Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) announced Wednesday that it will implement a new half-point grading system beginning Feb. 1. The company’s familiar 1-10 grading scale will now also include a half-point grade from 1.5 through 8.5. The expanded grading scale will apply only to single cards, not unopened packs or tickets.
“As the card market advances, we felt it was imperative to enhance our grading standards so the grade can more accurately reflect the quality and value of the card,” said Joe Orlando, president of PSA. “With the ever-increasing price gaps and disparities now between grades as well as the popularity of the PSA Set Registry, the time is right to modify the system and provide more assurance to hobbyists.”
A card certified with a half-point grade will now be considered an exceptional example within the particular grade. Because centering is so important and clearly visible to most collectors, the strength or weakness of the centering will have a significant impact on the final grade.
Orlando pointed out there are now huge differences in values between PSA 7, 8 and 9; in some cases, literally thousands of dollars.
“For example, if a 1955 Topps Sandy Koufax rookie card in PSA NM-MT 8 is currently worth about $2,200 and a PSA Mint 9 is worth approximately $18,000-plus, there should be a card that falls somewhere in between those two numbers,” explained Orlando who also is editor of Sports Market Report, a monthly price guide for PSA-graded items.
Collectors who currently own PSA-graded cards may wonder how the new scale affects their cards. Orlando said that the whole grades, PSA 1-10, still apply and are valid, and that there is absolutely no obligation for collectors or dealers to send their already-certified cards to PSA for half-point consideration.
“Cards submitted under the optional re-grade program will never be in jeopardy of going down in grade,” Orlando explained.