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Does anyone feel PSA is returning to being extremely strict?

In the sense of how it was after the tsunami incident and the shutdown during the pandemic. As if there were too many submissions to manage and disappointing grades might reduce what was coming in, but then they had to be careful not to reduce it too much. I remember that first batch that came back after the shutdown was pretty disappointing but remember hearing from others that it was dreadful, even worse.

After that whole phase, came the point where they were looking to get people submitting again in smaller quantities (higher prices) and then I felt very pleasantly surprised with my grades. More expensive but worth every penny. Much better than the batch that waited a year and even some of them it was like I felt it was a certain grade and it came back a grade higher. Was very happy for a little while. Maybe easing up on the harshness and in some cases overdoing it. As if the graders of death were now the Happy Happy Joy Joy graders.

But since then seems to be trending back to the harshest ever. I'm buying cards on Greg Morris that are listed as NR-MINT and NM_MT and I'm thinking wow, that would be a 7 or an 8 I'd love to have. I might even overpay. Which often needs to be the case because everyone else likes a nice old card in great condition too. But now just had 4 of the 8 that I paid NrMT and NM-MT prices for and rushed them through Value Plus come back as 5s. I'm just feeling like I have to evaluate whether its a game I should keep playing. Spending too much money for something worth so much less (in the PSA holder) than what I invested.

Also feel like my cards look so much uglier and worn in their scans than in my pictures. As if some kids were handling them in a Pokemon deck and then they were turned in for grading. My 1950s cards looked nice but now look lightly played. Which might explain how a NM-MT card gets graded a 5.

Anyone else experiencing something similar?

Comments

  • Correction, 5 of 8 were 5s.

  • perkdogperkdog Posts: 29,163 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 12, 2023 2:26AM

    Beautiful cards either way

    And yes very strict, everyone has been saying this for awhile now

  • 4for44for4 Posts: 675 ✭✭✭

    @perkdog said:
    Beautiful cards either way

    And yes very strict, everyone has been saying this for awhile now

    Firm or strict is fair.
    Very is justified also.

    I will say I have cracked two 7’s pre-2020 and have received 8’s.

    Forum members on ignore
    Erba - coolstanley-dallasactuary-SDsportsfan
    daltex

  • Chicago1976Chicago1976 Posts: 442 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good post, I think you've captured what many collectors are experiencing with PSA.

    I'm paying for opinons on a card, so I don't get too upset about 3rd party grades being off by one or half a grade (ex. looks like a 7 to me, PSA says 6). But I will say in the 2 years I sent my cards to PSA, the gap between my understanding of grading standards and the PSA result grew wider. The cards that looked like 8's to me were coming back 5 and 6.

    This disconnect between my understanding of grading guidelines and PSA (along with the long processing times) led me to try other grading companies. Luckily I found one that is more in line with my understanding (and Greg Morris').

    I still buy PSA slabs, respect the brand and hobby value, but I no longer use them for vintage PC grading.

  • craig44craig44 Posts: 10,229 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I would think that most collectors prefer more strict grading from PSA

    George Brett, Bobby Orr and Terry Bradshaw.

  • gemintgemint Posts: 6,056 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 12, 2023 5:18AM

    As I've stated in another thread, I think the strictness of grading has a lot more to do with the experience level of the grader. If you get an experienced grader handling your order, you'll probably get the grades you've come to expect over the past decade plus. If you get an inexperienced grader, you'll either get very strict or very generous grades. I've seen 8's graded recently with 90-10 front centering but receive an unqualified 8 grade. Then you have the cases where graders mistake the paper texture (particularly on 50s cards and earlier) as being creases and they give them 5's or lower.

    I don't want strict standards. I want accurate and consistent standards. Those are fair to both the submitter and the buyers of those cards.

    I'm done submitting until things change. I've submitted thousands of cards a year up until the pandemic. The orders submitted right before PSA shut off submissions were graded fairly for the most part, despite a lot of people complaining about how strict their orders were graded. That's one of the reasons I think results depend more on the experience level of the grader than an overall tightening of grading standards. The submissions sent after they reopened have been hammered. That includes crossovers which are almost 100% rejected these days. It's a complete waste of money. I guess I can be happy that I'm getting some mint cards in PSA 8 holders on the open market but, again, why pay for a service if you don't know what quality you're going to get based on which grader handled that particular order? We're not much better off than buying from various dealers and relying on their own personal grading standards.

  • gemintgemint Posts: 6,056 ✭✭✭✭✭

    This is an example of what I'm referring to regarding loose grading standards on some orders.

  • Agree with a lot of the feeling here. I do not appreciate strict. I appreciate consistent and correct. Accurate. Near Mint isn't a shifting opinion, discussion, state of the union topic. It is what it is. And if one grading company sees it differently it needs to be seen the same in 2005 2011 2023 and 2027. I cant have T206s with rounded corners graded 12 years ago that are 5s and have 50s cards with reasonably sharp corners and bright colors be 5s. I have 51 Bowman football and some of the 7s graded a while back are kind of dirty/discolored with heavy layering and flaking and rounding on the corners and this 5 I just got looks better than those 7s.

    I can still appreciate the brand. I want to buy cards in PSA holders. I would love to buy some cards where other people got shafted and got a grade 2 or 3 grades below what it actually should be. My sympathies to them but if they want to sell I could be interested. I just dont want to be the person on the mat searching for my mouthpiece anymore. I think TCGs and modern I can continue. The occasional PC monthly special. But vintage probably have to take pause until the climate changes if that ever happens.

    I also have the feeling it might be inexperienced graders contributing. The need for mass hiring might have led to some inconsistencies or lack of understanding. Felt I would take a shot on Value Plus at 40 per card thinking maybe you dont get the kid who was working at Starbucks 3 months ago, maybe the more experienced graders reside in that space. But that was a big Joey Gallo swing and miss.

  • gemintgemint Posts: 6,056 ✭✭✭✭✭

    By the way, last submission I included a dozen 1962 Topps football that were PSA 8's that the previous owner cracked out because they wanted a high grade raw set. I sent the PSA 8 flips with the cards in the submission. All but one graded PSA 7 and the one that didn't get a 7 was rejected for min size.

  • BBBrkrrBBBrkrr Posts: 887 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @gemint said:
    By the way, last submission I included a dozen 1962 Topps football that were PSA 8's that the previous owner cracked out because they wanted a high grade raw set. I sent the PSA 8 flips with the cards in the submission. All but one graded PSA 7 and the one that didn't get a 7 was rejected for min size.

    I love to crack and resub, and do a ton. The results are .... all over the place, to say the least.

    I recently cracked a 63 Aaron and it came back rejected for 'evidence of trimming'. I just sent it in a later sub and they graded it the 2nd time. Who knows anything...

  • CakesCakes Posts: 3,429 ✭✭✭✭✭

    IMHO the first step is to do a snapshot audit on all of the graders to see which graders are the toughest. I would be willing to bet the majority of the toughest graders are newly hired as graders within the last 3 years.

    Successful coin BST transactions with Gerard and segoja.

    Successful card BST transactions with cbcnow, brogurt, gstarling, Bravesfan 007, and rajah 424.
  • ReggieClevelandReggieCleveland Posts: 3,851 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I agree with the theory that the new graders don't feel like they have the agency to pass along a sub loaded with high grades. I think they're worried about an audit where they miss something. They're certainly not worried about grading a card too low and having someone bring it back and say "this is actually a 10."

    I've never gotten so many 2022/2023 cards fresh out of the pack come back 4s & 5s and I can't, for the life of me, find the surface damage. I used to always be able to find the flaw that caused a card to come back lower than I anticipated. Always. Now I get 8s, 9s, and 10s that all look the same.

    I know I sound like the cliche guy who complains about their grades and there's certainly plenty of those around but I've never complained before because I could always find the flaws. Now it just feels like dart throws.

    Arthur

  • HarnessracingHarnessracing Posts: 277 ✭✭✭
    edited September 12, 2023 10:00AM

    BBB
    I’ve cracked out a lot myself, unfortunately there cards I submitted.
    I had one card I submitted that I thought was a 9, came back a 5. Cracked it out and it came back an 8.5
    How does that happen???? It went from a $100 card in PSA 5 to an $1800 card in 8.5
    Dozens of cards labeled trimmed or mini, resubmit, BINGO it gets a grade. It’s almost automatic that if it’s an expensive card, it’s going to be a grade lower than you expect. I’m sorry , there are too many experienced sellers and collectors here that all say the same thing.
    Speak to Quality Control at PSA and the person I speak to admitted to not knowing much about the grading standards. Quality is to make sure the item gets in a holder without a problem and they have trouble doing that. No one is doublechecking the grading guaranteed. Just fork over your $$$ and get ready for a kick in the you know what.
    I also thought the $40 option would get me an experienced grader, nope wrong on that.

  • olb31olb31 Posts: 2,836 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @ReggieCleveland said:
    I agree with the theory that the new graders don't feel like they have the agency to pass along a sub loaded with high grades. I think they're worried about an audit where they miss something. They're certainly not worried about grading a card too low and having someone bring it back and say "this is actually a 10."

    I've never gotten so many 2022/2023 cards fresh out of the pack come back 4s & 5s and I can't, for the life of me, find the surface damage. I used to always be able to find the flaw that caused a card to come back lower than I anticipated. Always. Now I get 8s, 9s, and 10s that all look the same.

    I know I sound like the cliche guy who complains about their grades and there's certainly plenty of those around but I've never complained before because I could always find the flaws. Now it just feels like dart throws.

    Arthur

    4 and 5's are the new 9' and 10's. LOL

    Work hard and you will succeed!!
  • olb31olb31 Posts: 2,836 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It appears the spider veins went from an automatic 8 to automatic 7. So do small factory cardboard dings. Definitely more strigent guidelines have been placed on front surface cardboard issues than before.

    Work hard and you will succeed!!
  • RonSportscardsRonSportscards Posts: 732 ✭✭✭✭

    It's all been said already, but yes, accurate and consistent above all else.
    Strict grading, loose grading, both mean the same thing, inaccurate grading.

    On top of the new hire experience levels affecting grades, there is the sheer volume of cards graded, and I assume, quotas that need to be met. Eye fatigue has got to be a thing.
    According to gemrate numbers, there are typically 40k-50k cards graded per day, as high as 80k this month. I don't know how many graders PSA has, but can a card be properly assessed in 30 seconds or even a minute? All day? Especially toward the end of the day? Week?

  • Yes have noticed a pretty large shift to lower than expected grades on vintage cards (1989 and below not sure about modern cards)...maybe it is due to new graders with little experience in vintage cardboard...over the years from 50's to present technology of the manufacturing of picture cards has changed as one can imagine...there maybe some type of new grading process using computers and this could account for the recent grading as well...notice that the raw cards have just recently get scanned in as "first view"...at any rate if digital computer scans or new graders it may take some time for the process to get back to more accuracy...just my thoughts...and yes grading cards on a daily basis can be very tough for an individual to accomplish so maybe some grading managers out there can address this...

  • pdoidoipdoidoi Posts: 429 ✭✭✭

    @craig44 said:
    I would think that most collectors prefer more strict grading from PSA

    Yes, I think they want strict. They also want consistencies and fairness. Why are cards graded different now then maybe 2,3,5 and 10 years ago. I recently stated that I have older sets and I am afraid that my cards will not be graded as they were before and now if i get my cards graded my sets will look very odd. Cards that now grade a 7 or 8 maybe were graded 8,10. You would look at the set and say those cards appear to be in the same condition but the grades are very different.

  • Consistency and fairness are paramount, couldn't agree more. I feel the process is evolving and being enhanced by using AI to help aid in some regards where previous grades did not have this. As a result, is it picking up more minute (my-noot) flaws we may not see in our personal card review process, prior to sending, resulting in lower grades (i.e. creases, edge issues, surface scratches, etc.). This has had a direct correlation to the reduction in value/demand of the earlier generation slabbed cards...however, for the hobby sake, we all preach "buy the card, not the grade" ;)

    I will say, I submit a lot of Michael Jordan cards and I do feel they are graded extremely tough for population regulation sake. I will bet my 10 rate is 5% or less for Jordan while I am much higher on all others. I completely respect why this is done, especially given the premium for which his graded 10 cards go for, but it can be a bit frustrating.

    At the end of the day, I love the comments about re-submitting as well as those around the variance between new/veteran graders, time of day, time of week, etc...they all make sense.

  • 82FootballWaxMemorys82FootballWaxMemorys Posts: 1,256 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Census Medians Must be Maintained

    Unless otherwise specified my posts represent only my opinion, not fact.

  • @ndodge55 said:
    I will say, I submit a lot of Michael Jordan cards and I do feel they are graded extremely tough for population regulation sake. I will bet my 10 rate is 5% or less for Jordan while I am much higher on all others. I completely respect why this is done, especially given the premium for which his graded 10 cards go for...

    I've said it before and I 100% agree about population control. Keep 10s down or else submissions will fall, auction prices will fall, and everyone making money loses out. Who gives a hoot about the people who want 10s in their PC as a self submit...those guys can buy an already graded 10 on the market or else try over and over and over again.

    I disagree about respecting why it's done though. It was an unfortunate experience to send 20 of the same card in nearly the exact same condition and got only 1 10. I bet I could crack and resubmit the other 19 and get another 10 in a new submission.

    Are the rest of you not in agreement about why the 10s are nearly impossible to hit unless there is virtually np population? I hit 2 pop 1 none higher 10s in the same submission and only had 1 copy of each. By now I feel I can spot a 10 for a card I've seen hundreds of from the wax era but apparently NY grader thought 1 stood out above the rest. If I were to put tape over the labels of all 20 then I'd love to see who on here, and all the graders, could spot the sing 10 from the rest. I don't think anyone could. Some would guess correct and most would not. The 8s might not get a vote but they appear like a 8.5 at worse and more like a 9 on my opinion.

    I'm not upset, I've been over it for a long while now, I'm just stating my personal experience and it gives credibility to the population theory.

  • pdoidoipdoidoi Posts: 429 ✭✭✭

    I think that is wrong to grade players different because of who they are. A PSA 1 should be a 1 for all and a PSA 10 should be a 10 for all. What about nonsports should they be graded differently to because of what the card is ?

  • BBBrkrrBBBrkrr Posts: 887 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @pdoidoi said:
    I think that is wrong to grade players different because of who they are. A PSA 1 should be a 1 for all and a PSA 10 should be a 10 for all. What about nonsports should they be graded differently to because of what the card is ?

    I'm with you too. If you're going to have a standard for how you grade that never ( >:) ) changes then it should never change based on the player and year of the card.

    Otherwise, you're just creating doubt about your service and professionalism, and opening your company up to attacks from other companies that compete against you. The best way to ruin your reputation is to personally undermine your own reputation.

  • 53BKid53BKid Posts: 2,163 ✭✭✭
    edited September 13, 2023 9:44AM

    I generally estimate range for each card I submit, trying to be as conservative as possible, keeping them on a spreadsheet to compare against once the cards are graded.

    I've been submitting vintage cards to PSA for over 25 years and have a strong handle on how they grade. I realize that there are times when they're tougher than others and have been both disappointed at times and pleasantly surprised with others.

    For me to be off a grade or two on a couple of cards within a large order usually indicates I missed something. I'll examine the card under a digital microscope and will generally find a tiny wrinkle or otherwise imperceptible surface impression that I had missed.

    I submitted a '51 Mays last year on a Super Express that I conservatively estimated would be a 1.5 to 2 that came back a 3. After an additional assessment I paid $629 all in, but was very pleased. The same order had a '52 Bowman Mays that I had a spread of 1.5 to 3.5 depending on how they handled the centering--came back a 4 with no additional assessment.

    Five days later I submitted a large group for the June '22 National Special. The results indicated to me that different teams of graders evaluated them. In sequence, many came back either exactly as I anticipated, or as much as + or - 0.5 of what I expected.

    However, in other sequences within the same submission , every card was graded a full two to three points lower than what I estimated. What I thought would be graded 8s and 7s came back 6s and 4s. I put them away when I received them last November and don't even want to look at them again.

    To have a couple series of around six or eight cards--within the same order--grade that far off tells me it was the inexperience of the graders who were assigned the cards.

    So the question I have now is do I resubmit as is or crack them out?

    But to the O/Ps original comment, I may have reached the point where I don't have the coin or the spirit to deal with this anymore, as paying additional fees a second time is aggravating to say the least.

    HAPPY COLLECTING!!!
  • gemintgemint Posts: 6,056 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @pdoidoi said:
    I think that is wrong to grade players different because of who they are. A PSA 1 should be a 1 for all and a PSA 10 should be a 10 for all. What about nonsports should they be graded differently to because of what the card is ?

    There's a good video on youtube comparing the populations of key cards in the 80s with commons. I won't link it here because it might not be popular with the powers that be. It's interesting though because of the depth of the analysis down to comparing cards in similar locations on the sheets with other common characteristics.

  • @gemint said:

    There's a good video on youtube comparing the populations of key cards in the 80s with commons. I won't link it here because it might not be popular with the powers that be. It's interesting though because of the depth of the analysis down to comparing cards in similar locations on the sheets with other common characteristics.

    Isn't this almost completely explained by the discretion submitters have when submitting a star vs. a common? IOW, you submit a common only when you are certain it's high grade.

  • CakesCakes Posts: 3,429 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @53BKid said:
    I generally estimate a range for each card I submit, which I keep on a spreadsheet to compare against once the cards are graded.

    I've been submitting vintage cards to PSA for over 25 years and have a strong handle on how they grade. I realize that there are times when they're tougher than others and have been both disappointed at times and pleasantly surprised with others.

    For me to be off a grade or two on a couple of cards within a large order usually indicates I missed something. I'll examine the card under a digital microscope and will generally find a tiny wrinkle or otherwise imperceptible surface impression that I had missed.

    However, my last submission (National Special June '22) indicated to me that different teams of graders evaluated them. In sequence, many came back either exactly as I anticipated or + or - 0.5 of what I expected. In other sequences within the same submission however, each card was graded 2 full points lower than my low side eval! Every card--in sequence. I put them away when I received them last November and don't even want to look at them again.

    To have a couple series of around six or eight cards--within the same order--come that far off tells me it was the inexperience of the graders who were assigned the cards.

    So the question I have now is do I resubmit as is or crack them out?

    Neither, you should hold for now and see how this plays out.

    Successful coin BST transactions with Gerard and segoja.

    Successful card BST transactions with cbcnow, brogurt, gstarling, Bravesfan 007, and rajah 424.
  • pdoidoipdoidoi Posts: 429 ✭✭✭

    @vigo2025 said:

    @gemint said:

    There's a good video on youtube comparing the populations of key cards in the 80s with commons. I won't link it here because it might not be popular with the powers that be. It's interesting though because of the depth of the analysis down to comparing cards in similar locations on the sheets with other common characteristics.

    Isn't this almost completely explained by the discretion submitters have when submitting a star vs. a common? IOW, you submit a common only when you are certain it's high grade.

    I am dealing with some cards that are uncommon possibly rare . There may not be a card that is a 10 in the new PSA standards but would most likely be a PSA 10 in the old PSA standards. I have stated this several times lately that this will make PSA registry sets look very awkward and cards will look out of place.

  • gemintgemint Posts: 6,056 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @vigo2025 said:

    @gemint said:

    There's a good video on youtube comparing the populations of key cards in the 80s with commons. I won't link it here because it might not be popular with the powers that be. It's interesting though because of the depth of the analysis down to comparing cards in similar locations on the sheets with other common characteristics.

    Isn't this almost completely explained by the discretion submitters have when submitting a star vs. a common? IOW, you submit a common only when you are certain it's high grade.

    He accounts for that as well.

  • I did just get some grades POP for mostly 1980 Topps 1984 Donruss 1984 Nestle that was one of the least surprising batches I can remember. Not much upside not much downside. I am pleased because I submitted them thinking I could get these grades and did. And hey one Bert Campaneris 1984 Nestle PSA 10. 😄 If I am not the first to submit that think I am the second or third. I have had similar experiences with the 70s. Not too many ones I got real excited about and not too many extreme disappointments. Think I just have to plan to not buy too many pre 70s raw cards with the intent to submit and then I can probably be happy.

  • BBBrkrrBBBrkrr Posts: 887 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @UlyssesExtravaganza said:
    I did just get some grades POP for mostly 1980 Topps 1984 Donruss 1984 Nestle that was one of the least surprising batches I can remember. Not much upside not much downside. I am pleased because I submitted them thinking I could get these grades and did. And hey one Bert Campaneris 1984 Nestle PSA 10. 😄 If I am not the first to submit that think I am the second or third. I have had similar experiences with the 70s. Not too many ones I got real excited about and not too many extreme disappointments. Think I just have to plan to not buy too many pre 70s raw cards with the intent to submit and then I can probably be happy.

    I just had 2 orders of 36 post grades from the recent 80s special today too.

    No 10s for me though, but almost all 8s & 9s. I'm not too disappointed in the grades though I thought several would pull 10s.

    Still a few random 6s in there which is weird since I reviewed these all pretty thoroughly.

    I did send in 2 orders for the 60s special from last month and can't wait to see how those play. I'd be surprised if anything gets an 8, but fingers crossed!

  • On the original thread note about how your cards look when scanned at PSA to the cards you know were top notch, I agree that the scans from PSA look like a gorilla handled them before scanning. I can't tell you how many I had to say to myself, did I miss something? And another thing on the player, it seems the only higher grades I rarely get are for minor stars, never for a Mantle, Clemente, Koufax, Mays or the like. I send in 1960's mainly and also buy from Greg Morris. Never, and I mean NEVER have I received a grade over 7 for NM-MT or Better from Greg. I switched to SGC and have been getting better grades from them, plus they return your cards within 10-20 days, not 4-5 months. I also like SGC takes pay on submission not after grading. I sent in a bunch of 1960's to PSA for their special and although I pray for a great grade for once, I no longer hold my breath.

  • 53BKid53BKid Posts: 2,163 ✭✭✭

    I've submitted a number of 1966 short prints that I bought from Greg Morris NM-MT or Better. My first submission included a Mark Belanger rookie that came back "Min Size", which confounded me. I measured against several others and eventually resubmitted. Came back an 8 along with Horace Clark. Very pleased.

    HAPPY COLLECTING!!!
  • BBBrkrrBBBrkrr Posts: 887 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Stop the presses!

    I just had grades pop on one of the 80s specials and got 3 PSA10s! First time I've gotten a 10 on a vintage sub since the reawakening. It is possible.

    An 81 Traded Blyleven, 84 T Ripken and an 84 Donruss Ripken.

    Sweet. Finally.

  • pdoidoipdoidoi Posts: 429 ✭✭✭

    @BBBrkrr said:
    Stop the presses!

    I just had grades pop on one of the 80s specials and got 3 PSA10s! First time I've gotten a 10 on a vintage sub since the reawakening. It is possible.

    An 81 Traded Blyleven, 84 T Ripken and an 84 Donruss Ripken.

    Sweet. Finally.

    Maybe they are long time employees and are consisent.

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