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jchcollins 05-22-2018 01:47 PM

Mid-Grade Collectors
Hi all,

I would be interested in hearing from any of you that collect 1950's and 60's cards - particularly stars and HOF'ers...who have made a conscious decision to collect mid- or lower grade cards over the higher-end PSA stuff - and why. Any nuances to what changed your mind, what types of grades you go for today - what attributes of condition bother you (corners, creases, centering...) and maybe which you have found anymore do not and is that surprising?

I've always been more or less in a "lesser" range myself (I think a PSA 6 is a very nice vintage card, a 3 from the 50's is probably going to be acceptable) due to the desire to stick within a reasonable budget, plus that's what I grew up collecting as a kid in the 80's before the advent of third party graders - and honestly for much of that time I simply didn't know any better. The vast majority of vintage cards in shops in the 80's and early 90's were not NM cards.

Thoughts? Thanks.

jason.1969 05-22-2018 02:13 PM

Maybe too easy an answer but I collect raw in the VG range since it offers a nice compromise between cost and visual appeal.

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commishbob 05-22-2018 03:20 PM

I'm pretty much in agreement with Jason. I build sets (58 to 62+70) to put in binders so raw is fine. I target VG or better. Actually, my prefered grade is LG or Looks Good. If I'm happy with how the card looks in its page and I paid a price I'm OK with then I'm satisfied. Creases will put a card in the 'upgrade needed' list before any other flaw. I have no problem with off-centered cards and I have quite a few with stray marks on the reverse.

I'd guess that except for my '62 set the overall grade on those I've collected would be close to EX. There are a few exceptions due to cost (my '58 Williams is F at best) or sentimental value ('59 Gibson survived from my youth, it's in poor condition). The '62 Topps set has proved to be a challenge to build in decent shape. I suspect that when I'm done it will be no better than F-G overall.

I worked hard building them and love these sets too much to ever sell them so future value isn't a concern. I just want to be able to flip thru the binder and rekindle memories of being a kid.

Rickyy 05-22-2018 03:32 PM

My raw 1970 - 1979 Topps sets in binders are mostly VG-EX+ probably if they are graded...but I like them that way.

My type card collections are mostly slabbed. avg no more than PSA 3 or 4 on the avg (some nicer others lower). It's cheaper and allows me to buy more for my collection without breaking the bank.

Ricky Y

jchcollins 05-22-2018 04:11 PM

Thanks guys. Glad to know I'm not the only one. I belong to a PSA group on Facebook, where there are routinely ridiculously high grade, PSA 8 and above vintage cards posted. I feel pretty down to earth when looking at that.

nat 05-22-2018 04:47 PM

I (usually) draw the line at intentional damage. Tape residue, trimmed borders, moustaches drawn on players, that sort of thing. Honest wear doesn't bother me.

Hxcmilkshake 05-22-2018 05:39 PM

I collect the mid grade. VG and up, Crease free if possible. Then centering. But Im a cheapskate so if its dirt cheap I ll consider those too. I stay away from writing, tape, and paper loss. But if I ever venture back to prewar ill consider those too.

I have found a couple nice VG PSA 3 that have strong eye appeal that I bought and busted out of the insipid holder. Those have been my best buys.

A guy on here sold a Mantle 52 PSA 1 that I dreamt about for 3 days it looked that nice, so yeah like others have stated eye appeal is everything.

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Exhibitman 05-22-2018 06:02 PM

Lemme see, I can have one card in a PSA 8 case or a lower grade version of that card plus a whole buncha other cards too. I prefer the latter. I also remember the cards from the 1960s and earlier in lower grades, so they don't look right to me when they are crisp and clean.

jchcollins 05-22-2018 06:15 PM


Originally Posted by Exhibitman (Post 1779430)
Lemme see, I can have one card in a PSA 8 case or a lower grade version of that card plus a whole buncha other cards too. I prefer the latter. I also remember the cards from the 1960s and earlier in lower grades, so they don't look right to me when they are crisp and clean.

Adam, I recently found and enjoyed a thread you had commented on about O/C cards and graded O/C cards. Gave me some good perspective in collecting particularly issues like ‘67 and ‘70 Topps baseball, where a collection focused on better centering is clearly going to be a real bear even if you can afford it. Centering was not so much an aspect of “pack fresh” that was important when I collected as a kid, so not sure how it became that way now suddenly when I’m in my 40’s. I don’t like miscut cards, but will agree with you there is some tolerable room with centering to still get nice cards (and at bargains) and not be quite so anal...


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jason.1969 05-22-2018 06:43 PM

Was just browsing on the Bay. For $500 the PSA 9 collector gets a 1973 Willie Mays. And I end up with...

1. Same card in decent shape.
2. 1957 Ted Williams
3. 1955 Hank Aaron
4. 1956 Bob Feller
5. 1953 Stan Musial
6. 1956 Roberto Clemente

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