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The new BGS Beckett Grading Scale announced the day before April Fools Day 2023 turned out to be an inadvertent April Fools Day joke.
Beckett had announced that they would be changing their grading standards, which had some major implications especially for those who currently hold true gem (or quad gem) BGS 9.5 graded sports cards.
New BGS Beckett Grading Scale (First Draft)
So in an effort to streamline the grading scale to be more similar to its competitors (ie. PSA and SGC) which consider their “10” grade a gem mint, Beckett introduced the new BGS grading scale would have consisted of four grades: Black Label Pristine, Gold Label Pristine, Gem Mint, and Mint+.
But before we go further, collectors new to the hobby should know that the BGS 9.5 classified as a gem mint were highly valued. Of course, BGS 10 classified as pristine were the most valuable but they were much more rare than BGS 9.5 slabs.
Still, whether it was a BGS 9.5 or BGS 10, collectors paid a premium for these grades. But with the introduction of the, let’s say “first draft,” of the new grading scale, some of those BGS 9.5 cards would have been reclassified as Mint+ (see image below).
Specifically, all those BGS 9.5 cards without at least one 10 subgrade would no longer be called a gem mint card (which makes up for about 85% of the BGS 9.5 cards currently graded).
On the other hand, the BGS 9.5 slabs with one or two 10 subgrades would now be relabeled as a BGS 10 card and retain its gem mint status.
Long story short, collectors who had no 10 subgrade were up in arms that their cards would now be devalued. That includes those with so-called min gem cards (a card with a 9 subgrade but the rest 9.5) and true gem (or quad gem which consists of all 9.5 subgrades).
There was enough social media backlash for Beckett to quickly retract and rethink its efforts in implementing a new more standard grading scale.
Some collectors and influences have already proposed a modification. The two that seemed to be gaining traction are as follows:
SPINOTRON BGS Beckett Grading Scale Proposal
The proposed change aims to address the gap between the min gem and the pristine 10.
You can see his modified chart here but essentially, the main difference is keeping the gem mint classification for min gem sports cards.
For true or quad gems, the new classification would be Gem Mint+ with the same BGS 9.5 number grade (rather than Mint+ as initially proposed by Beckett).
And the BGS 9.5 that had at least one 10 subgrade would also be called Gem Mint+, however the number grade would be bumped up to a BGS 10.
Upgrade all BGS 9.5 to BGS 10s
Another suggestion is to simply upgrade all the current BGS 9.5 cards to a BGS 10.
The argument goes that if Beckett considered a BGS 9.5 card as gem mint quality (even a card with min gem subgrades), then it should still qualify as a gem mint card even with a new number grade of 10.
And by keeping its coveted Black Label Pristine classification (subgrades of all 10s) and Gold Label Pristine (three 10s and one 9.5), those account for the difference in cards that are in even better condition than the gem mint cards.
How Beckett moves forward will be interesting to watch. But for many collectors, the new grading scale is welcome since it appears that BGS is making it easier to achieve a 10 grade and also hold better value to compete more with the PSA 10 cards (and to discourage more crossover attempts from BGS 9.5 to PSA 10).
What do you guys think should happen and do you have any other alternative proposals?
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