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Tag Archives for " Card Grading "

What Does ‘Authentic’ Mean In Card Grading?

SGC-Auth-MarisOne of the most frequent questions we get from novice collectors is in regards to the ‘Authentic’ grade from third party grading companies.

It’s confusing, since we automatically assume a card we get graded is authentic to begin with; thus why does a grading company label a card as solely ‘Authentic’ with no numerical grade (from 1 to 10)?  And then ‘Authentic Altered’…what’s the difference between the two?

Simply put, an ‘Authentic’ grade means that the grading company identified something wrong with the card, usually an alteration or some other major defect, which prohibited them from assigning a numerical grade to the card.  

In what follows, we will examine some of the nuances of ‘Authentic’ graded cards and why they are graded that way.  Hopefully this will help clear up some of the confusion.

Be also sure to check out our piece on ‘How To Spot a Trimmed Card’ which talks more about grading and trimming. 

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Do PSA Graded Cards Sell For A Premium vs SGC & Beckett?

dr-j-rookieWe have a lot of collectors asking about grading, namely how to do it, and whether they should do it?

But one of the bigger questions that has come up lately is this:

Do PSA Graded Cards sell for a premium over graded cards from SGC and Beckett?

I always assumed that this was true, but decided now to do a deeper dive into recent sales data to see if it was actually true.

Our findings: for older pre-war cards, PSA graded cards carry a XX% premium over SGC and Beckett.  For newer, modern cards, PSA pricing is more in line with the other grading companies.

Let’s take a closer look.

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Card Grading Wait Times: Updates From PSA, SGC and Beckett

psa-logoThe widespread price increases throughout the hobby has led to a surge in demand for sports card grading.

This has led to significantly increased wait times across all of the third party grading companies. 

PSA, SGC and Beckett just can’t keep up.  With forced closures during the peak of COVID leading to a backlog, the excess demand in recent months has led to significant delays for all of the grading companies. 

Thus, if you have a card you want to get graded, you could be waiting upwards of six months to get your card back.

Now of course there are ways to spend a bit more and get your order expedited.  In this guide, we’ll examine the wait times for all of the grading companies and what it costs to get your cards graded today at each company. 

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Is PSA Deliberately Undergrading Popular Cards?

In a perfect world the third party grading companies should be evaluating cards objectively, and not letting any sort of biases creep into their final decision for a card.  Yet, we all know that we've seen some questionable grading decisions in the past, based on the numerous trimmed cards that have ended up getting numerical grades.

A recent video posted by Vintage Card Curator on YouTube challenged this fact by taking a look at what they refer to as the "9:10 ratio"; a simple calculation that looks at the number of PSA 9 cards and divides the number by the number of PSA 10 grades.  A simple way to interpret the number quickly--if for example we see a card has a 9:10 ratio of 12:1 it means that a card gets a 10 grade for every 12 cards graded a 9 by PSA.  

The focus of the video which I've posted below is on mostly modern era cards (from 1978-1993), such as the ever-popular 1993 SP Derek Jeter card.

PWCC, Probstein and PSA Targets Of New Class Action Lawsuit

It was only a matter of time. Finally something is happening from a legality standpoint in regards to the latest card trimming scandal.

The class action lawsuit in question was filed this week in California and alleges that Collector's Universe (aka PSA) 'knowingly graded altered cards' and that PWCC and Probstein 'knowingly sold altered cards'.  

psa-logo

The lawsuit claims that due to the widespread nature of available information, PSA "knew or should have known that it was grading altered cards".  This part of the argument is a bit light on substance.  

First, the lawsuit claims that given that PSA is an expert in the field of grading, they 'should be able to identify indicia of alterations such as removal of stains and smoothing out of creases'.

This part I agree with.

Trimmed Goudey Ruth at PWCC Auction Outed By Blowout Forums

I thought we might be taking a breather on some of the trimming nonsense, but alas there's been another major discovery in the vintage card world.  One of the trimming experts over at Blowout Cards (aka 'BODA) has discovered another trim job, this time with one of the more storied cards of the hobby--the 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth (#181) card.

And of course, it was a card being sold over at PWCC.  Can someone at eBay please tell me why PWCC is allowed to sell cards on their platform, after all that has happened

Here's what BODA has discovered.  The 1933 Goudey Ruth that was being auctioned off by PWCC was formerly graded by SGC (as a 5 or Excellent condition), cracked from the slab, trimmed and retouched, and then resubmitted to SGC.  In turn SGC re-graded the trimmed card at a higher grade, a 6.5 or Excellent-Near Mint.  

Here is the original 1933 Goudey Ruth that was sold at Heritage Auctions back in 2012 for nearly $6,000.

A Closer Look at Collector’s Universe (CLCT)

collectors-universeI discuss grading a lot on this blog, since it’s a big part and often controversial topic in the hobby.  I also discuss the concept of investing in vintage baseball cards.  Thus, I figured it might make sense to take a closer look at Collectors Universe, the company, which is traded under the symbol CLCT on the stock exchanges.  Of important note, Collectors Universe is the parent company of Professional Sports Authenticator (or PSA as many of us are most familiar).  

In this piece, I’ll examine the operations of the company, how they make money and how successful they’ve been in doing so, along with what the future prospects of the company look like.  This is by no means investment advice and I do not own any shares of CLCT nor am I being compensated by anyone to write this article.  This is all being done for my own enjoyment and to give collectors some future insight in the big business behind sports card grading.

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State Of The Hobby – Can We Trust The Card Graders?

trust-gradersI’m sure by now you’ve heard of the scandal that has rocked the sports card hobby. If not, the quick and dirty is that a notorious card doctor and trimmer was buying lower graded cards, trimming them, and then resubmitting to PSA.

All of this was done with the help of PWCC, the big eBay auction house, although to date, the company has denied any wrongdoing

Let’s face it; PSA, SGC and Beckett are just third party authenticators.  There is no guarantee, whether intentional or not, that the graders will get it right.  It’s now on us, to be a ‘fourth party grader’ of sorts to ensure that we are not getting scammed.  

Yet the graders provide a level of ‘certainty’ in what used to be a very uncertain marketplace.  But with the recent events, should we still trust the third party graders?  Is there any sort of indication that PSA or any other graders have knowingly graded altered cards?

In this piece I review the history of the grading companies, what has transpired in recent years, and whether we as collectors should continue to rely on the graders in providing this consistency to our beloved hobby.

I’ve also surveyed All Vintage Cards followers for their own feedback and will present the results at the conclusion of this article.

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