CGC Trading Cards and CSG Will Combine to Become the World’s Second-largest Card Grading Service
Posted on 6/20/2023
The Certified Collectibles Group® (CCG®) is playing to win with a major announcement in the card market. In July, CCG will combine CGC Trading Cards® and Certified Sports Guaranty® (CSG®) into CGC Cards™, solidifying its position as one of the world’s largest and most prominent card grading services. Grading virtually all TCGs, sports cards and non-sports cards, CGC Cards will also feature a number of collector-friendly upgrades, including non-member submissions, a Gem Mint 10 grade and a sleek new label that blends seamlessly with cards.
CGC Cards leverages the strength of the renowned Certified Guaranty Company® (CGC®) brand, which was established in 2000 and has become the undisputed leader in pop culture collectibles grading, with more than 10 million collectibles certified. The CCG companies, which have graded more than 75 million collectibles since 1987, also include the world’s largest grading services for coins, paper money and stamps. CGC Cards will build upon this legacy of success.
The merger of CGC Trading Cards and CSG is the culmination of exhaustive market research, including customer and non-customer surveys, dozens of focus groups and thoughtful analysis of the card grading business. The new brand combines the best aspects of both CGC Trading Cards and CSG, including world-class expertise, advanced technology, the industry’s best holder and the strongest guarantees, while addressing many of the most-requested enhancements from the collecting community.
“The card market needs strong competition because competition makes us better, and that's good for collectors and dealers,” says Steven R. Eichenbaum, CEO of CCG. “CGC Cards will win by providing best-in-class grading services with fast turnaround times, affordable prices and strong prices realized.”
The best grading service for all your cards
Among the many benefits that collectors will enjoy with CGC Cards are no paid membership requirement to submit, a simplified submission process, affordable prices, a market-friendly Gem Mint 10 grading scale and an upgraded label. Read on for more on each, and for FAQs about the changes, go here.
Full access without a paid membership
With the official launch of CGC Cards, collectors will no longer need to have a paid membership to submit cards for grading! All it takes is a free account that can be set up in seconds. Meanwhile, paid members will pay lower grading fees and get other exclusive benefits. Memberships with additional privileges start at just $25 per year.
Simplified submission process
In the coming months, CGCcards.com will have just one online submission form for all TCGs, sports cards and non-sports cards graded by CGC Cards. In the meantime, there will be a submission form for TCGs and non-sports cards and a submission form for sports cards, but CGC Cards is eliminating the $5 handling fee for submissions, and submitters are encouraged to send all cards in one box.
Importantly, TCGs will continue to be graded by TCG experts under the leadership of Vice President Matt Quinn; sports cards will continue to be graded by sports card experts under the leadership of Vice President Andy Broome; and non-sports cards will continue to be graded by experts who specialize in those series. All graders who currently work under CGC Trading Cards and CSG will now work under CGC Cards.
CGC Cards services and fees will be announced soon. Collectors and dealers will benefit from simple, transparent and affordable pricing.
Gem Mint 10 Grading Scale
It has become clear that the hobby is moving towards a grading scale where a Gem Mint equates to a 10 on a 10-point grading scale. In fact, 79% of card collectors and dealers equate Gem Mint to a 10 according to a recent survey conducted by a third party on behalf of CCG.
CGC Cards will use an industry-standard 10-point grading scale topped by a Gem Mint 10 and, for the best of the best, a Pristine 10. Cards previously graded Gem Mint 9.5 are exactly equivalent to Gem Mint 10 under the updated grading scale, and will soon be reflected in the CGC Cards Certification Verification, Population Report and Registry resources under the Gem Mint 10 grade, without any action needing to be taken by collectors and dealers.
The Perfect 10 grade, which was seldom used, will no longer be assigned. However, it will be supported by all of CGC Cards’ online tools. Moreover, all cards graded by CGC Trading Cards and CSG will continue to be covered by CGC Cards’ comprehensive guarantee of authenticity and grade, the strongest guarantee in the industry.
Sub-Grades will also no longer be offered. While Sub-Grades have a small group of loyal fans, over time they have become far less popular with submitters. In recent months, fewer than 5% of submissions included a request for Sub-Grades. CGC Cards looks forward to providing collectors and dealers with other, more innovative ways to learn how and why their cards received the grades that they did.
Sleek, upgraded label coupled with the industry’s best holder
Every card graded by CGC Cards will be encapsulated in the same holder that collectors have loved about CGC Trading Cards and CSG! It offers superior display, crystal-clear optics and numerous security features, and few who see it in hand dispute that it is the industry’s best.
CGC Cards is introducing a sleek new label that puts the spotlight where it should be — on the cards. Without distracting colors or design elements, the label provides a detailed description of the card, along with its grade, its unique CGC certification number and a QR code to facilitate quick verification.
With the label upgrade, CGC Cards is also thrilled to introduce the ultra-special CGC Cards Pristine 10 label. In CGC Cards’ focus groups, a resounding request among collectors and dealers was for a special label for the highest grade, and CGC Cards is happy to deliver with a lux, gold label worthy of the chase grade — Pristine 10.
Get ready for the new CGC Cards!
CGC Cards will begin accepting submissions in mid-July. An announcement will be made on the date that the official change takes place, and all card submissions received on or after that date will be certified with the new CGC Cards grading scale and label. To have a current submission to CGC Trading Cards or CSG held for CGC Cards, please contact CGC Cards Customer Service at [email protected] or (+1) 855-GRADE10 (855-472-3310). We will make every effort to accommodate requests to transfer submissions to CGC Cards, but we cannot guarantee that every transfer will be possible, depending on the status of the submission.
The first show for the new CGC Cards will be the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago, July 26-30, and it’s going to be big! Stay tuned to CGCcards.com and our social channels @CGCcards for more information about special promotions as the show gets closer.
Wait, there’s more! A special offer for cards previously graded by CGC Trading Cards and CSG
CGC Cards will continue to support cards that were previously graded by CGC Trading Cards and CSG. All cards — including those graded by CGC Trading Cards and CSG — will soon be searchable in the Verify CGC Cards Certification tool, viewable in the CGC Cards Population Report and eligible for the CGC Cards Registry. (Cards previously graded Gem Mint 9.5 will automatically be updated online to appear as Gem Mint 10.)
Every card certified by CGC Cards and its predecessors is backed by the comprehensive CGC Cards Guarantee of authenticity and grade. In addition, CGC Cards holders stack perfectly with the holders used by CGC Trading Cards and CSG, so your entire collection fits seamlessly together — literally!
For collectors and dealers who would like to reholder cards certified by CGC Trading Cards and CSG with the new CGC Cards label, CGC Cards will lower its reholder fee to just $5 until September 30, 2023, for cards valued under $10,000. Plus, any cards with a grade of Gem Mint 9.5 will receive the CGC Cards Gem Mint 10 grade!
To qualify for the discounted reholder fee, the submission form must be completed on CGCcards.com by September 30, 2023, and delivered to CGC Cards by October 20, 2023. All submission forms completed October 1, 2023, and later, and all packages delivered October 21, 2023, and later, will receive the regular reholder rates ($10 for ReHolder and $30 for High Value ReHolder).
Have a lot of cards that you’d like to submit to CGC Cards? Contact the CGC Cards Sales Team for white glove service:
Vice President, Sales
How do I submit to CGC Cards?
Starting mid-July (an announcement will be made on or before the specific date), all card submissions — TCGs, sports cards and non-sports cards — will be graded under CGC Cards, with the new grading scale and new label. To submit at this time, fill out the online submission form for TCGs and non-sports cards and/or the online submission form for sports cards, and send in your submission in one box to CGC Cards, with both packing slips.
At this time, a paid membership will no longer be required to submit. You just need to set up a free account, which will take no time at all. Paid members will pay lower grading fees and get other exclusive benefits, all for just $25 per year. For more information about how to submit, go here. To join, go here. Updated membership tiers and grading fees will be posted when CGC Cards begins accepting submissions.
Why is the company changing its name to CGC Cards?
The name CGC Cards represents that virtually all TCGs, sports cards and non-sports cards will be accepted by CGC Cards. In addition, the CGC brand is known the world over as the leader in pop culture collectibles certification. Immediately recognized by collectors and dealers, CGC signifies best-in-class grading services and strong prices realized.
What cards will CGC Cards grade?
CGC Cards will grade virtually all TCGs, sports cards and non-sports cards, sized 2-5/8" x 3-3/4" (6.6cm x 9.5cm) or smaller. Cards may be up to 7.25mm thick. With the merger, all non-sports cards will be eligible for grading, including many series that were not accepted previously, such as Garbage Pail Kids, Mars Attacks, Wacky Packages, Star Trek and many more, from 1879 to today!
What happens to my cards that are currently at CGC Trading Cards or CSG? Can I have them transferred to CGC Cards?
You can request that a current submission to CGC Trading Cards or CSG be held for CGC Cards certification. Please contact CGC Cards Customer Service at [email protected] or (+1) 855-GRADE10 (855-472-3310). We will make every effort to accommodate requests to transfer submissions to CGC Cards, but we cannot guarantee that every transfer will be possible, depending on the status of the submission.
What do I do with my cards that were previously graded by CGC Trading Cards or CSG?
CGC Cards will support cards that were previously graded by CGC Trading Cards and CSG, and they will be continue to be backed by the comprehensive CGC Cards Guarantee of authenticity and grade. With the merger of the companies, all cards, including those graded by CGC Trading Cards and CSG, will be searchable in the Verify CGC Cards Certification tool, viewable in the CGC Cards Population Report and eligible for the CGC Cards Registry. Cards previously graded Gem Mint 9.5 will automatically be updated online to appear as Gem Mint 10.
For collectors and dealers who would like to reholder cards certified by CGC Trading Cards or CSG with the new CGC Cards label, CGC Cards is going to lower its reholder fee to just $5 until September 30, 2023, for cards valued under $10,000.
What happened to the Perfect 10 grade?
The Perfect 10 grade, which was seldom used, will no longer be assigned. In both surveys and focus groups, the majority of respondents stated that three 10 grades (Perfect 10, Pristine 10 and Gem Mint 10) would be too many. After careful consideration, CGC Cards decided to make the top grade Pristine 10 over Perfect 10 because a signficantly greater number of Pristine 10 cards have been certified compared to Perfect 10 cards.
The Perfect 10 grade will still be supported by all of CGC Cards’ online tools. Moreover, all cards graded by CGC Trading Cards and CSG will continue to be covered by CGC Cards’ comprehensive guarantee of authenticity and grade, the strongest guarantee in the industry.
Should I get my cards graded Perfect 10 reholdered?
Cards graded Perfect 10 will be reholdered to Pristine 10. CGC Cards recommends that submitters not reholder Perfect 10s.
What do I do with my Gem Mint 9.5s?
Cards graded Gem Mint 9.5 are equivalent to cards graded Gem Mint 10. You can keep your Gem Mint 9.5s, and they will be considered Gem Mint 10s in Verify CGC Cards Certification, the CGC Cards Population Report and the CGC Cards Registry.
If you would like to reholder your Gem Mint 9.5s to Gem Mint 10, you can take advantage of our reholder special (just $5 per reholder for cards valued under $10,000) through September 30, 2023.
I have a CGC Signature Series-certified card from the Todd McFarlane signing that is graded Gem Mint 9.5. If I send it in for reholder as a Gem Mint 10, will it receive the same label?
CGC Cards is designing a new CGC Cards Signature Series label that will combine the iconic yellow color of the CGC Signature Series brand with the sleek, modern aesthetics of the new CGC Cards label. We expect to have more information by the end of July, so stay tuned!
What happened to Sub-Grades?
While CGC Cards recognizes that Sub-Grades have a loyal following among a small group of collectors, CGC Cards believes eliminating Sub-Grades is the right move for the hobby for a couple of key reasons:
- The hobby needs one industry-standard grading scale. It does not make sense that a Gem Mint 9.5 at one grading service equates to a Gem Mint 10 at another grading service. This creates confusion and makes it more difficult for new collectors to enter the market. It has become clear that the hobby has moved towards a Gem Mint 10 grading scale and away from Sub-Grades. Three of the four major grading services now use very similar grading scales. Of course, there is still an opportunity for some nuance, but having dramatic differences in the grading scales used by different grading services is bad for the hobby.
- By June 2023, fewer than 5% of CGC Trading Cards submissions included a request for Sub-Grades. Some Sub-Grades fans have asked whether that reduced interest in Sub-Grades was really the result of the price point ($15), so here is some more information. CGC Trading Cards raised its Sub-Grades fee to $15 in July 2022 to help cover rising costs in general and the additional time required to individually designate four additional grades. In the two months prior to this announcement, approximately 15.8% of new submissions included a request for Sub-Grades. In the two months after this announcement, approximately 11.7% of new submissions included a request for Sub-Grades. While it is not surprising that there would be a drop in demand with a price increase, even before the price increase, demand for Sub-Grades was relatively low (at 15.8% of total), and even after the price increase, demand for Sub-Grades did not decrease by a meaningful amount (4.1% of total).
Of course, if Sub-Grades were free, there would probably have been more demand, but that’s not practical given the additional time (and therefore cost) involved.
The reality is that demand for Sub-Grades had decreased nearly every month in a row — with or without a price increase — for the last 18 months. Perhaps many collectors and dealers found it difficult to reconcile so many possible combinations of the overall grade and Sub-Grades. It is difficult for people to value and collect/inventory so many different permutations of grades. Additionally, the market was clearly moving towards a simpler grading scale centered around a Gem Mint 10.
CGC Cards believes that education and transparency are vitally important, but Sub-Grades are only one way to provide collectors and dealers with more information about why their card received the grade that it did. CGC Cards is committed to providing the hobby with the highest levels of accuracy, consistency, transparency and education, and looks forward to providing more innovative ways for collectors to learn about card grading.
Please note that cards with Sub-Grades will not have Sub-Grades if they are reholdered. CGC Cards encourages submitters to consider carefully whether it makes sense to reholder cards that previously received Sub-Grades.
What if I requested Sub-Grades with a submission that I would like to hold for CGC Cards?
You may either get Sub-Grades with the original CGC Trading Cards label until the official merger in mid-July, or your submission may be held for CGC Cards, and CGC Cards will refund the Sub-Grades fee. Please contact Customer Service at [email protected] or (+1) 855-GRADE10 with your preference.
Can I still get the original CGC Trading Cards or CSG labels?
Upon the official merger of CGC Trading Cards and CSG in mid-July, the original CGC Trading Cards and CSG labels will no longer be offered. Cards previously graded by CGC Trading Cards and CSG cannot be reholdered with CGC Trading Cards or CSG labels. They must be reholdered with the CGC Cards label.
What is happening to the population reports?
When CGC Cards begins accepting submissions in mid-July, there will be a CGC Cards Population Report for TCGs and non-sports cards alongside a CGC Cards Population Report for sports cards. We expect that in mid-September the population reports will be combined so that card counts for TCGs, sports cards and non-sports card will all be viewable in one CGC Cards Population Report. Card counts in the CGC Cards Population Report will reflect the updated CGC Cards Grading Scale.
What is happening to the registries?
When CGC Cards begins accepting submissions in mid-July, there will be a CGC Cards Registry for TCGs and non-sports cards alongside a CGC Cards Registry for sports cards. We expect that in mid-September the registries will be combined so that TCGs, sports cards and non-sports cards are all able to be added to one CGC Cards Registry. The points awarded in the CGC Cards Registry will reflect the updated CGC Cards Grading Scale.
Will sports cards be accepted for submission internationally?
We expect for our London and Munich offices to start accepting sports cards by September 2023. In the meantime, our London and Munich offices will continue to accept TCGs and non-sports cards. CGC Cards also continues to explore additional international expansion opportunities.
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