PSA To Suspend Value, Economy, Regular and Express Grading

January 16, 2023

psa-logoPSA announced that it was suspending all Value, Economy, Regular, and Express grading service levels in what can only be described as inevitable. 

In a letter to collectors, PSA President Steve Sloan outlines the massive influx of grading requests and the move to slow down submissions ultimately. 

Sloan reiterates in his letter that PSA continues to get flooded with grading requests and has received more cards in three days than they did during the previous three months.  The letter clearly states that PSA needs to catch up.  And to do so, they are halting any Value, Regular and Express grading submissions.

So what does this mean for collectors?  Getting your cards graded at PSA will be impossible unless you want to pay the $300 for the ‘Super Express’ grading level.  And for most collectors, that isn’t an option unless you are dealing with a card worth thousands of dollars.

psa-grading-prices
PSA has pretty much shut down grading unless you want to submit at the $300 level

PSA says they will “take a tiered approach to reintroduce these service levels, to bring all suspended service levels back by July 1, 2021”.

I think this is probably a prudent move by PSA.  They started by hiking costs, but this obviously did nothing to slow down the influx of submissions.  While I think it makes sense to have a reset of sorts, I’m sure many collectors will complain that they could have done a better job of planning for this. 

Unfortunately, it’s not like many professional graders hang around like free agents, waiting to get the call.  It takes time to get people up to speed and ensure you aren’t pushing out an inferior product.

Now, with PSA pretty much turning off grading, what does this do for SGC and Beckett?  Or for any of the newer entrants to the hobby, such as CSG or HGA

And what does this do for cards already graded by PSA?  Do they know they deserve some scarcity premium?  

For years, PSA-graded cards have demanded a premium over other grading companies, but how long can that ultimately last if you can’t get your cards graded? 

Does this help the pricing for ungraded cards?   Still a lot of unknowns right now, but this is big news. 

We’d love to hear what you think — please leave a comment below.

**2023 Update – Note this article was written in 2021, so if you want to see the updated pricing information at PSA, please visit this PSA Card Grading cost guide.

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  1. card graders are grossly underpaid (average of around $39k a year with the “top graders” making just 65k annually — see Glassdoor▪︎▪︎ for one example), PSA big wig (president or cEO, I’ve forgotten which) let it slip sometime in 2019 that most cards are graded in 30 seconds, PSA has been involved with trimming scandals along with PWCC and Probstein. HOW are they still #1 in this industry, showing obscene profits? No longer accepting ANYTHING other than their top tier submissions & fooling upwards ofn99% of us into believing card grading is ‘rocket science” when, in fact, anyone with decent eyesight can become a grader in a very short time? Not going to be assigned a super dope card, but certainly eligible to grade a party high percentage of the more common cards and the unproven rookies we like to speculate on?

    Taking into account the huge corporations that aren’t going back to brick & mortar office space postpandemic (e.g. Anthem Blue Cross) we’re looking at a glut of empty commercial space for expansion. All the planets are aligned for cheaper-than-ever office space PSA has already acquired double its prepandemic space, yet just keeps blaming its inability to hire qualified graders. I don’t doubt that’s true given nobody can live on 40k a year gross

    Any logical/common sense replies welcomed.

    Beckett is even lower.

    ■■ updated June 24,2021

    The national average salary for a PSA is $39,746 in United States. Filter by location to see PSA salaries in your area. Salary estimates are based on 208 salaries submitted anonymously to Glassdoor by PSA employees.

    https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/psa-salary-SRCH_KO0,3.htm

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