Friday, July 15, 2011


Adventures in grading, part 1.

There's an excellent chance that this is the only graded card in my collection that I've actually held in my hands in raw form.

You see, until recently, I'd never graded any cards of my own. The whole process just seemed too Byzantine and expensive. Fill out this form, fill out that form, join this club, pay for grading, pay for return shipping...

So my stance has been, “Thanks, but if it's all the same with you, major grading companies, I think I'll just buy my PSA 8 1972 Don Hahns on eBay for $6 or $7 shipped.”

But then I received a Beckett coupon for two free submissions, and I figured I'd take the plunge. I debated long and hard regarding the two candidate cards.

I considered sending in a 2010 Bowman Strasburg purple refractor numbered out of 999. It's a purty card, sharp and well centered-- before Stras went down, I was offered $100 for it out at the Chantilly show, but I declined.

I know, I know...

I also thought about pulling a couple of cards from my 1970 set (which, by the way, is almost complete now-- down to just Rose and Frank Robinson). I have a passable Ryan card that I thought might garner a 6, but I kind of like seeing it there in the sheets in sequence, tucked between Ed Brinkman and the Pilots team.

Finally, I identified two cards, one of which was this 1964 Topps Stand-Ups Al Jackson.

I bought this card in my early days of graded collecting, before I knew about all of the rogue, fly-by-night operations that would grade counterfeit/trimmed cards, and/or severely overgrade. So once upon a time, I was thrilled to win this FGA 9 for $10, not realizing it was essentially a Magnetbox.

One evening, I broke out my toolbox and liberated Al Jackson from the surprisingly sturdy FGA case. My loupe was back at the office, but to my eyes, the card looked nice enough. I turned it over several times in my hands, being extra careful not to pop the die cut, and then placed it in a penny sleeve and a rigid plastic holder, ready for the mail.

About a month later, I received an e-mail from Beckett letting me know that my order was complete, and I was pleased to see the card get a BVG 7.

And I have to say I like it all the more for having once held it briefly in my hands...


  1. I enjoyed the post but I was distracted by Jackson's uniform in this card. He had been on the Mets in both 62 and 63 yet for this 64 card they had him in a Pirates uniform.

    According to the HOF, the Pirates wore this uniform from 57-61 and the following year they added numbers to the front. They kept the sleeveless look until 1970, when they transitioned over to the poly pullovers.

    Do you think it's surprising that the Mets didn't have a sleeveless look early on? I guess since neither the Dodgers nor Giants wore that, the Mets didn't. Still, it did seem to be a trend in the early 60s

  2. Yeah, that picture is a distraction. The Altman and the Gonder in this set are also pretty atrocious-- Ron Hunt in his baggy wools saves the day for the team.

    I have to say I'm glad the Mets never went the vest route. I had to turn off a Rockies game a couple of weeks ago on aesthetic grounds. Not my favorite look...