Raw card = PSA?

I’m going to try to keep this as simple as possible as I’m sure there are many variables when it comes down to it but, when are a pack fresh card and a PSA graded card equal in price? I would say exclude any card under $20 as currently its $18 to submit to PSA and I don’t know a single person who would send in a $1 card and then resell it for a similar price if given a very low grade.

PSA 7? 8?

I understand it can vary from card to card but there must be some rule of thumb or range where if you were given the option of raw card or same card in PSA (?) there wouldn’t be a difference price wise just aesthetic wise.

Sorry In advance if any of that was unclear!

Its like you said, there is no real rule of thumb for this. Generally, vintage cards in low grades (6-7) end up selling for the same price as a raw NM copy due to the added time and effort it takes to get a card encapsulated. 8+ usually sells for some sort of premium. That said there are tons of examples that contradict this.

In general, the two things that I feel contribute to how closely raw prices relate to graded prices are

  • Difficulty to grading/acquiring a mint quality raw copy. The harder it is, the higher the graded premium we can expect. ex. Modern cards in PSA 8-9 often sell for close to raw NM copies bc it just isn’t that hard to find mint copies.

  • how often raw and graded cards are traded in the market. If there are a high volume of buyers/sellers and thus more sales data, the deltas between graded/raw tend to be better understood/optimized by all parties. If we are talking about really niche cards that don’t get bought/sold frequently then there may only be a few copies of any status on the market and the prices will be much more volatile.


Short answer, never. You should never consider the value of a raw card to be the same as the theoretical value of a graded card, especially PSA which charges value premiums on top of the grading fee.

The other way to look at this is “when is the demand for a certain card in a certain grade so low that raw cards cost the same or more?” And the answer to that is entirely card-dependent.

I think raw cards and graded cards should be viewed as fundamentally different products.


For vintage, PSA 8 = raw NM
For modern, PSA 9 = raw NM
This is assuming set cards in the $50 to $200 price range


for me personally though I’d rather have a PSA 9 or 10 compared to a raw copy so if the price is the same I’ll buy the Mint grade.

if its between an 8 and a NM copy, it’ll depend on the two factors I described above. if its a more common card or an easier card to grade I’ll try my luck with NM and hope to get a 9+ quality card.

if its harder to grade or just generally rarer I’m happy to get an 8 for the same price as a NM copy.

Generally I won’t want to buy 7s or lower. Its just too easy to get a card in 8+ quality condition in my opinion (for most cards)


Thank everyone! To be honest I wasn’t even thinking about vintage or high end cards but I should have clarified. I know the difference in price between a grade can really sway the price on those cards. Seeing y’all’s replies made me realize-

  1. I was trying to assign structure and order to something you can’t really.

  2. My thinking was focused on modern cards and on the $50-$200 range @eeveeteam mentioned.

  3. My second question gets answers as well, which was how you can take a $1 professors research from celebrations and it goes for around $40 at a ten but a similar $1 gold star greninja can pull in $80 in a ten. It’s just card dependent as @stagecoach said.

I would probably take the 8 and probably the 7 as well just because it practically guarantees nothing bad would happen to the card itself. I practice good card handling because you know… sometimes things happen :joy:

1 Like

I don’t collect vintage.
But for modern depends if you mean rare full art secret cards etc. or rare common holo. The reason for this distinction is simple, the common and rare holo have more defects, less quality control.
Suppose you are talking about full art / secret rare etc. For me RAW = PSA 10. Why am I saying this? 99% of modern cards more than 50% of the pop report is PSA 10. This is also why a PSA 9 on a modern card will ALWAYS have less raw + gradation value.

For Japanese is even more obvious.

1 Like

This is a great example of the “why” or the fundamentals of cards. Its a pretty popular card. First Gold Star since the EX era. While its not rare, Greninja GS is also currently english exclusive.


I’ve paid PSA 9 prices for pack-fresh, mint raw cards from sellers I trust. But in most instances, people won’t pay PSA 9 prices or higher for raw cards. Based on eBay auction results, raw cards that appear mint tend to go for in between PSA 8 and 9 prices.

There’s very little (if any) premium associated with an 8. When I was building my raw sets, I would often buy 8s to crack simply because they were the cheapest option for decent-ish condition binder cards. For a short period of time in late 2020/early 2021, PSA 8s were demanding a premium over raw, but this is generally no longer the case.

(Note: I’m referring to English 1st Ed WotC, e-Series, and early EX Series holos. For non-holos and/or modern and/or Japanese cards, the dynamics may well be different.)


Agree with the others. A true NM card is basically your average PSA 8. A lot of people stretch the truth around ‘NM’ on raw ads though, so you have to make your best judgment as well. PSA 7 is considered technical NM, but I find they can fall more in the EX/LP condition than NM, but it all depends on the card. In the end of the day, it comes down to an opinion.

I try to buy PSA 8s for binder copies, but sometimes I’ll even scoop up a well conditioned 6 or 7 if it meets my conditional preference.


@zorloth @jabby

Thanks for that I hadn’t even thought about just getting a 7/8 and cracking it for binder sets! This opens up a whole new way for me to complete sets.
Would you say for those projects it’s more important to have good condition on the face of the card and not so much the back? I know someone who collects damaged full art trainers where the front looks great still and all the problems are on the back of the card since you are only seeing the front of it anyways in a binder.


Personally, both the back and front are important to me (even if only the front is seen). But it’s just a matter of personal preference – I know people who are fine with giant creases, water damage, and the like, so long as the front of the card looks good when sleeved + in a binder page. There’s no wrong way to collect!


I actually prefer cards with a bit of whitening for my binder. There are plenty of cards with perfect fronts and the damage is entirely on the backside. Of course its entirely preference. People like @jonandek probably have psa 9-10 cards in a binder as we speak! :sweat_smile:


Unfortunately I think people will assign a discount to any raw card. It’s a case of some rotten apples spoiling the whole bunch, but so many “NM” or Mint cards just do not come as advertised. I still get burned by this frequently - it’s a risk of buying raw. So if it’s a valuable card, I would ALWAYS consider getting it graded before selling.

That said, I also agree that the “cutoff” grade concept is real. I don’t think there’s one answer to the cutoff question though. For something very rare, scarce, or vintage, the cutoff probably slides a bit versus a modern card.

Modern cards may need to have a 9 or 10 grade to be desirable in slabbed form given the sheer supply of them. Something like first edition base or gold stars have a solid market at 8 and up, IMO. Trophy cards (admittedly not my area of expertise) seem like they could easily slide to the 7 range at least for something very scarce or iconic.


I think most people consider a “mint front” to be a perfect binder card. I’m probably in the very (very!) slim ocd minority that like their binder sets to be pack fresh. For the average collector, I don’t condone my own behavior. But for anyone that wants to come to the dark side I have nearly perfected my techniques to safely crack any slab (PSA, BGS, CGC) to free the cards to a permanent binder home. The end result is satisfying :slight_smile:


Buying 6s, 7s, or 8s for binders is a great strategy because you know it’s authentic, and you also generally can expect a much more accurate condition for the assigned technical grade. It takes away a lot of ‘unknowns’ so to speak compared to buying raw.

So yes, cracking these out for binders is a great option. You can still shop for raw cards, but it can be tough to find actual NM cards for some sets, particularly WOTC holos and things like 1st Edition Base Set because many have been bought up or graded. I will say that it’s very exciting to find nice clean raw card, but it’s going to be tough at times for some cards out there.

As far as conditional preferences, for a holo card I’m all about the holo itself and the overall eye appeal. More whitening on the back doesn’t bother me as much, especially for a binder copy. I’m only going to be looking at the front in a binder usually, so nice centering and a clean holo appeals to me. For non-holos, I pretty much apply the same rule.

A good example of what I look for is a Pidgeot I bought recently, it might have a tiny dent or small crease, but I consider this perfect for a binder and it’s a PSA 6. The holo is flawless from what I can tell, and it was a bargain price at auction:


Ah I see, if I recall correctly doesn’t a dent or small crease automatically bump you down to a 6 regardless of everything else? I can definitely see how that would be a great binder card with 3/4ths of the card being minty.(btw congratz on the steal)

1 Like

Yea I can really see now that it’s just so different depending on all the variables.

So then let me ask a different question. Given the same card at the same grade how much more different can it get when comparing to other grade company’s? I’m sure CGC and Becket wouldn’t be drastically different but I’ve definitely talked with people who wouldn’t pay raw price for a ace grade or what have you any other small grade company. I hear a variety of people who will purchase CGC and try to cross to psa but is it really that much of a difference that you are willing to go through that process…?

I’m curious to hear Jon’s answer to this question, but in the meantime here’s what I feel the rough equivalencies are based on my experience:

PSA 10 = CGC 9.5
PSA 9 = CGC 9
PSA 8 = CGC 8.5
PSA 7 = CGC 8

These are approximations, of course, and it will vary from card to card. Basically, though, PSA and CGC are quite similar at the top of the grading scale. I don’t think that either is stricter than the other. But when you get below 9, PSA is stricter. So, for instance, I would pay more for a PSA 8 than a CGC 8.

(note: my experience is with pre-2007 English holos, so this scale may differ slightly for other sorts of cards)