PSA's card grading prices have been quite volatile thoughout the past several years.
To offset an onslaught in demand during the midst of the pandemic, PSA shut down all card grading services at its most affordable price points
The acquisition of Collector's Universe (the parent of PSA) has brought about a multitude of operational changes to improve PSA's grading service.
Still, that hasn't stopped collectors from thinking PSA is the devil of the industry, controlling the fortunes of the hobby, and squeezing every last dime from grading fees.
In fact, in one recent blog comment here, I was accused of being a 'shill' for the grading companies. Something I found quite laughable, as I've consistently offered an unbiased review and perspective of the grading companies.
But in terms of PSA's card grading prices, things are starting to get back to a more normalized level of pricing.
In a recent update, PSA announced that it was instituting $22 Bulk Card grading for members of its PSA Collector's Club (annual $99 fee). Note for these bulk submissions, one must send in a minimum of 25 cards. And the declared value maximium value is $199. And expected turnaround time is 120 days.
*Note, the ‘declared value’ is what you estimate your card will be worth after PSA grades it. This is not an exact science, and is mostly used for insurance purposes. Assuming that you don’t abuse the system, PSA won’t upcharge you if you are slighly off on value expectations, but it can happen.
Is PSA's $22 Bulk Grading Service Fee Worth It?
Some newer collectors might see a $22 grading fee as a bargain, given most of the big three have been at $30 and above on standard grading prices for the last few years. However, PSA's bulk grading was at $8 pre-pandemic, a price we might not ever see again.
For a card worth less than $199, a $22 grading fee is probably not worth the hassle, unless you are grading for personal tastes. After paying for the back and forth shipping and the grading fee, it just isn't worth it.
Plus, PSA's estimates of a 120 day turnaround could be low, especially if they are inundated with bulk grading requests. There are some collectors I've spoken to that still have orders with PSA that were sent over a year ago.
Aside From Bulk Grading What Are The Other Options For Grading With PSA?
For non-bulk submissions, members of PSA's Collector Club can submit individual cards at the 'Value Service' level at a cost of $30 per card. This grading level allows for up to a $499 declared value. PSA claims that the 'Value' service level will be returned in 90-120 days.
For collectors looking for a bit of a quicker turnaround time, the 'Standard' grading level at $50 is probably the best bet. PSA ups the declared value to $999 with a turnaround time of 45-90 days.
For $100, collectors can grade cards for up to a declared value of $1499 at PSA's 'Regular' grading level with a quicker turnaround time of 15-30 days.
Collectors with cards at a value of $1500 or above can look to PSA's Express, Super Express or Walk Through services.
For more information on card grading services please see our comprehensive guide Sports Card Grading 101: The Definitive Tutorial
So, ultimately, its a good sign that grading prices are normalizing. Although this is somewhat at the expense of the graders themselves - according to Gem Rate, PSA has seen an 11% drop in cards graded over the past month.
Now that the grading backlogs are clearing, if we see more softness in pricing, we could start to see more competiveness in terms of pricing.
$10 bulk submissions with high declared values and quick (month or less) turnaround times would be a very welcome goal!
What are your thoughts on the recent pricing changes at PSA?