Everyone in the hobby knows that generally speaking, PSA 10 is the best “non super rare” grade that most cards can get. PSA 10’s routinely sell for as much as 2.5x their BGS 9.5 counterpart.
While there’s a lot of collectors who love to boast about how they prefer BGS for their PC because they prefer the look and quality of the BGS slab none of those same people will argue the value for PSA 10 is greater than BGS 9.5. It’s just a fact.
The crazy part of all of all of this however is oftentimes, there’s almost no perceptible difference between a BGS 9.5 and PSA 10 in terms of the condition of the actual card and when this is the case (unless you’re one of the aforementioned bros that loves broadcasting your BGS preferences online), it makes all the sense in the world to attempt to convert your BGS card to PSA.
Now to be clear PSA officially has conversion service where you send them a BGS Slab and they examine the card and only crack it and re-slab it in the event your card grades at a desired level. In my personal experience and from talking to a lot of people who have tried converting to PSA this way, the success rate is very low.
In my experience, the way to give yourself the best chance at successfully converting to PSA is to crack your BGS slab and submit to PSA raw.
This article will guide you through exactly how this is done.
Step 1: Determining If Your BGS Graded Card Is Worth Cracking
The first step here is a getting a very realistic understanding of the risk involved in cracking a BGS.
I am going to stop short of comparing cracking a BGS 9.5 to splitting 10’s against a blackjack dealer because that’s a fools bet but let’s also take a second and appreciate that getting a card graded by BGS to score a 9.5 (subgraded or otherwise) is no easy feat. A 9.5 is considered “Gem Mint” for a reason and it’s because it’s very difficult to obtain.
So before we even consider cracking let’s honestly ask ourselves these questions:
If all else fails and I have to re-submit to BGS, how confident am I that I would get 9.5 grade again from BGS (especially after having to crack the card twice and handle it raw twice)?
What are the subgrades? Generally speaking I would only recommend cracking 9.5s that have a minimum of 3 out of 4 9.5 subgrades so long as there are none lower than a 9 and so long as that 9 is not on the corner grade. In my experience it’s easier to overcome a 9 on centering, surface and edges than it is on the corners. Something about a corner that’s been touched just a tad anecdotally seems to prevent it from gem’ing.
In the example for this article I took a 2013 Base Prizm Giannis Antetokounmpo BGS 9.5 with 3 9.5 subs and a 10 on centering. I would love to make this sound more dramatic by telling you I was scared to crack it but honestly I was very confident that in the event I didn’t gem with PSA that I could re-sub to BGS and get a 9.5 again. So because of this the decision to crack was easy.
My recommendation to you is to seriously consider the risk involved and only risk what you are comfortable losing. Meaning if you are going to be livid or in serious financial pain if you crack a 9.5 and are left with a PSA 9 (or worse, a BGS 9!) then save yourself the heartache and just take keep your bird in hand.
Cracking and converting is only for collectors with a moderate degree of risk tolerance.
Step 2: Get Cracking
Now that you’ve examined your card and you believe the card is likely to gem at PSA, it’s time to take the riskiest step in this entire process: breaking the case that BGS sealed your card in.
If you want to do this right, here are the tools and items you will need;
- A dust and lint free, clean table & workspace
- A towel (just to keep plastic shards from shooting everywhere)
- Some very strong shears (here’s what I like to use)
- Some very sharp scissors
- Microfiber lens cleaner
- Some rubber gloves
- Card Sleeves
- A Card Saver I that you are going to submit to PSA in
Once you have all these items ready to go, it’s time to crack.
First (with your rubbers gloves off – you won’t need those til later) place the towel flat on your desk and put the card on the towel. Line your shears up to where they just will crack the case just barely in the cavity where the card is held but not so close that you risk coming close to the card.
Triple check the angle and the cut line and forcefully bear down on the shears cracking the case.
One you have cracked it you should have a small opening that exposes the cavity holding the card. Use your screwdriver to wedge the cavity open – again – while staying completely clear of the card itself.
Once you do that the BGS case will come open pretty easily and expose your card which will still have a clear, surprisingly tough, plastic sleeve around it. I would compare it to the same type of soft plastic that push popsicles come in.
Now you want to very carefully take your scissors and cut the plastic sleeve as far from the card as possible. This requires a very steady hand as you’ll only have a few millimeters if that to work with.
Now, clean up your workspace/desk area again removing the towel, any debris from the cracking and the cracked case itself. Keep the card in the bag which should be trimmed at the top and place it on your desk.
At this point, you’ll want to put on your rubber gloves so as to make sure that no fingerprints or oils from your hand are transferred to the card itself.
Carefully extract the card from the plastic sleeve and place the card on your desk.
Step 3: Prep The Card For PSA Submission
Being that the card came from a sealed BGS case, there’s a minimal amount of wipe down and prep that you need to do to submit the card. Really I like to take this opportunity to just examine the card once more to see if perhaps I missed any noticeable flaws that were hidden by the BGS slab.
Once you’ve ensured there’s no fingerprints and performed a very basic wipe down, put the card in an Ultra Pro Card Sleeve and then carefully load the card into your Card Saver I and package it according to PSA’s requirements.
One thing I always do with my PSA Submissions is I never opt for a minimum grading requirement for them to slab the card. This may sound counterintuitive to those who want to re-submit to BGS in the event they don’t gem but keep in mind that as long as human are the ones performing the grading (which may not be for long), human nature will always be a factor and when you check that box for a minimum grade, you are giving a human being the ability to make the same amount of money (your cost doesn’t change if you don’t hit your desired minimum grade) while performing less work.
Now just package the card as carefully as you can and send to PSA.
In my case I chose express service and received the card back in a little less than a month.
As you probably anticipated, my Giannis gem’d and I got my PSA 10 that I have been wanting for my PC and in the process I almost doubled the value of my card in the process.
Despite my confidence that the card would grade favorably it’s always a relief when we finally get it back and see that glorious “GEM MT 10” on the beautiful PSA slab.
If you have a BGS card you are thinking about transitioning to PSA and would like help, we help customers with their BGS to PSA conversions on a contingency basis meaning that you only pay us for our help in the event that your card successfully converts to PSA at your desired grade.
If you would like to know more about our BGS to PSA Conversion service, check out this page.