Home Trading Cards & Memorabilia Forum
Options

Grading Considerations Between Vintage and Modern Cards -- PSA History Opinion

I will agree with **@RonSportscards **on this point that cards from the 60's-80's and possibly a few years from the 90's should be graded differently than the cards today, and offer the following as food for thought. Note: I am new to this industry but have learned this so far:

I can open a pack of 2023 cards today and immediately send one in for grading. I am very confident that it will receive a PSA 10. The only possible defects could originate from factory, handling, etc. A majority of these cards will be worth a lot more with the 10 rating regardless of whether or not they are base cards or a 1 of 1 card. Right?

History lesson time: the first sports card grading company was a company called ASA, which was soon sent off to the sunset by PSA which was formed in 1991 (which was a coin-grading company). Then in 1998 (in my opinion), thanks to the home run record chase between McGwire/Sosa AND the emergence of 3-year old eBay, the sports card grading industry exploded -- a perfect storm essentially. Beckett (formed before PSA in 1984, but was mainly magazine/price guide), jumped into the grading service industry in 1999. Then, SGC began in 1998. In my opinion, it was at that point that it became apparent that grading became more profitable (and financially competitive) than collecting or dealing?

At first, grading was embraced by collectors as it provided a baseline for everyone buying, trading or selling -- it added peace of mind knowing that a card was legitimate and was of an agreed upon quality standard. This confidence came from the fact that a CREDIBLE third party (WITH NO FINANCIAL INTEREST IN THE CARD ITSELF) had reviewed and applied a 'grade' to the card which became the basis for its market value. The grading criteria was transparent and universally agreed upon by collectors and dealers. It worked, then. To a certain degree, this was and still is the foundational belief amongst collectors, and governs and dictates prices, values and importance of cards.

Fast forward to today...in my opinion, the actual act of grading a modern card today is relatively easy and straightforward. It is not a complicated process (once you figure out if it is a parallel, etc.), and takes little time, expertise or effort. I am guessing that this is the reason why PSA charges less to grade modern cards than vintage? I think that the Grading of cards is more tailored for vintage cards (pre-1990), because they are harder to grade than modern? While authenticating cards may be harder to do for modern cards than vintage (technology has evolved), grading is not.

However, the QUALITY of a modern card will 9 times out of 10 be superior to that of a vintage card. Obviously. A good example would be centering: has anyone ever seen a modern card that is not centered? I have not, but i am a noob, i suppose.

I think that everyone agrees that vintage cards need to be graded on a different scale than modern cards. PSA purports to do this by having 2 different submission categories (pre-1979 and 1980+), right? But are these cards graded by the same graders which grade both categories using the same grading criteria and standards? If so, it should not be done so.

But something seems to have changed. The legitimacy of the grading industry came under scrutiny with the T206 Honus Wagner card (which happened to be the first card graded by PSA) and then again in 2019 with the card doctoring scandal which actually involved the FBI and should have been the first red flag of issues to come. But it definitely started to change in the 2000's -- but I believe it really changed in 2020 -- when Collector's Universe (parent company to PSA) was bought out by hedge fund firm $700 million. PSA no longer answered to collectors or dealers. In simple terms, PSA became "corporate". Profit and shareholders became the focus and collectors and dealers became means to those ends.

what is there for us the collector to do? where do we go? who do we trust? should we turn to the new grading companies that use AI? should we go back to the honor-system and deal only with ungraded cards? do we continue to feed the profits and growth of corporate entities who could care less about the hobby of sports card collecting?

Note: I pulled info from several sources and will provide footnotes attributions if asked. The opinions and/or postulations I have made are my own. I welcome corrections and feedback.

Comments

  • Options
    RonSportscardsRonSportscards Posts: 800 ✭✭✭✭

    Did I say that?
    I don't think I said that. 🤔

  • Options

    BGS originally was very tough on vintage (50's -60's) cards. A BGS 9 was more highly valued than PSA 9 for a time. But, customers complained they were too tough and should consider the age of the cards when grading. So, Beckett comes up with BVG and grades those cards easier. People figure that out and don't want BVG stuff.

  • Options
    countdouglascountdouglas Posts: 2,276 ✭✭✭✭✭

    There are many modern cards where the centering is not optimal.

    The Topps Heritage product in general is rife with centering issues, and a specific card, the 2018 Topps Update Juan Soto is well known as having side to side issues, which can be seen with the curly "W" logo being a bit shaved off on some examples.

  • Options
    pdoidoipdoidoi Posts: 491 ✭✭✭

    @scooterb2015 said:
    I will agree with **@RonSportscards **on this point that cards from the 60's-80's and possibly a few years from the 90's should be graded differently than the cards today, and offer the following as food for thought. Note: I am new to this industry but have learned this so far:

    I can open a pack of 2023 cards today and immediately send one in for grading. I am very confident that it will receive a PSA 10. The only possible defects could originate from factory, handling, etc. A majority of these cards will be worth a lot more with the 10 rating regardless of whether or not they are base cards or a 1 of 1 card. Right?

    History lesson time: the first sports card grading company was a company called ASA, which was soon sent off to the sunset by PSA which was formed in 1991 (which was a coin-grading company). Then in 1998 (in my opinion), thanks to the home run record chase between McGwire/Sosa AND the emergence of 3-year old eBay, the sports card grading industry exploded -- a perfect storm essentially. Beckett (formed before PSA in 1984, but was mainly magazine/price guide), jumped into the grading service industry in 1999. Then, SGC began in 1998. In my opinion, it was at that point that it became apparent that grading became more profitable (and financially competitive) than collecting or dealing?

    At first, grading was embraced by collectors as it provided a baseline for everyone buying, trading or selling -- it added peace of mind knowing that a card was legitimate and was of an agreed upon quality standard. This confidence came from the fact that a CREDIBLE third party (WITH NO FINANCIAL INTEREST IN THE CARD ITSELF) had reviewed and applied a 'grade' to the card which became the basis for its market value. The grading criteria was transparent and universally agreed upon by collectors and dealers. It worked, then. To a certain degree, this was and still is the foundational belief amongst collectors, and governs and dictates prices, values and importance of cards.

    Fast forward to today...in my opinion, the actual act of grading a modern card today is relatively easy and straightforward. It is not a complicated process (once you figure out if it is a parallel, etc.), and takes little time, expertise or effort. I am guessing that this is the reason why PSA charges less to grade modern cards than vintage? I think that the Grading of cards is more tailored for vintage cards (pre-1990), because they are harder to grade than modern? While authenticating cards may be harder to do for modern cards than vintage (technology has evolved), grading is not.

    However, the QUALITY of a modern card will 9 times out of 10 be superior to that of a vintage card. Obviously. A good example would be centering: has anyone ever seen a modern card that is not centered? I have not, but i am a noob, i suppose.

    I think that everyone agrees that vintage cards need to be graded on a different scale than modern cards. PSA purports to do this by having 2 different submission categories (pre-1979 and 1980+), right? But are these cards graded by the same graders which grade both categories using the same grading criteria and standards? If so, it should not be done so.

    But something seems to have changed. The legitimacy of the grading industry came under scrutiny with the T206 Honus Wagner card (which happened to be the first card graded by PSA) and then again in 2019 with the card doctoring scandal which actually involved the FBI and should have been the first red flag of issues to come. But it definitely started to change in the 2000's -- but I believe it really changed in 2020 -- when Collector's Universe (parent company to PSA) was bought out by hedge fund firm $700 million. PSA no longer answered to collectors or dealers. In simple terms, PSA became "corporate". Profit and shareholders became the focus and collectors and dealers became means to those ends.

    what is there for us the collector to do? where do we go? who do we trust? should we turn to the new grading companies that use AI? should we go back to the honor-system and deal only with ungraded cards? do we continue to feed the profits and growth of corporate entities who could care less about the hobby of sports card collecting?

    Note: I pulled info from several sources and will provide footnotes attributions if asked. The opinions and/or postulations I have made are my own. I welcome corrections and feedback.

    You posted this today in ( BEEN YEARS SINCE MY LAST POST BUT THIS IS WARRANTED ) I was wondering why it needed to be reposted and started on a new thread about the same topic.

  • Options
    SeaverfanSeaverfan Posts: 70 ✭✭✭

    If I recall, ASA (1990 ish) preceded PSA (1991 ish). Same plastic holders. But I think SBC/superlative baseball card certification) preceded both (1989 ish). Done say SGC used some of SBC ‘s grading standards and the holders were very similar.

  • Options
    JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 11,219 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I think you're going down a dangerous path when you start saying a card with a bent corner should be graded a 10 if it happened during production or packaging.

    No one seems to know for sure why PSA is seemingly "tightening" the standards, but if it is surface issues that are now being discovered that's how they may have to grade them from now on. I do hate to see cards that look mint in a 5 holder.

    I have never been too comfortable with rough cuts being awarded 10's and maybe even ,9's. I always wondered if you did have one with no rough cut, why would it be equal to one with a "bad" edge(s). Some of the rough cuts I have seen in mint holders are (to me) hideous.

    I have also always felt that all grading companies should be informing you what the defects are that lowered your card. Seems to me you are paying for them to inspect your card, you should have the right to know why it got the grade it did.
    At the very least on higher value cards that you pay a premium to have graded.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • Options

    Welcome to the hobby! Keep researching and learning from experienced collectors and dealers and from your own experiences (both good and bad). Based upon your "research paper," you clearly have a long way to go before you'll begin to understand the many nuances of this hobby that are not yet apparent to you, as is evident from the following naive statement: "I can open a pack of 2023 cards today and immediately send one in for grading. I am very confident that it will receive a PSA 10." But that is part of the fun of getting into a new hobby, I suppose. Keep at it!

  • Options
    gemintgemint Posts: 6,069 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Collectors did not immediately embrace grading. Many dealers certainly didn't in the beginning because it broke their business model where they offered EX condition prices when buying and then turned and sold the same cards at NM prices. I caught some grief on this board when I first registered my 1969 partially graded set around 2001. At that time, the only sets on the registry were early 50s sets. People thought I was crazy for grading out all those commons. It probably wasn't until 2003-4 until graded sets became accepted as a collecting goal.

Sign In or Register to comment.