Buy packs or buy already graded cards?


When trying to complete an entire psa 10 WOTC set of non-holo rares, uncommon, and commons is it more efficient to buy packs hoping to get a couple 10’s out of the pack or just buy the card itself at a premium (even though the pop is super low and you might never see one in the market). Sometimes the cost of one uncommon/common card in psa 10 could be the cost of 80% of a booster pack.

I would love to here anyone’s thoughts on this especially if you did or are collecting non-holos as well. I understand that there is a premium to an already graded card but when does that become too much and make you want to risk it with opening packs yourself?

It totally depends on what access to Mint+, potentially GEM raw cards you have as well as your eye for grading among other things.

If you are paying $50+ for a psa 10 non holo generally there is a decent shot you can just buy several copies of it raw and send the best 1 or 2 and get it yourself. Non holos are quite a bit easier for an amateur to grade. When grading non holos I have historically hit 80 or 90%+ 10s because I am pulling from a pack fresh pool of cards with dozens of each where I am taking just the best few of each.

Another consideration is your patience both with PSA turnaround times and waiting for cards to hit the market that may not do so very often. Further, what is your plan for the inevitable 9s if you grade yourself?

I dont collect non holo 10s (or any 10s generally) but I have raw binder sets that would likely grade 90%+ 10s. If I were buying them though I’d probably generally tend to buy those that are sub $25 and grade myself those above.


Honestly it’s a gamble, especially on the grader. Fresh packs don’t mean you necessarily get a 10 and a long wait time to get that result, especially with the current situation. I guess if the pop is low, it would be a gamble just waiting for it to pop up. It really depends on how quickly you want to complete the set.

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I do not recommend buying packs in order to open them and get them graded hoping for a 10. As previously mentioned, there is no guarantee of a 10 upon opening fresh packs. I would advise to do what @gottaketchumall said and buy several raw copies, sending them in yourself to grade or pay the premium for a 10. Packs have gotten insanely expensive over the last few years and are at an all-time high right now. You will be spending much more money than needed if you buy packs to open and grade for 10’s.

On a side note - I don’t think packs should be bought with the intention of opening unless you are comfortable with paying a high premium for that nostalgic feeling. Do not buy packs to attempt to complete your collection nor to submit to PSA hoping for 10’s.


I can totally wait for psa to grade my cards i think the hardest problem is acquiring Mint cards. Most people dont even bother to list uncommon, common cards or when they do list them its usually never a 10 possible. hence the booster packs instead of the raw cards.

Thanks i guess you are correct i personally dont know anyone who is selling fresh out of pack mint cards i have already posted a buylist on this forum but havent gotten any response for raw cards.

@mrpandachum you can always try a buy list here. Make it clear what you are after and offer a solid premium and it’s more likely someone will take the time to look and fulfill your request. I’ve done it from time to time, but the problem is usually lack of time and often times people don’t want to go that route anyways and/or pay the premium that’d make it worth it.

My problem when I see a thread like this is that I often have a few cards I could send at least one of which would get a 10, but the offer is too low to take the time to do it, or the buyer only wants the card already graded and if I were to send them out banking on getting the sale it is fairly likely someone else would beat me to it or one would come to market or even the buyer would no longer be interested 4-6 months later.

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You could probably buy a couple packs if you’re just starting the set. After a few packs, or if you’ve accumulated a partial graded set the probability of hitting a double goes up. But right out of the gate you’ll need every card you pull so it’s probably worth it to buy a couple packs and hope for the 10s.

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Hit up people like tca and pokerev and offer to buy the leftover bulk from box openings.