PSA recently announced that its Standard grading service would reopen to collectors, at a new price point of $100 per card.
Recall that PSA shut down everything aside from its premium grading services in early 2021. They have not been able to keep up with the steep increase in grading demand.
The latest changes come amidst many changes at PSA.
Starting with the acquisition of its parent Collectors Universe, followed by the departure of CEO Joe Orlando and replacement by Nat Turner.
PSA, as the most respected grader in the hobby, has had the ability to dictate grading prices, even at a massive premium to other competitors.
When PSA was unable to keep up with demand, the simple solution of shutting down low-cost grading was a no-brainer.
With the reopening of their Standard level service, collectors can now pay $100 to have a card graded up to a $1499 declared value.
While this might seem like a bargain to some, it is still a far cry from the old days of $20 card grading
PSA has also reopened access to its PSA Collectors Club. The cost is $99 a year.
PSA says that there will be regular 'Submission Events', where collectors can sub cards at an Economy level for $50 per card (up to a $999 declared value).
It does appear that PSA (and Nat Turner) are spending a good deal of resources and time to create a more manageable process. The Collector's Club language on the site provides more details on what they are doing from an operational perspective:
PSA created a new submission management process to help expedite the return of service levels without adding to our backlog. This new technology will ensure we can continue to allocate at least 80% of our capacity to existing orders in the backlog, while also servicing a controlled amount of new orders from our community. These virtual queuing Submission Events will allow Collectors Club members to submit at high-demand service levels after winning the ability to submit in a randomized lottery.
Collectors that I've spoken with have been happy thus far with Standard turnaround times. Most have received their cards back within the stated time frame. Usually within 30-40 days.
Even with the price drop for PSA Standard Grading, $100 (plus all associated shipping and insurance fees) can be prohibitive for most cards.
Our Sports Card Grading Calculator is a great tool for anyone trying to decide.
For a card that's worth $100 or even $200, it's not worth it, given that it will cost you around $130 when it's all said and done.
PSA knows this level of grading at $100 doesn't leave much profit for card flippers.
They realize this price point will not lead to the same deluge in demand that crimpled their operations during the pandemic.
PSA does yet seem steadfast on getting grading prices back to more reasonable levels.
In a recent communication to collectors, they echoed this fact:
PSA continues to devote over 80% of our resources to processing the backlog. Due to continuous capacity expansion, we are now able to bring back the ‘Regular’ Service Level. With the return of Regular, PSA is taking another step towards bringing back lower priced service levels in 2022.
But they are also in this to make a profit. So, if pack breakers continue flooding them with demand, we will unfortunately never see any price adjustments lower.
If they can charge $100 and get as much demand as they did at $20 and $50 price levels, then why would they adjust lower?
For the good of the hobby? I doubt it.
Remember that SGC remains a good, lower-cost grading option (starting at $30 for base level submissions up to $1500).
PSA remains the leader as far as resale value goes, unfortunately, so that is something you also need to consider.
What are your thoughts?
Do you use the $100 Standard Grading service?
Or is it still way too high to consider?
Let me know in the comments section below.