Most collectors love slabs, and they are an unavoidable part of the hobby. If you are shopping for slabs, you have probably already wondered if you should buy PSA 9s or PSA 10s. So as a follow-up to our recent piece about whether you should buy raw or graded cards, today we’re going to look into another component of grading.
What grade should you buy? Specifically, how do PSA 9s compare with PSA 10s, and how do BGS 9s compare with BGS 9.5?
First, let’s start with some numbers.
PSA is the premier grading company, and many collectors don’t even buy other grading companies. But, as you know, PSA does not have half grades on cards. So Ins, a PSA preference means you’re most likely looking at a 9 or 10 on modern cards. After all, lower grades are often worth less than raw cards.
So which is the best buy?
Let’s take a look. The cards in the charts were picked very intentionally: a mix of sports, years (including a 1996 Nash), and even parallels, thanks to the silver Prizm.
This table shows the average comp price when sold raw, PSA 9, and PSA 10.
|CARD||RAW||PSA 9||PSA 10|
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Prizm Rookie||25||45||150|
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Prizm Rookie Silver||85||150||900|
|Dak Prescott Prizm Rookie||210||280||850|
|Steve Nash Topps Chrome Rookie||80||190||1000|
|Mookie Betts Topps Rookie Card||60||80||300|
Now, we’ll look at the same cards but in BGS form. Again, we’re using BGS 9s because 10s are scarce.
|CARD||RAW||BGS 9||BGS 9.5|
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Prizm Rookie||25||45||70|
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Prizm Rookie Silver||85||116||525|
|Dak Prescott Prizm Rookie||210||150||400|
|Steve Nash Topps Chrome Rookie||80||150||400|
|Mookie Betts Topps Rookie Card||60||75||200|
Now that we’ve laid out the charts, here are a few things we can learn.
First, note that PSA blows BGS out of the water. Point by point, PSA is by far the more valuable of the grading options. Of course, this would look different with the BGS 10 in the picture, but for cards that are in populations high enough to frequent eBay, PSA is the way to go. While a BGS 9 barely pays off the price of grading, a PSA 9 doubles the value of the raw card.
The divide in value may last forever. However, there is a good chance it won’t. There are several reasons for this:
In other words, there are two ways to look at this: invest in PSA because it’s already the king of grading value, or invest in BGS because you think the margins will narrow.
The answer is pretty straightforward: it depends on your budget and what you believe about the grading companies.
Don’t overextend into sports card investments, but also invest as much as you comfortably can. If that means buying a 10 of one card but only a 9 of a more expensive card, do it! Whatever makes the most sense with your budget.
Do you think PSA will remain king? Or is BGS a sleeping giant that will eventually earn the respect it’s due? Which grade and company to buy is your call, so, as always, do what makes the most sense to you.