Like any burgeoning industry, entrepreneurs have launched into action, attempting to pick up the slack from some of the biggest grading companies.
One new entrant – Certified Sports Guaranty (CSG) which is backed by a successful comics and coin grading company launched this past February and is headed by a few former high-ranking card graders from Beckett.
Does CSG have what it takes to compete against PSA?
Disrupting any of the top three grading companies (PSA, SGC, and Beckett) would be a monumental task, but I think CSG at least has a fighting chance to become a major player in the space. Their team of experienced card graders and success in other grading verticals gives them a higher probability of success. In my mind, probably the fiercest competitor we’ve seen in a long time.
Let’s explore CSG the company in more detail and discuss some of the reasons they may or may not be successful with their card grading venture.
Note that I did reach out to CSG multiple times to try and arrange an interview, but no one responded.
So how hard is it to actually get a perfect 10 grade from PSA (or any of the other card grading companies)?
It’s a complicated answer, but earning a perfect 10 card grade is extremely hard. There are many factors to consider however, including the card’s age, overall population of the card and whether there were any factory issues for that the set in question.
In this piece we’ll examine some of the statistics relating to the odds involved with earning a perfect 10 Gem-Mint card grade.
If you got started collecting in the 1980’s you might have kept some of your prized sports cards encased in what is commonly known as a screw-down holder.
When protecting your cards starting becoming paramount in the ’80s the screw-down holder was viewed as the premier way to encase your card. What better way to keep your card safe than holding it together with a big, gigantic piece of plastic held together with four tight screws.
Although it used to be the preferred way of protecting valuable cards, screw down holders can cause significant damage to sports cards. The pressure applied from the tightening of the screws can flatten out the card over time.
This can make it appear as if the card has been altered, and the grading companies will often reject cards stored in screwdown holders, returning them as ‘Altered’.
Card grading has completely changed the hobby in the last decade. While there have been some hiccups, a more standardized system has led to a more uniform and liquid market for cards.
Most newer collectors think that they need to send in all of their cards for grading to maximize value, but this isn’t necessarily always the case.
Collectors should certainly engage in self-grading their own cards. The more one can become educated in the process of how grading works, the better-equipped one will be to decide whether to spend the money for card grading.
And as more and more collectors become efficient in grading cards, the more accepted it might be to buy and sell ungraded (or raw) cards.
Unfortunately, despite becoming an efficient grader, an ungraded card still tends to sell for less than any card that has been graded by a third-party grading company such as PSA, SGC, or Beckett.
Through it all, the card grading companies have been beyond overwhelmed—PSA in an April letter to its followers, said that it had received more submissions in three days than it had in the previous three months. Even SGC had said that over the course of a 24 hour span, the number of cards submitted to SGC for grading increased by over 500%.
The deluge of grading requests forced PSA to halt all submissions below its Super Express ($300) grading level effectively putting a pause button on things to help its graders get caught up. Along the way, PSA also hiked prices for all of its grading services, thus, once operations resume (expected in July) it will cost collectors $50 to grade a card (unless it is submitted in a bulk value or grading special submission).
PSA has pretty much shut down grading unless you want to submit at the $300 level
I’d say one of the most common stumbling blocks I encounter when speaking with novice (and even more experienced) collectors concerns shipping sports cards.
For someone that hasn’t sent a valuable card through the mail, the process can be a bit of a daunting experience. However, once you do it a few times, it becomes a fairly simple and easily repeatable process.
I put this guide together to help fellow collectors and to provide some further instructions on shipping sports cards. This guide will cover supplies needed in order to ship your cards, how properly package your cards, along with different methods of shipping and how the process might vary if sending to any third-party graders.
If you have any questions on this, feel free to leave a message in the comments section, or as always feel free to shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
In what can only be described as inevitable, PSA just announced that it was suspending all Value, Economy, Regular and Express grading service levels. In a letter to collectors, PSA President Steve Sloan outlines the massive influx of grading requests and the move to ultimately slow down submissions.
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 in order to do so, they are halting any Value, Regular and Express grading submissions.
So what does this mean for collectors? Well, it means that it will basically be impossible to get your cards graded at PSA, unless you want to pony up 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 in the multiple thousands of dollars.
In what was only inevitable, both SGC and PSA, two of the hobby’s largest third-party grading companies have hiked prices.
The deluge of cards submitted to the grading companies has resulted in nearly unfathomable wait times and the grading companies are trying to put a halt to submissions….well, by raising prices.
The story at PSA is two-fold. First, if you hadn’t heard, the parent of PSA – Collector’s Universe was acquired by an investor group, which includes collector Nat Turner. Turner has voiced his desire to improve upon the existing operational infrastructure at PSA and to provide much-needed investment to improve upon the existing processes.