PSA - New certs Vs Old certs

It seems to be pretty universally accepted that the newest PSA certs are graded to a stricter standard than older ones (especially in the 44million+ range seemingly!)

Do you think that at some point we will start to see a new market for people going after newer certs and creating a price divide between new and old? At the moment it seems as though a 10 is a 10 price wise, regardless of cert number. But it would certainly give the highest end collectors a new chase with regards to getting the strongest most flawless 10s possible.

I know that personally I would always go for a newer cert if the option is there with no price difference. I’ve bought several older 10s that are a weak 9 at best. Do you all go for newer certs if possible?

Obviously if you’re buying a card in person it can be inspected and checked over - but the majority of us are judging based on photos alone, and a newer cert can offer a certain level of comfort!


This is not universally accepted. It is an instagram conspiracy theory.

We have several very recent threads on this already where the debate is quite strong, I would suggest you look through there.


Harsher ≠ All previous grades are now wrong.

Also people who are proponents of this new mentality, expect to pay a premium if you want this to become a reality. IF it catches on, sellers will rightfully add a premium. If not, then the logic is hypocritical.


To me this is just the new fad. Much like a few months ago everyone was black label or bust. A cert number is just a number and should not be a deciding factor when judging a card to be “weak” or “strong”.


Just wanted to note that since we’ve discussed this previously, we’ll keep the thread open but will not hesitate to lock it if the discussion gets out of hand. I’ll summarize one of my posts from the other thread just as a reference for the facts on the matter.

There is zero actual evidence that shows that newer certs are somehow harsher grades. It is an instagram conspiracy theory that has taken hold because surprise surprise, people think their cards are in better condition that the grades PSA gives. Usually the “evidence” people provide is cherry-picked from new and old submissions comparing weak 10s to strong 9s, or the like. Your 50-100 card submission is not a representative sample, especially because graders vary. In methodological terms, any analysis you do by submission isn’t actually reflective of grades but graders. Scientifically the only conclusion you could draw from comparing single submissions is that graders vary, and that’s even assuming there is a significant quantifiable difference. Additionally, the people who think they’ve been shafted are being much more vocal. You don’t go on instagram or the forum and make a clickbait post singing PSA’s praises whenever they give you the grades you expected.

All in all, the fact that there are weak 10s and strong 9s is well-accepted. As I noted, PSA graders are human and occasionally one may grade harsher than another. Hell, even within submissions there can be variation on grading. The fact that someone may have got a harsher grader for one submission does not legitimate a company-wide directive to change grading standards across time. Nor does the fact that someone got a tough order and can cherry-pick some 4xxx certs and compare them to 2xxx certs. With some quick research I could grab some cards from my PSA collection and make the argument that cards finished on Wednesdays are graded harsher than those finished on Mondays. I could switch up the cards and make the exact opposite argument.

In order to make the argument that grading standards have changed you need to submit business-level amounts of cards. I’ve talked to Charlie, the largest submitter of Pokemon cards out there, and he says there has been no distinguishable change. Until I hear differently from the people who actually submit representative samples of cards, this narrative is pure conspiracy.


I completely agree that the cert number is meaningless if you’re able to check the card over and ensure you’re happy with it - it was more of an open question to other collectors who have been in the game longer than me. Having read through the other threads now some people are adamant there is little to no difference, others are adamant there is a clear difference. My personal experience is that more recently graded cards are less likely to have minor nicks and pass as a 10 - but I’m only one person with limited exposure.

If they are grading more strictly - it’s only a good thing if they are also ensuring greater consistency going forward (which is another contentious point!)

Thanks for the run down. I definitely see a lot of people complaining about their grades on social media, where they may not have spotted an indent or microcrease when they submitted it. My recent sub fared better than I expected which goes against my original point (although these weren’t 10s). As I said in my previous comment - I am only one collector with limited exposure - so perhaps I have just had less good luck with my older cert 10 purchases vs my newer ones.

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I haven’t had a chance to read through any of the previous threads, so I apologize if this has been brought up before…but I just wanted to add that PSA has flip flopped from 2x to 4x certs for a couple of years now.


There will be a hot new PFM video dropping shortly. Stay tuned.


If anyone is pitching you that certain certs have stricter standards than others, they most likely (1) are irrelevant in the hobby and (2) have only submitted a negligible amount of cards in their life. Funny how people in pokemon think they’re experts on everything.

Beat you to it! :sunglasses:


The thumbnail :rofl:
Oh lord


I’m very glad that I asked this question because it’s great to hear that the ‘universal acceptance’ of the stricter recent grading clearly resides in a social media bubble. I’m not sure it’s necessarily people thinking that they’re experts, moreso people posturing and trying to ensure their social media presence is respected. Either way it spreads false information!

I’m here to learn and I’ve already been schooled several times since I started posting about 24 hours ago! Appreciate all the feedback.

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New @smpratte, video /thread.

I have been grading regularly since september 2017 and I can’t see a stricter grading standard, neither do I know if before 2017 it was easier to grade.
There might be some submission that were harsher, but I never got something like an 8 on an expected 10. But at the end of the day, there will always be some overlap, the best PSA 9 are better than the worst PSA 10, etc.

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“Ebay should be a charity losing money every year”

This video is pure gold. Haha

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Hi Guys,

I am a relative newcomer to the hobby. I really enjoy collecting PSA wotc cards and newer cards and sets I like.

Recently I have become aware through videos like the one Z&G put out that PSA are grading harsher and inconsistent. Cards that where PSA 10 getting downgraded to a 9. New grades that are clearly off center getting a 10.

I have a PSA 9 base set Zapdos that has a flawless front and only a tiny bit of whitening on one corner. It looks more appealing to me than an off center 10. That’s just my opinion, I know centering is judged within a range.

How can people confidently pay such a premium for a PSA 10 over a 9 when it seems the grading process is inconsistent in areas. I have debated buying 10’s in the past but now am just looking to buy 9’s with high cert numbers that look well centered.

Has this always been an issue? or is grading standard becoming a bigger topic lately?


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I honestly can’t believe this has even become a thing.

Pretty soon, old certs are going to become in vogue and people are going to start demanding a premium for them because they are “vintage.”


@mikes360, Mike your post was moved to an ongoing discussion about the topic.

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What you need to keep in mind is that these cards aren’t graded by a machine. They are graded by people, and different people have different standards. What is a 10 to some is a 9 to others, and vice versa.

There will ALWAYS be inconsistency when it comes to PSA grading (or any grading service) because human beings, in general, are inconsistent. Whether or not you want to pay the 10 premium is entirely up to you.

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