Sports Auctions: Top 7 Reasons Why PSA Labels Matter + Guide to Different Grading Scales (2023)

PSA Labels

Authenticating and determining the quality and shape of sports memorabilia is a vital step that helps establish the value of each item. Different factors, such as history, material, type, sentiment, ligatures, etc., affect the value and grade of sports memorabilia. Grading authorities have a set of labels they assign to each item after thoroughly studying these factors.

PSA is one of the most prominent third-party grading institutions, and they have a 10-point grading system to assign specific labels to the sports memorabilia studied by them. The entire process is highly detailed, but it is necessary as it helps establish the value and quality of trading cards. Here’s a look at which PSA labels are essential to consider.

7 Reasons PSA Labels Are Necessary

  1. Proves Authenticity – PSA grading helps prove how authentic a particular piece of memorabilia is. After a detailed study of each item, the grade helps establish its genuineness, making it more suitable for different sports auctions.
  2. Showcases True Quality – PSA labels help determine the quality of a particular memorabilia item, i.e., if it is in good shape, worn out, etc. For example, when a grade is assigned to a sports trading card, it can help viewers understand the present quality of the item and how it has changed with time.
  3. Provides Transparency – PSA labels clearly mark how a particular memorabilia item has been graded. By checking an assigned grade, viewers can check the factors that have contributed to it to establish that label and the process that has gone into it.
  4. Determines Value – PSA grades help determine the actual value of a memorabilia item. During different auctions, these labels can help establish if a particular piece will sell for a higher or lower price and also help online auction houses understand the starting bids they have to lay out.
  5. Serves as a Protective Measure – Since PSA grades help establish the authenticity of sports memorabilia, it also serves as a protective measure that eliminates the risk of replica items being auctioned off as genuine. All authentic sports memorabilia pieces will have a grade attached to them, and auction participants will be able to identify the authentic ones from others.
  6. Higher Demands in Auctions – Graded sports memorabilia, such as trading cards, often lead to higher demands during different sports auctions. Often, assigned labels can boost the value of a particular item, which can contribute towards a rise in how many collectors will bid on it.
  7. Better Identification – PSA grading helps identify the materials of sports memorabilia items, such as the type of paper, the density, the inks used, the color grade, and more. PSA labels lead to better identification of finer details that can contribute towards the value of a memorabilia item.
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A Complete Guide to the 10-Point Grading Scale

PSA labels are assigned to sports memorabilia, such as trading cards, on a 10-point scale. Here’s a look at the different grades.

  1. PR 1 (Poor) – It is given to trading cards of significantly poor quality, arising from damage to the extent that the card has no appeal.
  2. GOOD 2 (Good) – The label showcases trading cards with several creases at different points, discoloration, no gloss, etc. However, these cards may still have some minor appeal attached to them.
  3. VG 3 (Very Good) – The grade is given to trading cards with light scratches and minor stains but no extreme damage, giving the card a little appeal.
  4. VG-EX 4 (Very Good-Excellent) – Cards with this grade often carry slightly rounded corners and their original gloss, with a centering of 85/15 or more on the front and 90/10 or more on the back.
  5. EX 5 (Excellent) – Cards with minute rounded corners or a slight loss of original shine may fall under this label. The card will still have its appeal, despite these additions.
  6. EX_MT 6 (Excellent-Mint) – Cards with this label may have an original printing error or defect, but in a way that will not affect the appeal of the card in the market.
  7. NM 7 (Near-Mint) – The card may only show signs of wear on its surface when inspected closely. It does not take away the card’s appeal and gives a grade to those of higher quality.
  8. NM-MT 8 (Near Mint-Mint) – The label is assigned to high-end trading cards that may seem more mint at first glance. Imperfections are only noticeable with close inspection, which may show minor fraying at the corners.
  9. MINT 9 (Mint) – These cards are almost close to the mint quality, making them one of the highest quality cards available during auctions.
  10. GEM-MT 10 (Gem Mint) – Cards with this label can be considered virtually perfect. It is only possible when it is free of stains, wear, etc.
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PSA grading provides identification marks to trading card memorabilia and allows outside viewers to understand the value and quality of each. It is a highly-efficient system for grading cards and proving their authenticity before auctioning them. When participating in different sports auctions, it will be beneficial to go for memorabilia with a PSA grade.

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