Sports Cards Mania

Oil Can Dan

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I hope so but based on what’s in that picture, no. Those two ‘57 Mantles look well centered but can’t tell condition otherwise. Assuming they’d grade out around a PSA 6 they may fetch $2k each.
 

Ed Hillel

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I nabbed one of the 34 signed HoF baseballs from fanatics. I was late on 34 and 1, but I did get 4. I asked them to number it 04/34, but alas it’s against their policy.

Also, anyone here collect video games, by chance? That’s my thing, changed my life during covid collectibles boom, etc., but it’s a smaller contingent than the insanity that is sports cards.
 

Ale Xander

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I nabbed one of the 34 signed HoF baseballs from fanatics. I was late on 34 and 1, but I did get 4. I asked them to number it 04/34, but alas it’s against their policy.

Also, anyone here collect video games, by chance? That’s my thing, changed my life during covid collectibles boom, etc., but it’s a smaller contingent than the insanity that is sports cards.
Maybe there will be room for to add it yourself?
 

Traut

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So that's a real card they're going to ship you? Topps Now isn't some NFT thing, is it?
You can buy the base card for the next few hours on Topps. I bought a base one as well. The print only however many cards are ordered in a 24 hour window.

The base now cards for Ortiz tend to sell for more than people buy them from Topps after the window closes. You can also get parallels that go for more…some several hundred.

Anyhow a cool card

https://www.topps.com/cards-collectibles/topps-now/david-ortiz-2022-mlb-topps-now-reg-card-587.html
 

staz

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Just pulled a SP Stanton from a Topps Series 2 pack. The only way I knew it was a SP, is because I had just pulled the base card from the previous pack.

Other than a coincidence like that, how would someone know if a given card is a base or SP/SSP/USP? Do collectors really check the tiny serial numbers of every card? My great fear is pulling a SSP/USP and never knowing it!
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Just pulled a SP Stanton from a Topps Series 2 pack. The only way I knew it was a SP, is because I had just pulled the base card from the previous pack.

Other than a coincidence like that, how would someone know if a given card is a base or SP/SSP/USP? Do collectors really check the tiny serial numbers of every card? My great fear is pulling a SSP/USP and never knowing it!
Yup. Just the code and the picture.

For Topps 22 series 2:

  • Base cards end #847
  • SP Short Print Variations end #865
  • SSP Super Short Print Variations end #866
  • SSSP/USP Ultra Short Print Variations end #867
  • Advanced Stats Parallel (#/300) end #868
 

Traut

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Yup. Just the code and the picture.

For Topps 22 series 2:

  • Base cards end #847
  • SP Short Print Variations end #865
  • SSP Super Short Print Variations end #866
  • SSSP/USP Ultra Short Print Variations end #867
  • Advanced Stats Parallel (#/300) end #868
Also check Beckett - a retired player is often an SP of some sort as well. My guess is many people throw these cards away as they don't know they've pulled something valuable.

https://www.beckett.com/news/2022-topps-series-2-baseball-variations-guide/
 

Bongorific

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Sometimes you also just get a feeling. I pulled a Chris Sale SP in 2021 Topps and the picture just did not look like something that would be a base card.

53627
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Honestly, I didn't even know it was a thing. I'm coming from the TCG realm and started with football/basketball for sports (which, to my knowledge, don't have SP cards). So, I'm going to have to go through the few K bulk I have and see if theres anything cool in there.
 

Jed Zeppelin

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I am wondering if this is a Fanatics QA issue. There were videos in the Topps era of players signing remotely and signing an affadavit, so the risk of this is there (maybe a COVID concession) but that Meadows should have been caught on a QA for sure.
This wouldn't surprise me, Fanatics is an awful company.
 

Fishercat

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For image variants, I think Cardboard Connection and other sites often have images of the variations as well, so if you already sorted cards and don't want to strain your eyes, you can eliminate a ton of players who don't have SP/SSP/USP/etc. cards off the bat and then, if you're a visual person, might be able to recognize off of that. The image variations are fun for sure though. Only really ever hit one big one (Ohtani SSP from Series 2 last year), and found a Chavis Rookie (oh well) SP when sorting, as well as AJ Puk in Stadium Club), I think they're at their best when it's a great photo choice though - Series 2 has some really good ones in there at the SSP/Legends type cuts.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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For image variants, I think Cardboard Connection and other sites often have images of the variations as well, so if you already sorted cards and don't want to strain your eyes, you can eliminate a ton of players who don't have SP/SSP/USP/etc. cards off the bat and then, if you're a visual person, might be able to recognize off of that. The image variations are fun for sure though. Only really ever hit one big one (Ohtani SSP from Series 2 last year), and found a Chavis Rookie (oh well) SP when sorting, as well as AJ Puk in Stadium Club), I think they're at their best when it's a great photo choice though - Series 2 has some really good ones in there at the SSP/Legends type cuts.
This is great advice. I've used CC for most of the set building, but didnt know they had images/etc as well.
 

Bergs

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Yup. Just the code and the picture.

For Topps 22 series 2:

  • Base cards end #847
  • SP Short Print Variations end #865
  • SSP Super Short Print Variations end #866
  • SSSP/USP Ultra Short Print Variations end #867
  • Advanced Stats Parallel (#/300) end #868
I pulled the #1 out of 300 advanced stats of Jake Cronenworth yesterday. Wonder if the fact it's #1 will matter.
 

Ed Hillel

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That dude who bought the 4 million dollar Mike Trout card is probably having a bad day. I mean life for him is probably just fine, but it goes to show the inherent danger in going huge numbers in modern collecting.
 

Ed Hillel

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I’ve sent in numerous large orders to PSA, usually been quite happy and the grading variation makes sense, but today was a nightmare. I sent in 55 cards pulled straight from well-kept packs and put into top loaders…ONE FUCKING TEN and 39 nines. I must have gotten the Eor of graders, JFC.
 

Traut

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I’ve sent in numerous large orders to PSA, usually been quite happy and the grading variation makes sense, but today was a nightmare. I sent in 55 cards pulled straight from well-kept packs and put into top loaders…ONE FUCKING TEN and 39 nines. I must have gotten the Eor of graders, JFC.
The lack of any sort or transparency with PSA really sucks. I sent a card that multiple card shop guys looked at under a microscope and with measurement tools and conclude a likely 10 but certainly a 9. And it came back an 8. For the life of me, I have no clue.

I have a Pedro leaf rookie that came back a 10 that’s just not. It has an obviously dinged corner.

For anything in my personal collection, I just one touch and will until one of these companies is transparent in what they are doing.

In the meantime, I will continue to buy 9s for my collection that are perfect to my eyes and sell for fractions of a 10.
 

staz

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The lack of any sort or transparency with PSA really sucks. I sent a card that multiple card shop guys looked at under a microscope and with measurement tools and conclude a likely 10 but certainly a 9. And it came back an 8. For the life of me, I have no clue.

I have a Pedro leaf rookie that came back a 10 that’s just not. It has an obviously dinged corner.

For anything in my personal collection, I just one touch and will until one of these companies is transparent in what they are doing.

In the meantime, I will continue to buy 9s for my collection that are perfect to my eyes and sell for fractions of a 10.
I know a lot of companies are recruiting (begging) for graders – guessing they're trying to work through their backlogs with suboptimal staffing, just like the rest of us.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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I’ve sent in numerous large orders to PSA, usually been quite happy and the grading variation makes sense, but today was a nightmare. I sent in 55 cards pulled straight from well-kept packs and put into top loaders…ONE FUCKING TEN and 39 nines. I must have gotten the Eor of graders, JFC.
What were the sets? Modern US cards quality control has been atrocious the last few years. Especially Panini.
 

Ale Xander

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I know a lot of companies are recruiting (begging) for graders – guessing they're trying to work through their backlogs with suboptimal staffing, just like the rest of us.
BGS is Dallas, right? Where does PSA grade? (Where would I have to move to)
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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There are plenty of grading outfits that give subgrades. You can also resubmit for a lesser cost, and only accept a grade change if it goes up.
 

DJnVa

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I have a few friends that grade.

They're struggling finding graders because they barely get paid. Plenty of people with the skill to grade.
That sounds kinda fun. Is it? Can you shed a little more light on this? What exactly they do--how long per card, etc?
 

Ale Xander

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I have a few friends that grade.

They're struggling finding graders because they barely get paid. Plenty of people with the skill to grade.
Thank you for saving me time and effort to find out. With the costs of the service, I would have thought otherwise.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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That sounds kinda fun. Is it? Can you shed a little more light on this? What exactly they do--how long per card, etc?
Here's a shock: most of it is subjective.

Centering is pretty standard, and PSA lists it on their site (basic rule of thumb is 60/40 - if centering is at least 60/40 both front and back, it grades as a 10 for centering.)

As far as corners, surface, edges? It's basically subjective for 99% of cards. Some grading companies use AI for it (and that's becoming more popular), but unless it's a pricey card, it's a 5-10 minute grading process done based on the graders own standards and history grading.

Thank you for saving me time and effort to find out. With the costs of the service, I would have thought otherwise.
Prices are coming down slowly. And don't forget what prices used to be.

Any additional costs are just lining pockets.
 

Ed Hillel

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What were the sets? Modern US cards quality control has been atrocious the last few years. Especially Panini.
Oh, it’s Panini, but I’ve sent in many hundreds of cards from the very same packs and gotten a far more normal grade distribution. My concern is they might have started using computers mixed in with humans. I am hearing from other people the same, some orders coming in normal, others with militant grading. Moreso than in the past.

I’m going to crack the 9s and resub them in smaller batches, see what happens.
I have a few friends that grade.

They're struggling finding graders because they barely get paid. Plenty of people with the skill to grade.
It’s also in CA, so CoL is high.
 

Fishercat

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I feel like at a certain point or tier they could do it but the cards wouldn't go home with the grader. The PSA grading criteria is centering, corners, edges, and surface - they could have staff in the physical location to take very high quality photos of the card and then those photos are provided to remote graders who judge on the photos. I certainly imagine it's less precise and it'd probably make more sense to pair it with some sort of AI Grading to check for severe discrepancies (or use multiple graders) but it seems viable.

They would probably reserve on-site grading for higher tiers or higher value cards but with how opaque PSA is anyway, I doubt this makes it much less consistent. With that said, it'd make more sense to invest in some sort of scanning AI/software that can grade based off of said image and maybe just have a human sign off on it as opposed to having a human grade it at this point.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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Oh, it’s Panini, but I’ve sent in many hundreds of cards from the very same packs and gotten a far more normal grade distribution. My concern is they might have started using computers mixed in with humans. I am hearing from other people the same, some orders coming in normal, others with militant grading. Moreso than in the past.

I’m going to crack the 9s and resub them in smaller batches, see what happens.

It’s also in CA, so CoL is high.
Can't hurt.

You may also consider cleaning the cards prior to resubmitting. I've had grades climb pretty dramatically when cracking and resubmitting just by cleaning them. I basically clean all my cards prior to submission now. Helps with the surface and (slightly) the edges and corner grading, especially with cards like Panini.

It seems like Panini is running into the same issue with their QC that pokemon did prior to them prioritizing their shipping/quality control in the US a handful of months ago. Specifically, the card cuts are pretty rough. Companies like Panini are heavily focusing on turn around time. The amount of downtime on a line to replace the blades of a machine can really impact the amount of cards being shipped out. Right now, they're focusing on quantity over quality, so I'm pretty unsurprised by the low grades. Panini was always pretty shitty with their centering, so the dull blades are compounding the issue.

If the card market stays hot for a few more years, you should see the card companies rectify the issue. You can look at something like Japanese Pokemon cards vs US Pokemon cards as an example. The Japanese market for Pokemon cards has been consistent for decades. Having that certainty allows them to invest appropriately in their manufacturing, and you can see it in the grading. If a Japanese card and US card are both put directly into a sleeve and shipped, the chances of the US card getting a 10 is still pretty low, whereas the chances a Japanese card DOESNT get a 10 is pretty low (relatively speaking).

I'd guess that, sooner or later, all of these companies will have lasers cutting their cards and we'll see grading skyrocket (and prices for 10's plummet). "Vintage" cards will be anything cut with a blade instead of a laser, and those cards will be the chase cards for the next generation of card collecting nerds.

I feel like at a certain point or tier they could do it but the cards wouldn't go home with the grader. The PSA grading criteria is centering, corners, edges, and surface - they could have staff in the physical location to take very high quality photos of the card and then those photos are provided to remote graders who judge on the photos. I certainly imagine it's less precise and it'd probably make more sense to pair it with some sort of AI Grading to check for severe discrepancies (or use multiple graders) but it seems viable.

They would probably reserve on-site grading for higher tiers or higher value cards but with how opaque PSA is anyway, I doubt this makes it much less consistent. With that said, it'd make more sense to invest in some sort of scanning AI/software that can grade based off of said image and maybe just have a human sign off on it as opposed to having a human grade it at this point.
I don't think the ROI for that process would come close to being worth it. Being short on graders increases turnaround time, but the market has shown a willingness to (A) pay for super jacked up pricing and (B) wait a year+ for their grades.

Grading companies would have to change their entire operations process. They'd have to increase their shipping/receiving department drastically, at a minimum to redirect received cards to a grader (and if they want the grader to ship back to the hub, that doubles efforts). They'd need to build out a process for assigning shipments to graders (can't be off of individual packages, as some packages have hundreds of cards while others only have a few). They'd need to provide graders with grading/shipping equipment and also put a whole new technical/software/operational process in place for graders to expense their shipping. None of that includes additional risk of damaging cards to ship to graders (I've heard horror stories about grading companies damaging cards), or the additional turnaround time involved (which was the reason to allow at-home grading in the first place).

And pictures just won't work, at least for surface grading. There are some angles where a card can look pristine, but tilting it into a different light reveals imperfections. The card needs to be held/moved/angled for a full idea of surface.

There are grading companies out there - CSG leading the charge - that exclusively use AI for grading. I think the larger companies eventually make that move, and then staffing for grading becomes a significantly smaller problem.
 
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Fishercat

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Those are all very good points. One (tiny) clarification on my idea would be that the cards don't need to be shipped to remote graders - they'd just get images (live or not). I don't think it makes any sense, to your point, to actually ship physical cards to remote grading parties for every reason you said - and ideally the photos would include numerous angles in light for surface checks.

With that said I think you're right and this really would have only made sense if someone like PSA was trying to mitigate the creation and growth of a CSG or SGC by keeping turnaround times and costs reasonable - now that the cat's out of the bag it makes less sense to rush that issue given the customer base that remained is okay with the pricing and wait.
 

Ale Xander

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Those are all very good points. One (tiny) clarification on my idea would be that the cards don't need to be shipped to remote graders - they'd just get images (live or not). I don't think it makes any sense, to your point, to actually ship physical cards to remote grading parties for every reason you said - and ideally the photos would include numerous angles in light for surface checks.

With that said I think you're right and this really would have only made sense if someone like PSA was trying to mitigate the creation and growth of a CSG or SGC by keeping turnaround times and costs reasonable - now that the cat's out of the bag it makes less sense to rush that issue given the customer base that remained is okay with the pricing and wait.
Not sure I understand how images would work for non-numbered cards.
 

Deathofthebambino

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Those are all very good points. One (tiny) clarification on my idea would be that the cards don't need to be shipped to remote graders - they'd just get images (live or not). I don't think it makes any sense, to your point, to actually ship physical cards to remote grading parties for every reason you said - and ideally the photos would include numerous angles in light for surface checks.

With that said I think you're right and this really would have only made sense if someone like PSA was trying to mitigate the creation and growth of a CSG or SGC by keeping turnaround times and costs reasonable - now that the cat's out of the bag it makes less sense to rush that issue given the customer base that remained is okay with the pricing and wait.
Not sure how much less sense it makes. A PSA 9 or 10 is going to fetch a lot more money than a CSG or SGC graded card will. Maybe that will change in the future, but we're certainly not there yet. PSA (and Beckett/BGS) are the true holy grail of card grading. Let's take a few examples.

A 1983 Topps Wade Boggs PSA 9 goes for around $100 regularly.

August 6th for $105.01: https://www.ebay.com/itm/175368171856?hash=item28d4c1f150:g:wr4AAOSwZdJi5Zd3
August 8th for $91.09: https://www.ebay.com/itm/304581765064?hash=item46ea7ce7c8:g:EecAAOSwWEZi51GM

A SGC 9 by comparison:

August 2nd, for $49.99: https://www.ebay.com/itm/403759342125?hash=item5e01eea22d:g:wZMAAOSwPtZixkgh
May 15th, for $47.16: https://www.ebay.com/itm/313989271037?hash=item491b380dfd:g:X14AAOSw3xFieDAw

A 1989 Upper Deck, PSA 9 of Ken Griffey Jr:

Goes for $235.00 on August 9th: https://www.ebay.com/itm/295146228139?hash=item44b81609ab:g:U3AAAOSw3dVi8bbz
Also August 9th, $229.50: https://www.ebay.com/itm/363932016514?hash=item54bc09df82:g:XeMAAOSwx9Ji66l0

BGS on August 9th (Beckett) for $152.50: https://www.ebay.com/itm/265798228461?hash=item3de2cf19ed:g:1i8AAOSwsRdi4Fuz

An SGC 9 goes for $103.50 on June 26th, https://www.ebay.com/itm/354115545118?hash=item5272ee681e:g:dsEAAOSwtJdinNUN
Another goes for $185.00 on July 18th: https://www.ebay.com/itm/175349911998?hash=item28d3ab51be:g:bloAAOSwDt5iskrY

The issue folks run into with values is 90% of all buyers in the market when searching for graded cards will put in "1983 Topps Tony Gwynn PSA 9." They'll get results showing almost all PSA graded cards. As a result, those auctions have way more eyeballs than an SGC or even a BGS graded card, so if I'm going to pick a company to value a super expensive card (ie. over $1,000), I'm sending it to PSA. The only exception I make is with auto cards. I send those to Beckett, as they grade the card and the auto separately.