Sean Feeney
Architect of the digital age

A History of BGS Flip Types

6 March 2024

Beckett, an established player in the cards market thanks to their monthly price guide magazines, began offering card grading services in 1999. It has experimented with several lines of business, such as:

Beckett Grading Services (BGS) Beckett Vintage Grading (BVG) Beckett Authentication Services (BAS) Beckett Collector Club Grading (BCCG) Beckett Raw Card Review
Their most well-known offering, for cards from 1981-present. For vintage cards pre-1981. Black labels are not available. For aftermarket autographs. There is a sticker version, a slabbed version, and a quick opinion “Signature Review.” A lower tier option offered from the early 2000s to 2023. A sticker version available at card shows.

Beckett offers one of the few autograph grading features in the graded card world, whereas competitors tend to only offer autograph authentication services. It was first to market with subgrades for centering, corners, edges, and surface, and possibly for overall half-point grades period.

Beckett has also added VHS and comic/manga/magazine grading (CBCS) with slabs that look very different. For this article, we will focus only on their BGS line of business.

A “flip” refers to the label on a slab as well as the slab itself, in terms of style, color, and other attributes. For BGS label colors and material, traditionally a grade 9.5 - 10 is gold, 8.5 - 9 is silver, and anything below is white (with a paper label instead of metal). Since 2014, a perfect 10 in all subgrades gets a black metal label. In 2023, the white paper labels were phased out and everything below 9.5 started getting silver metal labels.

There are also “encased” non-graded versions of BGS slabs with gold, silver, or even green metal labels where the colors don’t seem to mean anything. I’ve seen them with a Leaf logo, a “Beckett Grading” logo, and no logo on the front label.

BGS Flip Type #1 – Issued from 1999 to 2016, this is the original design. At some point, they added the Beckett logo to the back of the autograph grade square. Ungraded encased sometimes have (relic?) swatches where the autograph grade square would go. At some point in the 2000s, Beckett partnered with a company called GGUM to specifically insert game-used memorabilia this way on graded cards, but those can be identified by the GGUM logo on the back of the label. The provenance of the swatches embedded after GGUM went out of business is unclear. Some forum posts suggest folks could get self-provided jersey swatches included.

BGS Flip Type #2 – Issued from mid-2016 to present, they simplified their slab design with fewer notches and incorporated an etched logo into the slab corner. The autograph grade moved to the back of the label, and subgrading became an optional extra. It can stack with the original slabs but is slightly smaller overall. A patent number is visible at the bottom – and for a while was a way to identify fakes in addition to label font and spacing.


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