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PSA football cards grading, humans and grading

chrislynn5chrislynn5 Posts: 10

I'm new to collecting but have been reading a lot. Last year back in August of 2020 I submitted my first batch of 85 cards to PSA for grading and they still aren't out yet.
I did submit this year in Feb 2021, an express order of 10 cards, I felt really were great cards and after over 2 months just got the grades.
Disappointed of course.
I measure the centering, reviewed the color and clarity, reviewed the corners under magnification and received much lower grades than what I've compared to published cards. I had pulled 10 great cards out a brand new never opened 1985 topps football box that were impeccable. The best one got only an 8. These cards had never been touched and by all comparisons were perfect.
The 1986 Jerry Rice that sold on eBay last week for $92k, was visibly off center. I submitted 3 that appeared better but got at best a 7.

Disappointed.
Once I get the cards back I'll post.

Comments

  • JustacommemanJustacommeman Posts: 21,398 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Please do post them. Sorry for your disappointment. I felt your pain in your keystrokes

    mark

    Walker Proof Digital Album
    Fellas, leave the tight pants to the ladies. If I can count the coins in your pockets you better use them to call a tailor. Stay thirsty my friends......
  • nam812nam812 Posts: 10,081 ✭✭✭✭✭

    The black borders on 1985 Topps football are very unforgiving just like 1971 Topps baseball. Not a good barometer at all.



  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 8,753 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Post good scans, not low quality phone pictures, and we'll try to explain what the problems are.

    As mentioned, those black bordered cards show the most microscopic wear, and are in my opinion graded unfairly.

    But that's the way it is for several different years with colored borders.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • Geoff76Geoff76 Posts: 70 ✭✭


    Is this the Rice you were referring to? If so, I thought the same thing. Sold for $95k on May 1. Does the low cert number mean it was graded a long time ago and reholdered?

  • BatpigBatpig Posts: 427 ✭✭✭

    Yeah it’s an older cert.

  • OAKESY25OAKESY25 Posts: 4,711 ✭✭✭

    thats a fugly 10, I have graded a bunch of 8's over the years that I would take over that one. If I sent that I would send it thinking it was an 7 ish and be pumped with an 8. If it was a common I would expect an 8.

  • thehallmarkthehallmark Posts: 1,238 ✭✭✭

    I normally don't take it this far, but I actually think PSA should make statement on that card in particular. No way two professional graders at the company with the highest standards deem that card to be gem mint. Not now, not in any era.

    If they stand by that grade, everyone with an 8+ should send in for review and include the picture of this 10.

  • JustacommemanJustacommeman Posts: 21,398 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 11, 2021 12:35PM

    The corners have as many touches as the walls of Talladega

    m

    Walker Proof Digital Album
    Fellas, leave the tight pants to the ladies. If I can count the coins in your pockets you better use them to call a tailor. Stay thirsty my friends......
  • yes. exactly, thank you. When I get my cards back, they are currently being shipped, I'll post.
    I realize I'm new at this, but I see some 8s and think that poor person was robbed.
    And in theory, there are a finite quantity of 1986 Topps Football Jerry Rice Rookie cards. We, I'm sure, are on the tail end of what is out there that hasn't been graded. But if they grade more as 10s then the 10s that are out there will lose there value. So now we're talking about price fixing. PSA has had 21,928 graded and only 59 at 10.
    Just not right. I can see earlier ones being graded slightly higher since they didn't know population. But PSA needs to review what they done over time and look at population, as there can't be a lot of Jerrys out there still :)

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 8,753 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Lower right corner looks like it should have kept it out of a 10 holder, imo.> @chrislynn5 said:

    will do, they will be here in a few days.
    I realize we all think our cards are the best, but I really want to believe that the cards submitted by all of us are judged on the merit of the cards, not about controlling the value for only a select few to benefit. We watched the price go from $8 to $20 for low service, and express go to $75 then 150, over night. With completion and delivery taking 10 times longer, and people are paying those costs.
    I've seen not so great looking 9s and 10s, and awesome looking 8s.
    I want to think the system is fair but this appears to be weighed heavily upon money.
    what will be interesting is I have 3 more batches; my original 85 cards value submittal of 1977-1990 football topps cards, in grading for a month now submitted Aug 2020. A 60 value modern football and 27 value ultra modern football in the queues which will be months if not a year to find out the results.

    Thanx for the input.

    By the way, if I haven't welcomed you to the boards....................Welcome!

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • Geoff76Geoff76 Posts: 70 ✭✭

    @chrislynn5 said:
    yes. exactly, thank you. When I get my cards back, they are currently being shipped, I'll post.
    I realize I'm new at this, but I see some 8s and think that poor person was robbed.
    And in theory, there are a finite quantity of 1986 Topps Football Jerry Rice Rookie cards. We, I'm sure, are on the tail end of what is out there that hasn't been graded. But if they grade more as 10s then the 10s that are out there will lose there value. So now we're talking about price fixing. PSA has had 21,928 graded and only 59 at 10.
    Just not right. I can see earlier ones being graded slightly higher since they didn't know population. But PSA needs to review what they done over time and look at population, as there can't be a lot of Jerrys out there still :)

    Interested in seeing yours. Here’s the one I just got back. I didn’t expect anything better than an 8 based on the two print circles at the top and a couple of minor touches, but seeing that “10” for $95k is a head scratcher.

  • Here's the three pre-submittal. I know not the best picture, but when they come back I'll take better pics.

    And the some of 1985s. That black border does suck, but I would expect PSA would understand the cut and the white that will show...

  • chrislynn5chrislynn5 Posts: 10
    edited May 12, 2021 8:09AM

    @Geoff76 see your top white bars, how there is a stutter (broken lines). I've seen this on a few. The 10 didn't have it. But I've seen 10s with it. I thought that was interesting.

  • Geoff76Geoff76 Posts: 70 ✭✭

    @chrislynn5 said:
    @Geoff76 see your top white bars, how there is a stutter (broken lines). I've seen this on a few. The 10 didn't have it. But I've seen 10s with it. I thought that was interesting.

    Yeah, I noticed that, too. Initially, I thought the jagged lines would hurt but apparently it doesn't if the centering is good. What did you get on your Montanas? I sent one with centering that’s similar to the one on the right (slightly up) but without the print circle at the bottom.

  • CakesCakes Posts: 2,550 ✭✭✭

    Welcome to the boards!

    It's pretty clear the new batch of graders are harsher. With that being said 86 Topps Football is one of the hardest of all time to grade. I have posted about it over the years and I actually gave up on the set. Getting anything to grade over an 8 seemed impossible.

    Successful coin BST transactions with Gerard and segoja.

    Successful card BST transactions with cbcnow, brogurt, gstarling, Bravesfan 007, and rajah 424.
  • I got the cards back today, here's my Jerry 7, ugh!

  • I feel robed, really I do. Another example.

  • Geoff76Geoff76 Posts: 70 ✭✭

    Thanks for posting...tough break on that one. All I notice is a slight softening on the upper left corner and perhaps a tiny, v-shaped divot or chip on the left edge close to the horizontal line of the 8 in the jersey? Not sure if that’s the picture. Otherwise, my non-expert eye doesn’t see much.

  • azvikeazvike Posts: 136 ✭✭✭

    Those seem harsh...sorry this happened to you.

  • FrozencaribouFrozencaribou Posts: 961 ✭✭✭✭

    Even Dan Marino seems confused by the grades.

    Beautiful Rice rookie. Sorry about the grades.

  • Geoff76Geoff76 Posts: 70 ✭✭

    Marino...wow. I can’t believe that didn’t get a better grade. Amazing black borders.

  • Here's more of my 1985 submittals. Check out the 6 the gave me for payton, ugh.
    I think I got screwed all around.




  • OAKESY25OAKESY25 Posts: 4,711 ✭✭✭
    edited May 15, 2021 8:41AM

    @chrislynn5

    Looks like they are all graded correct to me. The Payton seem like there is a scratch on the right edge above all pro. They are all off center except for the Elway.

  • PaulMaulPaulMaul Posts: 3,791 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 15, 2021 2:37PM

    @OAKESY25 said:
    @chrislynn5

    Looks like they are all graded correct to me. The Payton seem like there is a scratch on the right edge above all pro. They are all off center except for the Elway.

    None of these cards is receiving a grade of 6 or 7 because of centering.

  • OAKESY25OAKESY25 Posts: 4,711 ✭✭✭
    edited May 15, 2021 2:39PM

    @PaulMaul

    None of these cards is receiving a grade of 6 or 7 because of centering.

    Not that alone, correct.

  • PaulMaulPaulMaul Posts: 3,791 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This really isn’t a new thing. PSA had become very tough on sets with colored borders 5 or 6 years ago. I myself complained bitterly when I sent in 80 beautiful 71 Baseball and got mostly 7s...cards like the ones below. I thought (and still do) that they were much nicer than most of the 8s on eBay in older flips. What constitutes “a corner with wear” is somewhat subjective, and PSA has now decided it means any hint of white showing, even when cards with white borders are allowed much more wear without penalty. Good for buying recently graded cards, bad for submitting.

  • LefthanderLefthander Posts: 91 ✭✭

    I've never been a set collector anyway, but due to the very unforgiving grading on these color bordered cards, I would never take up collecting them. Nothing but a heartbreak, as that song goes. It's especially demoralizing when I hear they've been graded more harshly in recent years than in past years. When a few atomic particles come off the corners and edges of white bordered cards, it's largely undetectable. But when the atomic particles come off colored bordered cards, the excuses for lowering the grade come easier on the grader's part.

  • rexvosrexvos Posts: 2,890 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 16, 2021 8:09AM

    No one will be close any time soon. PSA is the market whether I like it or not and every else is a distant second

    Looking for FB HOF Rookies
  • fergie23fergie23 Posts: 1,813 ✭✭✭✭

    chrislynn5, you are a newbie submitter. You received grades worse than you thought you would, like almost every single person that initially subs to PSA. The black bordered cards are always graded harshly and you made a significant mistake sending those in before getting a little experience submitting cards to PSA.

    Your Rice is a 7/8 IMO, you got a 7. Don't make the mistake of finding a few weaker cards in 8 holders and then crying about your grade. I would expect a 7 the majority of the time sending in that Rice with a gift 8 every now and then.

    Robb

  • AFLfanAFLfan Posts: 885 mod

    @chrislynn5 - Welcome to the hobby and the forum. I'm sorry to hear that you were frustrated with the grades you received, but as others have said, it was rather ambitious to send in cards with colored borders on your first sub. Those are traditionally challenging sets for even advanced collectors.

    I'd like to suggest you read the following article written by Joe Orlando. He offers his thoughts on situations similar to yours, although he discusses cards already graded as opposed to self-submissions. Also, please note that I am not accusing you of being one of the "people who choose to do nothing more than complain," that just happens to be something in the article.

    Your best bet is to continue learning as much as you can. There are a ton of knowledgeable collectors on this forum and they willingly help collectors, new and advanced.

    https://www.psacard.com/articles/articleview/9922/taking-my-hacks-collectors-universe-retrospective

    Thanks, Todd

    Todd Tobias
    PSA Employee & Grateful Collector
    I focus on autographed American Football League sets, Fleer & Topps, 1960-1969, and vintage lacrosse cards.
  • I believe the problem with the Rice is that it is off center top to bottom AND has the tilt to it. With only one of those i believe you are on the 8/9 border, but with both, you end up in the 7/8 border and in this case the coin flip was a 7.

  • As a newbie to having cards graded, I do feel your pain. I pulled dozens of upper deck David Beckham cards straight from sealed boxes, had 25 graded and none of them got a 10. I’m not too worried though as I realise it’s extremely hard to get a 10 so I sent them with the view that they should get 8-9 which they pretty much all did apart from one 7.5 and one 9.5.
    I guess it’s the ability to try and not get emotional with your own cards and be objective and realistic with grades.

  • @AFLfan said:
    @chrislynn5 - Welcome to the hobby and the forum. I'm sorry to hear that you were frustrated with the grades you received, but as others have said, it was rather ambitious to send in cards with colored borders on your first sub. Those are traditionally challenging sets for even advanced collectors.

    I'd like to suggest you read the following article written by Joe Orlando. He offers his thoughts on situations similar to yours, although he discusses cards already graded as opposed to self-submissions. Also, please note that I am not accusing you of being one of the "people who choose to do nothing more than complain," that just happens to be something in the article.

    Your best bet is to continue learning as much as you can. There are a ton of knowledgeable collectors on this forum and they willingly help collectors, new and advanced.

    https://www.psacard.com/articles/articleview/9922/taking-my-hacks-collectors-universe-retrospective

    Thanks, Todd

    I will look your link. I've been reading a lot about the subject. I just happen to get into it right at some sort of peak of course, killing my grading turn-around times. It will be interesting to see my other 3 submittals, the one that has been in grading for a couple months, submitted last Aug 2020, has 85 1977-1990 cards in it, and was not expressed. Then I have a 2020 Panini Phoenix set, brand new, 27, but submitted Jan 2021.

  • Recently submitted older cards to psa for grading. Not at all satisfied with grades and will resubmit for a second look. I suspect psa grading has gotten tougher lately. Not at all consistent with similar cards graded in the past

  • BatpigBatpig Posts: 427 ✭✭✭

    9 times out of 10, a seemingly harsh grade can be explained by a surface issue. It sucks, because the card can be beautiful, but those tough to see surface issues are frequently what knocks a 9+ to a 6/7.

  • oh, and my story...
    My mother past away back in Dec and she used to watch every Sunday night football game starting back in the early 1970's. She collected cards for a brief time, and before she passed left that collection to me as that was a special time. So I was getting some of them graded to encapsulate them to protect, etc. I then started buying new boxes; 1985, 1987, etc. Then dove into the 2020 Panini Phoenix as I just thought those cards were down right art.

  • fergie23fergie23 Posts: 1,813 ✭✭✭✭

    chrislynn5, if you thought that your Rice was a 9/10 then you should simply quit grading. The Rice is OC, slightly tilted, and has touched corners.

    You are throwing around a lot of shade at PSA for someone who has made a single submission. They don't provide "notes" about the grading and never have. If you wanted a breakdown of grading, you should have used BGS and paid for them to provide the centering, corners, edges, & surface sub-grades. When PSA first offered their review service, they would typically tell you what held a card back from being bumped but I don't think they do that anymore.

    There has always been some subjectivity in grading, if you didn't realize that you shouldn't have submitted your cards. I am sure it was an expensive lesson, but next time post front and back scans here and the folks here will give you a more realistic idea of the grades you can expect to receive. The simple fact is that you did not do a very good job pre-grading your cards. This is an incredibly common mistake for newbie submitters, learn from it instead of whining.

    Robb

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 8,753 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @fergie23 said:
    chrislynn5, if you thought that your Rice was a 9/10 then you should simply quit grading. The Rice is OC, slightly tilted, and has touched corners.

    You are throwing around a lot of shade at PSA for someone who has made a single submission. They don't provide "notes" about the grading and never have. If you wanted a breakdown of grading, you should have used BGS and paid for them to provide the centering, corners, edges, & surface sub-grades. When PSA first offered their review service, they would typically tell you what held a card back from being bumped but I don't think they do that anymore.

    There has always been some subjectivity in grading, if you didn't realize that you shouldn't have submitted your cards. I am sure it was an expensive lesson, but next time post front and back scans here and the folks here will give you a more realistic idea of the grades you can expect to receive. The simple fact is that you did not do a very good job pre-grading your cards. This is an incredibly common mistake for newbie submitters, learn from it instead of whining.

    Robb

    ^^This is good advice^^

    As you can see from the pictures posted, cards with dark borders are very hard to get high grades on.

    I have given up on submitting these kinds of cards hoping for anything over a 7.

    Do a little more research, I was in the same boat when I first started collecting high grade cards.

    In most cases mine always looked better than they actually were.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • OAKESY25OAKESY25 Posts: 4,711 ✭✭✭
    edited May 17, 2021 10:02AM

    @chrislynn5 while what @fergie23 said is harsh, it is also completely true. That said it is also absolutely normal and I think we have all been exactly where you are. You jumped into the deep deep end of grading by choosing the 2 toughest issues of any era. When I started I didnt realize that Centering ( if you don't have that, just start deducting points from there) was the main key for a high grade. I had super pack fresh sharp cards I thought were minimum 9's coming back 7's and 6's. People gave me the same sharp tongued responses, to the point that I thought they were PSA shills and not normal experienced people. You paid for a lesson on this one, another lesson it took me a while to learn is snow, and print defects and their effects on grades, both of which are common on those 2 issues.

  • AFLfanAFLfan Posts: 885 mod

    @chrislynn5 - Several members here have nicely tried to give you some grading advice and explain why you may have received the grades you did. They were not acting as forum bullies and were preempting my coming here to tell you that the kinds of things you are suggesting of PSA is well beyond the point of being acceptable on this forum. I will be deleting some of your posts. Please do not post in that manner again.

    Todd Tobias
    PSA Employee & Grateful Collector
    I focus on autographed American Football League sets, Fleer & Topps, 1960-1969, and vintage lacrosse cards.
  • DMasciDMasci Posts: 78 ✭✭

    This is an interesting thread, I am anxiously awaiting two orders that I sent in and will likely get back late this year. The interesting part for me to see is that one order is vintage while the other includes RCs for Rice, Montana, Marino, Elway and also some 85s and 86s of stars and all had been previously graded by Beckett and broken out of their slab. I'm expecting anything 8.5 to be an 8 but hopefully not a 7 and some 9.5s to hopefully be 9s. But, I will just have to wait and see :-)

  • 19591959 Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    Don't expect a lot of 9.5.

  • OAKESY25OAKESY25 Posts: 4,711 ✭✭✭

    @DMasci Good luck on the grades.. crack outs are the way to go.

  • PaulMaulPaulMaul Posts: 3,791 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 17, 2021 12:55PM

    @Batpig said:
    9 times out of 10, a seemingly harsh grade can be explained by a surface issue. It sucks, because the card can be beautiful, but those tough to see surface issues are frequently what knocks a 9+ to a 6/7.

    It’s true, but it can definitely be frustrating to be told your beautiful card is a 6 because of a near invisible bubble or surface wrinkle only to see 9s like this on eBay....newly graded to boot. It no longer bothers me because at least it is consistent.

  • Geoff76Geoff76 Posts: 70 ✭✭

    @PaulMaul said:

    @Batpig said:
    9 times out of 10, a seemingly harsh grade can be explained by a surface issue. It sucks, because the card can be beautiful, but those tough to see surface issues are frequently what knocks a 9+ to a 6/7.

    It’s true, but it can definitely be frustrating to be told your beautiful card is a 6 because of a near invisible bubble or surface wrinkle only to see 9s like this on eBay....newly graded to boot. It no longer bothers me because at least it is consistent.

    Wow. Well, I guess it underscores @OAKESY25 ’s point about the importance of centering!

  • 19591959 Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    I have 6's that look better.

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