joe-dimaggio-world-wide

SGC Can’t Seem To Identify Trimmed Cards

It's hard to have confidence in grading companies when they keep assigning grades to cards that have clearly been trimmed.

Updated Sep 29, 2023

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I've been pretty supportive of SGC over the years, even used their card grading services for a lot of cards in my own personal collection.

However, another recent discovery of a trimmed card in an SGC holder has me somewhat concerned.

Here's the deal: a Blowout Forums user (who else?) discovered that an SGC 6 1936 Goudey World Gum Joe Dimaggio card was trimmed, resubmitted to SGC and ultimately rewarded with a new SGC 8.5 grade. 

Check out the comparison from user CornDog below.

More...

joe-dimaggio-world-wide

Image Credit (CornDog user, Blowout Forums)

Now as shown, this wasn't just a slight trim of the edges. It's clear that a significant area of both the left and right side of the card has been trimmed. 

And as I've stressed in the past, 99.9% of these problems could be solved with some photo based AI that keeps a record of all previously graded cards.

It might not effectively catch something that was graded with another third party grader, but it would be a great start.

How does SGC not have the proper measurements of this card. How do they not, under magnification see that the edges have been trimmed, which should be evident in most cases. 

The original SGC Dimaggio was sold at auction in 2013 for over $10,000, while the re-graded card in a new holder (with an SGC 8.5 grade) sold at a Memory Lane auction for $117K in July of 2021

world-wide-gum-dimaggio

Look, grading companies make mistakes, but this one is so blatantly off, that it sort of scratches my head. How is this kind of error justified?

And if it were the first time, it would be something I could write off, but SGC (and PSA) have been notable offenders in the past. 

Back in 2020, I discussed another BlowoutForums discovery of a trimmed 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth card. In that case, an SGC 5 Goudey Ruth was trimmed and regraded as an SGC 6.5.  

That one wasn't quite as obvious, but something that should have definitely been noticed. 

ruth-goudey-original
goudey-ruth-trimmed

So, what's the moral of the story here? Should collectors avoid SGC?

I'm not ready to put my neck out on the line to tell you to blacklist SGC.

But the trimming concerns are a big red flag.

Let's be clear, SGC isn't alone in this. PSA has made plenty of mistakes over the years.  We can't forget the infamous Wayne Gretzky T206 Wagner card that was later found to be trimmed. 

psa-8-wagner

The Gretzky Wagner, which was later discovered to be trimmed and graded a PSA 8.

The key for collectors today is that we must closely examine any graded cards for evidence of trimming.

Anytime I see an older, vintage card that has crisp clean borders and sharp corners, a red flag always goes up. You need to always assume that the card might have been trimmed and graded with a numerical grade.

The unfortunate part in all of this, is that the graders are the ones that are supposed to help stop these sorts of card doctoring from happening.

At the end of the day, if we can't trust the card graders, what's the point of grading?

I'm inviting SGC to come to All Vintage Cards for an interview on the matter. Let's hope they answer my requests.

What do you think of this? Can SGC and the other card graders, like PSA or Beckett be trusted as an honest third party?  

Let us know in the comments below.

All Vintage Cards

About the author

Chris Rogers, is the founder of All Vintage Cards. Launched in 2018, All Vintage Cards is the hobby's leading resource for vintage sports cards. Chris is also the author of 'The Complete Guide To Selling Your Sports Cards'. Chris remains an avid collector and can be reached at chris@allvintagecards.com.

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  1. Hello from Jeremy in Dallas.
    You discuss trimming in the grading process in this article. Not being a card collecting expert, I had never heard of this before today.
    Here’s my story: I sent 39 baseball cards in to Beckett for grading.
    7 of the 39 were returned with no grade, only a label claiming that they had been altered, by trimming.
    50+ years ago, as a young boy, I opened those packs of cards. They have never been touched by anyone else. They have been sitting in a suitcase for the past 50+ years. In other words, nobody else has ever touched those cards.
    Can you offer me advice?
    4 of the cards are Nolan Ryan rookie cards; one is a Johnny Bench rookie card. 2 are Roberto Clemente cards, from 2 different years!
    I am truly in a state of shock, and don’t know where to turn.

    1. Hey Jeremy that is unfortunate. Personally i tend to stick with SGC or PSA for grading. I would suggest sending into one of those two graders if the cards are in very nice condition and would benefit from being graded. Good luck.

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