SGC Gold Label: A Deeper Look

Ryan Barone
(@ballcardgenius on TikTok, Card Expert) is a lifelong member of the hobby. He has been quoted in PSA Magazine, and his content has regularly been mentioned in “Quick Rips” (the Topps RIPPED Newsletter) and across other hobby publications. Join his 8,600 followers on TikTok! hello@ballcardgenius.com; Last Time Ago LLC dba Ballcard Genius.

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The SGC Gold Label is awarded to cards with perfect centering, corners, edges, and surface, and is the highest available grade a card can receive when graded with SGC. In SGC’s words, it’s a “flawless” card, and thus if SGC awarded subgrades, they’d all be perfect 10s.

Label Look & Design

The SGC Gold Label is exactly how it sounds, while also being nothing like it sounds at the same time. Meaning, while the label does include some gold, I’d almost prefer the entire thing to be flashy, in-your-face, can’t-miss-it gold. I also love 90s inserts with explosions, fireworks, and laser beams, so I might not be the best person to ask, but still. I think many would agree that, while cool, it could be cooler.

2020 Topps - Decades Next - Blue #DN-10 - Gavin Lux [SGC 10 PRISTINE] - Courtesy of COMC.com

SGC 10 Pristine Gold Label vs. Gem Mint

A little unknown fact in card grading is that even when a card receives a “gem mint” grade, it can still have a minor imperfection. For instance, a gem mint SGC 10 might have 55/45 centering and/or a slight print spot “if it does not detract from the aesthetics of the card.” Thus, the “pristine” is perfectly centered and spotless.

Gold Label Values

Is an SGC 10 Pristine Gold Label worth more than its SGC 10 Gem Mint counterpart? I’d sure hope so, but let’s take a look. While the examples below may seem random, that’s because they are—there aren’t a lot of gold labels out there, so finding cards that were sold recently as both a Pristine Gold Label and Gem Mint 10 is difficult.

On 2/22/23 a 2019 Finest Fernando Tatis Jr. SGC 10 Pristine Gold Label sold for $180! That same card as an SGC 10 Gem Mint sold for $38.50 in early February and $27 in late January.

Similarly, a 2019 Bowman Chrome Mojo Wander Franco SGC 10 Pristine Gold Label sold for $300 in mid-February, and while I don’t see any recent sales of the same card in Gem Mint condition, the lowest-priced option currently for sale is much lower, at $124.99.

Last, for lower-priced card, the 2020 Topps Gavin Lux SGC Pristine Gold Label sold for $40 in late January, while a regular gem mint sold for just over $2 in December!

So, yes, there is such a thing as the SGC Gold Label bump…Would I try and submit all of my Gavin Lux base rookies trying to land one? No, but just saying.

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