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Old 03-17-2019, 09:18 AM
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MattyC MattyC is offline
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 2,035

The notion that the Registry absolutely differentiates true card quality, or that any particular vintage or PreWar Registry Set is "better/nicer" than another set (based on PSA's grades and the Registry site's ranking system) is specious and reductive. In other words, when comparatively evaluating cards or sets, it is important to parse "higher ranked on the PSA Registry" from genuinely "better." Or I suppose not everyone is willing to cede the defining of the better set or card to PSA's graders (especially since their qualifications/resumes are not really known).

The opinion of a "professional grader" and the weightings of PSA's Registry compositions certainly determine which cards and sets rule the roost on that one website— but the plethora of vintage cards residing in high grade PSA holders that would never get those same grades today is a factor that simply cannot be ignored.

PSA can often say one thing about a card with their grade, and yet time and again the market says otherwise— if that high grade card's sale price is surpassed by a better looking card in the same or sometimes even a lower grade.

From my browsing of the Registry, it seems high ranked Registry sets infrequently offer scans of the cards; when such sets do, there are invariably some print-dot riddled and off-centered cards. Those cards certainly help the sets in question maintain their high rank— but those same cards would probably set record lows for the grade if offered for sale in today's market, where there is such a premium on eye appeal and the card itself meriting or exceeding the grade assigned.

My focus is Mantle, and in talking with many Mantle collectors we have noticed how so many of the high sticker grade cards to hit the auction block lately are uninspiring. For example, PWCC offered some specimens recently that would constitute a very high ranked Registry set— yet the cards were simply unattractive, and if cracked and resubmitted ten times today would be very, very lucky to get those same grades once. So would such a set really be the best quality? I suppose the answer is a subjective one, which hinges on whether one focuses on the sticker or both the sticker and the card itself.

Bottom line, unless there are scans of the cards being offered, I think it is important not to conflate the Registry with quality. They can certainly be one and the same, just not necessarily so. We can pull scans of some PSA 9 cards graded many years ago that would get a Registry set a point bonus, and yet there are more recently graded PSA 8s or 8.5s that I'm sure collectors would unanimously agree are the higher quality card. And if the PSA 9 were cracked and submitted today, likely PSA would agree as well.

Last edited by MattyC; 03-17-2019 at 09:32 AM.
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