Certified Collectibles Group (CCG), a long-time major player in grading services for coins, paper money, comic books, magazines and concert posters, will begin authenticating and grading sports cards and memorabilia.
On Monday, CCG announced they would soon begin accepting submissions of Pokémon TCG and Magic: The Gathering cards, but added to that on Tuesday by also revealing plans to hire sports trading card experts to launch a division that will compete with established grading firms such as Beckett, PSA and SGC.
“The sports card market is clearly very vibrant, and there is obvious demand for third-party authentication and grading,” Max Spiegel, the company’s Senior Vice-President of Sales and Marketing told Sports Collectors Daily Tuesday evening. “We believe we can add significant value to sports card collectors and dealers through third-party grading distinguished by accuracy, consistency and integrity.”
Based in Sarasota, FL, CCG has over 350 employees worldwide with offices in the United Kingdom, Germany and China, along with a global network of submission centers and authorized dealers.
The company’s other divisions, including NGC (coins), PMG (paper money) and comic books, magazines and concert posters (CGC) have certified nearly 60 million collectibles since 1987. It was the first collectible company to provide comic book grading and encapsulation.
The new sports division will be known as Certified Sports Guaranty (CSG). Company officials say it will use “cutting-edge technology and operational excellence” in its effort to gain a foothold in the sports memorabilia market. It will grade both vintage and modern sports trading cards.
In addition to having multiple graders examine each card, CSG says it will utilize “advanced authentication and grading equipment, including devices that perform ultra-microscopic inspections and precisely calculate centering.”
Grading is done on a 10-point scale with half grades.
Once encapsulated, cards are then imaged in high-resolution. The images, along with certification details, are available at no charge in a searchable database.
“The establishment of CSG presents an incredible opportunity for the world’s top sports card experts to build a new grading service backed by a company and ownership team that have a proven track record of success in the collectibles industry,” the company stated in a news release.
A start date hasn’t been established yet and CCG isn’t saying how many authentication and grading professionals it intends to hire.
“We are going to build a world-class team of graders before we decide on an official start date,” Spiegel stated. “We can’t put a timeframe on that process. We will take as much time as necessary to build the strongest team.”
The authentication/grading positions being offered are full time with benefits. They say ideal candidates “will be well-known and highly respected throughout the hobby.”
“I am ready to make very compelling offers to the world’s top sports card experts,” said Steven R. Eichenbaum, CEO of CCG.
“We will hire as many qualified candidates as we can find,” Spiegel added. “We intend to pair the best technology with the best talent to grade sports cards and memorabilia. We plan to replicate the technology, expertise and processes that have made us the leader in third-party grading services for coins, tokens, medals, paper money, comic books, magazines and concert posters.”
CCG listed several qualifications including:
- Comprehensive knowledge of both vintage and modern sports cards across all major US sports
- Expansive expertise as it relates to card printing, including printing processes, variants and errors
- Outstanding abilities to detect counterfeit and altered cards as well as accurately and consistently grade cards
- The highest level of integrity
- A strong desire to grow as well as train and lead other team members
- A willingness to travel domestically and internationally as needed
While the company does anticipate offering authentication and grading for memorabilia, Spiegel says those plans won’t be announced until a grading team has been hired.
The company has posted job openings for graders on its website.