Home Stamps Forum

2010 PSE Grading Fees

Has anyone else received a letter from PSE about this?

They are raising basic fees for modern items to $10 each and economy items to $22 each.

The big change though is that they will tack on an additional premium for grades of 95, 98, and 100 for all submissions. For example, a regular submission that grades less than 95 still costs $32 to submit, but a 95 grade gets 25% tacked on, a 98 gets a 50% fee tacked on, and a 100 gets the fee doubled.

No one likes increased fees, but what about the conflict of interest this presents?

I doubt it will decrease submissions substantially at least short term, but I know I will be looking more closely at using the PF instead on at least some things.



  • Matt,
    I have been wanting to write about this for a while. This is the first time I really disagree with something PSE has done. It's ridiculous in this economy to raise fees and tack on premium charges for the final grade!!! The lower value stamps are almost pointless to submit now, as many of the SMQ prices are way above what you can actually get for them. So unless you are sure you are going to get a 100 on say a stamp in the Sc. 800's you might as well keep it ungraded. 98's of these you're lucky to get $30-$40 return for them unless you have your own website to sell your extras or whatever you decide to part with. Of course I'm talking about resale but I think most of us who pay fees for stamps just for our collections, expect them to have some value. WE are the one who search for examine scrutinize and pre-grade the stamps WE submit, why should PSE get a % of the grade as a fee,for the stamps WE have paid/worked for and acquired!? Any stamp that is pre Sc 551 that grades 100, and only has, i.e. an SMQ value of $100, will cost $64 to grade, that doesn't include costs to ship to PSE and their mandatory return method of registered mail of $13.00 and up. Don't forget how much you may have paid for the actual stamp to begin with! The one thing I have always liked about the APS is you could send your own pre-franked envelope for a submissions return, you could always get rid of your scrap postage and save some money on shipping. And thank about this: You still have to submit stamps in different tiers(economy regular etc) on separate forms, with that $13.00+ shipping cost on EACH one! Consider also, that unless you are a super-grader, which I consider myself close to that, you are going to be losing some money unless most of your stamps in a submission,grade very high with the exception of some earlier high value stamps. Although unlikely on the scarcer older stamps, if you were to receive 10 100 grades in the regular tier the fees for those 10 stamps would be $640! If the stamps have a value of $6000, you are paying over 10% in fees! I thought I had to be super-picky about what I sent in before, but this just about pushes me out of grading altogether with the cost/value ratio. PSE these fee increases are a bad idea.

    OK,well I'm done ranting for now.
  • Zac,

    Welcome back to the forum! Haven't seen you in a while.

    I have to agree with you that this seems like the wrong time for PSE to raise fees, and I just can't get over the conflict of interest they place themselves in by charging a premium for the highest grades. Strictly speaking, this is no longer impartial 3rd party grading.

    I will certainly be considering the PF more closely for grading needs in 2010. Here's hoping that PSE reconsiders this change and at least the premiums are short lived. Frankly, they need to go.

  • Yes, whether there is a real conflict of interest or not, it's likely they will be accused of it anyway. I guess it's that backwards ideology for a bad economy: If there are fewer people spending money, charge those few people more to make up the difference. I've noticed that with companies in general, an example: about every 10 to 12 months our phone company tries to sneak a service in on our bill hoping we won't notice. This last time our bill went up $50.00, because all of the sudden we had call waiting, which we never requested or authorized. That is the third time they've tried that.

    I'm glad I'm pursuing graded on a more moderate level, the new PSE costs are too prohibitive. I really don't trust PF's grading ability on a consistent level. SO I think I will go back to mainly collecting ungraded, and MAYBE submit the very few scarcer items that I know will grade at least 98+. depressing but cheaper.

    I think PSE should offer some incentives like discounts on full submission forms (20 items) like say 10% off, or coupons for those who spend over $1000 a year etc. I realy hope they haven't shot themselves in the foot, because I honestly like PSE.
  • I agree with you Zac. I do like PSE and want to see them succeed, I just don't think this is the right approach.

    It occurred to me last night that I don't mind the pricing structure they use with modern item submissions. The way that works is you pay a flat rate fee per item ($8) if the item meets your requested minimum grade. If it falls below this, no cert or grade is issued, and you pay a "reject" fee ($4).

    I know this pricing structure is similar in some ways to the new tiered fee pricing for 2010, but it doesn't produce the same reaction in me. I don't know why that is. Perhaps I'm just happy they offer a less expensive service for Modern items. If they were to offer a pricing structure along these lines, maybe I'd like it better. I'm just disappointed they've taken this route.

  • I think the reason the modern service is so cheap is the fact that many Sc. #'s that fall into that area aren't really worth submitting, except for ones own personal collection. I mean when you can't sell many modern 98's (unless maybe there are only 1 or 2 in the pop) for much more than $20-$30, I'd rather self-grade and just stick them in my album with no fee.

    I have a used #444 that is easily a 98, I really don't want to pay $48 + add another couple bucks for shipping and return shipping. What was that newest grading service besides the PF, I've forgotten? I wonder if they do Phillipine Overprints, I still have a super nice MNH example, that of course, PSE doesn't grade. I imagine if they did there would be a 50% final grade fee+75% obscure specialty fee+ pocket lining fee of 10%. I hate to bash PSE, but this extra fee crap has pretty much made the decision for me to limit my submissions to very little. I guess the dealers can still afford to submit lots of common 90's and 95's though. Then they can list them on Cobwebstamps.com or Stamp-dustcatcher.com at twice the SMQ. It amazes me what dealers keep their prices at in this depressed economy. SMQ=$500: Dealer price= $900.

    I guess ungraded certs are an option though, cost-wise.
  • I just sent in my last 2009 submission today. Sent it Express so it will arrive tomorrow. I sent it whatever I had on hand that I figured I'd want to eventually grade. I sent in 12 vintage stamps (probably mostly 90's or so), 7 economy submissions (a few may be super high grade), and 20 modern stamps. The modern submissions are used Liberty series stamps for my own collection.

  • Good luck Matt, I hope you have some good returns. I have about 10 stamps I could send in. I think they might just sit for a bit until I decide if they are worth the cost.
  • I have decided to use PSE only when I need to have a stamp authenticated, such as a SC #10 or 11. Otherwise, I am finished with PSE. I believe PSE has decided it is more important to make money then it is to provide a disinterested third party examination.
  • PSE is a company that listens to customer feedback. They are not implementing the 2010 pricing at this time. I think we all know they will have to increase revenue somehow to be profitable, but for now this pricing structure is out. I say bravo to PSEs management!

Sign In or Register to comment.