This is a topic, which definitely doesn't get enough scrutiny.

Lo and behold, I was reading the interview section at the hobby insider web site, and this very question was posed to several grading company executives, including Sean Skeffington.

I found the responses very interesting. SCD gets hosed often for their grading operations, but their answer certainly places them head and shoulders above BGS. No surprise, BGS was in complete denial. They try to equate guides like SGC and PSA to their own. SGC only prices their own slabs, and not their competitors. Putting aside whether the SMR is accurate or not, it's PSA pricing their own. What PSA and SGC do is plainly not equiavalent to BGS's racket.

However for BGS, the Beckett guide predates by a long time their grading operations. During that period, Beckett only priced cards, and built a reputation as being impartial, or at least better than you would get from dealers. They achieved a position of public trust. BGS:

1) They price competitors' slabs, a clear conflict.
2) They present it as impartial
3) They traded off, sold out their position of public trust. By comparison SCD stopped pricing graded cards.

With so much energy spent discussing hobby outrages, this outrage ranks at or next to the top. Yet it passes with little mention. I guess Beckett is the tephlon grading company.

I have cut and pasted the q & a below.

Quote:

Sean Skeffington, SGC

Autobilia: How do you feel about the price guides starting grading services? Doesn't this affect the pricing of cards graded by other companies? Isn't this a conflict of interests?

Sean: I have said this many times, I believe grading and pricing should be completely separate. It is a blatant conflict of interest, but for some reason the people in our hobby are accepting of it. This practice would not be accepted in any other industry. There is no regulation and the hobby is predicated on greed. That is a bad combination. I am not saying greed or maximizing profits is a bad thing, but in order to keep it fair and legitimate you need some type of regulation. Currently the sportscard industry has none.

Steve Bloedow

Autobilia: How do you feel about the price guides starting grading services? Doesn't this affect the pricing of cards graded by other companies? Isn't this a conflict of interests?

Steven: SCD/Tuff Stuff used to price graded cards extensively before launching the grading service, but we actually pulled the Graded Card Price Guide when we launched the grading service to avoid the perceived conflict of interest. Pricing graded cards and owning a grading service can definitely be a conflict of interest because there's always a tendency to price your own cards higher than other graded cards.

Mark Anderson, BGS

Autobilia: How do you feel about the price guides starting grading services? Doesn't this affect the pricing of cards graded by other companies? Isn't this a conflict of interests?

Mark: This is certainly a common question, and to be fair, it can also be asked the other way (as other grading services have subsequently started price guides). Beckett has always sought to be involved in the hobby in a myriad of ways, offering a variety of services to hobbyists. Be it the online Beckett Marketplace as a means of connecting collectors and dealers, the price guides, an editorial/hobby news source, grading, or auctions, we have been instrumental as a third party in fostering hobby growth. In pricing cards, there was always an assumption of condition in that process. Long before BGS began, it was necessary to think in grading terms to accurately reflect card values. In building BGS, we simply brought more objectivity and integrity to carrying that process farther out. Long before any professional grading services existed, Jim Beckett helped objectify the grading scale (Mint, Near Mint, Excellent, Very Good, etc.) that all grading services later based their grades upon. Over the past quarter-century, Beckett has built a reputation of carrying out business with integrity. This same ethic was a key factor in starting the grading division. For Beckett to have acted questionably in any way in starting the grading business would have not only stunted BGS’ growth, but would have endangered all of Beckett’s business. Then, as now, we would have had everything to lose and nothing to gain by acting unethically. In looking over BGS’ history, it took very little time for our cards to begin commanding higher prices on the secondary market, due largely to the perception that we were slightly more stringent and thorough in our grading. Our price guides took note of this, but maintained a cautious approach to pricing BGS cards differently in the magazines. Eventually, it became so widespread in the hobby for BGS cards to garner higher premiums, that for our price guides to ignore it would have been irresponsible reporting. Critics who claim BGS cards sell for more because we price them higher are quite simply putting the cart before the horse. BGS cards achieved these premium prices before our price guides ever began reporting it. Our competitor’s publications have also reported the same results. Pricing and Grading are distinctly separate departments, and each will continue to abide by a high standard of integrity and truthfulness.





Complete Interviews
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---- Matthew T. Natale Alexandria, Virginia Completed 1977 Topps Baseball SGC Graded Set, Average Grade 92.89