The PSA SUCKS Page!!!
***Funny, but we thought the "Foundation of All Great Collections" is the
WELCOME to Nowbatting19's exciting new PSA SUCKS Page! First I would like to say that my title for this page ("PSA SUCKS Page") is a bit harsh. But it did get your attention,
did it not? PSA is considered by many to be the top of the grading service companies. Maybe this is because they have been around the longest, or maybe because they graded and
slabbed the most expensive baseball card in existance, the T206 Honus Wagner which was once owned by Wayne Gretzky. I really don't know that all this worship about PSA is
warranted. Sure they have been around the longest, but so has McDonald's, and do they make the best hamburgers (or food for that matter)? I think not. And while they did grade
that T206 Wagner (which last sold for 1.3 million dollars), so what! I bet if they were to regrade that card it would come back a NM 7, certainly not a NM-MT grade. Oh wait,
PSA's reputation would be at stake so I am sure it WOULD be regraded NM-MT, or maybe even GEM MINT 10 to give themselves even more publicity. While I do consider PSA one
of the "reputable" grading services, I also would send my cards to SGC or BVG before I would send a card to PSA or GAI. Why? Primarily because of PSA's inconsistancy and GAI's
affiliation with PSA (see the WE GRADE 'EM Page where we grade the grading companies). I also don't believe in PSA's policy to have yearly membership dues, which does include
"free grading" but essentially it is a way to insure PSA is raking in the green. With SGC or BVG you do not have to pay membership dues and you can send cards in anytime you like!
So, we will present evidence on this page why we think that bowing down and praising the mighty PSA is a bunch of horse poop.
Exhibit A- 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle "Authentic"
PSA Certificate number #90361904
This card was seen on March 3, 2005 on ebay. The seller, is 707 Sportscards, who happens to be a "PSA
Authorized Dealer." This card is not graded by PSA, but was slabbed and labeled "Authentic," as it IS in
fact an authentic 1952 Topps #311 Mantle. We have no qualms with this. What we DO have problems
with is that fact that PSA according to their own policies does NOT grade or encapsulate "trimmed"
cards. Even hand-cut cards like the Post Cereal or Bazooka issues that were cut from boxes will not be
encapsulated if the cuts are deemed "too short." I personally have had cards returned, unslabbed, as
being "trimmed," even cards that were factory miscut. Exhibit A to the left is NOT even a factory
miscut. The bottom border is completely missing, probably it was trimmed to make the card appear nicer
than it actually was. This is called "deceptive trimming." If PSA can encapsulate this trimmed card, then
they should encapsulate EVERY trimmed card they receive, regardless of how much the card is "worth."
Either that or not encapsulate ANY card that shows evidence of trimming.
This is highly unethical in our opinion. Our case rests.
1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle PSA (TRIMMED)
Exhibit B- Just got this Stan Musial card on ebay (see card to right). It is graded by
PSA as EXCELLENT (PSA EX 5) yet it has crease that runs from the left side of the
card (see arrows #1 & 2) all the way up to above Stan's hat in the larger picture. I
couldn't pick up the entire crease on the scanner, but if I can see it with my eyeballs
with no magnifier why did PSA not see it with supposedly THREE graders? Also note the
arrow (#3) which is pointing to a spot of missing paper in the lower left corner of the
card. I won't even mention the scuffing/ wear to the right of that missing paper on the
bottom border. If it had just the scuffing, I would say yeah PSA is right giving it a 5.
But with a crease that would knock it down to a VG/EX at best, and the missing paper
even further (PSA 2 GD?) And PSA gives this a 5 EX grade? PSA should change it's name
from "Professional Sports Authenticator" to "Pretend Sports Authenticator" because it
sure seems they are pretending to grade cards over there.
1960 Topps #250 Stan Musial PSA 5 (Certification # 90301917
Exhibit C- PSA graded this card as "5 EX." A shadow obscures the grade, but the certification number is 30763599 if you don't believe me. However notice in the top
left-hand corner, along the top edge and you will see a crease (highlighted in red). There is also another crease on the upper right edge of the card but regardless someone at PSA
should have seen this as I can see it right through their holder. So who in the hell is grading over there? The 3 Blind Mice??? I have a very nice 1956 Topps #135 Mickey Mantle
graded PSA 6 EX-MT and the ONLY reason it wasn't graded NM 7 was because of a tiny 1/16" paper "wrinkle" that you needed a magnifying glass to see. PSA felt that this was
significant enough to warrant an EX-MT grade. Then I get this card with a crease that looks like the Colorado River compared to the paper wrinkle on the Mantle. Gee PSA, get it
together for chrissakes!
EXHIBIT D - 1948 Swell Sport Thrills #20 Rifle Arm (Carl Furillo) PSA 5 EX. Check out
the back of this card. Notice anything? Like a big stain of some sort (water perhaps?).
Clearly not a wax stain which would be fairly common on bubble gum cards. This my friends
is a STAIN. PSA usually marks cards that have heavy wax stains as having a "qualifier,"
namely "(ST)" for stain or staining. In this case, the card was simply labeled "EX" with no
"(ST)" qualifier. How could the professionals at PSA miss this stain? Do YOU see it? I sure
as hell see it. It only takes up about half the card! So keep in mind that while PSA does a
"fair" job, usually, on grading, this by NO MEANS MAKES THEM THE BEST! There are
collectors (mostly PSA authorized dealers) who swear that PSA is God's gift to mankind.
And then there are some collectors who have seen enough discrepencies with this company to
KNOW PSA is certainly not anywhere near the best. You be the judge. Don't take our word
for it. Don't take PSA's word for it. See for yourself. Also see our WE GRADE "EM Page
where we grade the big four sportscard grading services.
1948 Swell Sport Thrills #20 Carl Furillo PSA 5 EX
1974 Topps #207 Strikeout Leaders (Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver) PSA 8 NM/MT
EXHIBIT E - I know this is a poor scan, but check out this card (1974 Topps #207 1973 Strikeout Leaders Ryan/Seaver PSA 8 NM-MT; above). Then look at the grade. Do
you see anything wrong with this picture? Yes, the card does appear NM/MT but there is an obvious printing defect in "Strikeout Leaders" above the player's pictures. Do you see
it now? There are a series of print "bubbles" that reside in some of those letters. It kind of looks like someone scribbled smal circles in the letters "E" in "Strikeout," and the
letters "L," "E," E," "S" in "Leaders." Now PSA says in their Sports Market Report (SMR) that a PSA 8 NM/MT card "may have a MINOR print defect." I used to be a printer
and we printed Direct Mail (ie. JUNK MAIL) and if we were to catch this "minor" print defect, we would $#$%can the bad forms. PSA supposedly has 3 professional graders who
inspect carefully each card and if those 3 graders call this a "minor" print defect, what the hell is a MAJOR print defect??? Keep in mind, this is the same company who will label
a card with minor gum stains as being "stained" (PSA uses a "(ST)" qualifier for stains and "(PD)" for cards with print defects. So what happened with this card? What this tells
me is that either 3 PSA graders did NOT look carefully at this card, or PSA feels this is "minor" and as such did not deserve a qualifier. This card has been misrepresented and
as such is very much OVERgraded.
1958 Topps #47 Roger Maris RC PSA 7?
EXHIBIT F- Check out the centering on this 1958 Topps Roger Maris rookie card. This is one of PSA's biggest inconsistencies; centering issues. While this particular card does
not have an off-center qualifier (OC), it certainly should have received one, even according to their "standards." I am going to post a picture of a 1957 Topps Rocky Colavito
PSA 8 (OC) card next to this one and you are going to wonder why PSA gave the Colavito card an (OC) qualifier in the first place. Which is my main gripe with PSA; the
inconsistency of their grading, which is average at best! So what exactly makes them the number one grading service out there? By the way, most knowledgeable collectors wary
of PSA's grading would take the centering into consideration when purchasing or selling this particular card. While graded by PSA an unqualified 7 NM, chances are the card
would sell for much less than PSA's Sports Market Report (PSA's own monthly price guide) price for an unqualified 7 NM Maris rookie.
EXHIBIT G - PSA's top grade is a "Gem Mint 10." These cards are
supposed to be the perfect specimens, and most desirable or vintage
cards graded a PSA 10 fetch ridiculous amounts. I seem to recall PSA
stating in an advertisement "Who Says It's Mint?," referring to the
fact that you cannot rely on anyone's word but PSA as THE final
authority on a card's grade. But is this really the case? Check out
the 1986 Topps Traded Barry Bonds RC PSA 10 to the right. Yes, at
first glance it appears very nice, and actually it is a nice card but is
it REALLY a "GEM MINT" card? Check out the left edge of the card
to the left of the "P" in "Pirates." Do you see some white "specks" on
the left edge?
The black edges are very condition sensitive and show the slightest bits of wear (which show up as white
specs). If you look at the top and upper right edges you will see no hints of wear and those edges are what
a GEM MINT 10 should look like. But the left edge DOES show wear, and if you can see it with my lousy
scan and through PSA's holder, how come PSA's graders did not see it? Or did they see it and just slab it
as GEM MINT anyway? This is the kind of thing that drives me nuts. If I send this card to SGC or
Beckett's this card would probably get a NM-MT grade which would substantially lower it's "value" but the
card would be more accurately graded. Professional grading services cause just as much confusion as BEFORE
there were grading services. What it comes down to is someone's opinion. If I saw this card unslabbed I
would probably grade it NM-MT because of the edge chipping. That is my opinion, and a free one at that.
PSA's opinion is that this card is GEM MINT 10 and their opinions are not free. It probably costs $10
(including shipping fees) per card for PSA's opinion. So there you have the difference between a
knowledgeable collector and a million dollar company's opinion; one is free and the other is taking your
hard-earned money and sticking it to you. So consider this before sending in your cards to PSA or before
spending large amounts of cash for a PSA GEM MINT 10 example.
1986 Topps Traded #11T Barry Bonds PSA 10???
1948 Swell Sport Thrills #19 Bob Feller PSA 7 NM
EXHIBIT H. This is an interesting story. I purchased this exact card (1948 Swell Sport Thrills #19 Strikeout Record (Bob Feller) PSA 7 NM; above) from a reputable dealer,
who also happens to be a "PSA Authorized Dealer." I bought this card ungraded for $60 or $65. Anyway the card appeared nice but having been burned before on trimmed cards, I
compared this one to several other ungraded 1948 Swell cards I have. This card definitely came up short on the top edge. So I sent the card back and to the dealers credit, I
was promptly refunded. About a year later I get an email from the dealer who had just sent the card to PSA and it came back as NM 7. Now this is how things work in PSA's evil
world. If you are a PSA Authorized Dealer and you send in hundreds of cards monthly, you have a far better shot at getting a card to come back in a favorable grade. The 1948
Swell Sport Thrills cards are pretty tough to acquire in high grade, and this Feller graded by PSA is the highest graded example (so far). If I had sent it in I am damn sure it
would have returned unslabbed as being "TRIMMED." PSA blows. Btw, this card was listed on eBay and it sold for over $250. Whoooeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!
Speaking of trimmed cards, I just received the June 2007 SMR (PSA's Sports Market Report). Here is what President Joe Orlando has to say about how their graders tackle this
tough subject: "When a card is evaluated by a grader, they may or may not choose to physically measure the card...Graders will measure the card if they think the card needs to
be actually measured. Their eyes, due to their experience, are much more crucial than a ruler." Later, on whether magnifyers or loupes are used to grade cards, the amazing Mr.
Orlando says "the vast majority of cards are graded with the naked eye." Excuse me, but I have been collecting cards since 1968 and I have been stung before by trimmed cards.
Your eyes don't always detect trimming, no matter how much "experience" you have. Now I know why this Bob Feller card got the grade it did. PSA did it with the NAKED EYE! So
what I want to know is, what exactly are we getting by sending cards to PSA for grading? A naked eye examination? That's what I am paying $7-$10 a card for? I can do that
myself and slab it and it might cost me a dollar. PSA does it and charges you $10 a card. Multiply that by a million suckers and you have just given PSA a cool ten million dollars!
Is it any wonder that PSA is a hugh money maker?
1977 Venezuela Topps Stickers #176 Carl Yastrzemski
See if you can spot the "goof" on this one... Yes, this is a 1977 Venezuelan League #176 Carl Yastrzemski Sticker. It's not really a "Venezuelan League" sticker as Yaz never
played in the Venezuelan league. But that is close enough. But check out how PSA spelled "Yastrzemski" in their label. Are you telling me that after the thousands of Yaz cards
PSA has graded and slabbed, they still can't spell "Yastrzemski???" Common PSA, do the little things right. I would expect some rinky dink, third rate grading service to do this,
but PSA? Supposedly THE leader in card grading? Gimme a break. Btw, you might find some misspellings on my website, but I am not charging you to view it either. So cut me
some slack. Thanks.
1967 Topps Venezuela Topps PSA graded lot (back view)
Here is a lot of PSA graded 1967 Venezuela Topps "Retirado" cards. They are all graded PSA PR-FR (Poor to Fair) 1, except one, card #149 Mel Ott (PSA 4 VG-EX).
Check out the back of the Ott card. There is either a large piece of paper missing on the back, or there is glue and paper residue from being pasted in a scrapbook or
album. Either way, there is no way this card should have been graded a PSA 4 VG-EX. It should have graded much lower. It should be noted that any Venezuela
Topps cards are tough to acquire in high grade. This is because of the common practice in Venezuela to glue or tape cards to albums and scrapbooks. So even in lower
grades, these cards are desirable. However there is no excuse whatsoever to have given this 1967 Venezuela Topps #149 Mel Ott such a generous grade.
1966 Topps #1 Willie Mays PSA 3 VG (front view) (back view & close up)
I almost laughed out loud on this one. Just got it yesterday (2-19-08) from an eBay auction. I won't complain about the price ($20 including shipping) but do you agree with this
grade? Check out the back corner by the card number (1). The top layer of paper is torn off, exposing the gray cardboard underneath. And PSA calls this VERY GOOD??? How, in
good conscious, could I ever sell this card as being "Very Good" is beyond me. I would have to mention the back and the missing paper. Oh, but PSA is supposed to take all that
guessing out of the equation. So take PSA's word for it- this IS a VERY GOOD card! I can see why PSA does not have a guarantee like Sportscard Guarantee Company (SGC)
has...they'd be out of a lot of money buying back overgraded cards.
This 1966 Topps #1 Willie Mays card is one of only 3 regular Topps cards to feature him with a fielding glove. Mays was just as adept at fielding as he was at hitting and running.
The other regular Topps cards to feature him with a glove are 1953 Topps #244 and 1969 Topps #190 (Topps used the same photo as the 1966 card).
1976 Isaly's Discs Steve Carlton PSA 9
I'm not going to say anything about this 1976 Isaly's Disc Steve Carlton. See if you can spot the mistake.
Earlier this year (2008), PSA began using in-between grades or half grades. Why they waited over a decade to do this is anyone's guess, but I will say this is a brilliant money
making strategy concocted by PSA's powers that be. You, the average "Joe Schmo" has invested at least a hundred (probably more) dollars in having some cards graded by PSA's old
10 point scale. But wait! Now PSA is assigning half grades so maybe now your card can get a possibly higher grade! Which equates to more monetary value to your cards. So now you
can just send in those old PSA graded cards and get the new and improved PSA grades! Whoopee! Yippie Yowszer!!! Of course PSA will not do this for free; you can bet on that. So go
ahead and send in all of your old PSA graded cards. The shareholders are counting on you.
About the new labels. I have seen some of the new PSA graded cards on eBay and they are very similar to the old labels with the exception of the in-between grades. One the
newer labels the grade assigned appears below the grade. For instance, where the old labels would say "MINT 9," the new ones say "MINT" and below that will be the number grade.
There is not much of a difference. I will post a newer PSA graded example soon.
1968 Topps Milton Bradley #177 Mets Rookie Stars (Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan) PSA 6 EX-MT
1968 Topps Milton Bradley #177 Mets Rookie Stars (back view)
Now, how in the hell can supposedly the best grading service in the hobby not know the difference between a regular 1968 Topps and 1968
Topps Milton Bradley card? After grading & slabbing millions of cards, even the mighty PSA doesn't have the expertise to distinguish an ordinary
card from a rare one. Not to say the regular 1968 Topps #177 Mets Rookie Stars (Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan rookie card) is an "ordinary" card,
on the contrary. The Ryan rookie is a very desirable card, but very plentiful and not at all hard to find. The 1968 Topps Milton Bradley #177 Mets
Rookie Stars (Jerry Koosman, Nolan Ryan rookie card) card (above) is an entirely different matter and PSA should sure as hell know this by now.
The difference is the card backs; while the regular Topps cards have a "dirty" or brownish-yellow back, the 1968 Topps Milton Bradley cards
have a very clean and bright yellow (see right) back. How many other 1968 Topps Milton Bradley cards have they simply labeled as regular "1968
Topps?" It's lucky the seller of the above card knew the difference and stated as such in his eBay item description; otherwise instead of selling
this card for about $250-$350, he got a well deserved $1,280.76 for it (May 2008). So good going for that knowledgeable collector (no thanks to
PSA). Maybe PSA should hire collectors like that who are familiar with cards to do their grading and authenticating instead of hiring guys who
don't know a rare card from a "common" one.
1963 Fleer #50 Ruben Amaro PSA 6 EX-MT??? (Back View)
I was going through a PSA graded 1963 Fleer set I have and found this gem. It is a 1963 Fleer #50 Ruben Amaro graded PSA 6 EX-MT. While the front does appear
EX-MT, check out the back. There is a pretty nice sized stain on the reverse. It looks like an old blood stain. Maybe the card was involved in a sensational murder. The
1963 Fleer cards did come with a sugar cookie (Topps had the monopoly on "bubble gum" cards) but I don't think a cookie caused this stain. Do you? So while the
card does appear "EX-MT," how in the world can PSA ignore the very noticeable stain on the card back? Keep in mind PSA has qualifiers, including one for stains (ST)
but PSA chose to ignore this on this particular card. This despite PSA's Sports Market Report, which states that an EX-MT card can have a "minor wax stain on the
reverse." This is no "minor wax stain." Wax stains are usually very minor when encountered, and come from the wax packs when the pack was originally sealed by
the factory. And someone paid close to ten bucks for PSA to grade this card. Unbelievable. I would have either given this card a PSA 6 EX-MT (ST) or PSA 3 VG at best.
Take your pick. But it's certainly not a straight PSA 6 EX-MT and would not sell as one either. I would not have bothered to even send this card to PSA in the first
PSA's Fan Of The Year (so far) - Mike Schuette of Grayslake IL!
I just got through reading a terrific book, "The Card - Collectors, Con Men, And The True Story Of History's Most Desired Baseball Card" by Michael O'Keeffe and Teri Thompson (HarperCollins Publishers, 2007). Of course this
refers to the most desired card on the planet, the T206 Honus Wagner graded and authenticated by PSA as an 8 out of 10, NM-MT (near mint to mint condition). Where do I begin...This is a thoroughly researched book by two
reporters (O'Keefe and Thompson) and the origins and travels of the highest graded T206 Wagner card. The story begins in 1985 when collector Alan Ray sells the ungraded Wagner card to upstart Bill Mastro (later of Mastro
Auctions) for $25,000. According to Ray, he was "bullied" by Mastro and had to include other vintage cards to complete the deal. According to the book the card was trimmed from an uncut T206 sheet to obtain the Wagner and it
was a bad trim job at that. Pictures that Ray purported to have taken of the Wagner show uneven edges and a red print line at the top edge. By the time Mastro sold it, two years later in 1987, the card had straight edges and no print
line at the top. This time it sold for $110,000 to Jim Copeland. In 1991 Copeland consigns the card to Sotheby's, where it is purchased by hockey great Wayne Gretzky and then-owner Bruce McNall for $451,000. Around this time, a
young fledgling company called Professional Sportscard Authenticators (PSA) is starting and the Wagner is chosen as the first card to be graded and slabbed. It is returned with the "8 NM-MT" grade, this in spite of at least two
graders acknowledging that the card was "obviously trimmed." However they felt the finest known Wagner should not suffer the indignity of not being graded so they gave it a grade anyway. This is against PSA's stated policy that
they will NOT grade any card that was hand trimmed from a sheet unless it was intended that way (for example, Post/Jell-O issues from the 1960's that was intended to be cut; factory sheets are not intended to be hand cut but are
cut by machine). Thus these cards will not be graded by PSA. The Wagner was an exception. A big name card to start off a company...hmmmmm. You gotta wonder about that. In 1995 Gretzky sells the card to Walmart and Treat
Entertainment for a giveaway contest. Postal Worker Patricia Gibbs wins the card and sells it (in a sale arranged by Bill Mastro) through Christie's for $640,000 to collector Michael Gidwitz. Gidwitz has visions of getting over a
million dollars for the card and in 2000, it sells for 1.27 million to collector Brian Seigel. Seven years later Seigel sells the card to an anonymous collector for $2.35 million. So there is the card's history, albeit from 1985 to present.
What is sickening to me is the fact that NO ONE is going to question PSA's grading of this card. And why should they? If you spent over $2 million for this card, would you submit this card back to PSA for regrading knowing there is a
possibility that the card could come back as being "authentic" only with no grade? This would significantly kill your investment. Plus do you think PSA would acknowledge they goofed and take a hit on their reputation? Hell no, this is
not going to happen. Too much money and reputations at stake. Also this specific T206 Wagner, along with the most sought after post-war card, the 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle, are almost single-handedly responsible the
explosion of sports cards and prices in the 1980's. Money was to be made and did some make it. Guys like Bill Mastro who started big auction houses for sports memorabilia and cards, grading services like PSA, long time
dealers who had extensive inventories, and thousands of upstart punks who decided to "speculate" in the card market. Some of these guys made a killing. So why mess with a "good" thing? I'll tell you why. Plain simple greed. And
that is my opinion. You can make your own opinions on this, but I recommend reading this book "The Card." It is fascinating and will give you a glimpse of the "dark side" of this business. These guys have lost the fact that this is a
HOBBY. And that is a real shame.
NEWS UPDATE 9-12-12! According to Steve Nash of Haulsofshame.com, both Bill Mastro and PSA are under investigation! Mastro is being investigated for mail fraud, as he has admitted to trimming the T206 Honus Wagner
plus numerous other offenses including selling stolen property through his website, auctioning fake "high end" autographs (including the highest graded Babe Ruth single-signed baseball), bidding or having someone bid
on his own auctions, and other unscrupulous practices. PSA is under investigation as they got their start with their first highly touted submission, the T206 Wagner PSA 8. However if the card is indeed trimmed as Mastro
has admitted, then how could PSA have assigned a technical grade? Money perhaps? And if PSA started off grading a fraud, what other things have they gotten their hands dirty with? Can you say "Class Action
Lawsuit???" I have sent Joe Orlando an email asking for his take on this but I sincerely doubt I will get a reply. Joe is probably checking with his attorney right now, as well he should. For more check out this link:
Some thoughts on the famed T206 Honus Wagner PSA 8 NM-MT card
Just picked up PSA's latest hobby book, called "Collecting Sports Legends - The Ultimate Hobby Guide" by Joe Orlando (Zyrus Press, 2008). Joe Orlando picks the top
sportscards, sets, autographs, game used bats, unopened wax packs, and ticket stubs (all PSA Authenticated, of course). While of course the cards themselves make the book,
the sad thing is that most cards pictured are in PSA 9's or 10's. How about putting some lower grades in there Joe? Or are they considered "junk" to you? Here are some more
insights into the collecting genius that is Joe Orlando:
From the Chapter "Ten Tips for Building A Collection," Tip #2 "Buy Authenticated/ Graded Collectibles." Of course a blatant plug for his own company. Would you expect anything
else? Here's another: Tip #6 "Avoid Becoming A Bargain Hunter." Quote: "...When a collector's entire focus revolves around finding a good deal, it can lead that collector right into
a trap. That trap is usually filled with items of poor quality and suspect authenticity." My read on this is that Joe is telling us to buy from reputable dealers (preferably "PSA
Authorized Dealers" at that) to get only the quality goods that PSA provides. This book is mostly for the Joe Orlando's of the world who must have the very best (in terms of
condition) cards out there. Most collectors do not fit into this category. Hence this book is not for most collectors. This book is for the guy who has enough dough to blow that he
can pay whatever for the highest graded cards. Like guys who pay millions for the "highest graded" T206 Honus Wagner, in spite of it's questionable history. Hey, if Joe Orlando
and Bill Mastro say it is then it must be! Those two guys should start a religion called "Bend Over For Me While I check out NASDAQ."
For REAL collectors, collectors who enjoy cards REGARDLESS of condition, may I recommend two books that probably could be bought for a couple bucks at a used book store
(The above "Collecting Sports Legends" book retails for $34.95). The first is "The Great American Baseball Card, Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book" by Brendan C. Boyd &
Fred C. Harris (Little, Brown & Co., 1973) and "The Complete Book Of Baseball Cards - For The Collector, Flipper and Fan" by Steve Clark (Grosset & Dunlap, 1976). While the prices
are way outdated in the later (like a 54 Aaron for $12), both books are for real collectors and fans of the game.
Sorry about the "Three Stooges" theme music, and the "bouncing" head image of Joe Orlando, but I couldn't help it! Hey, I created this site for my own amusement so give me a break!
1963 Post Cereal #169 Ernie Banks PSA 6 (ST) (back view)
Here is a classic example of an under graded card from the 1963 Post cereal set. The 1963 Post Cereal cards were printed on the backs of cereal boxes and were intended to be cut from the box. Hence today you will find
that most examples have wavy cuts as kids would excitedly cut these out to add to their collection. Black lines were provided to assist in cutting out standard size cards; however it is quite common to find cards that are cut
inside the black lines, which makes for a shorter size card. In fact, I've seen some 63 Post cards that were cut so short they look almost identical to the 1963 Jell-O set, which if cut properly are 1/4" narrower than the Post
issues (to accommodate the smaller Jell-O dessert box). This 1963 Post cereal #169 Ernie Banks card has been severely under graded. Note that the black border lines are entirely intact (it should be noted that PSA will not
graded a "hand cut" card unless it was intended to be cut out and not unless all the black borders are intact; cards cut shorter than intended will bring a "Authentic" only designation on the label with no assigned grade). Yet
PSA chose to grade this particular card as being EX-MT 6. Worse, they gave it the "kiss of death," a "ST" (stain) qualifier. As you can see there is absolutely no stain on the front of this card. The only thing I think they are
looking at is the card back where there is a very common glue or wax stain from factory that printed these cards. The cards are blank backed and show any flaws in the cardboard. Quite a few of these were glued or pasted
into scrap books as Post/ Jell-O did in fact produce an album to paste the cards in. This particular "stain" is quite common on these cards and in no way should be a factor in the grading unless it seriously detracts from the
eye appeal of the card, which in this case it certainly doesn't. No one looks at the backs of these cards because they are blank backed. Now I am not saying that a card with glue that was put on after the card was cut out
should note have a high grade. Many of these cards show evidence of having been pasted and those usually show the backs of the paper album and are quite an eyesore. Those cards should be graded low and would be
appropriate. This example was obviously done at the factory and being it is fairly common on these cards, it should not have been given a (ST) qualifier. Now let's just say the stain is legitimate. So why the EX-MT 6 grade? A
stain qualifier can be added to any card grade except for MINT examples. A MINT card should have no flaws whatsoever. So how did this card get just an EX-MT grade? Here's how: PSA grades these cards on how they were
cut. You can see the above example is cut outside the black lines and in some spots is uneven. Now if this card was trimmed even further to just outside the black lines in a consistent manner this card would easily been
graded NM-MT or higher. I know because I have several examples. So what I could do is take the card out of the holder, trim it evenly just outside the black lines, resubmit the card (for a fee) and have it re-graded. And this
card will come back a PSA NM-MT 8 or higher. Chances are high that this card will not get the (ST) qualifier either. If it were a water stain, coffee stain or some stain that was added after it was removed from the box then so
be it, but this is not the case. So in other words, this is a NM-MT or better card that if trimmed a bit better will bring back a higher grade. To PSA's credit, they do say that to get the highest grades on these cards, they need to
be trimmed evenly outside the black borders, but regardless, you still have a NM-MT or better card because the card is completely intact and in high grade. Doing a trim job on the outside of these is really irrelevant, it just
makes for better "eye appeal" but technically should not lower the cards grade. On the plus side, being that this card was so severely under graded, at least 2 grades, and the fact that it has a "qualifier," I was able to
purchase this card for dirt cheap. $17 as a matter of fact, which if you figure it costs at least $10 (actually more) to have this card graded by PSA, that means I essentially paid $7 or so for this terrific Ernie Banks card that is
well cut (not the norm). You should see how much high grades of these Post/ Jell-O cards bring on eBay and other auctions. Considering all the factors that apply to these hand cut cards, you would be lucky to even find
graded examples period, considering these were cut short in many (or most) of the cases. That is why high grades bring high dollars, even mid-grade cards. This one was so cheap because of the qualifier and if you are
familiar with these cards at all, it should not have received one in the first place. Maybe I will take the card out, spruce it up according to PSA and resubmit it. If so be on the lookout for this card because it will bring back a nice
1956 Topps #158 Wally Post PSA 7 NM 1956 Topps #158 Wally Post PSA 2 Good???
The above two 1956 Topps #158 Wally Post cards were provided by collector Jeffrey Peace. One graded PSA 7 NM (left, top and bottom), while the other garnered just a PSA 2
GOOD grade (right, top & bottom). The white spots you see are caused by the scanner and not on the cards. Can you see why there is a 5 grade difference between the two cards?
I can't. I could understand if the lower grade had a tear, missing paper, severe creasing, extreme corner rounding, soiled, stained, etc., but compare the two cards! In the words
of the late baseball announcer Jack Buck, "I don't believe what I just saw!"
Wally Post was a slugging outfielder for the Cincinnati Redlegs, Phillies, Twins, and Indians. From 1954 thru 1962 he hit less than 17 home runs just once, clubbing a career high 40
in 1955. The 1959 TV show "Home Run Derby" thought enough of Wally Post to include him as a contestant against the likes of Hank Aaron, Harmon Killebrew, Mickey Mantle,
Willie Mays, Duke Snider, and others. In 1961 Post had 20 home runs in only 282 at bats in helping the Reds win the N.L. Pennant. During the 1961 World Series vs. the New
York Yankees, Post batted .333 with 6 hits, including a double and home run. It was his only World Series appearance. Post retired in 1964 with 210 lifetime home runs in only
1204 games. He died in 1982 at the age of 53.
WORDS OF WISDOM - From the Collecting Genius that IS Joe Orlando!
Joe Orlando, PSA's President, jumped into collecting when the hobby was exploding in the 1980's. Hence I think it is very comical that he offers advice on how and what to collect. Just
because some young punk with money jumps into collecting does not make him a self proclaimed "expert." I am going to start posting some Joe Orlando quotes on cards and collecting.
Most will be from PSA's Sports Market Report which is mailed monthly to PSA Collector's Club members.
SMR May 2009, Vol. 177: "Affordable Alternatives in 2009." Joe does a piece on affordable alternatives in this tough economy. Quote: "Let's say you are collecting a run of PSA
NM-MT 8 or better Mickey Mantle cards." Let's stop right there. What collectors do you know that can afford to buy vintage Mickey Mantle cards graded PSA 8 OR BETTER??? I
certainly don't know any and I have been collecting since the 1960's. So exactly what kind of collectors is Joe giving words of wisdom to here? I won't even go to what Joe says is
are affordable alternatives. Irrelevant. I am speaking for the collector who collects cards for the love of collecting and I say the Joe is full of bleep! A REAL collector is one who
finds treasure out of a vintage piece of cardboard, regardless of condition! Who are you talking to Joe? I'd really like to know. How about, instead of "affordable alternatives" to
buying "PSA 8 Mickey Mantle cards," a collector instead purchase lower grade Mantle cards (even PSA)? Just because they are not PSA 8's does not make a card "junk." That's the
way some of these clowns think. Of course they have to much money and time on their hands to begin with. Hey, a 1966 Shelby Cobra is a Cobra whether it is in immaculate
condition or sitting in a barn collecting spiders. Same with a 1968 Topps #280 Mickey Mantle baseball card. It can be a PSA 10 GEM MINT or a PSA 5 EX and the bottom line is they
are still original 1966 Mickey Mantle baseball cards and both are very collectible. PSA is out of touch (in my opinion) to real collectors.
1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle PSA 1 1954 Wilson Franks Gil Hodges PSA 1
Now to me, there looks like a huge difference between the above 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle PSA 1 and 1954 Wilson Franks Gil Hodges PSA 1. Both cards are intact but
how exactly can the Hodges card be put in the same catagory as this Mantle card? PSA talks about "eye appeal," well the 54 Wilson Hodges card above has plenty of that. The
Mantle card as definite "eye-appeal" problems. Ok, so PSA is accurate in grading the Mantle. This is about as poor as an intact card can be and PSA's lowest grade is PSA 1 POOR
(cards that are altered are assigned an "Authentic" only label). To be "frank," the Gil Hodges card is undergraded and should have graded at LEAST PSA 1.5 and could have
possibly even been graded as high as a PSA 3 VG.
|1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle PSA 5 EX?
If this doesn't take the cake, I don't know what will. This 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle was recently listed on eBay (item #120459451299). It was listed as a "1952 TOPPS MICKEY MANTLE
PSA 5 311 REPRODUCTION REPRINT" by the seller. It sold in a one day auction for $1925.00 (August 16, 2009). What's interesting is that PSA has labeled this card as a genuine 1952 Topps #311
Mickey Mantle baseball card. I checked the PSA certification number (04337638) on PSA's website and PSA shows the card to be a real '52 Topps Mantle, graded PSA 5 EX:.
Cert Verification #: 04337638
Card Number: 311
Player: MICKEY MANTLE
Grade: EXCELLENT 5
Now, note what PSA states below the item information: "Data entry errors occasionally may occur causing the information on the card holder to differ from the PSA database. If the information
listed above appears to be incorrect, please contact customer service at 800-325-1121 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org." Oops. Are you telling me PSA is going to make a mistake on a card
worth thousands of dollars? A real 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card is one of the most important baseball cards in the hobby, probably the most sought after card after the T206 Wagner. You
cannot make a mistake in authenticating or grading this card. So either it is a real card, graded EX and worth $15,000 (PSA's Sports Market Report, July 2009), or it is a reprint card worth a few
bucks. Isn't this what PSA is supposed to be about? Authenticating? So if you believe PSA on this one, some buyer on eBay just made a killing buying a PSA 5 52 Topps Mantle for just short of
two grand. Or, if this is indeed a reprint, as the seller claimed, the buyer got ripped off royally by paying $2000 for a reprint worth a few bucks. Unbelievable. It will be interesting to see what the
new seller will do with this card. He could sell it as being a genuine Mantle card (hey if PSA says it is so then it must be!) and make a big profit, or he could be honest like the previous seller and
resell the card as a reprint (who did quite well if this is indeed a reprint), or he could send the card to PSA for re-evaluation. If it comes back a reprint this is going to effectively kill the value of the
card and the buyer will be out $1925 plus whatever fees PSA charges for resubmitting cards (PSA should do this for free on this card) so it is pretty unlikely that is going to happen. This would be
very embarrassing for PSA. Now I am not saying the card is a fake. It could be real as PSA has graded and slabbed it. But I wouldn't put it past PSA to make a mistake either. What would you
1960 Topps #400 Rocky Colavito PSA 7 NM (Where is the OC qualifier???)
1933 Goudey Sport Kings #17 Jack Dempsey 1961 Topps #300 Mickey Mantle
I am not going to argue about the grade PSA assigned on these two cards. Maybe they are a PSA 1, maybe not. But in conclusion, who cares? It can be a PSA 1, PSA 4.5, or a PSA 7
and it's still a great card. And that is what collector's have lost sight of. It's not about obtaining the highest graded example on planet earth. WHO CARES!!! I certainly don't. The
guys who care are the guys who have the big bucks and they have to show the world that they have "the best of the best." Those same guys are probably overdosing on Viagra
to compensate for something or another. Well they can spend like there is no tomorrow but the bottom line is that collecting cards is supposed to be fun and about your
childhood heroes, not about the latest PSA 10 GEM MINT graded card that sold for bijillions of dollars in auction. So enjoy your cards, because when it is your time to go, you
can't take your cards with you (or your penis).
Remember, "The cornerstone of your collection is not PSA, Becketts, SGC, GAI, or whoever. The cornerstone of your collection is the cards themselves."
This card is off center about 80-20 side to side and top to bottom, yet PSA gave this particular card no qualifier. Which means if you buy this card at PSA's SMR value ($30 in a
PSA 7, January 2010 Sports Market Report), what you are actually paying for is a card that is really in EX condition (a PSA 5 lists for $12). SGC would certainly have given this
an EX grade because of the centering. So in other words, because you are taking "God's Word" on it (PSA) you are going to be paying $30 for a card that is worth $12. Does that
sound right to you? It doesn't to me.
1958 Topps #1 Ted Williams PSA 5 EX 1969 Topps #533 Nolan Ryan
Now on the grand scheme of things, this is not a big deal but kind of, it is. I mean how do you mess up the label on these cards? Every collector knows this is a 1958 Topps Ted
Williams (above left). Yet PSA labeled this as a "1954" Topps Ted Williams and it is listed on PSA's website under this certificate number as being a "1954" Topps #1 Ted
Williams. Wrong, wrong, WRONG. Where is the quality control at PSA? Is someone checking these as they are packed and sent away? Obviously someone was taking a nap on
this one. The PSA label for this 1969 Topps #533 Nolan Ryan card (above right) is even further screwed up. The label is for a "1956 Topps #164 Roberto Clemente card." Even
worse, the eBay seller for this card is asking an absurd $399 for it because of the PSA error. The card IS a 1969 Topps #533 Nolan Ryan probably in EX condition and it lists
in PSA's Sports Market Report for $100 in a PSA 5 EX holder. So why would you attach a premium because of a PSA labeling error? Does this attach extra value to the card?
No, of course not. Like the saying goes, "it is what it is..."
1965 Topps Football #122 Joe Namath (Rookie) Close up (upper right corner area)
This is just terrible grading. First we have a very expensive card, a Joe Namath rookie card and in any condition it's a great card. However PSA is supposed to be the BEST grading
service in the "industry," according to them. Check out the corner creasing near the top right corner. PSA chose to ignore it or didn't see it and gave the card a PSA 5 EX grade.
NO card with creases should ever be graded "Excellent" (or "EX"). Usually light creasing will bring at best a PSA 4 VG-EX grade (depending on severity and other factors), medium or
heavy creasing will bring an even lower grade. PSA really fumbled this one. What is a shame is someone is going to buy this card and pay a few hundred dollars for it, taking PSA's
WORD that this card is in EX condition and in reality, the card is at best VG-EX (PSA 4), maybe even VG+ (PSA 3.5). This means the buyer will probably overpay for this card. You
have to give the seller of this card credit; he posted the close up picture so the buyer would know about the creasing. An honest seller. This card is currently on eBay (January
OK, saw this one on eBay recently. A 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle graded by PSA as "VG 3." Note the huge stain on the upper right side of the card. This is NOT a wax stain folks. Looks like a
water or coffee stain to me. Also note that PSA chose not to give this card a stain qualifier (ST). A reflection of a ceiling fan is seen on the card (I did not take this picture) but that is not on the actual
card. The stain is. No way this card should have received a VG 3 grade without the (ST) qualifier. Now here is the ethical dilemma. If you were the owner of this card would you resubmit this card to
PSA for re-grading? If you were, chances are very, very high that your 52 Topps Mantle will come back with a lower grade or with the "Kiss of Death" qualifier. With a high dollar card like a 52
Topps Mantle, that is like taking money out of the bank and lighting it on fire. So don't expect this card to ever be popped out of the holder. It's going to stay a PSA 3 VG even though it's clearly not.
Post Script: Note the PSA certification number (09095047) for the above 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA 3. So today I am looking on eBay and wouldn't you know I see the same card again for
sale. I did some cross checking and the card was recently sold (eBay, Sept. 29, 2010) for $6200.00 plus shipping. To that seller's credit, he mentioned the stain. The asking price by the new seller?
$9950.00 or "Best Offer." Hell of a mark up don't you think? No mention of the stain and the seller states that the card is "priced to sell." What a world.
1948-49 Leaf #76 Ted Williams SGC (mislabeled)
Ok, ok. So PSA does not really suck, but I do not think they are God's gift to the "industry" either. The fact remains that most collectors perceive that PSA is the ultimate top dog among the
grading services and are willing to pay or buy at slightly higher prices than other reputable graders like BGS, BVG, and SGC. So I feel PSA is a good service, but certainly not the best. My
personal favorite is SGC. They are very consistent and are conservative with the grades they assign. In other words they usually do not "overgrade" cards. I do not see many SGC mistakes out
there. So imagine my surprise when I saw this mislabeled 1948-49 #76 Ted Williams graded by SGC (SGC 60 EX). I was startled. So to be fair I am going to post this photo to show that everyone
makes mistakes. No one is perfect, myself included so things happen. But I still think SGC is the best grading service out there. The best thing I like about SGC is their consistency. Second is the
holders which have black custom fit inserts to secure and highlight the card (PSA has generic holders for each type of card). Third is the NO membership fees. With SGC, you pay for your cards to
be authenticated and graded and that's it. PSA has yearly membership dues (currently $ for "Gold Membership," and $ for a 2-year "Platinum Membership") which does include "free"
submissions, a subscription to the monthly "Sports Market Report" (PSA's price guide and magazine), and usually a hobby related book written by Joe Orlando. Fourth is the customer service. I
once sent in a submission to SGC and did not include enough money. It wasn't a lot but they went ahead and processed the order anyway. PSA would have held it up until they got the couple of
bucks. So in closing, if you want a McDonald's hamburger and you think they are best, go for it. Personally, I get ill every time I eat there, which if few and far between. Some people like SPAM
too. Different strokes for different folks. Get the picture?
1968 Atlantic Oil 7NL Roger Maris (Autographed on back) (Front of card)
Hee hee, another goof by PSA. Ok this is a Roger Maris card and it is autographed and PSA/DNA certified. Check. However the card is not a "1962 Roger Maris Action Baseball
Game" card as labeled. The card is actually a 1968 Atlantic Oil Roger Maris card. How can I tell? Looking at the card front (which is actually on the back of the PSA holder; see
above right) Maris is clearly identified as being a member of the St. Louis Cardinals, where he played from 1967 to 1968. The back of the card (above left) has an "Atlantic" logo
above the pitcher. I am pretty familiar with cards, especially Roger Maris cards, so it was very obvious to me what card this was. The 1962 Roger Maris Action Baseball Game was
a board game that included smaller sized black and white cards that featured Maris in a batting pose on one side of the card.
1962 Topps #1 Roger Maris PSA 1 POOR (Back view)
OK, this may be the nicest "POOR" condition baseball card on the planet earth. To PSA's credit, this card may very well be a low grade card. The card could have a pinhole,
though I don't see one in the scan, nor did the eBay seller in the item description. But a PSA 1? This is a "newer" submission with PSA's half grade system; are you telling me
this card couldn't have gotten at least a PSA 1.5 PR/FR (Poor/Fair) or PSA 2 Good? And that is assuming there is a pinhole. Judging by the scan, this card appears at least EX
(PSA 5), even higher if not for the centering. Was this a PSA typo? Possibly. Either way, this card is certainly better than the other PSA 1 examples on this page. If I owned
this card, I would take the card out of the holder and resubmit the card to SGC (Sportscard Guarantee Company). Why? Well if PSA goofed this up, why would I send it back to
them? I'd rather get it right the first time. I've never had a problem with SGC, though they tend to me more conservative than other "reputable" grading services (though I
certainly don't think SGC is going to under grade this card any further than what it is). I guess you could send the card back to PSA if you are a die-hard PSA fan, but I
True story. I have this 1948 Leaf #79 Jackie Robinson PSA 2 Good rookie card (above). I sold it on eBay for $587. I send it to the buyer via insured mail. So the buyer gets it and says that the PSA case
is cracked on both sides and that he wants his money back. He doesn't say anything about the actual CARD. In fact I get two emails from him crying about the PSA case being cracked and that I didn't
mention this (there were no cracks in the case as you can see from the pictures above) and so he wants a refund. No mention about the CARD itself. First, I don't have to give him a refund. I clearly
state in the item description that there are NO REFUNDS for graded cards. This is because you are already buying a professionally graded card. PSA is supposed to take the guess work out of
everything. Right? Well I finally get the word that the card is not damaged but this turkey wants his money back. To make a long story short I tell the guy he is a PUSS and I will refund his money.
Why did I do this? Because I know it is not about the PSA plastic case that PSA probably had made in CHINA for about 2 cents. IT'S NOT ABOUT PSA, SGC, or BECKETTS! It's about the CARDS! This is
one of the most important baseball cards in the hobby. I know that this was graded before PSA had the 1/2 point grading scale so I know if I resubmit this card I am going to get at least a PSA 3 VG,
maybe even 3.5 VG+. So that is an upgrade for me. Sure it will cost me money to send the card to PSA, pay for the regrade, and return shipping which the PUSS was moaning about. But I know in the
long run it will be worth it. So send me the card back you crying baby cakes. I will gladly take it back and give you your refund. And I sent the card insured, which means I will be having the USPS
pay for my PSA shipping and grading fees. They cracked the case, they can pay for it. So out of all of this I am getting the card back, it will probably get upgraded and I won't have to pay another
dime. And the wuss-cakes still thinks it is all about the lousy PSA case. Lord have mercy...
Postscript 10-24-11. Ok, to make a long story short, I got the card back, refunded the buyer his money back. The USPS denies my claim saying the there was no evidence of damage on the package.
So what exactly are we getting by paying for insurance? I guess I am going to have to do a USPS SUCKS PAGE! as well. Anyway, I took this card with the cracked case, sent it back to PSA for
reholdering and guess what? I sold it for $650, which is $63 more than I got from jackass! So haha! HAHA! (Marlon Brando in "A Streetcar Named Desire").
1948 Leaf Gum #79 Jackie Robinson (Rookie card) (Back view)
1965 Topps #350 Mickey Mantle PSA 1 PR???
Here is another card I saw on eBay, a 1965 Topps #350 Mickey Mantle PSA 1 PR. Does this look like the WORST condition card you would find? Even if there was
a pinhole or a tiny spot of paper missing (which I couldn't see) don't you think the card could at least make PSA 1.5 or even a 2? Which brings us to the
everlasting, never-ending question, "what is this card worth?" There are no set price guidelines for cards in "Poor" condition. A card is "worth" whatever someone
is willing to pay for it. I imagine this card sold for more than what a normal 1965 Topps Mickey Mantle (PSA 1 PR) card would sell for.
Jimmy Piersall says...