Vintage Non-Sports Cards
Buy/Sell/Trade Vintage Baseball Links Gallery of Non-Sports Cards
Vintage Non-sports Forum
Sign up Calendar Latest Topics

  Author   Comment  
Reply with quote  #1 
I have started to get a lot of my cards graded by PSA and to say I am disappointed in
the results is an understatement. The grading is so inconsistent it amazes me on how
people stay with them. I have cards graded a 3 that are nicer than some 5 or 6s. Three
different 4s that should be a 3, a 4, & a 5 or something like that. Maybe you have to
have all 7 & 8s to see consistency, I'm not sure. I am not very happy with their work
and wonder how do the guys that get all of their cards graded deal with it? Can someone
please give me some answers. Thank you. tm
Claude Emond
Reply with quote  #2 
May be you are confusing eye appeal with technical quality.
J0hn Raff3rty
Reply with quote  #3 
I just got back a 110-card order, of which, here were the breakdowns:

5x Goodwin Champions, scores of Authentic x1, Poor x2, and VG 3(MK) x1, and 1 ungraded due to card being only 60% complete. I was hoping for an Authentic for the baseball player, but the whole bottom section showing the name and baseball scene were torn off. I was expecting the Auth and 2x Poors, but surprised by both the VG3 and the MK; didn't see a MK unless they considered a purplish stain (probably from soaking before I got them) to be the Mark. I also didn't think it was nice enough to be a VG otherwise. So they evened out.

5x or so from my personal Georgia Tech collection; grades on a 1948 Bowman football seemed low, but they didn't take off for the small stain on a Bobby Jones 1935 issue which came in at a 4. Again, scores were reasonable.

10x or so from my T56 registry set. Highest grade for this set so far is a PSA 7 NM; got one on my last submission; the high this time was a 5. But my goal was to complete the set; down to 3 more graded to complete it. I have two more raw, only need 1 left in VG or above. Scores were reasonable. One card was labeled incorrectly and they're having me send it back for free.

90x from my other registry set T51. Here, they labeled three cards wrong (2x University of Illinois as Illinois College: different card in the set; and 1x CCNY card labeled New York University: also a different card in the set). Four cards also had the rarer Number on Front variation, which I clearly marked on the submission form, and the cards were not labeled with a card # or a stated variation "Number on Front" that I requested. They are having their research department go back to confirm if this is an error, or they are just not recognizing the variation. I requested the basic 1st Edition set and the Master Set (1st Editions with Number, 1st Editions without number, and 2nd editions) for a total of 225 cards. As I'm the only person who probably wants a graded set, it's not screwing over any other collector by adding new cards.

As far as the grades on these cards, I expected better grades when I sent them in; the vast majority came back PSA 3 or 4, with a sprinkling of PSA 5s and a few 1/2s. After looking at the 1/2/3s, I agree that those cards deserved those grades. So I'm okay with their grading scales, but I'm not looking for the high end valuable cards that much; I just want a set that grades out as VG/EX and that's about what I'm averaging.

Some things to look for before you submit:

1) I probably got docked on some cards for poor registration/color alignment; didn't even consider it when I put the cards in the submission.

2) Any crease, no matter how light, drops the cards to a 5 or below. Rounded corners drop to a 4ish.

3) To get half grades (given out pretty sparingly), card centering seems to be paramount.

4) Make sure to check for staining or pencil marks. Those will get you qualifiers, and drop the value of your cards 2-3 grades.

If you want to be really frustrated, read the 1989 Hockey thread on the PSA boards; a guy is trying to complete that in all 10s and bought cases of cards; submitted his top 100 or so, and got ZERO tens on his first submission.

So it's not much easier at the high end, where every card is perfect either.

Overall, PSA has contributed to the overall value of cards rising. You think that Caramel McKinley would have gone for $90K without a PSA 6 tag on it?

Reply with quote  #4 
may have a good point. But I think after looking at thousands of cards over the years

eye appeal & tech quality to me are the same thing. I try not to buy cards with creases

or rounded corners, never buy torn. If I'm paying for it I think I deserve consistency.

You should not have to break a case to get a better grade.
J0hn Raff3rty
Reply with quote  #5 
So that we can try to identify why your cards scored as they did, or ones you're considering in the future. Obviously, there is some wiggle-room in the grades, or people wouldn't be breaking cases and then re-submitting trying to get a higher grade.
Jim VB
Reply with quote  #6 
"Overall, PSA has contributed to the overall value of cards rising. You think that Caramel McKinley would have gone for $90K without a PSA 6 tag on it? "

The Caramel McKinley in the last REA auction went for $96K. It was an SGC 60, not PSA.

Jon Hardgrove
Reply with quote  #7 
Bill and JT - would respectfully disagree on ebay sellers not grading. I don't really care if the seller grades or not, as has been previously mentioned, lots of differences of opinion by graders. I much prefer a good scan of both front and back of the card. Then I can grade it for myself.

If the seller has an EX card that he/she calls NM with a VG price; then I will bid. I could care less what the seller thinks it grades.

What really turns me off with ebay vendors are those who scan only the front of the card. There are so many back variations, often impossible to tell if the card is on my list or not.

Reply with quote  #8 
I can understand your frustration. I do not deal with PSA or Beckett any more. I have several reasons. First off, any grading company that charges a club fee before you can send them cards to be graded has already lost out in my book. Another reason for PSA at least is I'm not totally convinced that their cards bring more money because of their grading. As far as I'm concerned, it's their registry sets that contribute to the high prices paid. I think there is a lot of competition for top graded cards and the demand, which exceeds the supply, is what drives prices up. This is true in anything, not just graded cards. Plus, I think PSA charges way to much for grading. Beckett I'd like better, but their customer service quite frankly stinks. They've been screwing around with their registry and online price guides and I feel right now they've broken more things than they have fixed. Plus, you call them and ask when a certain problem will be fixed, they keep saying tomorrow, tomorrow, etc. I guess I get angry and frustrated when they keep lying or misinforming me.

I choose SGC for all my grading now and I can give you a bunch of reasons why I'm sticking with them. Their rates are reasonable, their customer service excels, and quite frankly, the cards look great in their holder. Maybe SGC cards don't bring the sales results PSA does, but my feeling is, if I have been careful and haven't overpaid, the cards will sell for a profit.

Finally, my disclaimer, I personally don't care where everyone else grades their cards. If you are satisfied with PSA or Beckett or SGC, more power to you. But we all have to live with the fact that sometimes were going to get a grade that doesn't make sense, I know I have with Beckett and a good friend of mine who has a vintage sports mem business has had some with PSA. Just ask yourself about the points I've brought up and see where it leads you.

Brian B.
Reply with quote  #9 
I agree with you. I do not buy any card on ebay that doesn't supply a scan of the back along with the front. I will request a back scan, and most sellers will oblige with one. However, I had one company (I don't really want to name the company) tell me they don't supply back scans for any card under $50. I wrote back and figuratively told them to stick it where the sun doesn't shine, as I will not buy from any seller who won't supply a back scan. I will say, probably 99% of the companies or sellers will supply a scan. If they do, and I like the card and it has a fair price, I'm happy to buy it.
J0hn Raff3rty
Reply with quote  #10 
"The Caramel McKinley in the last REA auction went for $96K. It was an SGC 60, not PSA."

Thanks for the correction; going off a faulty memory, I guess.
Eric B
Reply with quote  #11 
Posting high quality scans will probably reveal the reason for the grades. But, if a high number regardless of condition is your goal I would go with either PRO which almost always gives out a 6 or better or Grade Your Own Cards which allows you to assign the trade you feel is correct.

As for the McKinley, I think the authentication of the card was the overwhelming factor in the price, not the number grade.
Charley Ramone
Reply with quote  #12 

Sometimes I grade (when selling) other times not..I've got a few of you and others who will inquire about any wrinkles or other unseen (in scan) problems. Sometimes it works out well they email ahead of time..I go back and look at auction pic that does not pick up a slight wrinkle or very minor crease. Nice people out there.

But since I offer full refunds on almost anything I sell..its not an issue. I don't want to waste my time or others..but after I scan card and put listing up...I rarely go back and look at card to see images posted in auction. If its a higher dollar card..yes. Lower $

Must admit there are times I feel like just posting the front of card only...say..we're at the 4.95 to 9.99 level and card issue is common with no known variations....just post in description: "clean,no problem back" to put folks at ease.

I buy EXACTLY the way Ol Jon does...Graded or Not...Could care less what seller says or TPG number is and am normally quite pleased with whatever card I bought.


EXAMPLE 1. I list cards from a vending box or simply very nice,well centered, clean card as Nearmint ..invariably sooner or later someome writes me to tell me how wrong I am.

EXAMPLE 2. I list card as just VG and get emails or feedback like: " card is MINT!" , " Amazing card, sending to PSA", "Card is Near Mint! Best seller! " etc etc.

You just cant win. (sigh)

Love out to all NonSportsMen!


Bill Bengen
Reply with quote  #13 
Hi all,

The debate continues. I agree that the PSA Registry has contributed to rising prices of graded cards, but I don't see anyone owning graded cards complain about that! Plus, the Registry is fun.

As I have said recently in recent posts, I am building a collection of raw 1950's sets to replace the PSA-graded sets I am gradually selling off. I remember now one of the reasons I switched to graded cards from raw in 2000: most of the grading by sellers stinks! Many sellers can't tell a Near Mint card from a bicycle wheel.

There are a few, very few sellers, whose grading I trust, and I continue to buy from them. But my DNT ("Do Not Trust") list grows longer everyday. Much of the problem is due to ignorance or incompetence, but I believe there are quite a few outright cheats out there who take advantage of the uninformed.

Best in collecting,

Bill Bengen

Jim VB
Reply with quote  #14 
"As for the McKinley, I think the authentication of the card was the overwhelming factor in the price, not the number grade."

I think it's both. No other McKinley has ever graded that high. I believe all but one other are cancelled. If I'm wrong and someone is interested in a cancelled McKinley at that price, shoot me an email. Mine us actually nicer, albeit with a "Cancelled" stamp and a hole punch.

Reply with quote  #15 
Bill, I'm with you on seller grading and the possible cheats but the one that bothers me the most is when a seller doesn't give a grade at all and just say's "see scan" (you can't determine an accurate grade from a scan) When I buy from a seller on Ebay that doesn't give a grade the best I will do on feedback is a neither inaccurate or accurate.
Bill Bengen
Reply with quote  #16 
Yes, JT, I share your disgust at that practice. Almost as bad are those sellers who use non-standard grading descriptions, such as "VF" and "Almost Fine". I have learned to beware of these sellers, clearly they don't have much experience in grading cards and are attempting to transfer the terminology from other collectibles. It usually doesn't work.

Best in collecgin
Charley Ramone
Reply with quote  #17 
I hear you BB. This is what I was referring to " not wasting peoples time" above. If as a seller, you KNOW a defect...absolutely should disclose.

Again, on lower grade (which is most of my offerings)I dont get too pesky or even mention the obvious. Lets face it, buyers seeking high grade are not looking at my full scans of VG ish card(s).

My biggest issue (without derailing into a "sellers vs buyers " thread) or Highjacking this one?

: Packaging! Even if after Spotting a jewel of a card, seller is truthful and great high resolution scans of front /back and at angle (the gloss,surface point you make) card. THEN????

Card comes in between 2 pieces of rough cardboard NO penny sleeve,no toploader, no nothing and has slid back and forth on the journey making a Nearmint card just EX with corner dings or other! (sigh)(ugh)..just had one of these.

Back to PSA...

Its nice to know that there is a little protection upon buying a graded card (unless its a sloppy psa holder job) We see this on smaller tobacco inserts fairly often. (double sigh)

Great thread without bomb throwing everyone!

" Showin the love since 1969 "
Charley Ramone
Reply with quote  #18 
I come from the "dark side" (sports) so I assume my Non Sports eyeball "GRADING" has always been softer than some.

Again, can have a "BLAZER!" of a card...people complain.

Have random,common,everyday junkers...people are estatic.


Bill Bengen
Reply with quote  #19 
Hi all,

I agree that a good scan is very useful in assessing a card. But it is not foolproof. I have been fooled before, as a scan sometimes conceals damage to gloss, some fine creases, or other defects. There's nothing like turning over the card in your hands, but obviously on ebay you can't do that (waiting for that holographic projection technology to appear!)

If a seller is unacquainted with the discipline of grading cards, the least I expect is an honest attempt to describe defects he observes, That can be helpful. Some don't even do that.

Best in collecting,

Bill Bengen

Previous Topic | Next Topic

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.