PSA shocked collectors this past week then they announced an immediate suspension of most of their services, including Value, Economy, Regular, and Express submission tiers. While the Economy tier had been suspended for months, the suspension of other tiers means that the vast majority of submissions to PSA are halted. Reaction from collectors was mixed: some were happy that PSA was focusing on the ever-increasing backlog of cards, abysmal registration times, and multi-year outlook for Value returns. However at the same time, others were making proclamations of doom about how PSA graded cards would continue to significantly increase in value, and the backlog would put off their plans to get cards graded in the short term.
Disclaimer: Ludkins Media is a media outlet aimed at providing the most up-to-date TCG news. This is the opinion of one of our writers reflecting on the recent PSA announcement
While PSA’s shift to focusing on existing orders over new ones may at first look to be a massive shock to the graded card market, the effects are likely going to be minimized if felt at all. A significant factor influencing the instability in graded card prices is the massive PSA turnaround times – people who responded to price increases in the spring of 2020 by sending their cards to PSA are likely still waiting on those cards to be returned, while the market has continued to change drastically since then. By focusing on existing orders, PSA will hopefully be returning more cards to owners and therefore increasing graded card supply in the short term. This will at a minimum stabilize some of the prices that have been seen recently.
The long-term effect of the stoppage is less clear, however, given the volume of orders sent to PSA, a several-month delay is less impactful than one would think. Registration delays on packages sent to PSA have recently reached approximately three months and have been steadily increasing over the past year. So even if PSA was still accepting submissions, likely, one’s submission would not even be opened for over three months, which is the time frame in which PSA hopes to reopen all services hopefully with reduced time frames for registration and grading. A several-month delay on lower-tier submissions is of limited consequence when those submissions were already likely to take approximately 12-18 months to be returned.
Hitting the “emergency brake” on submissions allows PSA’s services to avoid unmitigated turnaround time disasters. It is certainly challenging for collectors, especially those who wanted to grade higher-value cards at the regular and express tiers, as these are less impacted by the turnaround time issues. However, there are certainly other options available for collectors who want their cards graded. Other grading companies have not halted submissions, and while bulk may still be a long wait, other grading companies are not as backed up as PSA. Now may be the perfect time to utilize different services and see if there are any you enjoy.
Ethan Pohl – Ludkins Media
Follow Ethan on Instagram and Twitter @fourthstartcg
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