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So after waiting almost 1.5 years for my Luis Robert base Topps Chrome rookie baseball card to come back from PSA (submitted in Dec. 2020), I finally got it back.
The good news? It came back a PSA 10!
The bad news? As of May 2022, it’s worth as much as how much I paid to grade the card.
Now I never quite understood why graded base sports cards ever got to be a worthwhile investment with so much printed and PSA 10 for modern base cards not exactly scarce.
But the more I thought about it, it made sense during the hype of the hobby of 2019-2020.
We saw an unprecedented boom in the hobby that saw a huge influx of collectors either come back to the hobby from their childhood collecting days and/or investor types that saw sports cards become an alternative asset class.
And the reason I couldn’t understand how PSA 10 graded base cards could sell for 2x or 3x or sometimes more of the raw card values, is because I underestimated the demand side of the equation.
Even with population counts in thousands (and some in the tens of thousands), there was enough demand to prop up graded base card prices.
And these base cards were liquid as the supply grew helped by the affordable prices back then to submit raw cards to PSA.
Now a year-and-a-half later, how much have things changed!
Demand has settled down, PSA shut down temporarily to reduce its backlog of cards, and then PSA reopened at higher submission prices essentially making it unprofitable to get your base cards graded.
Not surprisingly, many of these high pop graded base cards started to tank in value.
So is the base game officially dead? It seems like it for the time being unless the hobby continues to grow to increase demand again for some of these cards of stud players (base included).
But that’ll take time.
So you can either hold your cards long term for players you have high conviction on. Or if you’re like me, I’ll sell for a small loss and reinvest that amount (and pay more in cash) in cards that are numbered or have autographs on them like these ones listed below.
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Grading is just certification of condition of a raw card. There is still no reason a graded card should be worth more than the raw version. There is no difference besides the arbitrary decision of the owner to grade it and the $3 plastic case. Populations are irrelevant. That is just the total of people who made the same arbitrary decision, not the total number of cards that exist in that condition.