If PSA had subgrades, how would that affect things?

If PSA started grading with subgrades, would they still be king of Pokémon grading? Would you still want to grade with them? Would you grade more?

If they were optional (which they probably would be) would you pay more to get them? Would BGS or CGC’s subgrade structure and pricing be more attractive?

How would subgrades affect PSA 10’s and prices? Would you crack and resubmit your current cards to find out their sub grades?

If PSA had a perfect grade (all 10 subgrades) how would that affect the market? Would you chase it?

Lol this turned into 20 questions but I’m curious what y’all think.


There are already too many grades for the same card. A perfect/black label 10, a pristine 10, a gem mint 10, a 9.5, are all generally the same card condition wise.

Not a fan of it


This should be fun to see responses. Let the PSA vs. CGC/BGS war ensue! :crossed_swords:

Not sure which of these questions this answers, but here we go: for me personally, I think it would be nice to know what subgrades a card received while being graded at PSA (either by being included with the order, or able to be seen in the online registry when you look up the cert number), but I don’t really need (or desire) it on the slab itself. To be honest nothing would annoy me more than having a PSA 10 card with three 10 subgrades and a 9/9.5 for edges or centering, for example (which is also how I feel about CGC and BGS cards, not that I intentionally collect either of those apart from cracking for binders).

Maybe I’m simple minded (and by maybe, I mean definitely), but once I start seeing subgrades I get a little bogged down between the overall grade and how it was determined, while at the end of the day I really just care about how that individual card appealed to me to begin with. Funny enough, I think seeing subgraded cards from PSA would actually help me determine what to crack for binders. A PSA 7 holo with 8’s across the board but a 5 surface? Meh. But a PSA 7 holo with 6’s for edges/corners and a 8/9 surface? Sign me up! In turn, this would likely affect pricing as well so yeah…buy the card, not the grade, right?


Also forgot to mention, PSA already has too small of label, by like 50% too small. So adding subgrades would require a complete case and label re-design.


Great point on the pricing aspect. A specific grade will now have much more variance in pricing due to the differences in subgrades. Also would create a more obvious “strong vs weak 9” for example.

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I just realized my response didn’t say much about price stuff specifically (like your question asks), so for what it’s worth…no, I would not pay a premium for a PSA 10 with 10 subgrades. The current sales I see with people paying 10x on a “perfect” card versus a 10 with three 10 subgrades and one 9.5 is bizarre to me.

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I may be in the minority here, but I wouldn’t like PSA to add subgrades. I can see what is deficient on my cards (e.g., surface, edges, corners, centering). I don’t need additional scores to reaffirm that.

PSA will always be king of Pokemon grading in my opinion - pending a crazy situation of fraud or some type of scandal that creates backlash.

The PSA 10 GEM MINT variance is real, which is why I buy the card rather than the grade. My approach wouldn’t change if there were subgrades.


Nope, I’m right there with you. I’ve always appreciated how PSA’s grade have been more about the overall appeal of the card rather than nit picking each individual score. Also half-grades drive me nuts and I’m glad PSA rarely does it.

Any major label change would just about put my OCD over the edge :sweat_smile: I like how PSA has kept their labels consistent over the years even with the updates.


Subgrades matter far less than the overall score - keep it simple

Also, as if PSA labels don’t need more space to reduce abbreviated nonsense


@codytcas @Dyl

I agree with both of you. It would take too much of an overhaul of their whole system, including slab design, labels, etc. for it to make any sense. Also collectors that have been collecting for years and years would then wonder if all their 10’s would still hold up if they were scrutinized with subgrades. (Potentially?)

The labels already to small to fit everything now haha. I would just be curious the price fluctuations that might happen if the low end and super high end cards got the equivalent of a PSA black label haha. It would be nuts.


Yeah I think they’ve backed themselves into a corner with their small labels. It’s a bummer honestly. Something I like about CGC is the space they give to understand all the info about each card

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Visually I think it looks much better having a single, numerical grade that’s also a whole number. None of that 8.5, 7.5, 9.5 nonsense. Seeing an otherwise perfect card that’s graded a 10, yet still has a 9.5 subgrade is weird and distracts from the overall appeal of the slab. I’d argue that its even more distracting than a PSA 10 that is slightly off centered, has a line in the holo, or has whitening. Furthermore, having 4 subgrades, all of which vary between 8 and 10, (for most minty cards) is too complicated. I think a CGC card with no subgrades looks better than one with subgrades.

The only thing I’d change with PSA labels is the way in which cards are abbreviated. Dunno if they could fix that without redoing the entire label, but I’m sure they could figure something out.



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Bruh moment

That’s one thing I like about PSA. It’s a level field, whole grades (for the vast majority of cards), no subgrades available. You get what you get. The simplicity is nice to me.

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Id be turned off to it, i like the simple, easy grade and label display.

If i want to know the conditions of the corners or edges, i can look for myself. Also psa 10 is a more achievable grade than bl or perfect, i dont need to stress about “upgrading” more


From a market perspective, it could potentially impact the prices of a card depending on the sub-grades, similar to BGS or CGC I think. I think though at this point, BGS and CGC have this niche covered just fine, and it allows the market & collectors to have some options for in between grades or “stronger” grades if it’s a Pristine compared to Gem Mint (which is also subjective in nature). As others have mentioned, it becomes sort of less important when you get into the 9.5+ range of grades as the differences can be extremely minimal overall, so it really just comes down to a number on the label for a lot of people.

Personally, I like 9.5s as a strong value option compared to a 10 for certain cards. Often they can be way cheaper than the PSA 10 of the same card and still make very nice collector pieces. In my experience they’re also still a pretty ‘investable’ grade as well, and on most vintage cards a 9.5 still tends to be a very tough grade, just like PSA 10 can be at times.

On modern cards, the Pristine or better grades seem to be attractive as it’s one of the few ways to stand out from all the PSA 10s, so there’s that aspect at play as well from what I’ve been seeing. However, on a personal level, I’m generally satisfied with 9.5s and PSA 10 for 99% of cards out there.


That’s a good point. 9.5’s are definitely great for vintage stuff. I personally prefer full numbers, that’s just me haha. For vintage, I’m fine with 9’s especially since vintage 10’s are always usually out of price range and usually not worth the condition change from 9-10 (usually just slightly better centering).

For ultra modern stuff, I agree: 10’s (or higher, black label/perfects,etc) are fun to get and stand out with since there are a LOT of ultra modern 10’s. It’s usually not suuuuper expensive to get those.


PSA isnt particularly consistent with one grade, subgrades are just 4 more ways of being inconsistent


Got eeem