows locally, but this is the first major show for CSG, and we’re going to go all out at the show,” Spiegel said. “We’re bringing a huge team there to do on-site grading. We’ll have a huge booth with a ton of employees there to accept both on-site grading submissions as well as regular submissions, and we’ll have graders who people can meet and chat with.”
For CSG, attending The National is about meeting its customers and getting its name out there to those who aren’t aware of the new grading option for collectors.
“We wanted to find a place that is visible to as many people as possible,” noted Spiegel, who said CSG will have a 35-by-40-foot booth among the dealers. “We know that there are still many more collectors who don’t know about our company and our services and benefits. We just wanted to be positioned to meet the most possible people. I think no matter where we are in the show, people will definitely find us. We’ll have tons of signage and I think it will be worth people looking out for us.”
CSG will be offering on-site grading as well as submissions that will be taken back to CSG’s office in Sarasota, Fla.
“If you want to choose on-site grading, that’s great, we’ll get it back to you by the end of the show,” Spiegel said. “But if you’d rather pay a little bit less but wait a little bit longer, you can save money on the one-way shipping to our headquarters.”
The fee structure for take-home submissions will be the same as normal. Elite members will still receive a 10 percent discount on grading for those submissions.
CSG’s pricing structure for on-site grading at The National is as follows:
• Unlimited WalkThrough: Maximum value per card – none; cost — $250, plus 1 percent fair market value (maximum fee $5,000).
• WalkThrough: Maximum value per card — $50,000; cost — $200.
• Express: Maximum value per card — $10,000; cost — $100.
• Standard: Maximum value per card — $1,000; cost — $50.
• Crossover: Maximum value per card — according to tier; cost —according to tier.
• Reholder: Maximum value per card — $10,000; cost — $20.
• High-Value Reholder: Maximum value per card — none; cost — $50.
Spiegel is expecting a big crowd at the CSG booth.
“It’s hard to predict how many submissions that we’ll be getting but based on what I’ve seen just through our normal submissions, I think it’s going to be incredibly busy,” he said. “I would encourage customers to submit as early as possible, especially if they want to do on-site grading. I would predict that we’re going to have to cut off our on-site grading early, just because I think that demand is going to far exceed our capacity.”
If CSG does have to cut off on-site grading early, it has a take-home option with no fee for one-way shipping.
CGS will have grading teams at The National as well as its office.
“We want to be able to serve both our customers at The National as well as the people that have already submitted to us here in Sarasota,” Spiegel said.