Card Lingo Glossary: Grading Company Edition—PSA, SGC, BGS & More

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If there was ever a hobby full of acronyms, it’s card collecting. Over a series of a few posts, we’ll be diving into different collecting corners to define and describe the many abbreviations and sayings that shape the way you, buy, sell, and enjoy your cardboard.

Here is what you might have missed for far:

BMWT vs. PWE: Card Shipping Definitions & More

Today, we are looking at grading company acronyms specifically (more to come on grading lingo and abbreviations, which are deserving of their own standalone post).

And while the three-letter names below (along with others) might all sound a bit similar, the cost of grading and how to get cards graded will differ by each company.

Who is PSA?

PSA stands for Professional Sports Authority and is one of the more popular grading companies among collectors. You can easily identify PSA from their simple red-bordered white label (and PSA hologram on newer slabs).

Bonus term: If you hear someone saying that they submitted a card to PSA and it “gemmed,” then that means the card was graded a perfect 10, or, gem mint by PSA standards.

What about BGS?

BGS stands for Beckett Grading Services, a company with a name you might be familiar with thanks to their long history of publishing baseball card price guides. Other than their logo and naming, you can identify BGS slabs as those that are a bit bulkier than others, and often featuring their recognizable subgrades.

Bonus term: You might see BGS slab descriptions appended with the mention of “quads” as in “quad 9.5s,” which means all four subgrades – corners, surface, centering, and edges – received a 9.5 grade.

Is BVG the same as BGS?

Yes and no. BVG stands for Beckett Vintage Grading, so in the sense that BVG and BGS are both Beckett grading arms, then yes. But, from that same explanation, it’s easy to see where to two differ—BVG is described on the Beckett.com site as “Quality vintage grading service for your pre-1981 cards.”

What does SGC stand for?

SGC stands for Sportscard Guaranty Corporation, and in terms of looks, are known for their “tuxedo” or “tux” slabs – as they’ve been dubbed – thanks to their refined black and white design.

Is that different than CSG?

CSG stands for Certified Sports Guaranty, and while it sounds similar to SGC mentioned above, it’s a different company, and is considered a “new kid on the block” in terms of grading companies.

What does HGA mean?

HGA stands for Hybrid Grading Authority, and according to their website, offers “color coordinated labels providing you with the most aesthetically pleasing cards ever seen.”

Card Grading Resources

So, hopefully that helps clear things up for you—if you’re still in the information-gathering stage, and would like to learn more about grading cards, consider these resources:

Should you grade your cards?
How much does it cost to grade cards?
Are graded cards worth more?
Where can you get cards graded in person?