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Advice for Beginner! Getting Dad's cards graded.

Hello everyone,

My late father gave me a large collection of Topps Football cards. I’m looking to have a few of them graded, but I have a few questions about the process.

I’m going to have the cards rated by PSA, but I’m not sure how their payment process works. I saw that they require advance payment. Do I need to pay them what I think the card is worth? Do they then charge more/refund if I’m incorrect? Basically, is their service strictly an appraisal or am I also paying them for the speed of their service and that sort of thing?

Also, my dad put some of the cards in cases, not card sleeves. They aren’t screwed shut. They don’t appear tight enough to have damaged the cards, but I’m not sure how to open them. Does anyone have experience with this? I’m very nervous attempting to open these cases. Regardless of what the cards are ultimately worth, I don’t want to damage anything! I’ll provide pictures if necessary.

I’m really grateful for any information you can give me. I’m a complete beginner!

Thanks all!

Comments

  • PaulMaulPaulMaul Posts: 4,577 ✭✭✭✭✭

    PSA is not an appraisal service. All they do is grade and encapsulate the card. So you're just paying for that service (at a rate determined by the service level you choose) and shipping/return insurance.

    You need to assign a value to the card for insurance purposes, and that determines the minimum service level you can use.

  • PaulMaulPaulMaul Posts: 4,577 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Also, I'm not sure what type of card holders you're talking about, but they might be snap-tites, where the two halves of the holder snap together. You can open them by just prying the halves apart where they snap together with your fingers. There also exist magnetic holders. But photos of the holder would certainly help to understand what type it is.

  • Thanks very much!

    What happens if, for example, I think something is an 8 and it's actually a 9? Do I then pay them more money? Also if I think something is a 10 and I pay through the nose to have it graded, but it's a 9, do I get money back? If I lowball it for financial reasons does that impact anything other than service speed and insurance?

    I'll take a picture of one of them when I get home. I don't think it's a magnet case, just feeling it, it doesn't seem heavy enough to hold even a reasonably strong magnet.

  • PaulMaulPaulMaul Posts: 4,577 ✭✭✭✭✭

    It isn't your job to predict what the grade will be. I have submitted several cards I paid $3 for and valued at $5-10 on the submission form and submitted during a PSA special ($6 grading fee) which were graded as PSA 10s and worth $300+.

    I have heard that for high profile cards that grade very high, sometimes a higher service level and fee is forced, but I have never experienced that. Perhaps others can comment on that.

  • dennis07dennis07 Posts: 1,842 ✭✭✭

    My advice would be not to rush into sending cards to PSA until you fully understand the process. Read through the PSA web site a couple of times to get a feel for what you are paying for. Go to the Sports cards and Memorabilia forum here and follow along for awhile. Take good quality pictures or scans of the cards you are thinking about sending in for grading and then post them on the Sports card & memorabilia forum and name your thread "should I get these graded". I would recommend you introduce yourself over on the Sports card and memorabilia forum because you'll get many more views over there. Good luck.

    Collecting 1970 Topps baseball
  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 10,873 ✭✭✭✭✭

    First we need to know the years, condition and players you have. Show us scans! Or at least a list of what you have.

    PSA charges you per card no matter what the grade turns out to be.

    Let's see what you have, they might not be worth sending in.

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • MCMLVToppsMCMLVTopps Posts: 4,499 ✭✭✭✭✭

    My 2 cents...spend some time on the main page and click the Resources and Store links to read and review additional links contained within them.

    There is no magic to all this stuff, but you need to self educate yourself on the nuances of collecting in the graded arena. You may have some good stuff, you may have junk. You have ZERO control of what comes back from PSA, many people think they have 9s and the card comes back a 7...you gotta take what you get...or, get into the crackout business, which is another aspect of this game. A crackout is when someone literally cracks out a card from its holder and resubmits it, hoping to get a higher grade. This process has diminished the POP report in many areas so as to be totally useless, IMO.

    You would do well to get a subscription to Collectors, which will allow you to get either 6 or 15 "free" gradings. You will find this info under the store link on the main page. If you go onesy, twosey to get cards graded, you will be whacked with individual grading fees, which are at least $18 per card, then another $18 to get it shipped back to you...no, you can't debate the $18 postal fee...so, for one card, you are in for $36 from the jump.

    Get smart, read, read, read...search other posts and see what posters have to say. READ !!

    GL

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 10,873 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Let's see/hear what you have buddy!

    2013,14 and 15 Certificate Award Winner Harmon Killebrew Master Set and Master Topps Set
  • Thanks for all the words of advice! I have the full 1984 and 1986 sets - some duplicates. They're still in the shipping boxes, can't say how they've responded to the last thirty years.

    I plan to do a lot of reading about the process, but I still have a basic question that hasn't been answered - if I pay as if a card is a 7 and it's graded an 8 by PSA, will I be forced to pay them more money, over and above shipping fees?

    Here are two pictures of the 1986 Bernie Kosar card in one of those snap? cases. I'm not going to try to open it until I my Card Saver 1 Card Sleeves arrive, but I am open to suggestions!

  • jay0791jay0791 Posts: 3,471 ✭✭✭✭

    Learn Learn Learn before you spend a cent.

    To keep this simple many cards are not worth the grading fee it costs to get them graded.
    You can spend $20 to get a card that can sell for only $10
    This is so very true with the year cards you mentioned.
    in 1986 Topps there were 64,415 card submitted and only 4423 (about 7%) came back a 10
    Keep in mind there are generally experienced people sending cards in.
    Start with the easy cards first. From 1984 pull out the Dan Marini and John Elway then post them on this sight.
    From 1986 start with Jerry Rice and Steve Young

    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
  • dennis07dennis07 Posts: 1,842 ✭✭✭

    "I plan to do a lot of reading about the process, but I still have a basic question that hasn't been answered - if I pay as if a card is a 7 and it's graded an 8 by PSA, will I be forced to pay them more money, over and above shipping fees?"

    No.

    Collecting 1970 Topps baseball
  • jay0791jay0791 Posts: 3,471 ✭✭✭✭

    no

    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
  • Thanks!

    Right now I just want to get storage in order. I'm not planning on even going through the cards fully until I have a proper storage area for them and enough card sleeves, etc.

    For right now, what do you think of that case? Is it safe for me to try to open it? I'd rather leave him in there than hurt him taking the case apart, if that's a possibility.

  • JoeBanzaiJoeBanzai Posts: 10,873 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Let us know what years you have. Newer cards have to be 9's or 10's in most cases or they aren't worth much. So far you haven't given enough information for any kind of response.

    Good luck!

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