Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cracking Open a Graded Card - GAI

At the same time my son and I cracked open a PSA graded card, we also cracked open a Global Authentication, Inc. (GAI) graded card. The GAI graded card was not as easy as the PSA card, but still easier than the Beckett Vintage Grading (BVG) card we cracked open.

The reason the GAI card was a little more difficult than the PSA card was because the two pieces of the slab do not come together on the edge of the slab, like the PSA and BVG cards.

It seems that the back piece of the GAI slab fits inside the front piece. The front piece of the slab wraps around the back piece, which is recessed within the front piece. If you look closely at one, you'll see what I mean.

We started with a 1961 Topps Brother Battery, #521, featuring Norm and Larry Sherry. Unfortunately, Larry passed away in 2006. I plan on sending this card to Norm, to add to my 1961 Topps set collection.

One thing we noticed is that the plastic seemed a bit more brittle on the GAI slab and tended to fly apart more than the other slabs. I'm not sure if this was a difference in plastic, or the way we had to crack it open due to its design. Be careful and be sure to wear eye protection to avoid injury.

Since the front of the slab wraps around the back piece, the seam between the two pieces is on the back of the slab. In the close-up picture below, the chisel is placed along the seam.

Just like we did with the PSA and BVG slabs, we placed the chisel along the seam and lightly tapped it with a hammer.

This results in breaking away the front piece of the slab that wraps around the back piece. This missing piece then exposes a seam between the two pieces on the side of the slab much like the PSA and BVG slabs.

Chip away this piece of the slab on either side of the card next to the label. Working by the label helps prevent damage to the card.

Once the seam is exposed along the edge of the card, the process is identical to the PSA and BVG cards. Place the slab in a vise. Put the chisel on the now-exposed seam next to the label, and tap it lightly with a hammer.

Tap the chisel into the card about a half an inch. Flip the card over and do the same to the other side.

We found that we had placed the card too far down in the vise, which prevented the chisel from going very deep into the slab, so we adjusted it by loosening the vise and moving the card up, so more of the card was exposed.

We continued to tap the chisel into the slab until the entire top of the slab came apart.

At this point, the slab can be removed from the vise and simply pulled apart from the top.

The card is loose within the slab, so be careful not to let the card fall out and onto a dirty floor or workbench.

Overall, cracking open a GAI slab wasn't very difficult and took just a bit longer than the PSA card, due to the additional first step of chipping away the warp-around piece of the front part of the slab to expose the seam on the side.

Again, be careful and wear eye protection, because pieces of plastic tend to fly off.

1 comment:

Alex D said...

These are exactly the step by step instructions I was looking for, thanks!