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  #1  
Old 01-26-2002, 10:59 AM
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Default Old vs. New Condition Standards

Posted By: petecld

NOTE: This is not to be considered as me making excuses any one seller. Just some thoughts. . .

The Fritsch comments on over grading got me to thinking and I'd like everyone's opinion. Note that the main complaints of over grading are directed at long time dealers who are use to a different and dare I say a little more common sense approach to grading?

Am I saying we should excuse the veteran dealer? NO! When a card is described as Ex and you receive a card with very rounded corners and multiple creases (Festberg!) there is no excuse, but, I digress. Is it time to admit though that the pendulum has swung too far to the other side.

I've been collecting for 20 years and the times have changed. Cards I bought years ago as Mint are now considered ExMt or even Ex+. Off-centered? Who cared! As long as the whole image was on the card, wonderful? Slight edge wear NEVER brought a card's grade down a whole grade or even 2. I have cards that I consider to be NrMt condition. I fellow collector who uses grading companies heavily got me to grade them and they came back EX. (Bleeping) nicest EX cards you'll EVER see.

I feel the heaviest and worst effect the grading companies have had on collectors is the mental hairline approach to grading. I have even caught myself recently being so critical on a card that I had to stop myself and ask myself what the heck am I doing? Honestly, should an imperfection that con only be seen with a microscope really be taken into consideration at all? Considering the hairline thin differences in condition that exist between a PSA 7, PSA 8, PSA 9 card but look at the $$$ differences who can really tell the difference?

Don't even get me going on the difference between "Mint" and "Gem Mint"!!!! Puleeeeeze.

He**, I heard a dealer at a show say that a card in a PSA 9 holder isn't really Mint anymore because it was an "old" PSA grade. Huh?

What I'm seeing is younger/newer collectors pick up a card and say "Nm? No, PSA or SGC would only give this is a (number) or a (number)." Collectors are mentally using a grading company's standards and I wonder if they even realize it. What happened to using your own judgement! Is it a case that since newer collectors have been so soaked with talk of money and "value" that that is really all they care about? Hairline differences don't matter to collectors, they matter only to investors.

Thank you for reading my latest ranting.

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  #2  
Old 01-26-2002, 11:51 AM
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Default Old vs. New Condition Standards

Posted By: David

Pete, I agree with much of what you say. Today's problems with deceptive trimming is due to the hobby's over financial emphasis placed on Mint cards.

On a Larry Firsch note that has nothing to due with grading: I grew up in Wisconsin about 60 miles away from Stevens Point where Fricsh is. When I was about ten, my dad and I stopped by a small McDonalds just out of Stevens Point. The walls of the McDonalds were totaly decorated by Frisch with rare memorablia (everything behind glass)-- including important jerseys, cards, etc etc. I was a collector of Topps cards (via my town's local dime store), so I had a resonable appreceation of the stuff ... Also, about the same time, I saved up and bought my very first old card, from the Frisch catalog-- a 1933 Goudey Jack Quinn. For the printed price, they would randomly pick out a common Goudey in I beleive Ex condition. I still have the card.

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Old 01-26-2002, 01:22 PM
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Default Old vs. New Condition Standards

Posted By: jay behrens

I really don't think there is a difference between 'old' and 'new' collecttors/dealers. Having just reappeared in the hobby after 10 years, it sounds as if the same people that were really bad at grading cards are still really bad at it and the ones that know how to grade cards still do. 20 years ago Frisch and Festberg already had a bad reputation as overgraders, so it has nothing to do with any sort of new standard created by the slabbers.

If the slab companies really are making collectors examine cards more closely and thus grading them correctly, then at least the slabbers have done one good thing for the hobby.

Jay- will free any slabbed card he buys

I like to sit outside, drink beer and yell at people. If I did this at home I would be arrested, so I go to baseball games and fit right in.

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  #4  
Old 01-26-2002, 05:54 PM
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Default Old vs. New Condition Standards

Posted By: Plastic Dog

I passed out and was dragged in to my couch. But my friends who managed to remain standing ended up getting arrested. I was awoken by a phone call in the middle of the night to go bail them out . . . ah, the good old days. Now, I just yell from my own patio while watching a game on TV. Beer is much cheaper that way, and no line for the toilet.

But on to Pete's comments: Pete, I don't think the pendulum has swung. In fact, I still think that the grading companies generally overgrade top cards. A mint card should be perfect. I have yet to see a perfect card. Give me an SGC 96 or a PSA-10, and I will find the tiniest of defects which should make the card NM. Plus, there was so much doctoring going on in the 1970s and 80s by most dealers (when it was still unethical, but maybe just not as horribly unethical as today) that I think close scrutiny of cards is warranted and necessary. In my book there's still only 4 grades: NM, EX, VG, and Fair-Good. If it's not NM, it's EX. If it's got a crease, stain, or really bad corners, it's VG. And if it looks mutilated, it's Fair-Good. I don't mind people making subtle distinctions - all the power to them. But I pay based on my own perceived grading scale. But Mint is still a hypothetical grade that cannot be attained in reality.

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  #5  
Old 01-26-2002, 08:04 PM
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Default Old vs. New Condition Standards

Posted By: jay behrens

I love the people that grade there cards like this:

NM except for the round corners, 3 creases, 1/4 inch tear and small chunk of card missing from top that appears to be where it was hung up with a pin of tack.

I have actually seen this before. Too hillarious.

By definition, no card with a crease should ever be graded higher than Good no matter how sharp the corners are.

For my personal colleciton, I prefer a card with round corners and no creases over a card with sharp corners and a light crease.

Jay

I like to sit outside, drink beer and yell at people. If I did this at home I would be arrested, so I go to baseball games and fit right in.

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Old 01-26-2002, 08:26 PM
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Default Old vs. New Condition Standards

Posted By: David

Perhaps we have different definitions of 'crease', but I think a card can have a crease and be graded above Good.

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  #7  
Old 01-26-2002, 11:03 PM
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Default Old vs. New Condition Standards

Posted By: jay behrens

I define a crease as a flaw in the card that breaks the original surface of the card causing loss of coloration and noticable defect. Something that doesn't break the surface I would call a wrinkle, I wouldn't grade anything with a wrinkle higher than EX, and personally would be preferable to a crease since it would leave the original picture in tact which is the most important thing for me.

Jay

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Old 01-26-2002, 11:23 PM
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Default Old vs. New Condition Standards

Posted By: David

your grading descriptions sound on the target to me.

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  #9  
Old 01-27-2002, 09:55 AM
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Default Old vs. New Condition Standards

Posted By: petecld

I beak conditions down into these 7 grades: Mint, Ex/Mt, EX, Vg/Ex, VG, Good, Fa/Pr and some of my condition quirks:

A Mint card looks perfect to the human eye. Obviously using a loupe or a microscope will always turn up tiny imprefections but that's fine with me. Nothing is perfect and I've pulled cards out of packs that weren't Mint.

A Ex card has to have corner tips that you would describe as "soft" and not "slightly rounded".

A card with a crease or wrinkle regardless of how faint can't be called Ex.

A card with a crease can still be called Vg if the rest of the card is exceptional. Same for a card with a very small spot of back damage.

A NM card with more then 15% back damage can be no higher then Good.

A card with any portion missing has to be called poor.

I like to sit outside, drink beer, and yell back at the people who yell at me.

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Old 01-27-2002, 03:50 PM
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Default Old vs. New Condition Standards

Posted By: Julie Vognar

I don't like it. It tickles my nose (this goes for soft drinks and sparkling water as well). Of late, I have been ccasionally indulging in single malt scotch. The good ones are like a symphony of flavors.

Seems to me, when I started collecting in 1979, a vg=ex card could have minor creasing, an ex card could have very slightly rounded corners but no creasing, and a mint card was perfect to the naked eye. I don't remember there being any "near mint" grade. "ex-mint" could have a minor flaw, like being slightly off center, Some slightly soft corners, but not All. The thing that bugs me the most about the dealer and grader grades (which have been getting more and more lenient, it seems to me), is that a neat mint card, or an ex-mint cad, can be what I'd call way off center, and anything that came with the printing process doesn't count--like a double image--which i wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole.
The picture is most important
The corners and centering come next.
The back is important too, but, especially with blank backs, not as important.

Julie

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Old 01-27-2002, 04:33 PM
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Default Old vs. New Condition Standards

Posted By: runscott

...an especially light wrinkle on a card with a dark back...that can only be seen if you tilt the card at the correct angle in the light. I only ask because I understand the grading companies will kill a card like that, even if it is otherwise NM

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  #12  
Old 01-27-2002, 05:44 PM
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Default Old vs. New Condition Standards

Posted By: warshawlaw

I have been collecting and dealing (off and on) since the 70s. I don't think there has been so much a change in standards as (a) a hyping of "high" grades, (b) a growing spread in price between near mint and up and everything else, and (c) a general seriousness that was never present in the old days, which comes with the vast sums being paid for the cards.

I watched the rise of slabbing with particular interest. From an economic standpoint, the rise of grading put a huge burst of new money into the cards by making it possible to make a killing on old inventory, at least until the price guides caught up. The idea was to spend $15 or so to add hundreds in perceived value to the card. In my first graded card deal, I bought a lot of 1952 Topps cards for $177, had all of them graded, and sold one for $500, all within a few weeks. I did this over and over with existing inventory and new acquisitions.

This economic burst also explains the constant upward movement of the "desirable" grade from near mint to near mint-mint to mint. For what, 20 years, the standard major collecting grades were nm-ex-vg. The, we get grading and this new nm-mt grade (the "8") is the gold standard. Now it is the 9 and 10. I see the shift to the "9" as resulting from the number of 7 and 8 cards that came out of the woodworks. It just wasn't exclusive enough for the auction houses to hype, so they found a new tool. It is stupid, of course, which is why I have sold almost all of my 8 and 9 cards over the years. I'd rather have 5 sevens than 1 nine.

I have always held to the same relative standards:

mint: does not exist. silly to discuss.

Near mint - mint: looks pack fresh and unflawed at first glance but has a little something wrong that you have to look for.

near mint: not unflawed, pack fresh, reasonably sharp, clean and without big flaws. Mild O/C is ok, as are minor print spots. no creases, no bad corner dings.

ex-mt: discernable mild wear on first glance, no creases, no major flaws.

ex: no creases, corners mildly rounded, mild wear

vg-ex: sharp with a hairline crease, or rounded corners with no creases. mild to moderate wear, depending on the other conditions.

vg: honest wear--creased, corners worn, etc.

g: abused but not wrecked. Rounded corners, a major crease, moderate to heavy wear.

f: card intact but has major flaws: heavy creases. stains, etc.

p: filler. parts missing.

Now for my pet peeves:

any crease at all, whether you call it a wrinkle, or whatever, is vg-ex at best. Period

any stain or writing is vg at best. Period.

any crease that breaks the card's color drops it to vg at best. Period.

Any centering worse than 25:75 cannot be better than ex-mt, and it better be a screamer for it to be ex-mt.

a perfect card with 65:35 centering one way is near mint.

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