Is PSA Grading Worth it Right Now?

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*UPDATE, July 2022: PSA has recently announced the return of their Value service level. It comes in at a price that works out to just $30 per card. 

They’ve also brought back the $18/card Special tier, although the card must have a declared value of $199 or less. Both are exclusive to PSA Collectors Club members, while the latter has a 20-card minimum. 

With the addition of options at the lowest level, we can answer unreservedly; yes, PSA card grading is definitely worth it right now. 

You’ll be able to find a submission form here, where you can check though the various options.

We’ve left the original article in full below, where we detail how and why it became so expensive to send cards to PSA for grading.

PSA is undoubtedly the largest grading service on the planet, closely followed by BGS. (In fact, PSA 10s are my personal favourite, no matter what card is contained within the slab.)

However, at $100 per card for the cheapest tier, it’s not necessarily the best value proposition at this moment in time for collectors and investors. 

We’re taking the opportunity to discuss whether or not PSA grading is actually worth it right now. Will they be likely to face problems when they reopen their Value tier for submissions?

What’s the holdup with PSA? 

The problem is, PSA has yet to reopen their cheapest service. It currently costs $100 per card if you’re willing to wait for at least a couple of months for your items to be returned. 

Worse still, Regular used to be priced at $50 per card. There’s no sign that the price will be lowered back down to normal rates in the future. 

In fact, increased prices seem to be the new normal at PSA. It hasn’t stopped many collectors from sending off their very best pieces in the meantime. 

The service has been dealing with a massive backlog of cards which came to a head during the pandemic. Many collectors and investors have been waiting for over a year to send their items in at an affordable price. 

It’s a tough pill to swallow for collectors who can remember PSA card grading being priced at just $10 per card a few years ago. 

(PSA’s Collectors Club Value service contributed greatly to the company’s backlog. It is now priced at $20 per card from $10 with a minimum order requirement of 10 cards. Of course, it’s currently suspended.)

Check the price of PSA 10s on eBay

PSA: Pricing

PSA is reasonably expensive if you’re hoping to get a budget collection graded. However, in terms of final sale prices, you’re going to find it difficult to beat a card wrapped in a PSA slab. 

The lack of a budget grading tier could also have a knock-on effect on the average price of PSA cards in the future, especially if they raise the price of their entry-level service. 

Consider it this way. If it costs $100 to send a single card off for grading right now, it’s only worth shipping premium options that are likely to sell for $300+. 

Otherwise, what’s the point in waiting months for graded cards that are probably going to be sold for a loss? 

What do you do if you have a card that will sell for $80-$150 ungraded? 

The majority of collectors and investors seem content to wait for the time being. It’s likely to cause another backlog that will see wait times increasing. 

It’s little wonder that lots of smaller alternative grading companies are popping up, from the United States to the UK. 

Check the price of PSA 10s on eBay

Is PSA worth it right now? 

Is PSA worth it right now? Definitely not if you were hoping to send in cheaper trading cards that are likely to sell for less than $100 after grading. It costs $100 alone to send one in. That’s without accounting for shipping, or the price of the card itself. 

Even mid-level cards aren’t worth the time, money and effort it takes to get them graded by PSA at the current time of writing. Consider the 2021 Celebrations Charizard seen below. It would undoubtedly be worth it with the Value tier. It’s still not valuable enough to make it worth the effort.

Of course, if you’re holding onto a 1987 Jordan Fleer or a similarly valuable card it probably makes sense to bite the bullet and pay the $100 fee. For the rest of us, we’re stuck waiting for PSA to open bulk Value shipping back up again. 

You’ll be able to find a submission form here, where you can check though the various options.

What do you think? Let us know if you’re planning to send off the best cards from your collection, or if you’ve opted for a new grading service. 

Published by James Milin-Ashmore

Journalism gradate, freelance writer. Sports, tech, online security, collectibles.

4 thoughts on “Is PSA Grading Worth it Right Now?

  1. I have a 1975 topps mini George Brett rookie card , in what to me looks possibly 9 or 10 gem mint. It looks equal to, or if not better than most I see online on sites like ebay that are graded 9 -10. The front is centered very well, no print errors, color is great, perfect corners, which is rare but the back is slightly a little off center. My dilemma is the value of the card varies greatly depending on the rating. I hate that psa decides what to charge me for their service based on my perceived value of the card and my none professional opinion of “declared value”. If it only gets an 8 or 9 especially if with an (oc) qualifier because the grader is in a bad mood that day and doesn’t like the slightly oc back side of the card, the card would only be worth about 100 – 150 -300 dollars. If the grader is in a good mood that day (or maybe I paid more money for the higher value service) and gives it a normal 9 or 10 with no qualifier rating it is worth significantly more, like possibly multi 1000’s. I don’t like that they use the “Declared value” of my card, which I am not sure of, to decide what to charge me. The value can very so widely between 100 – 1000- possibly even10,000$ depending on the grade. If I send it in with their service that is for a lesser declared value of less than 500$ Am I assured that the grader wont give the card a 9 or 10 rating , even if the card genuinely is a 9 or 10. Am I more likely to get A 9 or 10 if I send it in with their more expensive service for cards with higher “declared value”. I feel like they are ripping me off by charging me based on my unsure declared value. I don’t see how the “declared value” or how much I pay for their service, should have any bearing on the cards actual condition. They should charge a flat fee for every card any value, a card is a card. They should charge me for their time and effort spent grading the card, not my perceived value of the card. A card is a card is a card, I don’t see why what I pay should effect what grade they give me. The card is either in good shape or it isn’t I shouldn’t have to essentially buy my grade. This to me seems like embezzlement or like I am being forced to bribe them. I find their practices questionable and dishonest.

    1. Exactly!
      Could it be more obvious? Your subjective opinion of what the card is worth, in this case, will cost you more. How is it that your expectations are tied to what you pay? It’s like, how much do you want for it? Let’s hammer out a deal! But of course, they are holding all the cards!
      They can have all sorts of reasons they give you for this, but the truth is plain and simple—manipulation for profit.
      It surely does not Inspire confidence in their services. There is ample opportunity here for significant disruption of the card grading industry.

  2. I just spent over $10,000 on grading 1969, 1975, 1973 and 1975 mini’s with PSA. PSA basically destroyed the value of over 600 cards. Their grading process now is 2-3 to levels lower than the cards graded from inception to 2020. Every card came from wax pack and was carefully packed and inspected for centering. This is the absolute end to the card registry. In a 330 card pull no tens, three nines, 40 eights and the rest 7 or less. A 8 or less makes the card less than the $18 grading fee. This is the end of build older sets for the registry.

  3. Here’s the problem I have. PSA does not provide any rationale for why they graded a card the way they did. As they readily take my $100 per card, they should provide a written explanation for their rationale on grading.

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