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PSA Grading Advice

I got back into baseball card collecting a while back, not having done so since childhood. I am relatively new to looking at cards as a 21st Century adult, in particular, the 1-10 PSA scale. Until I started learning about this, I was pretty much blind to it. Now I can't unsee... :D

But I wonder if I may have gone too far in the nit-pickiness direction, and that's where I could use the advice of someone with more experience.

I'll use 1988 Topps Bo Jackson as the test card.

The old me would look at it and say it's a 10. But looking more closely:

Top Left Corner: There are some ink issues with the name, I'm not sure the corner is sharp, and there seems to be some white on the edges near the red and blue.

Top Right Corner: Seems like some hanging chads or whatever there.

Bottom Left Corner Oh my! Look at that discoloration and fraying. Ouch.

Bottom Right Corner: More edge discoloration.

So, to my untrained eyes at this moment, this looks like a PSA 8 to me. The reason I am not so sure about that 8, is because when I examine PSA 10s from the 70s and 80s, none of them look exactly perfect to me. I'll use 1975 Milt May as an example.

But if we look at the bottom left corner, for example:

That looks like a slightly discolored, maybe even nicked corner to me. But it's a 10. So maybe I'm grading too harshly, with the Bo Jackson example?

What do you all think?

Comments

  • I like the 75 Milt May

  • emaremar Posts: 542 ✭✭✭✭

    Hi, welcome.
    Not all 10s are created equal. Not sure, the graders probably look at 60s, 70s, & 80s models a little differently than modern.
    Jackson might be too OC t/b to get a 10

  • bobbybakerivbobbybakeriv Posts: 1,724 ✭✭✭

    I think your Jackson is very nice. You are right in rigorously scrutinizing your cards like you are doing. You can't be too diligent in that regard. That Milt May 10 is very nice as well. However, it is was graded a little while ago. That is, it is sans the newer label PSA now uses. PSA seems to have gotten stricter with their grading as of late IMHO. Although, a very slight border ding that really can't be seen by the naked eye is not a PSA 10 deal breaker in my experience. Corners are very important. Personally, I look at these with the most importance, then centering, surface, and finally coloring (or really, signs of discoloring). Don't forget the back either. All this being said, I would guess your Jackson would come back a 9. Good luck with it.

  • @emar said:
    Hi, welcome.
    Not all 10s are created equal. Not sure, the graders probably look at 60s, 70s, & 80s models a little differently than modern.
    Jackson might be too OC t/b to get a 10

    Interesting and thank you. Where do you see the OC?

  • @bobbybakeriv said:
    I think your Jackson is very nice. You are right in rigorously scrutinizing your cards like you are doing. You can't be too diligent in that regard. That Milt May 10 is very nice as well. However, it is was graded a little while ago. That is, it is sans the newer label PSA now uses. PSA seems to have gotten stricter with their grading as of late IMHO. Although, a very slight border ding that really can't be seen by the naked eye is not a PSA 10 deal breaker in my experience. Corners are very important. Personally, I look at these with the most importance, then centering, surface, and finally coloring (or really, signs of discoloring). Don't forget the back either. All this being said, I would guess your Jackson would come back a 9. Good luck with it.

    Thanks for the feedback here.

    I'm not planning on sending it in, I just thought it was a fun example to use. I am curious in this example, what bumps 88 Jackson down to a 9? For any of the reasons I listed, or something else like OC that I missed?

  • bobbybakerivbobbybakeriv Posts: 1,724 ✭✭✭

    Bottom left chipping and slightly touched corner (from what I can tell). You never really know though, I've seen many 10s with slight chipping, etc. Not sure about the dots. As long as they do not take away from the overall appeal of the card (in the grader's view), you may be okay there.

  • emaremar Posts: 542 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 17, 2021 2:12PM

    @yojimbosan said:

    @emar said:
    Hi, welcome.
    Not all 10s are created equal. Not sure, the graders probably look at 60s, 70s, & 80s models a little differently than modern.
    Jackson might be too OC t/b to get a 10

    Interesting and thank you. Where do you see the OC?

    -
    I stand corrected. I checked my '88 Fleer 10s. They have the same amount of lower border showing. Jackson isn't OC.

    If your origin as a collector is from the overproduction era, here is a fun thread from jordangretzkyfan:
    [https://forums.collectors.com/discussion/995191/i-love-the-1980s-the-ultimate-unopened-rip-quest-to-build-topps-fleer-donruss-psa-10-sets#latest]
    Back in the day, all the cards were "perfect". That couldn't be further from the truth.
    They printed BILLIONS but the process wasn't pretty. Quantity over quality
    Have fun!

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 8,292 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @yojimbosan said:
    I got back into baseball card collecting a while back, not having done so since childhood. I am relatively new to looking at cards as a 21st Century adult, in particular, the 1-10 PSA scale. Until I started learning about this, I was pretty much blind to it. Now I can't unsee... :D

    But I wonder if I may have gone too far in the nit-pickiness direction, and that's where I could use the advice of someone with more experience.

    I'll use 1988 Topps Bo Jackson as the test card.

    The old me would look at it and say it's a 10. But looking more closely:

    Top Left Corner: There are some ink issues with the name, I'm not sure the corner is sharp, and there seems to be some white on the edges near the red and blue.

    What do you all think?

    I think you are smart in looking closely at a card that "needs" to be a PSA 10.

    Those Print imperfections if noticed, will eliminate this (or any other) card from being "gem mint".

    Technically, the Milt May card should not be a 10. Surprised that got by the grader.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • @emar said:

    @yojimbosan said:

    @emar said:
    Hi, welcome.
    Not all 10s are created equal. Not sure, the graders probably look at 60s, 70s, & 80s models a little differently than modern.
    Jackson might be too OC t/b to get a 10

    > Interesting and thank you. Where do you see the OC?

    I stand corrected. I checked my '88 Fleer 10s. They have the same amount of lower border showing. Jackson isn't OC.

    If your origin as a collector is from the overproduction era, here is a fun thread from jordangretzkyfan:
    [https://forums.collectors.com/discussion/995191/i-love-the-1980s-the-ultimate-unopened-rip-quest-to-build-topps-fleer-donruss-psa-10-sets#latest]
    Back in the day, all the cards were "perfect". That couldn't be further from the truth.
    They printed BILLIONS but the process wasn't pretty. Quantity over quality
    Have fun!

    That's the thread that led me here. And I agree, it is pure gold.

  • @JoeBanzai said:

    @yojimbosan said:
    I got back into baseball card collecting a while back, not having done so since childhood. I am relatively new to looking at cards as a 21st Century adult, in particular, the 1-10 PSA scale. Until I started learning about this, I was pretty much blind to it. Now I can't unsee... :D

    But I wonder if I may have gone too far in the nit-pickiness direction, and that's where I could use the advice of someone with more experience.

    I'll use 1988 Topps Bo Jackson as the test card.

    The old me would look at it and say it's a 10. But looking more closely:

    Top Left Corner: There are some ink issues with the name, I'm not sure the corner is sharp, and there seems to be some white on the edges near the red and blue.

    What do you all think?

    I think you are smart in looking closely at a card that "needs" to be a PSA 10.

    Those Print imperfections if noticed, will eliminate this (or any other) card from being "gem mint".

    Technically, the Milt May card should not be a 10. Surprised that got by the grader.

    I agree! I did have it zoomed in pretty far but the only thing I can think of is, like it was mentioned here earlier, a 1975 card 10 is different than a 1988 card 10. Although I am wondering if they just grade tougher now because of the demand. Which would be kind of lame.

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 8,292 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @yojimbosan said:

    @JoeBanzai said:

    @yojimbosan said:
    I got back into baseball card collecting a while back, not having done so since childhood. I am relatively new to looking at cards as a 21st Century adult, in particular, the 1-10 PSA scale. Until I started learning about this, I was pretty much blind to it. Now I can't unsee... :D

    But I wonder if I may have gone too far in the nit-pickiness direction, and that's where I could use the advice of someone with more experience.

    I'll use 1988 Topps Bo Jackson as the test card.

    The old me would look at it and say it's a 10. But looking more closely:

    Top Left Corner: There are some ink issues with the name, I'm not sure the corner is sharp, and there seems to be some white on the edges near the red and blue.

    What do you all think?

    I think you are smart in looking closely at a card that "needs" to be a PSA 10.

    Those Print imperfections if noticed, will eliminate this (or any other) card from being "gem mint".

    Technically, the Milt May card should not be a 10. Surprised that got by the grader.

    I agree! I did have it zoomed in pretty far but the only thing I can think of is, like it was mentioned here earlier, a 1975 card 10 is different than a 1988 card 10. Although I am wondering if they just grade tougher now because of the demand. Which would be kind of lame.

    I think 1975's, in general, along with 1962's, 1971's and even 1963's get graded more harshly than the years with white borders.

    The new stuff does have to be pretty much flawless and still will get a 9 on many occasions.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • emaremar Posts: 542 ✭✭✭✭

    @yojimbosan said:
    I got back into baseball card collecting a while back, not having done so since childhood. I am relatively new to looking at cards as a 21st Century adult, in particular, the 1-10 PSA scale. Until I started learning about this, I was pretty much blind to it. Now I can't unsee... :D

    -

    You are correct! Hard to un-see.
    Just got Griffey in the mail. Dead-nutz perfect centering!
    As you can see, the lower border has a slight factory rough cut. PSA won't typically deduct from factory cuts unless it's a miscut or OC.
    There are some horrendous OPC factory cuts from the 70s.

  • @emar said:

    @yojimbosan said:

    > I got back into baseball card collecting a while back, not having done so since childhood. I am relatively new to looking at cards as a 21st Century adult, in particular, the 1-10 PSA scale. Until I started learning about this, I was pretty much blind to it. Now I can't unsee... :D

    You are correct! Hard to un-see.
    Just got Griffey in the mail. Dead-nutz perfect centering!
    As you can see, the lower border has a slight factory rough cut. PSA won't typically deduct from factory cuts unless it's a miscut or OC.
    There are some horrendous OPC factory cuts from the 70s.

    That's a great card and a great scan. V600 with the lid up? B)

    That's also good to know about the borders. If I had that to send in I may not have because of the bottom, but it passed.

    The whole PSA grading thing seems a bit arbitrary I have to say.

  • emaremar Posts: 542 ✭✭✭✭

    @yojimbosan said:

    @emar said:

    @yojimbosan said:

    That's a great card and a great scan. V600 with the lid up? B)

    That's also good to know about the borders. If I had that to send in I may not have because of the bottom, but it passed.

    The whole PSA grading thing seems a bit arbitrary I have to say.

    Thanks!
    Older model...epson 2480. Lid up in my dark closet B)
    I'm a proponent of fantastic scans for documenting (and admiring!)
    I dont understand the lousy images on ebay of a $20k card

    I'm no expert with the grading process. As they say, buy the card not the holder.
    I find myself being hypercritical of centering above anything else

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