You’re all grading a lot of cards.
Collectors Universe, the parent company of PSA, reported record revenue for the final fiscal quarter and fiscal year of 2020 on Wednesday and it was the card and autograph authentication business driving most of it.
Collectors Universe, which is also known for its coin grading division, reported fourth quarter revenues of $20.5 million and annual revenues of $78.9 million. They say the numbers “were driven by continued momentum in the Company’s cards/autograph business, which delivered a quarterly revenue increase of $2 million and yearly increase of $7.3 million, a 27% growth rate for both periods.”
PSA shipped over 715,000 total collectibles back to customers in the fourth quarter, surpassing the prior Q4 record of about 680,000 items set last year.
All of that occurred despite Collectors Universe having to close operations in parts of March and April due to California’s “shelter-in-place” order.
“The demand for our services is clear, and the need for greater operational capacity is paramount,” stated CU President and CEO Joe Orlando. “To that end, our team has reconfigured the relevant departments and introduced new shifts to help spread out our employees who have returned to the office. Furthermore, we have accelerated our onboarding efforts to enhance the efficiency of the service we provide to our customers. We are very pleased we were able to keep the Collectors Universe team intact and fund payroll throughout the shutdown and ramp up periods.”
PSA has hired dozens of new employees this year in an attempt to slow the tide of incoming submissions of trading cards. A robust market has increased demands for services at PSA as well as its competitors at SGC and Beckett. Most of that increased business and the huge backlog that still exists is because of the massive number of current era cards that are being submitted for grading and authentication.
PSA’s card and autograph business has achieved quarter over quarter revenue growth in 39 of the last 40 quarters.
The company still has a sizeable backlog that doesn’t seem to be going away, making collectors often wait months for regular submissions to be entered into the system, researched, graded and encapsulated and returned to them. Orlando says robots may help.
“We plan on introducing robotics into our process in the coming months for image recognition and capture,” he stated. “We have received our first prototype for testing and look forward to using the capability more widely. This represents our first major move into automation.”