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09-13-2006, 09:23 PM
Posted By: <b>Gilbert Maines</b><p>Grading is thought by us all to be highly subjective. But <br />Can we reduce this subjectivity or eliminate it by using a<br />set of mathematical formulas to reliably identify a cardís<br />condition? I donít know. Lets see.<br /><br />There is:<br /><br />Centering<br />Paper loss<br />Corner wear<br />Creases<br />Edge Wear<br />Recoloring<br />Staining<br />Print Spots<br />Abrasions<br />Tears<br />Pinholes<br />Writing<br />Surface Gloss<br />Other Stuff<br /><br />Now, computer grading was attempted unsuccessfully <br />with coins, but the main problem was that a coin is a<br />three dimensional object. And although baseball cards are too,<br />grading primarilly addresses the condition of two 2D surfaces.<br /><br />Graders measure a card to identify centering.<br />They can also measure a card , by superimposing a grid<br />to identify corner and edge wear, as well as quantifying<br />areas of staining and other imperfections (area of print spots,<br />writing, recoloring, abrasions, paper loss, etc.). Actual analysis <br />of these areas can most easily be performed by computer. However,<br />it also can be estimated manually.<br /><br />The length and number of creases can also be measured, and the <br />degree of gloss can be optically assessed, for example,by <br />photometrically measuring light reflectence.<br /><br />Certiainly, weighting factors can be generated for each of these <br />measurements and a comparitive value can be assigned to each card.<br /><br />Is this close? Maybe. It would be nice to have dependable grading.<br />Almost everyone would buy into that. If guys can figure out how to<br />input all auction results automatically into a dynamic database online<br />price utility, I bet they could program up something like this during lunch. <br />

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09-13-2006, 11:11 PM
Posted By: <b>craig</b><p>wow, very thought out. i am not a fan of grading mainly because of the human error/judgement varierables. a grading procees designed like the one you suggest would probably swing me to the other side.<br /><br />craig

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09-14-2006, 05:00 AM
Posted By: <b>honus3415</b><p>....just authenicate it and give me it's physical details.<br /><br />The "human element" will always be the biggest flaw with today's "grading" process. The "human" factor is far to inaccurate and inconsistent for today's marketplace where the slightest human oversight can mean a difference of thousands of dollars.<br /><br />Just how difficult could it be to have a totally computerized process (HAL 9001) for analyzing a piece of cardboard? We can remotely drive a vehicle around on Mars but we can't automate data analysis of a piece of cardboard.....I'm lost here.<br /><br />All I can say is if I were investing 5 grand on a card, I would want a little more assurance about my item's condition than what some blurry-eyed human may have come up with 5 minutes before lunch or quitting time. <br /><br />I do foresee the day when this service is available to buyers, a second opinion so to speak. At that point some collectors may be left holding some pretty expensive nice looking fillers who's biggest flaw is it's "human" grade.<br /><br /><br /><br />

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09-14-2006, 11:30 AM
Posted By: <b>Al C.risafulli</b><p>I think when it comes to grading, a lot of people are quick to apply exceptions to the rule.<br /><br />The reality is that I don't know any collector who would invest $5,000 into a card based solely on the grade, regardless of who the grading company is. I don't think anyone at a grading company would advise any collector to do that, either. Reasonable advice would be to take a good look at the card, or at least a large, clear scan, before buying that card - from a reputable seller.<br /><br />That being said, Gil's analysis appears well-reasoned, but it does not factor into the equation one of the most important elements of card grading: eye appeal. Any card can receive a well-deserved bump, or demerit, based on its eye appeal. More and more, I'm seeing eye appeal factor into the price as well, as people are beginning to understand the myriad of different issues that can make one card better than another, even within the same grade.<br /><br />Ultimately, I don't find the problem with grading to lie with the grading companies themselves - I find the problem lies with how collectors and sellers choose to adopt slabbed cards themselves. People who are absolutists, living solely with the number assigned to a card and the printed "value" of that card generally don't have a problem with grading. People who use grading as a guideline and pay a price they're comfortable with generally don't have a problem with grading. It's the people in the middle, who WANT to be able to embrace the number as the final arbiter of a card's condition, but also WANT the flexibility of being able to change what constitutes a card's key attributes, that can't fit the square peg into the round hole and vice-versa, and thus struggle with the concept.<br /><br />But, for the purpose of this thread, Gil, I'd add print registration, paper blemishes, trimming, restored corners/edges, toning, and overall quality of image (or richness of color) to your list of attributes. There are probably some others I'm neglecting to mention as well.<br /><br />The long and short of it, in my opinion, is that grading services (in general) do an excellent job offering a fairly objective opinion on a card's condition to be used as a guideline, and then protecting the card in a holder that prohibits most further deterioration of that card's condition. Human beings need to be a part of the process, though, because at the end of the day, grading is an "opinion"; all you need to do in order to understand that is look at two PSA 5s or SGC 60s side by side and see that while they both meet the technical standards of the grade, they have different strong and weak points.<br /><br />A card can be a 5 and have softer corners but a beautiful image and surface. A card can also be a 5 and have perfect corners and centering but a minor surface wrinkle. It's up to the collector - and not the grading company - to figure out which of those 5s you'd rather have in your collection.<br /><br />-Al<br /><br />

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09-14-2006, 02:42 PM
Posted By: <b>davidcycleback</b><p>A grade cannot be reliably be determined by mathematical equation or<br />scientific formula. For example, I don't think individual qualities can even<br />be absolutely reduced to a number. For 'color quality,' what's the difference <br />between a 7 and an 8, or a 9 and a 10? Many individual qualities are picked<br />and judged subjectivity. That a crease to a player's face is worse than to<br />the border is a subjective, if common, view (If many people hold the same bias,<br />that doesn't make their view unbiased). That different experienced and intelligent <br />collectors hold different views on what type of wear is more acceptable than others<br />("Corner rounding is okay, but no creases"), illustrates judging wear is subjective. <br />In fact, how the equation is determined and tinkered with involves human subjectivity <br />and taste. <br /><br />That there is a small industry of dealers who crack and resubmit a card to the <br />same grader to get a 9 instead of an 8, or a 10 instead of a 9, illustrates<br />that there is a margin of error, or variation, within a single grading company. <br />My guess is that the changes in grade is, in part, a demonstration<br />of the subjectivity in grading. The second time through, the card is looked<br />at a bit differently than the first. Assuming the card has not changed,<br />the difference is caused by how it's perceived differently-- and, without<br />the introduction of new knowledge, a change in human perception of a thing <br />that has not changed is subjectivity demonstrated.<br /><br />I agree with Al. PSA's system provides a guide, or number, for the collector. <br />How the collector uses these numbers is his choice. If a collector pays X10 <br />for a PSA 10 over a PSA 9 without looking at the card, that has nothing to do <br />with PSA. As grading involves subjectivity, the collector should be looking at <br />the card, if only to determine if the card is something he wants. For example,<br />even though graders tend not to judge Old Judge image clarity, for most OJ <br />collectors image clarity is essential and something they need to look at <br />before purchasing. And, even though it often doesn't show up in the grade,<br />the image clarity greatly effects sales price on eBay or Mastro auction.<br /><br />The second paragraphs illustrates that collectors who buy by grade numbers<br />alone are collecting numbers. If you pay $300 more for a card resumbitted<br />from a PSA9 to a PSA10, you're paying $300 for a number.

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09-14-2006, 06:37 PM
Posted By: <b>jay behrens</b><p>Al, all you have to do is look at Jim Crandal and his ilk and you will see plenty of people that will sink $5k into a card based soley on the number on the slab. They can claim to be buying the card, but when you are competing for the "best" set, you can no longer worry about what the card looks like and you have to concentrate on the flip.<br /><br />Jay<br><br>I love pinatas. You get to beat the crap of something and get rewarded with candy.

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09-14-2006, 08:36 PM
Posted By: <b>Al C.risafulli</b><p>Jay, apparently when you looked at Jim Crandell's collection you saw something different than what I saw when I looked at it. When I looked at it, I saw a lot of really gorgeous cards that were owned by a guy who was pretty passionate about them all. I saw lots of ungraded 19th century cabinets as well as ungraded shiny cards from the 90s, and everything inbetween.<br /><br />Yes, Jim's primary collection consists of all PSA 8s, and that's not your style of collecting or mine. But when you have a goal and a massive collection, I would imagine that sometimes you buy the card without seeing it - but I'll venture a guess that Jim's not buying $5000 cards sight unseen, unless he has a generous return privilege.<br /><br />-Al