Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Grade Is In On The Strasburg 1/1 Red Auto

Im dumbfounded as to why someone would grade a card like the Strasburg 1/1 auto out of 2010 Bowman. Because the card is "worth" so much money to people who would pay the price of a down payment on a house to own it, grading it would seem to be the worst possible idea. If it comes back anything less than a 9.5 you have already chopped some of the value off it, and if it comes back 9.5 or above, the card was already worth more than the risk to have it graded.

Funny enough, that’s exactly what happened. The guy who pulled it put it into an auction house display, and had it graded through Beckett, of course. Aside from the fact that he trusted a 20,000 dollar card to other people for any period of time, it came back a 9. There are multiple explanations that I will discuss, but I just wanted to share my half-LOL over the grade. That’s what you get. If it is indeed a protection thing, which for an auction house may be required, just get it authenticated and call it a day. Then you have the protection but not the ugly look of the completed grade. It takes away from the presentation without a doubt, either way, but at least there is no silver tag on it.

Now, onto the discussion about the grade itself.

Beckett obviously knew the importance of getting this card done the way it NEEDS to get done, instead of simply grading a card a 9.5 just because of the high profile nature of it. The problem with the controversial Strasburg Superfractor is that us "expert" graders felt that just about every aspect of the grade itself was inflated to get Beckett the publicity. If it were graded a 9 or an 8.5 like it should have been, people wouldn’t have had the reaction Beckett wanted them to have. Obviously, it backfired on them and they got smoked.

This card looks A LOT better than the Superfractor, but it got a lower grade because of the subgrades for corners and surface. Honestly, I don’t see how it could be less "super-mega-pristine-mint" than the Superfractor. Its most likely a lesser because Beckett didn’t want egg on their face for the millionth time this decade, and this is the one time that I actually see them in a no-win situation. If they grade it a 9.5, we call them out again for fucking up the Strasburg 1/1 auto AND the Strasburg Super. That’s a track record that hurts business. If they grade it anything less, its because they knew what would happen if they didn’t. Basically, there is not a way they could do it right. Even if for some god forsaken reason they hold true to their arbitrary standards and give it the grade it deserves, it doesn’t matter because they screwed, scratch that, RAPED the pooch on the previous card.

It is this argument that I have stated NUMEROUS times when going over the grading business not service. This business that Beckett has brought to the forefront of the hobby is an unregulated paid service that generates them more money than their magazine at this point. Even though Beckett has constantly addressed that their public figureheads have nothing to do with BGS, the company still has to answer for the mistakes of both. The video explaining the grade for the Super was a big mistake, the grade itself was an even bigger mistake, and it actually calls a lot of stuff into question for a lot of collectors who may not have questioned that stuff in any other scenario. If the Super was graded a 9, and this was graded a 9, you have no problem with people who don’t usually get involved. But because you have the inferior super at 9.5 and the superior red at 9, people start to question everything about everything.

Personally, this is just one card in a series of thousands that I would question. Without getting into my disregard for the entire grading process, its impossible to do it right with humans and human tendencies running the show. That’s the bottom line. To say that the graders themselves have no idea what type of shit storm they are handling each time they do a card like the Super or the red auto, is ridiculous. They know exactly what is going on and they have specific instructions. You know why? Because no regulatory body will ever question what they say. They have established themselves as THE graders, and they have also made it abundantly clear that we have NO right to question them. Well, no. Fuck them.

This is where your questions and concerns finally show them that they are not an unquestionable titan.


  1. Stop acting surprised that baseball cards ARE a business.

  2. Gellman, another fine post. I commend you for trying to make this a better hobby/business. I also appreciate your willingness to allow for different points of view.

    While I tend to agree that 1 of 1s don't need to be graded, "Grading Services" have a valuable place in our hobby/business. Buying and selling on the internet has necessitated an unbiased third party "expert" judgement on the condition of the cards we sell. Graded cards has saved me tons of "ebay" time and helped me turn a profit.

    Grading is accomplished by humans, capable of making mistakes. And, those of us who believe in "The Agenda" or conspirecies, just don't know who we can trust. From my view, PSA, BGS/BVG, and SGC are all better than dealing with the bias of the personal owner of a card or we are trying to determine condition from a eBay scan.

    I wise man said "You can never win an arguement in religion or politics." We can add card grading to that list of unwinables. However, we can explain why we like or dislike all or some grading services.

    I happen to like Beckett Grading and place them on a higher level than the other two. Having viewed many thousands of graded cards, I have concluded Beckett to the hardest grader and the most consistent with their published standard (I did not say I agree with them 100% of the time, especially when they grade my cards.). I also find Beckett to have the best customer service and the most willing to listen to my questioning their grades on my cards.

  3. Do I think this card is overpriced? That is really besides the point.

    Let's be honest... this card mostly comes down to what a person is willing to pay for it. Let's not kid ourselves about grading this card... is a 9 grade on this card really going to make it That more valuable? What if it wasn't even graded in the first place, how would that affect it's 'perceived' value? If Strasburg get's injured next year and ends up pitching a 3 year career, how then will a 9 grading affect it's value? (that may have been a bit exaggerated, but you get the point)

    There are way too many other factors that affect cards value and the difference between a 9 or 9.5 really doesn't matter in the Grand Scheme of things!

    By the way, I do think the card is overpriced.

  4. Grading has its purpose - to lock in condition and authenticity. But I've always said that a Gem 10 card should be valued at no more than the high book value of a raw card.
    The artificial inflation of card values on the word of corporations is a ridiculous concept. I've seen advertisements for raw NMt cards at $4 and a graded version for three digits. That's just laughable. But I bet these people who pull the Strasburgs are figuring if it's five digits raw, then it'll be seven digits graded Gem Mint 10.
    Every time I hear "Gem Mint 10" I think of that guy with the lisp on late night shopping TV.

  5. Hi, Charlie Beckett here.
    Just wanted to clear up a common misconception share by many. Please view page 30 of the Sept. 2010 Baseball Beckett. "The HI column represents the typical full retail selling price while the LO column represents the lowest price one could expect to find through extensive shopping. Both columns represent the same condition for the card listed." And by looking at the "Price Guide Percentage by Grade," also on page 30, this would reflect a "Mint Grade" or BGS 9 for cards 1981 to the present.

    The HI and LO columns are reflections of reported sales. Since the reported "Mint" card sale was based only on the opinion of the seller, it is unknown how many of the reported "Mint" cards sold were actually something less than mint. Therefore, the prices listed in the LO column are likely influenced by "over grading" by the seller.

    Not all "Gem Mint 10s" are equal. Each grading service has its own standards and standards application by grading individuals. While PSA, SGC, and BGS/BVG are all good, I've seen some "laughable" "Gem Mint 10s" from other companies. If you paid HI column for one of these other "Gem Mint 10s," you probably did not get your money's worth.

    The sales prices listed in the various price guides are based upon actual sales as determined by seller and buyer agreements. Actually, the buyer has final say in the transaction, because the buyer can choose to keep his money in his pocket. Sellers can ask "laughable" prices, but the buyer is in control and is the final judge in the value/cost/price of the transaction.

    Most of my cards are raw. However, most of the cards I sell on eBay are graded. Why? This is because a significant number of people prefer to buy BGS/BVG graded cards and are willing to pay a premium for that service. The people who pay a premium for that service are often richer than you or me. People with money didn't get their money by being dumb. So, I sell graded cards to smart people with money.

  6. We really need to get into Lows and Highs? Come on now!