GRADING WARS

     Over the past year and a half, the Sports Card Hobby has gained an astronomical amount of attention. With fresh cards being pulled daily, it’s hard to tell which ones are "perfect." That is where grading comes in. A collector will send off cards to get evaluated and graded on some scale. Obviously, the higher the grade, the more value that card has. One of the leaders in this service is a company named PSA. PSA has reigned superior since coming into the hobby in 1991 with certifying over 40 million cards. Throughout the years, other companies have come in the hobby to compete, such as BGS, SGC, and now the newest company HGA. While some provide customers with services, others do not. Having your card being evaluated and grading is key for that card to hold value. On Monday, March 1st PSA announced they are going to be raising prices… significantly. With PSA having new owners and cards being back-ordered for months, this was expected. PSA will always hold the true value of cards, and even with their prices being raised, it won’t stop people from sending cards in to get graded. Let us take a look at exactly how valuable this company actually is.
     One of the most popular cards that have been graded over the past year and a half is Zion Williamson Prizm rookie cards. Prizm has become the most popular sports card brand, and prices have been reflected. Current PSA 10’s of Zion is trading right around $650 while BGS 9.5’s is selling for $345 and SGC 10’s are at $399! With HGA becoming extremely new and gaining extreme popularity, there has only been 1 sale of his 2019 Prizm base, and that sold for $510 with a grade of 9.5.
     The one thing that has set these grading companies apart is their prices and turnaround times for their cards to return. While all companies are extremely delayed several months, HGA is the only company to "promise" return times. With being a new company, only the future will tell if that will hold.


Current Service Levels and Pricing:
PSA:                             BGS: (with subs)   SGC: (Standard 20-25 day)
Regular-$100                Economy-$35        Declared $500-$1,500 value: $25-$35        
Express-$150                Standard-$50        Declared $3,500-$7,500 value: $85-$250
Super Express-$300      Express-$150       Declared $20,000-$50,000 value: $500-$1,000
Walk-through- $600       Premium-$250      Declared $100,000+ value: $2,000+
 
HGA:
Best value- $20
Popular-$27-$35
Very Fast- $45-$55
Fastest- $100


      Grading a card not only approves the value but also is ascetically pleasing. With PSA being the standard across all platforms, it will be interesting to see how other services will compete. As we saw with Zion Williamson's Base Prizm, PSA will forever hold a higher standard and value. Hopefully, with these price changes, we can get back to a normal routine of receiving cards appropriately. Personally, I think this is a great chance for PSA and their future! It will lower pop reports and ultimately make cards' value higher than they already are.


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