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Grades are in from a 60 card February Special

Well, it's finally done. Arrived at PSA on February 27, shipped on June 29. Roughly 65 business days, assuming PSA only works Monday, Wednesday, and Friday :-). I will admit, the grades leave me pretty unconfident in the overall professional grading process. My disappointment was tempered somewhat after I estimated the value of the cards if they had been graded what I projected and compared it to the estimated value of the actual grades. I came out $5 ahead :-). Here are the results:


Some observations:

Either it's a crazy coincidence, or they have different people grading different years / sports. There was a total of 21 baseball cards included, all could be considered vintage. 16 of the 21 I over-graded, I under-graded only 2. Ironically, outside of centering, I can't tell a PSA 7 from a PSA 10. But I know my 3's and 4's. Yet the 2 I under-graded were the ones that graded 7 and 9, and all of the ones I over-graded were in the 3-5 range. Here's a sampling of some of the PSA 2's through 3's:

The 64 Gibson and Maris are particularly disappointing. I have 75 total PSA 3's in my 1953 Topps Set Registry, and I can promise you not a single one is as nice as any of the 3's above, not even close.

Now the person who graded the vintage hockey, on the other hand, seems to have the same eye as me. The grades align very well with the projected grades, although to be fair, the PSA 1's are PSA 1's because there's no PSA 0. That being said, the PSA 3 Delvecchio, which was a hair generous, and the PSA 3 Lindsay, while accurately graded, are not even in the ballpark condition wise as the PSA 3 baseball cards pictured above.

I honestly don't know what's going on with the '84 Yzermans, as the Potvin and Bossy are pretty much in line with what I expected, although truth be told if I projected a "9" it meant I was really hoping for a 10. Of the 60 cards I sent in, probably 10 were pulled from packs myself as a youth. Of course the one card that was not holdered (the Bourque) was one of the 10.

Moving on to basketball, again a completely different story than the baseball. 14 total basketball cards, NINE of them graded higher than I projected, the other 5 were the same as I projected. 4 of those 5 though were 1989 Hoops Jordans that I painstakingly selected from my stash, fully expecting at least one 10 if not 2.

Finally, the football cards again seemed to be very reasonably graded, with every card being plus or minus one grade of the projection with the exception of the LT rookie. For some reason, I was not provided a scan of that card, suffice to say it's a really nice 4 :-). The PSA 8 Elway Rookies were nice surprises, especially given that they were not as nice as the other 84's I submitted that graded the same, at least in my opinion.

I'm pretty fired up about the 1978 Bleier, I pulled it from a vending box I got from BBCE back when middle class people could afford such a thing. I was dreaming of a 10 but expected a 7:

Centering on these 78's is bizarre, it takes a while to convince yourself that a card is centered or not.

Finally, the 1976 Hostess Aaron was my "home run" from the submission. I've been enjoying hand-cutting Hostess cards for a while and I decided to give one a try to see how it grades, and I am very obviously pleased with the result. I wish I could share the scan, but one was not provided for this card either. It's a great card. Nowhere near as "mint" as the 4 1989 Hoops Jordans that all received the same PSA 9 grade, but still a great card. The Aaron was the birdie on hole #17 on my round of 107 that will bring me back to the course (i.e. submit again) once I replace the putter that I snapped in half on an earlier hole :-).

As you were . . .

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    RonSportscardsRonSportscards Posts: 800 ✭✭✭✭

    The color of some of those 52s are amazing. That Groth!

    No 10s?

    What technique do you use to cut the Hostess cards? Just straight edge and exacto? Do you cut outside the line or through it?

    Thanks for the reveal.

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    detroitfan2detroitfan2 Posts: 3,314 ✭✭✭✭

    @RonSportscards said:
    The color of some of those 52s are amazing. That Groth!

    No 10s?

    What technique do you use to cut the Hostess cards? Just straight edge and exacto? Do you cut outside the line or through it?

    Thanks for the reveal.

    You are correct, on the Hostess cards I use a regular old razor knife and a sturdy straight edge. One of the keys is actually the surface used to cut on. Nearly everything you use will get slightly damaged with each cut, that damage will eventually add some frays to your cards as you cut them, so you need to keep your surface "fresh". I definitely leave the entire line and just a bit outside if possible (like a hair, not an eighth of an inch, although I've seen some done like that way that look great).

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    1951WheatiesPremium1951WheatiesPremium Posts: 6,243 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @detroitfan2

    I will admit, the grades leave me pretty unconfident in the overall professional grading process.

    I looked down your list and it looks like everything except maybe LT was within a point or dead on with your own guess so I guess I don’t understand the above comment.

    The cards you’ve posted are beautiful, especially the 1952’s, though I think the VG assessment is correct with the rounding on the corners. Again, gorgeous cards. Congrats on their safe return.

    Curious about the rare, mysterious and beautiful 1951 Wheaties Premium Photos?

    https://forums.collectors.com/discussion/987963/1951-wheaties-premium-photos-set-registry#latest

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    sayheywyosayheywyo Posts: 446 ✭✭✭✭

    Wow, you put in an awful lot of work on that sub with the spreadsheet, projection, actual grades and estimated value. Very commendable. I seriously doubt that there are different graders grading different years/ sports within one submission. One thing I did notice is that you submitted your cards in ascending order both by year and card number. In the past I had better luck with grades when I purposely "mixed things up" by placing a lower grade card (IMO) followed by an obvious higher one within the sub.

    @detroitfan2 said:

    @sayheywyo said:
    I'm thinking the February vintage special caused a minor backlog of PSA 2-PSA 4's as vintage collectors were dying to have an opportunity to send in beat up HOFers that no one wanted to buy raw.

    Kind of doubt that since a raw vintage HoFer that would grade PSA 2-4 typically doesn't sell for a whole lot less than if it's graded. Certainly not $25 less unless it's a Mantle type player.

    Noticed Mantle, Aaron and Mays in your sub.

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    olb31olb31 Posts: 2,934 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have had about 400 cards graded in the last 8 months. My observation. Cardboard/surface issues that used to bring the card to an 8, now it takes them to a 7 (at a maximum) without consideration of anything else. This is the single game changer that I noticed. A couple of small unnoticeable cardboard issues can take your card to a 6 in a heartbeat. Even if the centering looks like a 10, the edges look like a 10 and the corners look sharp. It's not about how well the card looks in the holder.

    Work hard and you will succeed!!
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    BBBrkrrBBBrkrr Posts: 952 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I agree 100% on the 78 football. I like that set quite a bit and have about 50 at PSA now that's been there since the first of March. Those things are harder for me than any other set to determine centering. Something about the design plays tricks on my eyes. I'm always rechecking before I send and finding bits of off-centering.

    Still love sending them though. Even if they come back lower than I'd like.

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    pdoidoipdoidoi Posts: 491 ✭✭✭

    detroitfan 2 would you like to come look at my cards and let me know which cards I should grade ? haha
    Great job on grading, you got an eye for grading.

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    ndleondleo Posts: 4,076 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @olb31 said:
    I have had about 400 cards graded in the last 8 months. My observation. Cardboard/surface issues that used to bring the card to an 8, now it takes them to a 7 (at a maximum) without consideration of anything else. This is the single game changer that I noticed. A couple of small unnoticeable cardboard issues can take your card to a 6 in a heartbeat. Even if the centering looks like a 10, the edges look like a 10 and the corners look sharp. It's not about how well the card looks in the holder.

    This also true for modern. The difference between a 8/9 and 10 is the surface, assuming the centering and corners are solid. For the modern FB autos I grade, I look hard at the sticker used for the auto, if there is a dimple or some imperfection, I pull it from the grading stack.

    Mike
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    gameusedhoopgameusedhoop Posts: 3,543 ✭✭✭

    Now that they grade without qualifiers for the most part I feel that they are taking the best possible centering score, say a 6, then deducting points for surface, corners, edges, surface, stains etc.
    My son in law was looking at a vintage 4 the other day, pretty sharp, no creases, no spider wrinkles, and most importantly well centered. I had the pics blown way up looking for a reason for the 4 grade, couldn't find it. Looked at it again regular sized, and someone added a little bit of marker to the cartoon on the back. Card presents as an 8 MK, but was graded 4.

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    detroitfan2detroitfan2 Posts: 3,314 ✭✭✭✭

    Hi All, appreciate the comments and feedback. I should probably restate my comment to read "I am unconfident with my understanding of the professional grading process". The best way to perhaps explain my confusion is as follows:

    If grading cards was calling balls and strikes, and you call a pitch on the black at the knees a strike and I call it a ball because I view it as low, it is what it is, there's no right or wrong answer. I have no problem with that. You cannot, however, then argue that a pitch in the same location but an inch higher is a ball because it's too low, when that pitch is clearly a better pitch (even though when taken by itself, it could rightfully be argued that it's a ball). In other words, just like umpiring, it would be nice if there was CONSISTENCY, at least in the same submission.

    For example, if I hand you the 1952 Topps Max Surkont and the 1954 Topps Alex Delvecchio, whether you are Joe Orlando or my wife, you're going to say the Surkont is the nicer card. And we're not talking about finding spider wrinkles with a 50X loupe here, were talking about cards in the 2-3-4 range. Yet somehow the Delvecchio graded higher.

    Another example is the 1984 Topps Football. I selected 3 cards (Allen, Slater, and Taylor) from about 600 near mint or better cards that I thought had a legitimate shot at a 10 but would make back the grading fees if they graded a 9. I then included the 2 Elways because, well, they're Elway rookies. In the condition they were in, if the Elways were Benny Ricardo or even Lawrence Taylor, I would never send them in, it wouldn't make sense. Yet both Elways (that were nothing special) and 2 of the 3 cards that I hand-picked hoping to get a 10 graded PSA 8.

    The final example is the Hostess Aaron and the 89 Jordans. Ironically, I had the Aaron as part of a full panel, but the other cards in the panel were creased, stained, whatever such that the panel itself would probably grade no better than a 3. However, the Aaron was pretty much unblemished, so I cut him out and sent him in. To be honest, I could have cut him WITH the Jordans, that's how nice they are. So we have a card that was sliding around on a grocery shelf at one point and then in someone's kitchen earning the same grade as an uncirculated card. Don't get me wrong, the Aaron is a great card, but it's not one of the Jordans, and for them to all get 9's, I just don't know.

    So this isn't me whining about graders being too hard, because 50% of my lack of confidence is due to cards that actually graded higher than I anticipated, if that makes sense.

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    RonSportscardsRonSportscards Posts: 800 ✭✭✭✭

    While there are guidelines, at the end if the day, grading is subjective. Even if a card is outside the guidelines, throw in something called eye appeal, and the goalposts have been moved. You used umpiring as a comparison, but using Olympic figure skating judging might be a better example.

    With the 52s being such an iconic and collected set, I think they are a bit more critical in grading.

    As for comparing the Hostess Aaron to the Jordans, I'm OK with the grader grading "on a curve" given the set being graded. A Hostess 9 might not present as well as a say a Topps Chrome 9, but by comparison to other Hostesses, a 9 could be an appropriate grade.

    But I agree, consistency is everything. Nothing more frustrating than seeing an identical card as yours, that is not nearly as nice, sitting in a holder with a higher grade.

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    HarnessracingHarnessracing Posts: 326 ✭✭✭

    They are not being historically consistent with their grading scale. I sent in over 130-1975 Topps Baseball and got 90% 8s. These were cherry-picked out of 1000+ cards. Every star basically was given a 7, except 2, I’ll be selling the set shortly, and the 8s are far superior to any 8s out there now.
    I cracked out 10 cards and all but 1 received an upgrade of 1 to 2 grades from SGC. Sent in over 150- 1949 Bowman’s and these were 6-8’s in my opinion. Got a pile of 4s . I’m not sending any more vintage to PSA until the 20 year olds grading now know how to grade vintage

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