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Old 08-20-2014, 11:15 AM
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scooter729 scooter729 is offline
Scott S
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Default Card Grading vs. Autograph Grading

Im one of those who collects both vintage cards and some vintage autographs. While I do think the grading companies do provide a great service (I know others will argue this point), but I find the numerical grading standards applied to be far from consistent.

On the card side, a card can have fantastic eye appeal, but certain slight issues (spot of paper loss on the back, very minor crease) can knock a NM card down to a grade of 2-3.

On the other hand, a vintage ball can require some eye strain to read it, yet get a similar 2-3 grade.

It does make me wonder are the companies too harsh in grading cards? Im not suggesting the old-school grading tiers from 30+ years ago (a card called VG now was accepted as EX-MT then type stuff), but when cards like this Cracker Jack (mine) get a 2 (on a 1-10 scale), and this Lou Gehrig autograph (currently in SCP's auction - I have no affiliation) gets a grade of a 3 (also 1-10), it makes me question the systems in place.

Now, I'm not faulting the SCP grade on the Gehrig - it seems to meet the PSA / DNA description:
VG 3: Very Good. A PSA VG 3 is an autograph that is noticeably faded throughout. The autograph must still be approximately 50% visible to the naked eye. Advanced degrees of the above mentioned defects might be more noticeable at this stage with major eye-appeal issues clearly visible. For example, a surface defect on the item itself that has, in essence, removed a small part of the signature, may be acceptable within this grade.

It just makes me wonder why the same company would have such differing standards for very similar services it provides.

Thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 08-20-2014, 11:20 AM
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Runscott Runscott is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scooter729 View Post
...and this Lou Gehrig autograph (currently in SCP's auction - I have no affiliation) gets a grade of a 3 (also 1-10), it makes me question the systems in place.
...

Thoughts?
Since you asked...... My thinking is that card-grading serves a purpose; if nothing else, the slab provides a uniform look for cards from different sets, protects, creates a commodity that can be more easily priced and perhaps makes storage easier. I won't get into the negatives, especially the dishonesty that results from the 'more easily priced' aspect.

But autograph grading? I don't understand why anyone cares about anything other than authenticity. Don't most autograph collectors have eyes?
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Old 08-20-2014, 11:41 AM
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Dustin Bellinger
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When I am shopping vintage cards I prefer to buy graded cards. Better protection, storage, and display appeal. I pay a bit of a premium but since I buy a good percentage of lower grade cards the premium is less than I would spend buying equivelent raw cards and submitting them myself. With an autograph I am surprised when I see graded autographs. My #1 concern as a buyer is the authenticty. I can make asthetic judements about the eye appeal myself. If an auto is authenticated I get all the benefits of en apsulation that I like. As a buyer the grade on the auto isnt going to affect what I am willing to pay.
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Old 08-20-2014, 11:52 AM
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Good points, guys - makes sense. I don't base an autograph purchase on the grade assigned to it either, but felt the need to throw the question out there when I saw the faded Gehrig with surface loss being called "Very Good" and reading the PSA / DNA description of its grades....
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Old 08-20-2014, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Runscott View Post
...

But autograph grading? I don't understand why anyone cares about anything other than authenticity. Don't most autograph collectors have eyes?
I think consistency is all that really matters. For example, for a card, if someone says, I have a great looking T206 Red Cobb, but it grades a 1 due to a pinhole, people know what to expect. Similarly, if someone tells a dealer, I'm looking for a Lou Gehrig auto that grades around 4-6, that dealer knows which autos to look for you. Then when he brings out all of his autos around that grade, the buyer knows approx. what's coming also.
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:06 PM
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I think consistency is all that really matters. For example, for a card, if someone says, I have a great looking T206 Red Cobb, but it grades a 1 due to a pinhole, people know what to expect. Similarly, if someone tells a dealer, I'm looking for a Lou Gehrig auto that grades around 4-6, that dealer knows which autos to look for you. Then when he brings out all of his autos around that grade, the buyer knows approx. what's coming also.
Do you actually order autographs from dealers that way?

No one I know would make such a request - they would instead say that they were looking for a 'nice' Gehrig, or 'something around $3,000'. If there were any consistency in what 'around 4-6' actually meant, then maybe autograph collectors would begin using such terminology.
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Runscott View Post
Do you actually order autographs from dealers that way?

No one I know would make such a request - they would instead say that they were looking for a 'nice' Gehrig, or 'something around $3,000'. If there were any consistency in what 'around 4-6' actually meant, then maybe autograph collectors would begin using such terminology.
Personally, I don't collect autos. However, I've seen enough of them to pretty know much that anything under a 5 for an auto is pretty bad looking. I agree that the price range and "nice" would also work, but the auto grade would give more detail to exactly how "nice" the buyer is looking for. Obviously, it wouldn't be required.
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:28 PM
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Regarding 5's-not necessarily. The grading isn't consistent.

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Old 08-20-2014, 12:46 PM
Gmrson Gmrson is offline
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I can $ee why they would offer $uch a $ervice. Maybe they can $how us all that grade$ are important?
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Old 08-20-2014, 12:52 PM
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Greg Ryk0w$k1
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I either buy from a reputable source, (Hi Jim!!) or I buy slabbed just so I know it's authentic (or hope it's authentic). I look at multiple examples before purchasing to judge the "look" of the signature and make my decision based on what the signature is on (card, index card, photo, etc.), what was used to make the signature (pen, pencil, sharpie,etc.) and the age of the signature.
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