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PSA Grading Inconsistencies

OK, I know this title sounds like... here we go.... another seller that expects all his cards to be graded 10s and is upset when they are not, but this is more about the inconsistency of PSA grading. I have a substantial collection of etopps cards that had never been touched or even placed in packs. Etopps cards were printed and immediately placed in sealed indiv cases. I had roughly 300 of these cards that were arguably worth a decent amount prior to removing them from the etopps sealed cases. ETopps are known as being 9 or 10 grades without removing them and maybe an occasional 8. (Obviously this is my fault for even being involved in this grading world out of our control but here goes). So I get about 100 cards graded 3 years back and I get mainly all 10s with some 9s sprinkled in. Let me be clear. No 8s. Then two years go by, psa gets overwhelmed, covid happens. A year ago, I send another 100 etopps cards in from the same batch. They have not been touched, they are in a nicely protected humidor type case. I just received them back... Almost all 8s. A lot of these look better than my 10s from 3 years ago! I am not a professional grader, but my point is none of these graders are either! I am so annoyed and bummed, I feel like I let a high school dropout grader ruin my month.

Again, my fault I get involved in this weird business but now the 12 dollar value grading costs are up to 30 dollars. Does this mean I have to pay 42 dollars per if I want to regrade and prove that some untrained employee(s) graded my cards? I can obviously go to another grading company which I will probably due after I crack these. The question I now have is with the new AI grading coming, does anyone know if eventually we can dispute these manual questionable grades with the AI graded method? This way, people don't have to comment that there is some unappreciated expertise with manual grading. I assume PSA will never allow the AI / objective tech to show how wrong they were with their manual grading, but just curious if anyone has heard anything about this. Thanks

Comments

  • MunnymanMunnyman Posts: 59 ✭✭✭

    PaulyB,

    Your submission is very disappointing and disheartening. Although I haven't personally submitted since before the "Covid backlog," but I too have noticed a significant decease in 10s. At first I thought it was because more people were submitting cards and were new to the grading world and didn't have a good eye for it. However, now I'm wondering if it is an intentional strategy. With less 10s given, the more it drives the "values" or prices up on them (10s). In turn, it causes more people to submit in hunt of the elusive PSA 10 and the giant payday. Am I being a conspiracy theorist here or just a frustrated collector? It was apparent when we started seeing 1000s of dollars paid for brand new cards graded PSA 9 and 10. The greed got so bad that stores like Target stopped selling cards. I've been buying really nice, recently graded 9s, knowing someday I may resubmit them. I keep believing that PSA will come to their senses and realize they've abandoned the people who made them successful, but the longer it takes the less confident I become.........

  • jay0791jay0791 Posts: 3,381 ✭✭✭✭

    With the newer graders grades are all over the place. My last and I do Mean last submission came back on average 1-2 grades below what I thought. Everyone whom I showed the cards to say the same thing. This included a beckett grader.
    Then I have seen card from others graded 2 grades higher than what I would have given.

    Collecting PSA... FB,BK,HK,and BB HOF RC sets
    1948-76 Topps FB Sets
    FB & BB HOF Player sets
    1948-1993 NY Yankee Team Sets
  • gemintgemint Posts: 5,879 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I haven't received much back since the lockdowns started. I had one vintage regular order of 5 cards that came back about a year ago and was mostly in-line with expectations. Seeing all the feedback from long time submitters has been very concerning. It really does seem to be a crapshoot these days, all dependent on the grader you get for your order. Most anomalous orders seem to be graded more harshly but I've also seen a few orders come back with 8's that look like 5s or 6s. So I chalk up all the problems to the accelerated ramp up in the grading operation. I'm hoping to see a stabilization of grading results but it seems that recovery has been pretty slow based on the feedback I've been seeing from recent submissions.

    I have a few thousand vintage cards that were submitted over a year ago and still in the grading stage. I'm dreading what results I'll get. I have a pretty consistent track record of grade distribution per 500 card orders that I've gotten over the years. It will be interesting to see how these current orders compare. Worse yet, even if you get an experienced vintage grader that hasn't been spitting out refractors by the thousands to benchmark against my 50+ year old cards, then I have to worry the corners will get clipped during slabbing. I hope PSA can resolve these issues because I've really enjoyed building my graded set collection. Grading consistency could be improved if they earmark graders to specialize in categories (gaming vs modern sports vs vintage vs prewar) so the graders are properly calibrated for the issues they are grading. Hopefully they've already done that.

  • Thank you everyone for your replies. I can't tell you how perfect some of these cards look minus the '8' blemish :-). I did get a bunch of 10s on one particular player which is also so weird. The other players I received 8s on were the same players graded as 10s 3 years ago so I don't think it was the way each player's set of cards were cut either as I looked at them side by side. This is the problem with no subgrades; there is no rationale needed. Has anyone tried to get a regrade on their original priced grade? I am waiting for PSA to laugh at me, but I am going to ask out of principle anyways.

    Good luck on your grades!



  • Yes very disappointed to say the least. My pre-Covid submission came back tons of 7’s and 8’s a few 9’s and one ten! Then there’s the random super low ones. I couldn’t find anything wrong with the Manning… Griffey I would have though 8 at worse but a 4!!!

  • I would have to agree with Emoney that the 4 on the Griffey and the 5 on the Manning seem incredibly lowball. Personally, I have had some cards come back graded far lower than I expected, but I have gotten enough 10s and 9s to ease the pain. I also got one card back ungraded as being undersized (not trimmed), and I could not eyeball the shortage, but I guess the manufacturer cut it a fraction off. Eventually, perhaps the introduction of AI grading will take a lot of the subjectivity out of the process. In the meantime, I think Emoney's posting of the Manning and Griffey card photos is an excellent thing. Perhaps some PSA manager will eyeball these and, who knows, perhaps have a talk with the grader(s) or send Emoney some free vouchers. We are, of course, not viewing the cards live or with a jewelers loupe, nor are we looking at the reverse sides of the cards, so we have no way to be truly certain -- but the 4 on Griffey and the 5 on Manning seem way out of line.

  • bobsbbcardsbobsbbcards Posts: 3,253 ✭✭✭

    Most of these issues could be solved by additional transparency in the grading process. For instance, the grader on the Griffey taking five seconds to type “crease, upper left” into a database that gets synced up with the submitter’s orders page so it can be viewed once the cards are slabbed. Easy peasy.

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 9,899 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @EMoney said:


    Yes very disappointed to say the least. My pre-Covid submission came back tons of 7’s and 8’s a few 9’s and one ten! Then there’s the random super low ones. I couldn’t find anything wrong with the Manning… Griffey I would have though 8 at worse but a 4!!!

    Crack those out and look at them in sunlight, focusing on the surfaces, both front and back. Look for minute wrinkles, scratches or dents.

    I sent in a 1967 Killebrew Venezuelan that I was positive HAD to be a 7. At that time it would have been the highest graded.

    Came back a 4. I cracked it out and at first couldn't find anything wrong. Then I held it up in the sunlight and saw some glue residue on part of the back. You couldn't see it unless you held it at a certain angle, and in very bright light.

    My bet is there's SOMETHING that dropped your cards down to a 4. Of course PSA does make mistakes, and if they did, I would send them in again.

    Good luck either finding the flaws, or getting better grades on them in the future.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • electrodeelectrode Posts: 195 ✭✭✭
    edited December 7, 2022 8:44PM

    I sent a bundle of cards to be graded and one came back rejected undersized so i cracked it open from the holder resent the card with others and it came back Gem Mint,i sent about 15 cards PSA 6 cards that were cracked open one came back 8.5 only one lost a point,many were upgraded some stayed the same.

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 9,899 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November 7, 2022 5:45AM

    I had a couple of cards come back as "miscut". Were well centered and lined up with other raw cards I had.

    Sent in again, came back an 8 and a 9.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • The miscut designation for cards that are not cut wrong is intolerable. You take a 100 dollar card that should be 500-1000 after grading and just ruin it. I mean what a company business model. Just make stuff up and use subjectivity and the passion of collecting and childhood memories as nauseating excuses for careless mistakes in an attempt to look like the authority on cards. All PSA is focused on is making more $$ at the expense of us. The whole process is a fraud. That is what some people are missing here. Over to Beckett for me. Shame on me if they get me too, but I have had good experiences with them and never hear the same stories I do like PSA.

  • I also think that if you need a ridiculous bright light to find a hairline of a crease, you can't suddenly snatch a 4 grade from the jaws of a 9 or 10. Does that invisible crease really crush the otherwise perfect card's value down 5 or 6 points? Silliness. PSA talks about eye appeal versus individual subgrades..... is that meant for when the microscopes and MS18 lights are out?

  • DeutscherGeistDeutscherGeist Posts: 2,961 ✭✭✭

    With the Manning and Griffey card, my first reaction was that a surface defect or crease is not readily visible at first glance. Creases take down the card's grade by several points, and rightfully so, according to the grading guidelines.

    "So many of our DREAMS at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we SUMMON THE WILL they soon become INEVITABLE "- Christopher Reeve

    BST: Tennessebanker, Downtown1974, LarkinCollector, nendee
  • I agree on the crease as long as it is visible to the naked eye and not impossible to find. I did have a ripken rookie that was perfect until I spotted a crease so I get it. I just mean overall that there is some potentially harsh penalties on small defects and without subgrades, PSA keeps it a mystery

  • PaulMaulPaulMaul Posts: 4,250 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @PaulyB123 said:
    I agree on the crease as long as it is visible to the naked eye and not impossible to find. I did have a ripken rookie that was perfect until I spotted a crease so I get it. I just mean overall that there is some potentially harsh penalties on small defects

    And it’s particularly galling when really ugly stuff like tilt and toning are not penalized at all.

  • flcardtraderflcardtrader Posts: 776 ✭✭✭

    Nothing like hiring a ton of people, training them under fire, and then saying - go grade a few hundred thousand per day so we can get caught up.

    Yeah, thats a recipe for disaster.....

  • frankhardyfrankhardy Posts: 7,869 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have always thought that PSA should have a service where a report is available for an upcharge. Let's say - charge $10 or $20 for a report on why a card got a particular grade. That wouldn't be necessary for all cards, but if I am sending in a 1952 Mantle or a Jordan rookie, I would really like to know some details.

    Shane

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 9,899 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @frankhardy said:
    I have always thought that PSA should have a service where a report is available for an upcharge. Let's say - charge $10 or $20 for a report on why a card got a particular grade. That wouldn't be necessary for all cards, but if I am sending in a 1952 Mantle or a Jordan rookie, I would really like to know some details.

    They already upcharge for more valuable cards. Should be included in the price.
    I wouldn't expect it on the lowest priced submissions, but on higher service levels, it should be.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • Let's get a class action going... everyone knows it is coming. This is the most illegitimate business of all time. I have cracked so many 7s and 8s for bgs 9.5s. I don't even know what to do with all of these psa gem mint 8s. It is so frustrating that I just lost thousands of dollars on a company's greed/incompetence, and yes obviously it is my own stupid fault. I just opened a box of graded cards I had let sit for 5 months because I knew the grades were going to be disappointing after the first box I opened. I even intentionally sent in a few off centered 9s to ensure I got some 10s and even those were 9s. All 9s....I will keep them for the class action I guess

  • For Ewornek's subs, I agree that the Griffey and Manning look nicer than 4s and 5s with this painful caveat: I got a psa 3 in my submission (everything else was graded 7-9) for 150 cards all from fresh boxes and packs of 1987-90 fleer basketball. After looking for 5 mins in the bright light, I finally found a slight crease that explained it because the card was centered perfectly with 4 perfect corners. I think psa 1s through 5s are actually more understandable because we are completely missing something that essentially destroys the card's value. PSA needs to advertise the issue though!

    However, 7s thru 9s of perfectly bright, centered crisp pack-fresh cards - all opened by me - with 0 10s is just such an arbitrary / inexplicable / political / market manipulation thing. Whatever you want to call it is more than anything _**inconsistent **_grading practices from the identical card lot sources just 3 years removed. I will post my Jordan 90 fleers in a minute and there is zero reasoning how 0 of 15 are 10s when I got like 13 of 15 submissions graded psa 10 3 years ago on the same pack-fresh cards. This is after removing all of the non-perfectly centered cards where I am measuring every card front and back for centering

  • ok please see attached.......
    The 2 in the bottom right are actually slightly off-centered top to bottom on the back versus the others, but these were still good enough for 9s, which is even more confusing


  • pdoidoipdoidoi Posts: 62 ✭✭✭

    With the high cost of grading fees and Inconsistencies in grading and mail thefts I am very hesitant on sending in some of my cards for grading at this time. I think I will wait a little and keep monitoring and hope for much better news in the future to near future.

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