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Go Back Forums > Net54baseball Main Forum - WWII & Older Baseball Cards > Net54baseball Vintage (WWII & Older) Baseball Cards & New Member Introductions

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Old 01-12-2019, 07:15 AM
Bram99 Bram99 is offline
Tony S.tins.a
Tony Stins.a
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Elmhurst, IL
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Default Mid Grade raw vs. graded prices

Sorry in advance for the long post/question.

I have been set building in the 1950's cards for years and there seems to be a phenomenon taking over that I wonder if anyone else sees, and also what the market psychology is behind it.

I see a trend with vintage commons where the raw mid-grade (VgEx, Ex, etc.) card, self-graded by a high volume, high feedback seller and listed on eBay will frequently fetch a much stronger price than the same card actually graded by a top tier third-party grader (TPG).

Conventional wisdom would be that the TPG grade provides some measure of value - the protective holder, the removal of the risk that the card is fake or altered, the confirmation of the grade (I know the TPG's are extremely fallable - I've read many posts about this).

But if there is some intrinsic value to the TPG service, and of course there is a cost as well, then why would it be that many collectors will pay more for an ungraded version of the same mid-grade vintage common than they will for the graded version? It seems that for 1950's/1960's commons at least, there is an "anti-premium" for a card graded by a TPG in a mid-grade.

Your opinions are welcome as to why.
1. Could it be that this is just a "value buyer" opportunity created by the high volume dealers who submit things to the TPG's hoping for a 7,8,9 and if the card comes back in more of a 4/5/6, they just dump the card for the cost of grading?

2. Could it be that the collector prefers a raw, nice-looking ungraded version of a card that looks perfectly fine to many, rather than a graded version that confirms it is only a 4 or 5 out of 10?

3. Could it be that set builders don't want a binder full of raw cards mixed with a few 4's?

4. Could it be that there are a lot of people who start a PSA set registry and buy cards, then along the way they upgrade and have to dump the lower-graded card?

Many of these graded commons I have looked at will sell for around the price of the shipping and grading for a TPG. But big sellers in the BIN format like Dean's Cards, or the sellers in the auction format like Greg Morris will sell the same grade raw card in successful actual transactions at 2 to 3 times the average Vintage Card Prices (VCP) or average Auction Price Realized (APR) of the graded card.

1952T 180 Maxwell in raw VGEx sold for $115. APR for a PSA graded one is about $59, with many transactions below that figure. SMR would be about $25. So about 2X the graded market for a raw card.

1952T 186 Masterson in raw Ex sold for $49. APR and SMR of $15 for a PSA5 graded, many transactions in that range. So about 3X the graded market for a raw card.

It seems like Dean's Cards approach to pricing is to look up at what the graded VCP or Average price realized for the card, and attach a 2 to 3 times multiplier to it. But they have some success in doing it with close to 1k transactions a month, and there's nothing they are doing that is illegal, immoral, etc.

I know it is not unique for a seller to "put a line in the water" with an high BIN format listing and see what happens. No cost to do it other than time to manage the listing. But GMCards is having similar success in their auction formats as well.

I would like to hear opinions on whether you see this trend and if so what is the main reason you think it happens.

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Old 01-12-2019, 07:28 AM
swarmee's Avatar
swarmee swarmee is offline
J0hn Raff3rty
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Niceville FL
Posts: 4,008

Already having this discussion in the post-war board:
PWCC: The Fish Stinks From the Head
PSA: Regularly Get Cheated
BGS: Can't detect trimming on modern
SGC: Closed auto authentication business
JSA: Approved same T206 Autos before SGC
Oh, what a difference a year makes.
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Old 01-12-2019, 07:47 AM
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Leon Leon is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: near Dallas
Posts: 27,457

It is probably a combination of a lot of things. One would be buying a card hoping it grades better than it really is.
Leon Luckey
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Old 01-12-2019, 09:39 AM
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Rhotchkiss Rhotchkiss is offline
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I don’t buy ungraded cards online. I think you are playing with fire if you do.

Last edited by Rhotchkiss; 01-12-2019 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 01-12-2019, 10:10 AM
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frankbmd frankbmd is offline
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Originally Posted by Rhotchkiss View Post
I don’t but ungraded cards online. I think you are playing with fire if you do.
I’m selling some fire. My listings are HOT.

I agree with the OP that the value (authenticity and protection the slab affords) is not realized in the sale of mid grade cards.

I do not however find that raw cards in the same condition sell for a premium.

Buy a $10 card and have it graded for $10 makes it a $10 card in my experience.

Another factor is the reduced cost of shipping an ungraded card.

Add $3.50 to the deliver cost of your graded $10 card and you’re into for $23.50 and it is still worth $10 to the buyer. Having the card graded does not seem to be a profitable business model.

For lower valued cards that are slabbed, I have been offering “a free crack” (Is that illegal?) to buyers to reduce shipping cost, whether it is built into my price or an add on.

Non-registry set collectors by and large do not want 600 or more slabs in their sets.


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Old 01-12-2019, 11:09 AM
Bram99 Bram99 is offline
Tony S.tins.a
Tony Stins.a
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Default yes, thanks

Originally Posted by swarmee View Post
Already having this discussion in the post-war board:
Thanks. This post covers a lot of the similar ground. It started with a discussion about a NM raw and graded PSA 8, but many of the responses hit on these themes, thank you.
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