PSA’s move to half-point grading has collectors buzzing while at least one competitor takes aim.
Collectors and those who buy and sell cards from PSA grading have been expressing their feelings on a variety of hobby message boards since the company’s announcement Wednesday night that it would be adding a half-point or “in between” grade to its standards beginning February 1.
Many of the concerns were from members of the PSA Set Registry who own a large number of cards but now find themselves in a position of having to decide whether to re-submit cards that had already been graded under PSA’s old system. For those with numerous sets, it would be an expensive proposition. Such a move would also make little sense for 1970s era collectors, where the possibility of a few ‘bumps’ would not be worth the investment.
Others say the move comes too late, with 17 years having passed from the time PSA unveiled it’s 1-10 whole point grading system. Many feel they shouldn’t have the added expense to have their cards re-graded after believing PSA would not adjust its scale.
For some vintage card dealers, however, the half-point system could make it easier to sell a card that brings little more than an ungraded price when sold at a 7 or 8 level. While the market will ultimately determine what happens, those with a keen eye who built their collections with top examples of PSA 8s, could see substantial growth in value if a large number of cards become 8.5s and those half-point upgrades do wind up bringing a substantial premium.
Still others will begin to bargain hunt, seeking cards graded under the old system for an opportunity to re-submit and perhaps make a profit.
Collectors and dealers will have decisions to make about which cards to re-submit but there is little doubt that the new plan will keep PSA’s graders busy. Some well-heeled collectors with substantial holdings of encapsulated cards could be submitting thousands of them in the coming weeks.
At least one competitor was attempting to take advantage by wooing customers who were unhappy with PSA’s move. On Thursday, Beckett grading, which just announced its acquisition of a group of over 500 T206 cards it will grade and auction, quickly responded to PSA’s move by offering collectors the opportunity to cross competitors’ cards over to its holders at a special rate.
Despite some initial backlash, PSA believes the decision will benefit the hobby in the long run. The company didn’t immediately respond Thursday to a list of questions we submitted, but president Joe Orlando did post a general response to a variety of concerns customers have expressed since the announcement.
1) We put a lot of thought into this decision and realized it would create an emotional reaction from some hobbyists. It is a major change, there’s no question about it. That being said, I stand behind it 100% because of the benefits to everyone involved. Collectors, dealers and PSA will all benefit from this decision. I am confident of that.
2) Please read the guide on our site. It seems as if many of the questions can be answered by the guide and I just want to make sure everyone knows it is there because it does walk the reader through the process, etc.
3) Message Boards can be a funny place. In some cases, you can’t even be certain that the people posting are “real” or that their claims are genuine. I have been talking to a lot of people and receiving emails as well. The response has been overwhelmingly positive despite some uproar on these boards. You all should be aware of that.
4) At the end of the day, the people who should benefit the most from this new system are people like you – the people sitting on the most PSA product – the people sitting on the most potential upgrades. Yes, it will cost money to review your cards but the cost will, generally, be greatly outweighed by the increase in value.
It doesn’t matter if we use the 1955 Topps Koufax example (in the guide) or a 1950’s common example, the value proposition is tremendous. If you have 100 commons that are worth $80 on average in PSA 8 and PSA 9’s currently sell for $500, $1,000 or more – isn’t it worth finding out if those cards are 8.5’s if it only costs $6 to do it? While none of us know exactly what half-grades will sell for in the beginning, it is very clear that the value is there because of the price gaps between grades. I can give you thousands of examples, it’s not hard to do.
The cost of reviewing your cards can be far outweighed by the added value if you choose wisely. No, you shouldn’t submit every card. Carefully look through your collection. You may want a collector/friend or dealer to assist you before you try the service. It can improve your success rate.
5) Remember…this is optional. There is no obligation to resubmit your cards.
6) While people tend to slant true public view on the boards (since the vast majority of collectors are not on the boards), believe me…less than 24 hours after the announcement, we have a lot of people calling us, excited about the service.
7) As far as the post that I made in 2003 where I said that we are not going to half grades after some debate, that was 5 years ago and I did not say – never. I was addressing the topic at that point in time and a lot has changed since then.
This new service will change the market forever and I am confident of the benefits this service will provide to owners of PSA cards, sellers and potential buyers. It took a lot of thought and, while change is never easy for anyone, sometimes it is necessary to improve the product. At the end of the day, it is our brand – PSA – that people pay for and trust. The PSA brand hasn’t changed, only the grading scale has and for the better.
PSA 8.5 cards on eBay now