1966 Topps Baseball Wantlist

Friday, June 10, 2016

To Grade or not to Grade this is the Question

As we sit here watching Bolivia get ripped by a bad call against Chile in the Copa America I wanted to get a post in as I will be out of touch for a little while.

During my most recent episode of great card filing of 2016 I examined our existing Vintage Redbirds and I noted those that we need to upgrade to higher grades and ones we were missing-just to double check. So recently there have been some good auctions of high quality cards at decent prices, well most of the time, on the Bay. So, I have been reviewing the PSA Price Guide to see what those cards would set us back. What I have been trying to figure out is why would someone grade a card that is worth less than the cost of grading ($15 or so?). I thought I might have each team set graded as I complete them. However, at $15 a pop and say 15-20 cards a team set-well you get the  idea.

So what my logic has been is to bid graded cards based on their PSA graded value plus a few extra dollars that would allow for the cost of grading.

A card graded as NM-7 (lowest grade I will pick up, generally) with a value of $8 would be a negative $7 since the cost to grade the NM 7 is $15. Math has never been my strong suit but I know that $15-$8 = loss of $7.

As an example I purchased the following PSA Graded 1963 Topps; #49 Dal Maxvill graded a 7 NM for $10.50 and the card is valued at $8-so "loss" of $2.50.

#267 Carl Sawatski is a 7 put me back $6.50 and PSA gives it a value of $8 and this results in a "gain" of $1.50.

#336 Ed Bauta also a 7 which I won for $8.50 and PSA says I paid 50 cents more than its value.

Last but not least, #533 Bobby Shantz Graded an 8 (NM-MT) for $9.54. This card is valued at $22, so a gain of $12.

So why would I pay $15 to grade any of these? The answer is I wouldn't. There are some heavy hitter Redbirds I need and these I will pick up nice graded copies but I am not sending the others in just yet.


  1. I've never understood why so many people take losses on their graded cards. I've been recently building my Frank Thomas autographed rookie card collection... and have picked up most of them for $25 or less. My buddy Mike and I were discussing it and using his discount it would cost at least $18 (he thinks it would probably cost him $20 to $23) to have the autograph authenticated and slabbed. After these sellers pay eBay fees, Paypal fees, and shipping fees... they have to be taking a loss on these cards. It's crazy. What the heck is going on in our hobby?

  2. I agree I don't know what to think about this-so the seller that sells me a graded card for $6.50 is probably in the hole at least $10. I think grading for really excellent condition stars, even sign numbers is great-the difference between a 1964 PSA 7 and PSA 8 $50 and $110 respectively. I think my prewar cards I will send of, but yeah right, what is going on?