PSA adjusting its prices for grading in 2019

Prices are set to increase for some card collectors

A short while back, I wrote an article about grading companies getting behind on orders. In short, the three major graders, PSA, SGC, and Beckett, are all seeing some delays due to a large demand.

I concluded that article by saying that prices may have to go up. Turns out, at least some of PSA’s are.

A Net54 reader mentioned that PSA recently released its 2019 pricing scale and some prices will be more expensive than before. Here are the old/current prices. Some of the noteworthy changes here are the following:

  • A premium elite level will be added for cards valued at $100,000 or more (cost is $5,000)
  • The premium plus level (cards valued at $25,000) is doubling from $1,500 to $3,000
  • Walk-through service is rising from $300 to $500
  • A few other levels are increasing, according to those links

1913 Tom Barker Game - Home Run Baker Fenway Breweries - CopyTo be fair, the costs for many collectors will not be changing much, if at all. For example, PSA’s ‘regular’ submittals valued at under $500 is remaining at $20. Additionally, pricing for bulk submissions remains the same ($8/card for 100 cards or more, $10/card for 50-99 cards). If you’re commonly submitting at that level, there’s no increase there.

Essentially, the costs are going up for the more expensive stuff. That means collectors with less valuable submittals aren’t being affected much here, which is good.

For some, however, it will be interesting to see how the changes affect things. One of the changes, for example is with PSA’s express service for cards valued from $500 – $1,999. That cost is rising from $50 to $75 and will affect a good many collectors. Will it really be worth $75 to submit that low-grade bat off shoulder Ty Cobb T206 card or will collectors turn to SGC for that kind of stuff if the cost is lower?

Will this strategy pay off? Only time will tell, obviously. But my gut tells me that since the biggest increases are generally in the larger submission types, this probably won’t cost them much business. And any losses there are probably going to be made up in the increases, which is how these things are typically justified internally.

No one is ever happy about prices increasing. But I also think PSA’s approach with this is probably the right one. Leave the lesser cards alone and charge more for the heavy hitters. PSA will still get that business for the expensive stuff because auction houses and collectors need to have that stuff graded. And as long as their stuff continues to sell for high prices, that probably won’t cause a drastic loss in business.

Individually, this is something collectors will not be real happy about. Any price changes always draw some amount of ire and, even for collectors not affected much, this will still come off as a cash grab. Regardless of if that’s true or not, this also means that the hobby is in great shape financially with collectors willing to spend good money just to encapsulate their cards. While the increase isn’t great in terms of having to pay more money for this, it’s also an indicator that the hobby is humming along nicely.

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