Biased toward PSA Certification Numbers

Hi All,

I would like to gauge the level of bias toward PSA certification numbers.

Do you prefer newer/older certification numbers due to perceived differences in grading strictness (e.g., certifications under 2XXXXXXXX, 4XXXXXXXX, 5XXXXXXX, etc.)?

Would you pay a premium for newer certifications? Why/Why not?

Personally, I couldn’t care less about the certification number because I look at the card’s quality. I’ve seen old and new certs with varying levels of strictness.

And I should note that this question mostly impacts vintage cards, as modern cards are graded in recent certification numbers.


I know I’ll get flak for this but I do think the 0xxx-2xxx are the weakest graded pokemon cards. What I mean by that is that I’ve, anecdotally, come across more cards in the lower certs that I felt were “weak” compared to their assigned grade.

Yes it’s biased, no there is no statistical analysis showing a distribution of “weaker” cards in the lower certs, but I always look a little closer to scans of certs below 4xxx.

I won’t pay for certs since it all comes down to the card


69 or 420 in the cert number is a slight premium



Not a slab collector, but when people post graded card sets and most of them are new labels and only a few are old labels, my autism OCD kicks in hard.


I swear ive seen this one before

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Oops, didn’t mean to double post. I tried looking in older threads and couldn’t find something recent, but maybe I missed it.

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What exactly frustrates you about this?

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I can’t keep up with all the IG-level conspiracies about grading harshness. I think offering more for any arbitrary PSA certification number (which doesn’t even designate the time period when a card was graded) without even seeing the card is one of the most smooth-brain collector things to do.

Obviously first and foremost in choosing what graded card to buy is the condition of the card. I’ve seen bad grades in every cert number range. I’d consider paying more for sequential cert numbers for sets of cards, and all things equal I’d probably pick a card with a newer label/cert number over an older one because the newer label is more secure and the case has had less opportunity to be scratched/damaged.


One does not look like the others.

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Yep, this is me too. :raised_hand:

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The issue is what used to be the “strong grade cert” is now considered weaker. I’ve had a few people criticized the 4 certs which used to be the preferred number.

In my experience 95%+ of people don’t care.
But I’m also not a big condition collector so it’s not a priority.


Obsession over cert numbers is essentially numerology and numerology is for weirdos. Don’t be a weirdo. We already have an uphill battle against weirdoism as enthusiast collectors of little special rectangles. Know your limits. It could save your life.


I don’t really hold much of a bias. I feel all my cards across a wide variety of cert # ranges are basically all in-line with the technical grade. My 10s are always what I expect, and 9s and 8s are generally all within my expectations.

I have seen ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ cards within all cert # ranges over time. I think the reality is, PSA or any other grader can make potential errors at times, and people may develop a bias for this reason. However, I don’t know if that is a great approach as I’d sooner do my own extra review of the card regardless of the cert # it has.

I think that to ignore a whole cert # range for example is a bit over the top because you could potentially miss out on plenty of nice cards for your collection. So for me personally, I would focus more on the specific card(s) and less on the cert # range. In the end though it’s your collection, if you find more value in a newer or specific cert # range, nothing wrong with that either.


So, what you’re telling me is that I can get a PSA 9 at the price of a PSA 8, if I just go for a cert No that is old?

I personally couldn’t care less about the cert number. All I ever care about is that the card is a new label rather than an old label. All my cards are new label, so to me I willing to pay a small premium just to have the new label. This is easier than buying an old label card and paying for a Re-holder .

However with certs, all my 9’s I’ve owned have been similar in overall eye appeal. Some cards have more whitening then others, while other have small scratches/or ink blemishes, but no edge or corner wear. I can’t speak for grades below a 9 or cards graded 10. I only collect PSA 9 cards.

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I think this is a really good point. The cert argument is usually aimed at psa 10. I’ve yet to hear someone say a new cert psa 6 is stronger than an old cert! :sweat_smile:


There is also a case for older certs being more valuable. When really early japanese cards got graded, sometimes they got graded with the Japanese name. This is when I (and I think quite a lot of other people) would pay more for the older certs.

I’m not sure I’m correct here, so please correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t slight corner bends used to result in an auto 6? I’ve come across a not insignificant number of cards with minor dents or edge dings that are still considered 8’s. Anyone who collects JP Cards is likely aware of the dents that result from cards being squished together against one another and leaving an impression on the back or front. I’ve seen several 8’s with that type of damage.

While I personally am happy with this change, if it is a change, I could see how some collectors might not appreciate it.

But to answer the question, idrc about the very number. I just accept the grade and roll with it. I don’t buy graded cards though, only grade them myself. So when I see a 10, I get stoked.