What is PSA's opinion worth to you?

After seeing the recent 1st edition PSA 10 Charizard sell for $27.5K, I’ve wondered about the drastic difference between the PSA 10 and 9 prices for this card.

I’ve seen and bought several PSA 9 cards that look to be flawless except for a slight centering issue. PSA states that a PSA 10 card must have 40/60 or better centering, whereas a PSA 9 card must have 35/65 or better centering. Let’s say there are two 1st edition PSA 10 Charizards sent to PSA. They are both flawless in all aspects, except the first one has 41/59 centering and the second one has 39/61 centering. Technically, the first should be graded a 10 and the second should be graded a 9. Now if these sold in an auction, we would probably see a final sale price difference of 15K+.

I know there are many cases, where the difference between the two grades is clear. However, if we compare the strongest 9 with the weakest 10, how do you justify that price differential? PSA provides a service that is absolutely essential to the hobby, but there is still subjectivity to the grading scale. Can the human eye even calculate the centering ratio of a card? Is PSA’s opinion in this case worth 15K?

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They measure the centering ratio with a ruler,

heres a good video by PSA that addresses the issue mentioned in the OP

you should be using your own knowledge and combining it with PSA’s assessment of the card and come to a conclusion based on that

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Absolutely not wirth the 15k. That one that sold was a very poor example of a 10. I also have my doubts that the sale actually went thru for that price. I talked to the seller like a month ago when it was listed and he was willing to take half cash and half cards he seemed very negotiable. So for him to have got 27k straight cash seems highly unlikely to me. And especially now with the shape of the current market prices.

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Thank you for sharing the video. That’s a great response by PSA.

So as a buyer, I can find the strongest PSA 9 and buy that. I think both the seller and the buyer would be able to agree that a card is a strong 9 and therefore there would be a small premium. However, if a seller has a weak 10, there’s no way they are going to sell for any less than other 10s have sold for just because a buyer says there grade is weak.

Yeah, I was wondering why a best offer wasn’t made…

But we also must consider that identifying strong and weak grades can be subjective, as mentioned in the video above, some buyers may value a centered card, some may value a clean holofoil, some may value perfect corners and zero edge wear, the important thing is that you the buyer are happy with the card you are buying, regardless of what the number on the case says

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We don’t justify the price differential. Market demand justifies the price differential. Something is only worth what the market is willing to pay. If people want something and are willing to pay for it, then that’s the established price: no justification is needed.

We must react around what the market decides. The market has decided that PSA 9s are worth only $5k. You can try to sell a PSA 9 Zard for $20k, even though it looks stronger than most 10s in some ways. You won’t be able to.

Also, centering is just one aspect of what PSA measures when grading. You’re describing a scenario where one card is perfect, save for the off centering and another card is also perfect with perfect centering. This almost never happens, even for pack fresh cards. There are so many more important requirements that a Gem Mint card has to meet: full gloss on the foil, little to no edge wear, no fading, no creases, no stains, no scratches, no chipping, no silvering, no print lines etc etc.

Keep in mind also that PSA probably factors in flaws on the front more harshly than flaws on the back. That’s why people look at a PSA 10 with a dot or two on the back edge and say, ‘that’s a really weak 10’. They don’t understand the other 99 hoops that particular card was able to jump through on the front that hundreds of PSA 9s couldn’t get through, namely: print lines on the foil + scratching on the foil. I have a stack of PSA 9s with awesome centering and gem mint edges and corners that would be 10s save for some light scratching.

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I did check to see if it was still available and offered a little more but got no reply…telling me it wasn’t available anymore. It was a test.

As far as what charizandrew said about finding a strong 9, you have to realize that the case hides damage. Sometimes pretty severe damage.

Were you able to find out if the sale was legit?

I personally can not justify the high price difference for that 10 grade. If the price difference is negligible, sure I’ll buy the 10 or if I’m purchasing the card as an investment. However,for my personal collection I prefer 9s.

Since he didn’t reply to my higher offer after it closed it’s safe to assume it’s gone.

Agreed. I’ve found PSA 9 cards that are flawless with no scratches on the holo and no whitening on the back, but a little bit off center. I can’t justify paying 15K extra for a slightly better centered copy. The price difference is extremely steep, but the condition difference is sometimes minor.

I believe if you put a PSA 10 Charizard up for auction it would earn 20K, and if you were to photoshop the PSA label of the same exact card and change the grade to a 9, it would earn 6K max. I could never actually do that experiment, because it would be a scam, but it’s interesting to think about what would happen.

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I see, thanks for checking. It would be interesting to know the final sale price.

Interestingly enough I think that the 0.02 difference might just be worth 15k

Say a Olympic swimmer clocks 49.99 on the butterfly and the other clocks 50.01

Ones sub 50 and deemed worthy of media attention while the other is impressive but probably wont bring a frenzy. But 50 is an arbitrary imaginary cutoff - it should be viewed as continuous

But I’m also on the fence. Recently psa’s opinion has been worth less and less to me, I look very hard when bidding for psa 10s nowadays and try to buy a solid 10

Passed on a ton of 10s because they looked like 9s. Like that blastoise. Pretty sure most of us would have come across 9s in better condition - I know I have


I appreciate this perspective. Even if you think about the Olympics, a fraction of a second can separate the gold medal swimmer from the 4th place swimmer with no medal. The gold medalist will be in the history books, while the 4th place person won’t be.

I think it’s interesting that to capture this very small time difference, an extremely accurate timing system needs to be in place. If we were using the human eye or a handheld stopwatch to determine the winner, we would never get accurate results.

PSA could use technology to scan the card and compute centering and other parameters relative to the card’s condition. This would increase objectivity and consistency. If this were the case, I’d feel more comfortable saying there is a 15K difference between a PSA 9 and PSA 10 Charizard.

Ultimately, I also believe that small difference is worth the 15K, but can PSA detect the difference accurately and consistently?

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I think it’s important to remember the psychological value of 10s.

What is a more valuable experience? Climbing 98% of Mount Everest or making it to the summit? Would your opinion change if the last 5% of the trip to the summit was done by cablecar?


Haha, your the Greg Gutfeld of Pokemon similies😂

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@pkmnflyingmaster that is a bad analogy. No offense but it is awful really. Same goes for the Olympic one. When you make it to the summit of Everest you achieve the absolute highest accolade. Nobody has to externally validate it. It stands on its own merit as the highest (literally) summit any human can reach on Earth. When you get a PSA 10 it is just a card that subjectively meets their guidelines and rounding specification. Essentially PSA 9.5 or higher cards get lumped in together. Or 9.7 maybe it is wherever they consider the line is arbitrary as there isn’t an actual formula like BGS which is still subjective due to the subjectivity of each independent subgrade. Not even a BGS 10 which is a higher average condition than a PSA 10 comes close to that analogy. In reality there is overlap as well between PSA 9/PSA 10 where I mean that there is some certain pool of cards that if you submitted them 10 times each would come back 9 or 10 depending on the day.

I personally value PSA’s opinion much lower than the market does. That is why I sell most 10’s and keep mostly only 9’s. I keep for my collection the 9’s near the higher end of the rounding pool IMO (think 9.1’s to 9.49’s). I know if I were to submit my hundreds (maybe thousand?) PSA 9’s that I would get back very few 8’s, mostly 9’s and many 10’s. The fact is anyone with a collection of 1,000 10’s would likely get back more 9’s than they would be happy with and I would wager a hefty bet that even assuming no cracking/handling damage that some would go to 8’s or less. That is why I just can’t bring myself to pay up for them.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with people valuing the PSA 10 grade so highly, I am more just providing a different look into it and my reasons for why I don’t ride aboard the PSA 10 hype train. I do for resale purposes value them as more than 9’s obviously but for my own collection purposes I couldn’t be more happy than I am with the 9’s in my collection.


I think everybody should jump off the 10 train so I can get them all;)


@garyis2000 if I was at a different place in life it is slightly more likely that I would be able to justify keeping more 10’s than I do, but just where I am at I can’t come close. Maybe still not even given I was retired and with a net worth of a few mill. I would probably still go for the 9’s. I feel like given that a complete PSA 9 base 1st set is in the $15-20k range my buy price on a PSA 10 1st zard would be around $7.5-$10k which is obviously well below market and not something I would ever find a seller for.

But yeah, I would take a complete base 1st edition set + base set unlimited + jungle 1st edition + fossil 1st edition all in PSA 9 over a single PSA 10 base 1st charizard any day of the week. Especially given the fact that my charizard likely may have anywhere from a 5-25% chance of garnering a PSA 10 if I were to try and regrade it on any given day. Same goes for the other couple hundred cards of the bunch.

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