Q&A: What Is A PSA Qualifier?

Question: Could you please tell me what a PSA qualifier is?  I see a lot of PSA graded cards with strange designations on them – OC, ST, PD, etc…

Answer: In short, a PSA qualifier allows for a card to receive a higher grade while having one major defect.  PSA qualifier designations include OC (Off-center), ST (stain), PD (Print Defect), OF (Out of Focus), and MK (Marks).  According to PSA “A “qualified” card is a card that meets all the criteria for a particular grade, but fails the standard in one area.”

For example, take a look at this Mickey Mantle 1961 Topps #300 graded by PSA a Mint 9 with an OC qualifier.  Other than being off-center its in really nice condition.  Without the qualifier it would probably be graded a 5.  As far as value goes, a normal PSA Mint 9 will always be better than that same card graded by PSA with a Mint 9 qualifier.  The qualifiers just allow people to own lower-quality cards while being able to retain that higher grade.

While we’re on the subject of graded cards I think its important to remind you of some things.  Grading in it’s current form is a complete sham.  Card grading has been corrupt since it all began with the world famous 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner graded by PSA a NM-MT 8.  Certain people have been outed as receiving higher grades on their cards just because they have friends at the grading companies.  Better grades have been given due to the volume of grading individuals do as well.  Cards that are counterfeit, altered, and doctored have made it through the grading process just because they know how much publicity and/or money that high graded card will receive.  Its a total joke.  Grading companies, cosigners, card doctors, and trimmers are all in bed together.

Despite so much proof of all of this wrongdoing, very few people care.  PSA continues to have record profits.  As long as people are willing to spend large amounts of money on high-graded cards nothing is going to change.  They will all continue to look the other way because its a ride that nobody wants to get off.

Its difficult to look at a card like this and not wonder what might have been done to it in order to obtain that grade.

PSA “Loses” Customer’s Connor McDavid 2017 Upper Deck Buyback Autograph

The hobby media has been beating up grading companies recently, and for good reasons.  Whether its guaranteed grades based on your volume submission, to looking the other way when it comes to altered cards.  It hasn’t been a good year for graders.  Just check out all the garbage that’s been going on.  And the hole just keeps getting deeper.

I woke up this morning to see a tweet on Twitter from a Dave Guido.  In it, he talks about how a friend of his recently submitted a Connor McDavid 2017 Upper Deck Buyback Autograph to PSA for grading.  On June 19, 2019 this e-mail began to fly around:

That’s correct.  PSA openly admits to losing the card.  They offered a $499 credit on the account or a check for the same amount.  If you’re wondering why the declared value was only $499, its so his friend could take advantage of a specific grading pricing structure.  There is no excuse for losing that card.  Did they even lose it at all?  That card is worth well over $499.  For all we know PSA saw an opening to basically buy a card for $499 while fully aware that they could sell it for a lot more.  I’d like to see this footage they’re talking about.  Unfortunately, that footage will probably never see the light of day.  It’ll get locked up with the Bigfoot, UFO, Elvis, and JFK tapes.

FYI – I wouldn’t deal with any grading companies today.  If you have to, I’d suggest declaring the card’s actual value just in case they decide to pull something like this.

PSA To Offer “Cards That Never Were” To Collectors Club Members During The National

For those collectors who like getting cards graded a lot, PSA and Historic Autograph Company have teamed-up to bring you an interesting promotion this year for the National Sports Collectors Convention.  According to PSA, “The first 500 visitors to the PSA booth who sign up for a Gold or Platinum level PSA Collectors Club membership or who renew their membership at the show will receive fantasy Diamond Stars-inspired cards.  Gold Level memberships receive one randomly-selected card, and Platinum memberships receive the complete five-card set.”  The set features two different Babe Ruth cards, Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, and Bob Feller.  None of these players were included in the original Diamond Stars set which debuted back in the 1930’s.  Each card comes encased in a PSA holder.  The cards are printed by Historic Autograph Company, and the artwork was done by Arthur K. Miller.  Miller isn’t a stranger when it comes to designing fantasy cards as he was the artist who designed the Babe Ruth Cracker Jack card for last year’s National.

Be sure to stop by the PSA booth to see Miller’s original artwork that was used to make these cards.  Also on display will be an original set of 1934-36 Diamond Stars cards from the Charles M. Merkel collection.  Its the best example of a Diamond Stars set known to exist and was inducted into the PSA Set Registry Hall Of Fame in 2013.
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PSA To Display $2 Million Cracker Jack Collection At The NSCC

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You know me.  I’m up for any type of promo.  If you’re planning to attend the National Sports Collectors Convention you might want to take a break from everything and stop by the PSA booth.  They will have on display two of the finest known 1914 and 1915 Cracker Jack sets with a combined value of $2 million.  This is to celebrate the upcoming 100th anniversary of the first round of Cracker Jack cards ever produced.  Along with the beautiful display of cards, copies of the new book The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball’s Prized Players will be available free to those attendees at the show that sign up for the PSA Collectors Club or renew their current membership.  Also on display will be a specially-commissioned painting by renowned sports artist Arthur K. Miller that depicts how a 1915 Babe Ruth Cracker Jack card might have looked.  Babe Ruth was not included in the original 1915 Cracker Jack set.  In addition to the free copy of the Cracker Jack book, the first 500 visitors who sign up for a PSA Collectors Club membership or who renew their membership at the show will receive a free, limited edition fantasy card of Miller’s 1915 Ruth Cracker Jack image.  The cards were specially produced by Memory Lane, Inc. and are housed in PSA holders with consecutively-numbered labels, 1 to 500.  For more information about PSA’s discounts and on-site grading during the National, please visit psacard.com.

Razor’s Legends of the Diamond

Right now there is a product on the market that I wouldn’t touch with a 10 ft pole.  That product is Razor’s new 2010 Legends of the Diamond.  Each box contains (1) pre-1970 card graded by PSA a 7 or higher or (1) pre-1970 card that is autographed and authenticated by PSA.  I think the concept for the product is great, but the price tag is a little too much for me ($240.00 a box).  Unless you read the forums, its going to be hard to see what has been pulled from this product because nowhere on the PSA holders does it state Razor’s actual name.  For those collectors that enjoy hit or miss products, this one is for you.  Out of all the breaks I’ve seen, probably my favorite card pulled has been the Ted Williams 1950 Bowman PSA 7.  The one card people are looking for is the Mickey Mantle signed 1952 Topps #311.  I have a feeling when that card is pulled, you’ll see a decrease in this product’s price.  The only problem is that you’d have to match up the PSA serial numbers to see if its the actual one from Razor.  I’m sure there are a few collectors that have a PSA slabbed autographed Mantle from that set.  Perhaps after the price comes down I’ll give it a shot.

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PSA Look Alikes

There are a ton of low-end grading companies within the industry.  Rarely do they ever give a card less than a 10 grade.  This evening I came across this seller who has a bunch of these Gem Mint 10 rookie cards up for sale.  At first glance I thought they were graded by PSA, but looking closer the holders don’t mention PSA at all.  Most of the time cards graded by these low-end companies don’t sell well, but thats not the case with these holders.  The strip at the top looks very close to what PSA would use and collectors aren’t seeing this.  Take a look:

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PSA look alike

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Authentic PSA holder

I have a feeling you can report this seller all you want, but eBay won’t be closing them down.  They don’t mention PSA, but people think it is PSA because of the colors and layout of the holder.  This person has found a huge loophole and is try to make as much money as they can.

New Old Judge Pose Found

One of the ways I obtain topics to blog about comes from browsing various forums reading what collectors are talking about.  Last night over at the Collector’s Universe forum I saw a collector showing off a new addition to their personal collection.  A few months ago they came across an Old Judge  collection and purchased this card of Joe Miller.  After making the purchase, they discovered it was a new pose that had never been seen before.  When sending it in for grading, PSA even wanted the owner’s approval for the pose description.

I’m glad to see these discoveries still happening after all these years.  I don’t collect a lot of vintage cards, but I’d love to add an Old Judge tobacco card to my collection someday.  I’ve seen a bunch at card shows over the years, but they were either way out of my price range or were trimmed.

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Registry Magic

There is no doubt about it that 1986 Topps baseball falls within the years of overproduced products.  Most of the cards from this set are barely worth anything and can be picked up for a few cents per card online.  In the hobby, there always seems to be an acception, and here it is.  This Nolan Ryan 1986 Topps #100 can be picked up raw for $0.99 on eBay, but grade in a Gem Mint 10 and place it in a slabbed holder and the result is this.  According to the PSA Set Registry there are only 8 graded this high which makes it a “must have” for the many Ryan collectors.  Its not often you see a card from ’86 Topps sell for this much. 

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Card of the Day: 1909-11 T206 Honus Wagner PSA 8

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Fake 1952 Bowman Mickey Mantle PSA 9

Today, Sports Cards Uncensored reported about a fake Mickey Mantle 1952 Bowman PSA Mint 9 that has been popping-up on eBay.  It looks as if somone has learned how to counterfeit the PSA lable and holder.  Getting a card from that era graded a Mint 9 is so hard, you really just have to stop and think.  If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.  Its almost getting to the point that the only way you know a vintage card like this is real, is if you find one in a trunk locked away in your grandma’s attic.

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