Just getting back into the hobby with my father after a 15-20 year hiatus. Amazing how things have changed and the impact that 'grading' has had. We have a very extensive collection from T-cards on up to Y2K (an impressive private collection, but an equally attractive duplicate stock). Have started the process of grading some of these cards to 'educate' ourselves and see how it pans out, but I find myself completely amazed at the prices being paid for gem mint or perfect cards. I have collected memorabilia since I was 5 years old (now 48) and my father has been collecting for close to 65 years. At the end of the day, the graders at all of the main three respectable companies are one thing - human. I would comment that my father and I, as well as many collectors across the country who have been in the hobby for over 30 years, are just as capable (if not more) at grading the condition of cards. I have been researching the entire subject of grading cards for the past 4-6 months, and it is incredible to me the cost variability from a card graded as a 9 and one that is labeled 'gem mint'!! The difference b/w these two cards in regards to shape/condition can be so slight, and yet the price soars to astronomical levels based on just one grader(or a couple graders) opinions. In my occupation, the idea of evaluating anything without any mechanism of analyzing the consistency and accuracy of the evaluating process would be considered ridiculous. Not trying to rant, and I am sure that the grading process offers many positives (security when purchasing items, allowing a registry of collectibles through an organization, not to mention the nice payday one can have if lucky enough to receive a 10!!!!) Just looking for some thoughts and wondering if we will ever see a day when we go back to the 'old ways' of trusting our own eyes; or even if we get to a time when the human element is removed all together and a grading computer will be on the horizon.
The Eternal Debate
Posted 20 September 2018 - 09:31 AM
Grading is here to stay, not going back to the old way. Now that so much is done online via eBay and auction houses it is a necessity to have practically everything graded. It just raises the level of trust and confidence that what you are buying is what you are getting.
Those crazy prices for PSA 10's you can thank the PSA Registry for those. Guys in competition to have the best set in the world all fighting it out for a card of a nobody that would normally sell for a few dollars and they are paying $1000's.
In regards to the so called experts that have been doing this for years and have an eye for grading, they still tend to do it in their favor when it comes to selling a card. It is a Near Mint if they are trying to sell but only a VG if trying to buy...it is a game. I bought a set of 1950 Bowmans about 15 years ago from one of these very famous sellers that wrote a bunch of books and is a legend in the hobby. He advertised it in his auction as a Near Mint to Mint set. So trusting him I bid accordingly. I won the set and after getting it I examine the cards and more the 65% of them had pin holes. Frickin pin holes...the guy totally screwed me and did nothing about it.
So our hobby full of con men, card alterers, forgers, etc.... you want to take away 3rd party grading and let them have their way again.
I think not my friend.
Posted 24 September 2018 - 05:03 PM
Unless the internet crashes and we are forced to only buy in person at card shows or local card shops, card grading is never going away. Way too much money to be made from people that want to make more money. As for vintage PSA 10's, good luck, I only see those for sale from the big "competition".
I too share your concerns with grading and how I have seen (human) inconsistencies throughout the years with my submissions.
I have heard many stories of people sending in cards, crack then re-submit 1 or 2 times only to get 3 different grades. I have not done this but I have resubmitted cards labelled "evidence of trim" or "minimum size requirement" which I know is bogus because I prep my submissions with measurements and loupes before submitting. I also have kept track and noticed about 7 to 10% of orders come back with either EV Trim, Min. Size, etc... and every time I re-send these cards back in, they come back graded... one was 1962 Topps example came back a PSA 9. My theory it's another money grab b/c the get paid twice.
I am still puzzled that in today's technology age, grading companies cannot do some R&D to develop an automated process that can scan image to measure to the millimeter for centering, some bit map perspective software/algorithm to scan for corner fullness or roundness running algorithms for missing pixels within quadrants... maybe it all cannot be automated but it could provide a common starting point.
Grading may not be perfect, but it does protect you in ways we did not have before as Bobby mentioned above.
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