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Cracking Open a Graded Card - Beckett Vintage Grading

On several occasions I have purchased a graded card with the intent of getting it autographed. The cards I purchase are usually lower grade cards that are less expensive, so if they get a corner bent in the mail, the value won't plummet like it would with a nicer card. I'm not sure why people grade cards that obviously aren't in great shape, but I like it because at least I know the card hasn't been trimmed, touched up, or altered in some other way.

My 11 year old son has a 1955 Topps Harmon Killebrew rookie card that he intends to get signed at TwinsFest next weekend. The card was graded a "2" by Beckett Vintage Grading. Tonight he cracked it open and I documented the process to share.

First, he put the card in a vise, laying it on its side.


Next, he placed a narrow chisel on the seam of the plastic case in the section above the card where the label is. This way, if the chisle slips, it will go into the label, not the card.


Hitting the chisel increasingly harder with the hammer, the plastic starts to split on the seam and evenutally the chisle is in far enough that you can pry a section of the plastic case off, breaking it into pieces. You should be very careful though, because small bits of plastic go flying, so wear some safety glasses.




He then turned the card over and continued chipping away along the seam until the top of the cased was removed to the point that the inner plastic sleeve with the card in it could be removed.


The Beckett holder is different than the PSA holder, mostly due to the presence of this inner plastic sleeve, but also because it is thicker and more brittle. I"ll document cracking open a PSA holder later this weekend, which I feel is much easier.

The inner sleeve is flexible, and feels as if it's a section of a 9-pocket page used in card storage albums, except that it is sealed on all four sides. To free the card, my son carefully cut the sleeve on one end, being very careful not to cut the card.


The end product is a card, free from its plastic prison, and ready for a Hall of Famer to sign!

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