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  #1  
Old 02-01-2008, 10:06 AM
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Default Buy the Card, Not the Slab

Posted By: Matt

What does the "Buy the card, not the slab" statement mean to you?

I see 2 possibilites:

1) A statement revolving around error of the grading companies - a card that a reputable and knowledgeable grader with a clear head would never give the grade (or the player name ) assigned on the slab.

2) A statement about eye appeal of a card being the critical pricing criterion vs the slabbed grade; even though the grade is technically correct. A card correctly slabbed as a 5 with really bad registration would be an example and should not be valued at 5 money.

I would venture that everyone understands it to mean at least 1; how many people believe in it as far as point 2? If you do believe in it for definition 2, what if the situation was reversed and the technical grade of the card was well below what the eye appeal was - would you be willing to pay above the range of values of that particular grading slot?

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  #2  
Old 02-01-2008, 10:22 AM
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Default Buy the Card, Not the Slab

Posted By: Steve Murray

To me it means to use my own experience in evaluating the card rather than relying on some third party opinion.

My decision to buy is based on "do I like the card" not on "do I like the grade".

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  #3  
Old 02-01-2008, 10:57 AM
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Default Buy the Card, Not the Slab

Posted By: Bob

I used to think this only applied to PSA 1s, 2s and 3s, but lately I have seen some pretty funky looking 4s and 5s which look far worse than comparable 2s and 3s. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder but you have to wonder sometimes "wha' hoppened" when you see some of the cards that have slipped in to 4 and 5 holders and look pretty rough.

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Old 02-01-2008, 11:10 AM
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Default Buy the Card, Not the Slab

Posted By: Jeff Lichtman

Bob, I've seen plenty of very weak PSA 7 T206s that sell for more like PSA 6.5 (if it existed at that time). People generally stay away from weak-looking, overgraded cards (or adjust their bids accordingly).

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  #5  
Old 02-01-2008, 11:11 AM
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Default Buy the Card, Not the Slab

Posted By: Dave S

To me, and agree with Bob, applies moreso to lower grade slabs, i.e. the visual display and appeal of the card are nicer than the technical (be it right or wrong in our opinion!) numerical grade. We've all seen the nicely colored, registered card with great corners...that has light paper loss, residue, or an errant pencil mark or the
collector's stamp. And we all know what SGC is gonna slab it!

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  #6  
Old 02-01-2008, 11:11 AM
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Default Buy the Card, Not the Slab

Posted By: Paul Carek

I buy cards with the intention of keeping them, so I have no problem paying a bit more for a card that looks nicer than its technical grade. Did it not too long ago, in fact, for a beautiful, T206 Mowrey in a PSA2 holder (nice EX-looking front, downgraded for tobacco staining on the back). I'm sure I'd have a different POV, though, if I were purchasing super high-end cards with an eye toward reselling them in the future.

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  #7  
Old 02-01-2008, 11:31 AM
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Default Buy the Card, Not the Slab

Posted By: Fred C

It sounds like we need to revisit that old thread that says:

SHOW YOUR BEST LOOKING 1's and 2's!

I always appreciate looking at some of those really nice lookinig lower grade cards.

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  #8  
Old 02-01-2008, 11:36 AM
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Default Buy the Card, Not the Slab

Posted By: fkw

To me I usually use it to refer to the dumb $$ guys (usually modern card collectors and sometimes vintage set registers) in love with PSA9 PSA10 cards.

These clowns are paying up to 10X+ more for these 9s and 10s when compared to an 8. Yet both cards will be nearly identical when looked at by the naked eye.

The last few I saw were dumb $ paying $500++ for 1960s Topps commons in 10, that can be had for under $10 in an 8.

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  #9  
Old 02-01-2008, 11:36 AM
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Default Buy the Card, Not the Slab

Posted By: leon

As always stated I could give a rats patoot about the plastic. I never enjoyed the smell or feel or look of it very much. I guess some plastic looks and smells good.....but it's so common. I mean really...there is plastic that looks much better than other plastic. Who's to decide? It's all so confusing....except the cards themselves. Ah, those little jewels we all love so dearly. I think I will buy cards.....if they are wrapped in SGC plastic to let me know they feel it's not been messed with then that is fine too....actually, it makes me feel better to know they think it's ok. The grade....not so important....For those plastic collectors...enjoy the slabs my friends.....You are as passionate about plastic as I am cards...no harm in that...best regards

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  #10  
Old 02-01-2008, 11:39 AM
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Default Buy the Card, Not the Slab

Posted By: Matt

I guess my differences between definitions 1 and 2 were not precise enough.

Steve's post got me thinking of a different way of trying to ask the question.

The concept of eye appeal basically means that we each have our own subjective grading scale wherein something which is slabbed as a 1 would be in VG condition in our scale (say with minor back paper loss) and something slabbed as a 5 we would devalue to something as a 2 or 3 (say with horrible registration). How much does that personal subjective grading scale follow through to your wallet? Are you willing to pay close to VG money for that card that is VG in your subjective scale, even though technically it's a 1?

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  #11  
Old 02-01-2008, 11:46 AM
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Default Buy the Card, Not the Slab

Posted By: leon

I think each of us has our own pet peeve about what we like and dislike about aesthetics in cards. I think it's common to not like creases in the face or head area, paper loss on the front if it's noticable or paper loss on back (to a lesser extent) if it touches very much lettering. I don't like any of that stuff in the order I put it. My fave cards to buy are ones that look ex+ with back damage to the blank back......I believe those are great cards with respect the # grade and value.....Give 'em to me all day long that way....Or better yet give me really great contrast on Old Judges with back damage....wonderful cards.....best regards

this one has back damage to the blank back...who cares??

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Old 02-01-2008, 11:53 AM
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Default Buy the Card, Not the Slab

Posted By: Jim Dale

mean buy the card you think PSA will give you a .5 bump on ... sorry

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  #13  
Old 02-01-2008, 11:54 AM
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Default Buy the Card, Not the Slab

Posted By: Jeff Lichtman

Leon brings up a good point. I hate cards with back damage; however, if the back damage is on a blank back I'd happily pay for a PSA 2 that looks like a 5 anyday of the week.

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  #14  
Old 02-01-2008, 11:55 AM
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Default Buy the Card, Not the Slab

Posted By: Steve Murray

"Are you willing to pay close to VG money for that card that is VG in your subjective scale, even though technically it's a 1?"

Yes, though I would likely expect that it would be priced as a 1.

The corollary to this is "Are you willing to pay 5 money for a card that on your subjective scale is no more than a 3 just because it has a 5 on the holder?"

Not me but those who do not subscribe to "Buy the card, not the slab" would.

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Old 02-01-2008, 11:55 AM
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Default Buy the Card, Not the Slab

Posted By: Matt

leon - that's exactly the point I came to in the post above yours. The question is, when you're buying a card, just as you might say to yourself "That 5 with bad registration disrupts the card so much for me I'd only pay 2 money for it" do you open up your wallet and say "that 1 looks as nice to me as many 4s - I'm willing to pay 3 money for it?"

Steve - congrats for honestly answering the question at hand. If you'd be willing to pay 3 money for it, why would you expect it to be priced as a 1? Wouldn't the seller be better off pricing it as a 3? (of course the seller can price it however he wants; your response made it seem as if you would think a seller unreasonable for asking 3 money)

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Old 02-01-2008, 12:07 PM
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Posted By: Steve Murray

"your response made it seem as if you would think a seller unreasonable for asking 3 money"

I think what I meant is that most sellers would probably price a 1 closer to a 1 price than a 3 price.

Does that make sense?

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  #17  
Old 02-01-2008, 12:11 PM
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Default Buy the Card, Not the Slab

Posted By: Matt

Steve - it absolutely makes sense. Curious if others will step forward as you have.

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  #18  
Old 02-01-2008, 12:33 PM
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Default Buy the Card, Not the Slab

Posted By: Bruce Babcock

That's a blazer of an N321, Leon.

Here is one of mine, ungraded.



It has a very tiny crease/wrinkle/tear at the very top, with a clean back. What would it grade? Who cares? A third party opinion based on criteria I don't share would not increase my joy of ownership. If I were to sell the card, that's another matter.

Here's another. SGC 20.



A great image, with minor back damage. I'll take this over a "lost in a snowstorm" PSA 6 any day.

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Old 02-01-2008, 12:47 PM
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Posted By: davidcycleback

Not even taking into consideration personal aesthetic tastes-- the label is a second opinion, not the whole opinion. That all grading companies have made identification mistakes and cards are resubmitted to the same grader to get different grades should speak for itself why you shouldn't rely on the label alone.

The Old Judges image quality examples show there can be limits to what a grade covers. Even if the grade is technically accurate, the collector must go beyond the grade to judge the quality of the card. This is not just for coffee house debate, as, all other qualities (including grade on label) identical, the OJ with the better image will sell for more money. An OJ with a super image can financially leap frog OJs with better label-grades. It's not neccesarilly that the grades were in error, but that grades are limited in what they assess. In other words, you don't buy an OJ based only at the label-- this is whether you're in it for the art or in it to resell.

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Old 02-01-2008, 01:12 PM
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Default Buy the Card, Not the Slab

Posted By: David R

On a card with a low technical grade that looks nicer, does the seller have:

(1) any obligation to inform the buyer that it was graded and what the grade was if he has cracked it out and shows good high quality scans because he thinks that it should sell for more than the technical grade? What if the buyer asks?

(2) any obligation to inform the buyer that it is graded and what the grade is under the same scenario but assuming the seller has not cracked it out (i.e., is it okay for the seller to just show good scans and not mention that the card resides in a holder with a low grade on the flip)?

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