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Sometimes PSA Makes Me Cry

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  • Sometimes PSA Makes Me Cry

    Although this isn't about hockey, I'm sure that vintage hockey collectors can relate to my frustration.

    I owned a beautiful vintage baseball card that was graded a PSA 9. This card was absolutely flawless. I purchased it in 2016.

    I thought that I would submit it to PSA and it would get a 10. It had to. This card exemplified everything that a gem mint card should.

    I submitted the card for a review with a group of others. No bump (2016)

    I then submitted the card for an in-person review at the national. No bump (2017)

    I then submitted the card at the PSA invitational. No bump (2017)

    I didn't receive any notes on any of the rejected tries, but I figured that I must have been missing something.

    Frustrated, I reluctantly sold the card and the final auction price was $550.

    Fast forward two months, and the card with the same certification number is a PSA 10 that sells through PWCC for over $4000.

    I don't know if there is a lesson to be learned here, but I'm flabbergasted that I wasn't given the benefit of the doubt on three submissions, and the new owner gets an upgrade on the first try.

    Sometimes that's just the game that you have to play with the #1 third party service in the card collecting world.

  • #2
    Oh man. That's triggering.

    Comment


    • #3
      Wow. How frustrating for you.

      There's always that urban myth around who the submitter is, and preferential grading. However, I'm sure there's nothing nefarious around you attempting three submissions in different scenarios, and not seeing a bump at all.

      A company with good customer relations would attempt an explanation around this one, as they should have a record of the attempts.

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      • #4
        Email Joe Orlando from PSA. he owes you an explanation

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        • #5
          I understand your frustration, but in my opinion, many 9's look like 10's. The way I look at it is if you flip a coin 100 times, it will most likely come up heads 50 times and tails 50 times, but you also will get the odd run of 3 to 5 tails in a row, and 3 to 5 heads in a row. Sometimes momentum can work for you, and sometimes it can work against you.

          Comment


          • Anish
            Anish commented
            Editing a comment
            Well said. Could be bad luck.

            That being said, perhaps it was worth cracking and resubmitting. Maybe that’s what the other person did.

          • AANVJeff
            AANVJeff commented
            Editing a comment
            The certification number was the same. That's the only reason why I knew. It showed up in a previous order as a PSA 10 when I was going through my previous submissions.

          • Anish
            Anish commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes, I see. Could either be bad luck or preferential treatment. We’ll never know.

        • #6
          Yes, definitely send Joe Orlando an email. Now there are lots of a**holes who work for CU and will ignore your emails, but Joe isn't one of them. I always get lightening-fast replies and he is very friendly.

          Comment


          • #7
            I think they just get too many cards to be able to give an explanation. I have submitted cards for crossover from SGC. Many times they make it but when they don't you just get your card back with no explanation. It's frustrating! Even a code like A1 which could stand for centering R/L. You get the idea.

            If they simply reject a card for a bump but don't offer an explanation, you don't get much for your money!

            I can't imagine what Joe Orlando can say in a situation like this. "I'm really sorry to hear that. Card grading is a very subjective industry..." Still $550 to $4000 does make you sick to your stomach!

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            • #8
              I had a very nice high end card come back three times not meeting minimum size requirements and with the naked eye, the deficiency looked de minimus. I had submitted using my 15 free annual grading coupon. I gave the card to a dealer who submitted it (for me) within a large bulk order and the card was graded a 9. I think it is subjective with a little bit of timing and luck involved...but all on the up and up, IMO.

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              • #9
                I will concede that Joe Orlando did a great job in reading my e-mail and replying within 10 minutes. Obviously subjectivity plays a huge role, but he at least informed me that he would personally handle future cards that I feel are similar to the one that I mentioned. I guess I will have to wait and see if I get the benefit of the doubt on future submissions to Joe's attention.

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                • #10
                  I think we all know there is a lot of chance in grading and probably preferential treatment.

                  The crazier thing is that people will pay almost 8x as much for the same card with a different piece of paper encased above it. It’s incomprehensible to me but I guess speaks to the commodification of cards; a PSA 10 is a different commodity than a PSA 9 regardless of how much the two are actually appreciated by collectors.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Anish View Post
                    I think we all know there is a lot of chance in grading and probably preferential treatment.

                    The crazier thing is that people will pay almost 8x as much for the same card with a different piece of paper encased above it. It’s incomprehensible to me but I guess speaks to the commodification of cards; a PSA 10 is a different commodity than a PSA 9 regardless of how much the two are actually appreciated by collectors.

                    +1 Anish. Couldn't agree more. And from a pure collectors perspective, the difference is so minimal that you cannot even see it with your own eyes. Honestly, sometimes a nice 6-8 works fine for me. I don't like beaters, but am happy with a nice, presentable card for my sets.

                    Comment


                    • smallpaul2002
                      smallpaul2002 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I think certain "high volume" submitter's, eg, PWCC, & 4SC definitely get higher grades than the average person, However the biggest driver of PSA cards getting 9's instead of 10's is the registry itself. I think in the end, PSA wants to limit the amount of cards graded 10.. I personally have a few 9's that should be 10's, and I could care less, as I'm buying the card and not the holder..Over the years I have submitted more than a few cards to PSA, and like someone mentioned before, its a hit and miss thing..I have no real clue how some cards get the grades they do..Perhaps they should offer some sort of an explanation to the reason the card received the grade it did, once a card has been graded..

                    • hart2004
                      hart2004 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Well said.

                  • #12
                    Hi folks,

                    I have considered submitting cards to PSA, but in the end decided against it. Kind of glad I did, as it seems from this thread that they don't even give you a "report card" if you will on why the card received a specific card. That's crazy. They should have a basic checklist their graders use as part of basic quality control. Sending that back with your card should be a given.

                    Cheers,
                    Dave

                    Comment


                    • #13
                      Take all the vintage guys you know who know what they’re doing. If they opened up a grading company, they’d put every other company to shame. PSA is the best of them all and they’re a joke.

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                      • #14
                        I would not call PSA a joke. They have market dominance and are really self-regulating. Many collectors/investors don’t even consider another option. I am one of them because I will eventually liquidate everything and right now, that means factoring the fact that the most liquid market of buyers and sellers are PSA transactors. I think they have also built trust and a strong reputation generally despite the stories of certain cards falling through the cracks. I have not personally been made aware of preferential treatment or collusion or other negative events. I do agree that more transparency is desirable though...they have generally referred me back to their posted grading rules which is too high-level. Of course, all IMO.

                        Comment


                        • #15
                          Originally posted by Kbarney View Post
                          I would not call PSA a joke. They have market dominance and are really self-regulating. Many collectors/investors don’t even consider another option. I am one of them because I will eventually liquidate everything and right now, that means factoring the fact that the most liquid market of buyers and sellers are PSA transactors. I think they have also built trust and a strong reputation generally despite the stories of certain cards falling through the cracks. I have not personally been made aware of preferential treatment or collusion or other negative events. I do agree that more transparency is desirable though...they have generally referred me back to their posted grading rules which is too high-level. Of course, all IMO.
                          I call them a joke because if their grading inconsistency. They are more consistent then all other companies. But all are wildly inconsistent. I can grade a card now. In five years I could grade the same card and the grade would be within 1 plus minus. Many of us here can do that. Now because PSA is a company not an individual that is more difficult. But I’ve owned an 8 with no qualifiers that was a 1 or 2. I posted it here before I returned it. I’ve had 1s that are 2+ grades higher. And many 6s look like 8s and vice versa. I have lots of 8s that I wouldn’t even call near mint. So consistency is the reason for my shots. They charge insane prices for what should take a very short period of time. And the quality control isn’t there. Again, I agree PSA is by far the best of them all. But to me they are all weak.

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