PSA Shut Down for 90 Days – The Effect on the Sports Card Industry

On March 30th, 2021 PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator) announced they were temporarily suspending all their grading services below Super Express ($350 a card) for at least 90 days with the hope of reopening all services around July 1st, 2021. PSA received more cards in 3 days than they did in the previous 3 months which is what led to the backlog and ultimately the difficult decision of suspending new submissions for a couple months.

OK, so let’s look at the impact this may have in the short term. Long term should be negligible to the sports card industry as it looks like at this point in time since they intend on being back to servicing all PSA grading levels within 90 days.

1 – People I believe will step back and take note on inspecting each card and really enjoy the card look for what it is more rather than just looking for a graded card since they won’t be grading nearly as many cards as they were previously simply because of PSA’s postponement of services.

2 – With SGC (Sportscard Guaranty Company) at minimum of $75/card and BGS (Beckett Grading Services) at minimum of $100/card to get a card graded within 1 month or less we most likely aren’t going to see much of an increase in business since PSA still has Super Express service open at $350/card and their brand commands so much higher values in the open market.

3 – The suspension of PSA grading services leaves the opportunity for companies like HGA (Hybrid Grading) and CSG (Certified Sports Guaranty) to make up ground especially on the lower-end cards with values of $500 or less because of their low cost grading services. So far I believe it will be CSG that has the best chance at grabbing a good piece of the market share for value cards of $500 or less away from PSA at least in the short term while PSA’s value service is suspended. How much CSG retains in market share if PSA reinstates the value grading service at $25 is the unknown variable.

4 – In the short term, PSA 10 values should increase on all cards but especially should increase on lower end cards valued at $1k or less simply because you can’t grade with any sports card PSA at that value unless you wanted to utilize the Super Express service, but that wouldn’t make financial sense to do at $350 per card. I fully expect this will create more demand for those cards in the short term. However, in the long term many of the base level cards that are PSA 10 should return to normal values once/if PSA resumes their value service which is currently set at $25/card. The higher value cards of staples in every market (baseball, football, basketball, etc) should continue to rise though as there are less of those available in the marketplace which is the simple rule of supply and demand.