Why are there so many more grading companies now? And which one should I focus on collecting more and which one to avoid?
PSA, BGS and CGC.
The rest are a waste of time, in my opinion
PSA: gold standard everyone uses. Best choice for resale value and collectible value overall. No sub-grades.
BGS: most reputable, respected, imo. Sub-grades available. Black labels on flawless cards which is an extra special chase for some collector’s. Very hard to obtain. Not the best if you’re grading for resale but nice if you care about sub-grades or are trying to get a 10, as BGS 10 is usually more valuable than PSA 10 (and black label is even better).
CGC: a comic company that got into grading cards. many collectors aren’t interested in CGC it sort of became an option for people because PSA was closed. I think it’s mostly used by flippers and people who dont like PSA? Value is under PSA and BGS both. I wouldn’t personally use them but I know people that defend them so dyor I guess.
Other companies: don’t bother.
There aren’t many grading companies, only a few legit companies, and a large handful of wannabies that are about to go out of “business” even though they were never actually a business.
I don’t collect graded cards, but CGC slabs are by far the most appealing. The case is clear, the label is larger and limits abbreviation. PSA cases are foggy and the label abbreviates words very poorly. I never held a BGS case so can’t provide insight there.
Another note - PSA is a sports card grading company that does Pokémon as a side business, a VERY LARGE side business, so partially joking there. However, they don’t seem too interested in listening to feedback from customers on updating the variants on cards. For example, it took years to get 1999-2000 put on the label for base set, fossil, etc. But CGC does the work for you and does this automatically.
Thanks for the knowledge. I saw on ebay that there’s so many different labels and I’m like…what’s going on here.
If you care about resale value, go with PSA. PSA tends to hold the most value out of the big three - PSA, BGS, CGC, except for maybe BGS and CGC 10s.
If its for your personal collection and you are not planning to sell, go with the company whose slab design you like best.
In terms of slab design, I agree with @eeveeteam that CGC slabs look the best. The plastic have the best clarity and it feels higher in quality than the other two. Some might find the blue label off-putting though but I think it looks fine.
PSA slabs always have random frosting spots on their cases. Their slabs feel kind of cheap and filmsy compared to CGC and BGS. Not to mention the bad abbreviations on the label as well.
BGS slabs have the lowest clarity in my opinion. Their slabs do provide better protection as it feels the most sturdy out of the three. One thing I notice is that BGS slabs tend to have more debri inside due to having an inner sleeve too.
That being said, most of my slabs are from PSA!
Something worth mentioning is that a lot of the other grading companies have just popped up in the past couple years due to the increased popularity of slabs and card grading and the backlog at PSA & BGS. The problem is, they are unlikely to build a reputation long-term like PSA or other big graders and will probably go out of business as the bigger companies continue to open up more and lower their prices. It just won’t make sense to grade with some startup/backyard grading company, and especially as slab prices have continued to drop and stabilize and a supply of PSA slabs continue to flood the market.
At this point within Pokemon, I would say PSA & CGC are your ‘go to’ for grading, with PSA still being the #1 choice for the majority of collectors. BGS has been around for card grading a while, but they have never had a great reputation among Pokemon collectors specifically until you get into higher end grades (BGS 9-9.5+).
Another factor is the era of cards you are collecting (i.e. vintage vs modern) can have an impact. For example, even though PSA is the dominant grader in Pokemon by a wide margin, some modern collectors have been going for CGC or BGS 10s specifically as people see Pristine, Black Label/Perfect grades as being a higher tier for collecting, so some people like the added chase of these higher tier grades over a PSA 10. It all depends on each collector preference, personally I am happy with a PSA 10 99% of the time, but I can see the appeal of wanting something unique like a Black Label in your collection.
I totally agree with you 100%. That’s why I’m chasing only PSA 10 and not the other grades. I saw white spots on a WATA 10 or whatever it’s called and I dont think it’s a true 10.