Most people prefer subgrades. I am in the minority where my entire personal collection is BGS 9 without subgrades. I dont plan to sell so the extra money spent on subs seems useless especially when there are so many eseries holos to collect. However, the fact that my pc is bgs no subs means i have to grade 99% of my collection myself since bgs sellers can have lofty expectations for their bgs 9s to say the very least.
That being said I end up having a lot of 9.5 and 8.5 come back that i sell to hunt for the 9s. Recently with grading fees down I started to think I should resub some of the better 9.5s to add subgrades. My question is, to the people who collect bgs and cgc and dont just crack for psa 10 hopes, what value do subgrades add for you? Is it negligible or is it something to really consider? I am only talking about wotc and ex holos worth about 250$+ for this example and they are all 9.5 not 8.5.
I know people will ask for specific card examples but there really isnt much bgs 9.5 data to begin with. No wrong answers, just want to gauge how high end collectors think to help me make decisions and where better than e4 to look.
Also it costs 35$ to add subs to an existing 9.5 and the overall grade will not be changed. So the simpler question is, do subgrades add 35$ or more value to you?
Edit: I wanted to elaborate so I don’t seem inflammatory.
I’m one of those collectors for whom graded cards are exceptions, not the norm. To justify their presence in my collection, there needs to be something exceptional about them. If they are an extraordinarily rare card for whom any preservation in a capsule at all has its appeal, I’d absolutely welcome subgrades. But also if they’re a card that rare it’s unlikely I would own it. If I own a graded card, the appeal lies in having it certifiably perfect - a sublime example of a card I could have otherwise in “regular” condition. I don’t need PSA to certify that a card is less than perfect, I can see that with my own eyes, so anything less than 10s just isn’t something that interests me. All the 8s and 9s I’ve bought over the years got cracked immediately upon receipt, so I certainly wouldn’t have any interest in the subgrades there.
But subgrades on a “perfect” card really drive home the romantic ideal of this being a “perfect” card - that’s the dream, baby.
A LOT of the buyers who have bought my 9.5 subless were just cracking anyway. Its hard to tell what people want when theyre buying bgs slabs. I dont care if thwy crack but if thats the goal i dont want to add subs. I dont see subs on cgc much anymore but for bgs you would not believe the amount of crap I get
With a BGS or CGC slab, it can be nice knowing the sub-grades considering it can sort of discern or clarify how ‘strong’ or ‘weak’ the final assigned grade is. People I find will pay up for “quads” or better for a given grade compared to a “basic” grade which may be a 9 with an 8.5 sub-grade or a 9.5 with a 9 sub-grade. Personally, I don’t mind having a “basic” as I generally have no intentions to sell almost every slab I buy.
For this reason I don’t usually bother paying the premium for such a minor difference, but it’s clear that a lot of people will pay more for higher sub-grades in any given grade most of the time. This is more important when you get to the 9.5 range, when it has all 9.5 sub-grades or some 10 sub-grades people definitely look at as a higher tier condition card and pay up accordingly, which is where it could be worth having sub-grades instead of just a generic “9.5” label.
(Referring to CGC here): I personally don’t care that much if a card doesn’t have subs, particularly if it’s a 9.5. I’m slightly more weary of 9s without subs because an 8.5 surface subgrade can mean a lot of things. But even still, I’ve had pretty good luck with no-sub 9s.
That said, I will definitely pay a premium for specific subgrades. For instance, if a card has a 10 surface subgrade, that’s an attractive thing for me. Similarly, there are also specific cases where I prefer a 9 to a 9.5 because of subgrades. For instance, I’d prefer to own a 9 with 8.5/9.5/9.5/9.5 subs than a 9.5 with 9.5/9/9.5/9.5 subs.
To me, a CGC or BGS card without subgrades suggests that the submitter didn’t think the card was worth the marginal increase in price for that service. If the submitter didn’t think the card was worth it, then it really suggests to me that maybe the card is not worth buying at all.
Frankly, I will always be suspicious of the accuracy of subgrades. I don’t think they are very useful except in unusual cases where a single subgrade is lower and explains the damage (say, a low surface graded because of the dent on the masaki holos). So it’s not that they particularly add value for me, but their absence definitely harms value for the reasons I mentioned.
The price difference is often not that marginal, though. With CGC, for instance, bulk is $15 per card without subs or $25 per cards with subs. That’s a pretty humungous difference, especially given how little the market seems to care about subgrades.
Real answer: For selling CGC or BGS slabs, I think subgrades become more important the higher the overall grade of the slab. For a CGC or BGS 9.5 slab, a lot of people are going to want to attempt to cross over to PSA in hopes of hitting the 10. That’s when visible subgrades can help a lot - they remove a degree of uncertainty and can help buyers arrive at a clearer decision. Without subgrades, it can introduce a cloud of doubt into the buyer’s mind, and can make the entire process more complicated than it needs to be.
With lower graded slabs, I feel subgrades matter less as that’s when people are more looking to pick up the card to add to their collection rather than cross-grade. This was my experience when offloading CGC and BGS 8.5s as the buyers knew they weren’t going to achieve a higher grade by resubmitting to PSA and just wanted to appreciate the card in its current state.
I don’t like subgrades unless they are the same number. I have one each of MTG revised dual lands in BGS 9/9/9/9. Some other cards in BGS 9.5/9.5/9.5/9.5. I don’t want higher subgrades if it means breaking the “harmony” of the slab. That’s just me.
Just because I place less value on subgrades than you do doesn’t mean the cards I’m grading aren’t “worth grading.” I’m just not paying an extra $10 per card solely to appease other people when I’m equally happy to own cards with or without subgrades.
I think the BGS and CGC buyer pool is a bit different. Ive been selling BGS pretty heavily for a few years now and 95% of my buyers ask for subgrades when buying. I also have sold CGC (Not nearly as much) but I have never once been asked where the subs are. CGC buyers don’t seem to care at all.
I’ll admit it does make a big visual difference on a BGS slab, far more than a CGC label
Yeah, I will say that in MTG at least, subgrades are everything for BGS slabs. It’s not uncommon to see BGS 9.5 quads sell for 2-4x as much as BGS 9.5 basics. I’m not quite sure why subgrades seem to be much more of a preoccupation of BGS buyers than CGC buyers – probably has something to do with the visual component, as you mentioned.
There are much more dramatic premiums than that in Magic. An example that comes to mind is BGS 9.5 basic 2ED Volcanic Eruption being >$20k while the BGS 9 is worth ~$100. Many MTG registry collecting premiums make Pokemon PSA 10 premiums look very tame.