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Uncut Sheets Not a Valuable Find if They Lack Stars

Bill Wagner - Babe Waxpak by Bill Wagner, "Babe Waxpak"
May 2, 2005

Dear Babe: I have four uncut sheets of the 1990 Upper Deck cards. I believe there were seven sheets printed. These are full, uncut sheets with 100 cards per sheet. I would appreciate it if you can give me some info on these. I do not have Sammy Sosa. The sheets I have are the cards numbered in the 300s, 400s, 500s and 600s.
S.D., Corona, Calif.

The sheet that might be of interest is the first one since it would have Sosa's rookie card, No. 170, and Juan Gonzalez's rookie card (72). I don't think there's going to be a lot of interest in these newer sheets without any valuable cards on them. Generally speaking, the sheets are unwieldy and usually end up getting damaged over time if they are not framed. I'd say $5 to $15 each if you can find a buyer.

Of course, the big draw with uncut sheets is the possibility of trimming out a perfect card for grading purposes.

This remains a hot topic.

I checked with three of the major grading companies - Beckett Grading Services (BGS), PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator) and Sportscard Guaranty Corporation (SGC) - to see what their policies were regarding the grading of cards newly cut from sheets. I got three different answers. Yes, no and maybe. Actually, it's more like one will and two won't.

For starters, assuming a 10th of the magic they perform on "CSI" is accurate, we have to agree that with new technology, graders can tell the difference between a Topps John Elway rookie card that was cut at the factory in 1984 and one recently laser cut from an uncut sheet.

Basically, BGS will grade them - no questions asked. SGC will not. PSA will only grade cards cut from panels or boxes, if that was the only way to obtain a single card.

The case for as presented by Mark Anderson, BGS Manager of Grading Operations:
"At one point, virtually every card came off of a sheet. If someone is able to locate an uncut sheet and have it professionally cut down to size with consistent edges, it is no less authentic than the same card pulled from a pack, vending case or factory set. Most collectors simply want the best available card of a particular player, and sheet-cut cards provide an additional alternative for finding a very aesthetically pleasing copy of a favorite card."

The case against from Sean Skeffington, SGC vice president of operations:
"We do not grade cards that are cut from sheets. The reason is pretty simple. We believe highly graded cards should be reserved for cards that were distributed in the manner in which they were supposed to be (wax packs, vending boxes, etc.) and were collected and preserved and the centering of the card is not man-made post factory."

Another case against with a caveat from Joe Orlando, president of PSA:
"Our policy is to not grade cards from uncut sheets. The reason we do not grade sheet cards is because it would be unfair," trying to compare cards from packs vs. those from uncut sheets. "However, there are issues (cards) that only come in hand-cut form. If the only way to obtain that card as an individual card was to literally hand cut it off a box of Hostess or Bazooka, then we grade it," Orlando said. "We actually label those as hand cut."

Anderson did caution folks who think that just laser cutting a coveted card from sheet guarantees a high grade.

"What many people don't realize is that most uncut sheets are still in uncut form because they were flawed sheets. Generally, there are numerous surface blemishes or creases that prevented the sheets from being cut down during pack-out. Thus, the chances of finding a sheet, cutting it down and getting it graded highly are not nearly as strong as many would think," Anderson said.

Dear Babe: I have a football program dated Oct. 16, 1927, from the Chicago Bears vs. New York Yankees at Wrigley Field. It is in excellent condition and encased in plastic.
Vickie Kinney, Atlanta, Georgia

The program should be worth around $1,000, said Brian Marren, vice president of acquisitions for the MastroNet Auctions in Chicago.

Want more? Check out another Babe Waxpak column every Thursday exclusively on

About the author
Bill Wagner is a veteran journalist with 37 years in the newspaper business as well as being a former Army combat correspondent in Vietnam. He developed the Babe Waxpak sports card column in the 1980s and took over authorship in 1993, expanding into sports memorabilia and autographs as well as answering questions on cards.

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