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.