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  #1  
Old 12-07-2018, 11:15 PM
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Default Buy the card, not the grade - stories

I won't post a pic of it again, because there are already two on here in the Mantle thread and in December Pickups - but I just bought a '62 Mantle PSA 5 that I swear is nicer than the last two or three 6's that I went looking for in eBay sold items.

In looking at several other recent purchases, I found a '61 Berra and a '67 Mays - that are - well, also damn nice for the grade in comparision to other comps when I went out looking just because I was curious.

I know the saying has been around for awhile, but I'm starting to really put more credence into it. Anyone else have other "Buy the card, not the grade" stories worth sharing?

PS - my already shaky opinion on PSA consistency may have taken another hit tonight...
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  #2  
Old 12-08-2018, 12:21 AM
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I purchased these 3 cards 2 years ago and played a guess the grade game.

All who replied chose the Smalley as the highest grade, as they should have, but he was the lowest of the 3 graded. Personally, I don't have a lot of faith in PSA as they are inconsistent and there has been far too many other stories on here about their grading. The washed out Dimaggio comes to mind, let alone the Wagner.
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File Type: jpg Roy Smalley PSA 4.jpg (79.6 KB, 651 views)
File Type: jpg Charlie Silvera PSA 4.5.jpg (80.5 KB, 641 views)
File Type: jpg Frank Shea PSA 5.5.jpg (78.8 KB, 645 views)

Last edited by irv; 12-08-2018 at 12:23 AM.
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  #3  
Old 12-08-2018, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by irv View Post
All who replied chose the Smalley as the highest grade, as they should have, but he was the lowest of the 3 graded.
Wow. That Smalley has 6 or 7 corners. Yeah, I agree - just too many examples even recently where it's like what? In '60s and '70s cards, I have a few 5's that look better than some of my other 6's, and at least one 6 that probably could have been a 7. I understand that at least in some cases, technicalities can be resonsible for a card that looks better getting the lesser grade, but I also have slabs where that does not appear to be the case and I'm stumped.
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Old 12-08-2018, 07:52 AM
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Just picked up this Mays which I think looks a lot better than the grade...




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  #5  
Old 12-08-2018, 09:03 AM
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Just picked up this Mays which I think looks a lot better than the grade...




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Indeed. Not sure what earned that a 5, but it wasnt the corners...heres another Willie that fits into that category:




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  #6  
Old 12-08-2018, 11:10 AM
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Wow! That 54 Mays is sweet. Nice pick up!!
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Old 12-08-2018, 03:07 PM
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Speaking of the Say Hey Kid, I grabbed this Mays donning my favorite uniform (qualifier be damned!!) a while back at a substantial discount. Nothing but a hair O/C...

1973mays305.jpg
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Old 12-08-2018, 05:37 PM
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Sweet card...one of my favorite Mays cards!!!


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  #9  
Old 12-08-2018, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by jchcollins View Post
Wow. That Smalley has 6 or 7 corners. Yeah, I agree - just too many examples even recently where it's like what? In '60s and '70s cards, I have a few 5's that look better than some of my other 6's, and at least one 6 that probably could have been a 7. I understand that at least in some cases, technicalities can be resonsible for a card that looks better getting the lesser grade, but I also have slabs where that does not appear to be the case and I'm stumped.
When I joined the site back in 2016, I asked a lot of questions about grading and what some of my cards would grade out as. One member told me to do it myself, learn, look, read, quit asking questions, and get at it, to which I did.
I thought I was getting there and thought I had a pretty good idea/understanding but then I started noticing cards/grades, anomalies, threads and pics here and elsewhere, and all was thrown out the window! The inconsistencies I seen/noted, like the 3 cards I posted above, made it almost impossible for me to even considered myself an amateur grader!

Needless to say I gave up on PSA and I no longer consider them as a possible TPA if and when I choose to get my cards graded.

I found SGC far more consistent, and also a tad meaner, if you will, with their grading standards, but now, reading how many forged sigs slipped past them, I think I am now done considering getting any of them to grade/encapsulate my cards.

Last edited by irv; 12-08-2018 at 06:11 PM.
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  #10  
Old 12-08-2018, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by irv View Post
When I joined the site back in 2016, I asked a lot of questions about grading and what some of my cards would grade out as. One member told me to do it myself, learn, look, read, quit asking questions, and get at it, to which I did.
I thought I was getting there and thought I had a pretty good idea/understanding but then I started noticing cards/grades, anomalies, threads and pics here and elsewhere, and all was thrown out the window! The inconsistencies I seen/noted, like the 3 cards I posted above, made it almost impossible for me to even considered myself an amateur grader!

Needless to say I gave up on PSA and I no longer consider them as a possible TPA if and when I choose to get my cards graded.

I found SGC far more consistent, and also a tad meaner, if you will, with their grading standards, but now, reading how many forged sigs slipped past them, I think I am now done considering getting any of them to grade/encapsulate my cards.
Grading in theory is nice. In reality, the "expertise" has proven to be fraudulent, far too many times. Learn how to grade yourself, as we did as kids in the 1980's; it's worth it. It's tougher today buying sight-unseen, but still possible to maintain some of your own personal accuracy over the long run if you learn what to look for. I'm not saying to buy raw cards only necessarily, but I'm starting to realize with decent scans, I can tell the difference between high end for the grade, and mediocre slabbed material.
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Last edited by jchcollins; 12-08-2018 at 11:02 PM.
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  #11  
Old 12-08-2018, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by JollyElm View Post
Speaking of the Say Hey Kid, I grabbed this Mays donning my favorite uniform (qualifier be damned!!) a while back at a substantial discount. Nothing but a hair O/C...

Attachment 336735
IMHO, qualifiers on high grade (> PSA 7) vintage cards are a bargain for the most part if you are looking to add a decent card to your collection and not just to flip it for $$.

Cards on the upper end can retain a lot of eye appeal and still be slightly OC, but the centering standards get a lot tougher in that territory. If a card has super sharp corners but got an 8 (OC) because it was 70/30 one way...is that really a deal breaker if the discount is steep enough? The same card could be a nice 6 or potentially even a 7 and would still be considered sharp. I guess with the OC qualifier in particular, it depends on your tolerances. I'm not a centering freak, but would agree beyond a certain point bad centering starts to destroy eye appeal. I'd rather have a centered 5 over an 8 (OC) that was 85/15. But I collect mostly PSA 5 and 6 range cards for "nice" vintage, so again at times centering is not a chief concern if it's 70/30 or better. I digress...at a high level I don't mind OC cards, but I dislike egregiously OC cards. Does that make sense?

Nice '73 Mays...
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Last edited by jchcollins; 12-08-2018 at 10:46 PM.
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  #12  
Old 12-09-2018, 02:33 AM
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Originally Posted by jchcollins View Post
IMHO, qualifiers on high grade (> PSA 7) vintage cards are a bargain for the most part if you are looking to add a decent card to your collection and not just to flip it for $$.

Cards on the upper end can retain a lot of eye appeal and still be slightly OC, but the centering standards get a lot tougher in that territory. If a card has super sharp corners but got an 8 (OC) because it was 70/30 one way...is that really a deal breaker if the discount is steep enough? The same card could be a nice 6 or potentially even a 7 and would still be considered sharp. I guess with the OC qualifier in particular, it depends on your tolerances. I'm not a centering freak, but would agree beyond a certain point bad centering starts to destroy eye appeal. I'd rather have a centered 5 over an 8 (OC) that was 85/15. But I collect mostly PSA 5 and 6 range cards for "nice" vintage, so again at times centering is not a chief concern if it's 70/30 or better. I digress...at a high level I don't mind OC cards, but I dislike egregiously OC cards. Does that make sense?

Nice '73 Mays...
It sure does, and many of us are the same way. If a card is just a bit off-center (but gets a qualifier due to the official grading parameters), I'll happily buy it for a fraction of the price of a straight grade and be psyched I got it, because it still looks beautiful. There are a couple of exceptions (Mantle and whatnot), but when an O/C card just looks woefully and painfully unbalanced, on the other hand, I won't go anywhere near it even at a huge discount. Just hurts my eyes too much to look at it.
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  #13  
Old 12-09-2018, 09:22 AM
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Grading in theory is nice. In reality, the "expertise" has proven to be fraudulent, far too many times. Learn how to grade yourself, as we did as kids in the 1980's; it's worth it. It's tougher today buying sight-unseen, but still possible to maintain some of your own personal accuracy over the long run if you learn what to look for. I'm not saying to buy raw cards only necessarily, but I'm starting to realize with decent scans, I can tell the difference between high end for the grade, and mediocre slabbed material.
That is why I also purchase the majority of my raw cards through a reputable dealer.
I have looked at, inquired about other raw cards from other sellers but when I have looked at their feedback or don't hear anything back or see reverse scans that I have asked for, I quickly scratch them from my list.
Doing that over the last couple years is why I am at 91% bid activity with my current preferred seller in GM cards. Their shipping fees can't be beat either, especially for us Canucks!

Last edited by irv; 12-09-2018 at 10:15 AM.
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  #14  
Old 12-09-2018, 10:19 AM
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I just noticed these 2 cards from a FB seller. I know scans don't always show/tell the whole picture, but how did Roe receive a 6 and Schmitz only a 5?

It looks like Schmitz is deserving of the 5, maybe even higher, but the Roe, imo, looks like a 4, at best, to me.
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File Type: jpg InkedJohhny Schmitz_LI.jpg (78.0 KB, 357 views)
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Old 12-09-2018, 01:02 PM
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I just noticed these 2 cards from a FB seller. I know scans don't always show/tell the whole picture, but how did Roe receive a 6 and Schmitz only a 5?

It looks like Schmitz is deserving of the 5, maybe even higher, but the Roe, imo, looks like a 4, at best, to me.
Is the Roe an older grade? Perhaps a beholder? I wonder how the back of the cards look as that may also affect the grade.

Nice cards, however Schmitz is clearly the nicer card from the front. On the surface, as said on the Forum, buy the card not the grade. Something we all do.
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Old 12-09-2018, 06:54 PM
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Is the Roe an older grade? Perhaps a beholder? I wonder how the back of the cards look as that may also affect the grade.

Nice cards, however Schmitz is clearly the nicer card from the front. On the surface, as said on the Forum, buy the card not the grade. Something we all do.
Is there anyway to tell, Lou, via the number or something else, if the card is a reholder?

I am not a 100% convinced that is the case based on what I have seen before, but it does make the most sense.
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Old 12-10-2018, 08:43 AM
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Is there anyway to tell, Lou, via the number or something else, if the card is a reholder?

I dont believe there is. When a card is sent in for reholder, I believe it keeps the same cert #.



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Old 12-10-2018, 08:48 AM
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That is why I also purchase the majority of my raw cards through a reputable dealer.

Agreed. With PSA I just look for 100% feedback, but for raw cards it helps to go to a trusted dealer. Ive used Kit Young a lot in the past. His prices are reasonable and he negotiates on some eBay sales. With him I know if the card is advertised as VG-EX Im going to at least get something in the ballpark. Not like with some other unknown sellers who sometimes dont know what they are talking about.



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Old 12-10-2018, 10:36 AM
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I dont believe there is. When a card is sent in for reholder, I believe it keeps the same cert #.



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That's unfortunate. I am sure the card, being in a newer flip would fool some into thinking the card is a true 6 and will always grade/be a 6 not knowing, if it were to be graded today with today's standards, that it mostly likely, at best, is a 3-4 now.
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Old 12-10-2018, 12:44 PM
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That's unfortunate. I am sure the card, being in a newer flip would fool some into thinking the card is a true 6 and will always grade/be a 6 not knowing, if it were to be graded today with today's standards, that it mostly likely, at best, is a 3-4 now.
There are a lot of things about TPG's which are unfortunate.
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Old 12-10-2018, 03:52 PM
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To me this is a beautiful card regardless of its technical grade.
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Old 12-10-2018, 04:14 PM
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Here are a few that I feel look nicer than their technical grade.
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File Type: jpg 20150801_211013.jpg (69.2 KB, 336 views)
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Old 12-10-2018, 05:16 PM
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Here are a few that I feel look nicer than their technical grade.


Gorgeous cards!


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Old 12-10-2018, 05:27 PM
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To me this is a beautiful card regardless of its technical grade.


I had that Mantle as a kid in the 1980s. Mine had a big ugly crease through the lower left corner. I was totally in love with it regardless.


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Old 12-10-2018, 08:15 PM
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Is there anyway to tell, Lou, via the number or something else, if the card is a reholder?

I am not a 100% convinced that is the case based on what I have seen before, but it does make the most sense.
I believe some know how to tell how old a cert number is. Old cert number plus new holder means it's been reholdered.

My preference is to reholder anything of a decent value before selling.
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Old 12-10-2018, 08:25 PM
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Here are a few that I feel look nicer than their technical grade.
Wow! That 57 Mantle is off the charts.

Here are a couple of Wille that I think present very well the grades given.


Last edited by jb67; 12-11-2018 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 12-11-2018, 12:45 AM
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Great cards everyone. Jesse - That Mantle is off the charts.



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Old 12-11-2018, 08:22 AM
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That PSA 6 57 Mick is near the top of the long list of cards I deeply regret selling to Jesse over the years! One of many reasons I recently resolved never to sell a card again.
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Old 12-11-2018, 03:23 PM
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I'm sorry to hear that Matt, it's much easier to find a dead centered Mantle by waiting for you to upgrade than to search through 100s of Ebay and AH listings. I certainly understand your decision though.
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Old 12-11-2018, 07:44 PM
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[quote=DeanH3;1834960]Great cards everyone. Jesse - That Mantle is off the charts.



DeanH3,

I can't imagine there is a better looking PSA 1 of a 53 Mick than this. That Mick is beyond belief.
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Old 12-12-2018, 12:48 AM
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[quote=jb67;1835179]
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Great cards everyone. Jesse - That Mantle is off the charts.



DeanH3,

I can't imagine there is a better looking PSA 1 of a 53 Mick than this. That Mick is beyond belief.
Thank you David. Amazing how much a little back damage will save you.
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Old 12-12-2018, 03:05 PM
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I bought this in a 2 holder



Cracked out and resubmitted it.
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Old 12-12-2018, 03:30 PM
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Wow Adam, that's crazy. It jumped from a 2 to a 7? That's ridiculous.
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Old 12-12-2018, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Exhibitman View Post
I bought this in a 2 holder



Cracked out and resubmitted it.
I remember that jump in grades, I just couldn't remember who posted it a couple years ago.
That one was an eye opener for me!
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Old 12-14-2018, 08:13 AM
sb1 sb1 is online now
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Here's one I believe. Nicer looking than most 3's and many 4's, no back damage either.
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Old 12-14-2018, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by sb1 View Post
Here's one I believe. Nicer looking than most 3's and many 4's, no back damage either.
Wow! Very nice (undergraded, imo, as well) card.

I've posted this one a bunch too. Way undergraded, imo, but it worked out good for me as I got it at 3 prices.

I've always said/believe SGC grades harsher than PSA. My Crandall card being one them that only graded out a 5.
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  #37  
Old 12-14-2018, 10:33 AM
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Interesting responses, thanks again all.

I'm becoming increasingly skeptical of PSA's grading consistency especially with mid-grade vintage. I looked at several recent examples of my '53 Topps Satchel Paige in the PSA Auction Prices Realized site last night. I know that grading when it comes down to technical brass tacks is more than just eye appeal alone, but still: My card is a PSA 5; I saw many 6's that didn't look as good, and many 5's that looked way worse. If you take into consideration the age of the slab / flip as well - then it gets even worse. I saw some older 5's that I doubt would be 4's today with the corners they had. Oy...
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by jchcollins View Post
Interesting responses, thanks again all.

I'm becoming increasingly skeptical of PSA's grading consistency especially with mid-grade vintage.
You are spot on with this. The subjectivity involved in parsing some grades, be it a 4 thru 6 or a 9 from a 10, it allows for a massive amount of disagreement with the graders.

And when we begin to look at cards graded in past years, or decades, things really go haywire.

I focus primarily on Mantle, and I see PSA 8s and PSA 9s of his basic issue cards in old grades/slabs that would be lucky to merit 7s today.

Just browse some of the "high grade" Registry sets or VCP, and what becomes clear as day is that some cards awarded a PSA 9 many years ago are simply total head scratchers. And as humans often do, PSA seems to have made the mistake of overcorrecting; now you can submit a lights-out 8 that blows away every 9 viewable on VCP past sales, and they will give you a sticky note pointing to some minor flaw as cause for the card not even getting a half point bump. So what we have in the market are some of today's cards in lower grade, destroying higher grade cards from yesteryear on both the eye appeal and even technical grade fronts. The upshot is it gets even more important to shop with our eyes and in effect police the flips.

Last edited by MattyC; 12-14-2018 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 12-14-2018, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by jb67 View Post
Wow! That 57 Mantle is off the charts.

Here are a couple of Wille that I think present very well the grades given.

Awesome Mays cards. The 63 hits the eye like a mint card!
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  #40  
Old 12-14-2018, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by MattyC View Post
You are spot on with this. The subjectivity involved in parsing some grades, be it a 4 thru 6 or a 9 from a 10, it allows for a massive amount of disagreement with the graders.

And when we begin to look at cards graded in past years, or decades, things really go haywire.

I focus primarily on Mantle, and I see PSA 8s and PSA 9s of his basic issue cards in old grades/slabs that would be lucky to merit 7s today.

Just browse some of the "high grade" Registry sets or VCP, and what becomes clear as day is that some cards awarded a PSA 9 many years ago are simply total head scratchers. And as humans often do, PSA seems to have made the mistake of overcorrecting; now you can submit a lights-out 8 that blows away every 9 viewable on VCP past sales, and they will give you a sticky note pointing to some minor flaw as cause for the card not even getting a half point bump. So what we have in the market are some of today's cards in lower grade, destroying higher grade cards from yesteryear on both the eye appeal and even technical grade fronts. The upshot is it gets even more important to shop with our eyes and in effect police the flips.
"Buy the card, not the grade" I think today is more important than ever. To me this goes to a core reputation problem - in addition to being found wanting in the "expertise" area (what expertise? how do we know since they don't routinely prove that "experts" are grading cards over and above middle school kids...) there is the problem with consistency over time which at least as this year has gone by has proven to be more and more obvious that the PSA 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9's of yesteryear are not necessarily on par with those graded in 2017 or 2018. How they continue to get away with this - to say nothing of wildly inaccurate promised turn times - increasingly feels like a bubble to me. I'm just wondering how long before it bursts.
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Old 12-14-2018, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jchcollins View Post
"Buy the card, not the grade" I think today is more important than ever. To me this goes to a core reputation problem - in addition to being found wanting in the "expertise" area (what expertise? how do we know since they don't routinely prove that "experts" are grading cards over and above middle school kids...) there is the problem with consistency over time which at least as this year has gone by has proven to be more and more obvious that the PSA 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9's of yesteryear are not necessarily on par with those graded in 2017 or 2018. How they continue to get away with this - to say nothing of wildly inaccurate promised turn times - increasingly feels like a bubble to me. I'm just wondering how long before it bursts.
Not only that but over time standards seem to change at SGC and PSA, and the flips sometimes change with them. Now it isn't even enough to have a card with a particular grade given by a particular TPG because that TPG could go through a big change, like SGC has recently. Then, collectors look at slabbed cards from a certain era and think they really aren't as good as the slab might say they are, depending on the era in which the card was graded. Right now, there is a thread on the prewar side discussing a collector's SGC results from a recent submission and how that collector was shocked at how tough SGC graded his cards versus some examples of SGC graded cards with old flips. Increasingly, I am quite happy with ungraded cards that meet my requirements. I am not above cracking out a graded card for a set either.

Last edited by vintagebaseballcardguy; 12-14-2018 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 12-14-2018, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by vintagebaseballcardguy View Post
Not only that but over time standards seem to change at SGC and PSA, and the flips sometimes change with them. Now it isn't even enough to have a card with a particular grade given by a particular TPG because that TPG could go through a big change, like SGC has recently. Then, collectors look at slabbed cards from a certain era and think they really aren't as good as the slab might say they are, depending on the era in which the card was graded. Right now, there is a thread on the prewar side discussing a collector's SGC results from a recent submission and how that collector was shocked at how tough SGC graded his cards versus some examples of SGC graded cards with old flips. Increasingly, I am quite happy with ungraded cards that meet my requirements. I am not above cracking out a graded card for a set either.
Yeah pretty soon we'll have vintage (era) listed along with slab type (era) and there will be a cross reference to value. Let's see this is a PSA 8 from the early 00's, so it's worth less than the PSA 8 from the early 10's...
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Old 12-14-2018, 09:52 PM
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Here are a few of my examples for the thread.
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  #44  
Old 12-15-2018, 09:03 AM
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Last weeks pickup. Not sure what made it a 1 since there isnt a pinhole but looks great to me
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  #45  
Old 01-11-2019, 08:12 AM
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I have one...here is a nice 61. Any reason why it's a 5 is beyond me.




Last edited by Sportscards1086; 01-11-2019 at 10:43 AM.
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  #46  
Old 01-11-2019, 10:31 AM
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I have one...here is a nice 61. Any it's a 5 is beyond me.




Agreed. Its not centered outside of 6 range either.


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Old 01-11-2019, 11:12 AM
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PSA has gotten so inconsistent (or faulty QC) lately I've had to returned two eBay purchases because of "bad grades." A PSA 8 had two bent lower corners and edge damage and another was so out of focus that the faces weren't under the player's hats on a team card (neither of which was observable on the post). TPG claim they issue opinions but they have guidelines that should create a somewhat known standard. I think all collectors should refuse to keep cards that another collector/dealer got a "lucky" grade on; don't be the last one holding the 5 in an 8 holder.
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Old 01-11-2019, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by mq711 View Post
PSA has gotten so inconsistent (or faulty QC) lately I've had to returned two eBay purchases because of "bad grades." A PSA 8 had two bent lower corners and edge damage and another was so out of focus that the faces weren't under the player's hats on a team card (neither of which was observable on the post). TPG claim they issue opinions but they have guidelines that should create a somewhat known standard. I think all collectors should refuse to keep cards that another collector/dealer got a "lucky" grade on; don't be the last one holding the 5 in an 8 holder.
If you do that, better find a seller that accepts returns unconditionally. When I am selling the grade is the grade, whether you agree with it or not.

Will agree with you the inconsistency is rampant. That's why anymore I try to take the TPG's literally as an "opinion" when buying online. It's too frustrating to try to make sense anymore of vintage 6's that look better than some 7's, 5's that look better than some 6's - 5's that look way better than other 5.5's...and on and on and on. At the end of the day I take PSA's word that the card is authentic, and then beyond that all that matters is am I personally happy with the card for the price? It's too confusing to keep us with their nuances and discrepancies outside of that.
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Last edited by jchcollins; 01-11-2019 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 01-11-2019, 01:39 PM
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Not a bad 3...
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Old 01-11-2019, 01:45 PM
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Not a bad 3...
Not bad at all!!!!
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