Professional Sports Authenticator

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Professional Sports Authenticator: (PSA) is the world’s largest third-party authentication service. PSA is one of the companies in the Collectors Universe umbrella of offerings for the collectibles industry. PSA uses a tamper-evident card capsule that offers a visually appealing form of safe card storage. It is a protective inert, optical-grade plastic holder that contains grading information and a description of the card.

PSA uses a 10 point grading system. 10 being the highest condition quality and 1 being the lowest. The grading personel are not allowed to buy, sell or have any financial interest in the cards graded. A tracking system with unique numbers and generic packaging is used so that graders do not know the identity of the owner of the card they are grading.

Table of contents [showhide] 1 PSA Card Grading Standards 2 QUALIFIERS 3 UNGRADEABLE CARDS 4 PSA Products 5 PSA Services [edit] PSA Card Grading Standards

GEM-MT 10: Gem Mint.

A PSA Gem Mint 10 card is a virtually perfect card. Attributes include four perfectly sharp corners, sharp focus and full original gloss. A PSA Gem Mint 10 card must be free of staining of any kind, but an allowance may be made for a slight printing imperfection, if it doesn't impair the overall appeal of the card. The image must be centered on the card within a tolerance not to exceed approximately 55/45 to 60/40 percent on the front, and 75/25 percent on the reverse.

MINT 9: Mint.

A PSA Mint 9 is a superb condition card that exhibits only one of the following minor flaws: a very slight wax stain on reverse, a minor printing imperfection or slightly off-white borders. Centering must be approximately 60/40 to 65/35 or better on the front and 90/10 or better on the reverse.

NM-MT 8: Near Mint-Mint.

A PSA NM-MT 8 is a super high-end card that appears Mint 9 at first glance, but upon closer inspection, the card can exhibit the following: a very slight wax stain on reverse, slightest fraying at one or two corners, a minor printing imperfection, and/or slightly off-white borders. Centering must be approximately 65/35 to 70/30 or better on the front and 90/10 or better on the reverse.

NM 7: Near Mint.

A PSA NM 7 is a card with just a slight surface wear visible upon close inspection. There may be slight fraying on some corners. Picture focus may be slightly out-of-register. A minor printing blemish is acceptable. Slight wax staining is acceptable on the back of the card only. Most of the original gloss is retained. Centering must be approximately 70/30 to 75/25 or better on the front and 90/10 or better on the back. EX-MT 6: Excellent-Mint.

A PSA EX-MT 6 card may have visible surface wear or a printing defect which does not detract from its overall appeal. A very light scratch may be detected only upon close inspection. Corners may have slightly graduated fraying. Picture focus may be slightly out-of-register. Card may show some loss of original gloss, may have minor wax stain on reverse, may exhibit very slight notching on edges and may also show some off-whiteness on borders. Centering must be 80/20 or better on the front and 90/10 or better on the reverse.

EX 5: Excellent.

Excellent On PSA EX-5 cards, very minor rounding of the corners is becoming evident. Surface wear or printing defects are more visible. There may be minor chipping on edges. Loss of original gloss will be more apparent. Focus of picture may be slightly out-of-register. Several light scratches may be visible upon close inspection, but do not detract from the appeal of the card. Card may show some off-whiteness of borders. Centering must be 85/15 or better on the front and 90/10 or better on the back.

VG-EX 4: Very Good-Excellent.

A PSA VG-EX 4 card's corners may be slightly rounded. Surface wear is noticeable but modest. The card may have light scuffing or light scratches. Some original gloss will be retained. Borders may be slightly off-white. A light crease may be visible. Centering must be 85/15 or better on the front and 90/10 or better on the back.

VG 3: Very Good.

A PSA VG 3 card reveals some rounding of the corners, though not extreme. Some surface wear will be apparent, along with possible light scuffing or light scratches. Focus may be somewhat off-register and edges may exhibit noticeable wear. Much, but not all, of the card's original gloss will be lost. Borders may be somewhat yellowed and/or discolored. A crease may be visible. Printing defects are possible. Slight stain may show on obverse and wax staining on reverse may be more prominent. Centering must be 90/10 or better on the front and back.

GOOD 2: Good.

A PSA Good 2 card's corners show accelerated rounding and surface wear is starting to become obvious. A good card may have scratching, scuffing, light staining, or chipping of enamel on obverse. There may be several creases. Original gloss may be completely absent. Card may show considerable discoloration. Centering must be 90/10 or better on the front and back.

PR-FR 1: Poor to Fair.

Poor to Fair A PSA PR-FR 1 card's corners will show extreme wear, possibly affecting framing of picture. Surface of card will show advanced stages of wear, including scuffing, scratching, pitting, chipping and staining. Picture will possibly be quite out-of-register and borders may have become brown and dirty. May have one or more heavy creases. A Poor card may be missing one or more small pieces, have major creasing and extreme discoloration or dirtiness throughout. Card may show noticeable warping. Centering must be 90/10 or better on the front and back. [edit] QUALIFIERS

PSA will grade nearly every card submitted. Cards having significant flaws will receive "qualified" grades as follows:

OC (Off Center):

When the centering of the card falls below the minimum standard for that grade will be designated "OC." PSA determines centering by comparing the measurements of the borders from left to right and top to bottom. The centering is designated as the percent of difference at the most off-center part of the card. A 5% leeway is given to the front centering minimum standards for cards which grade NM 7 or better. For example, a card which meets all of the other requirements for PSA MINT 9 and measures 60/40 off-center on the front automatically meets the PSA front centering standards for MINT 9. If a card meets all of the other requirements for PSA MINT 9 and measures 65/35 off-center on the front, it may be deemed to meet the PSA front centering standards for MINT 9 if the eye appeal of the card is good.

ST (Staining):

Cards with staining below the minimum standards for the grade will be designated "ST."

PD (Print Defect):

Cards with significant printing defects will be designated "PD."

OF (Out of Focus):

Cards with focus below the minimum standards for the grade will be designated "OF."

MK (Marks):

Cards with writing, ink marks, pencil marks, etc. will be designated "MK."

MC (Miscut):

Cards with a factory miscut, such as a diamond cut, or when another card's image is on the original card will be designated "MC." [edit] UNGRADEABLE CARDS

PSA will not grade cards which bear evidence of trimming, re-coloring, restoration, or any other forms of tampering, or are of questionable authenticity. In addition, PSA does not grade autographed cards dated earlier than 1998 or any cards manufactured by Star except Star Baseball & 1996 Star Topps (reprint) Basketball Cards; only factory imprint signatures can be graded.

The Grading of Hand Cut Cards PSA will grade virtually any card that has been hand-cut off of a panel, box, etc. (Post Cereal, Hostess, Bazooka, Strip cards, etc.) keeping the following information in mind. This service does not include traditional sheet-cut cards. PSA will not grade cards cut from sheets that can be obtained in a normal fashion. For example, PSA will not grade a 1979 O-Pee-Chee Wayne Gretzky card cut from a sheet because that card was issued in non-sheet form. On the other hand,

PSA will grade a 1959 Bazooka or 1961 Post Cereal Mickey Mantle because those cards could only be obtained in one fashion - removed by hand from a box or panel.

In order for PSA to actually assign a grade to any of the cards that possess visible/defined borders on all four sides, evidence of that border must be present. If the cut exceeds the visible border for the card in question, PSA will encapsulate the card as "Authentic" only. If the card is severely undersized and suffers in overall eye-appeal, the graders may deem the card not suitable for authentication or reject the card as minimum sized altogether.

Keep in mind that, for cards that do not possess visible/defined borders, the cards must still fall within a certain size requirement for that particular issue in order to qualify for an actual grade. In other words, the borders must be virtually full in order for a grade to be rendered. Otherwise, as stated above, a label of "Authentic" will be assigned or, in some cases, the cards may fall short of the size requirement altogether. This is not an exact science, however, PSA will do its best to provide consistent guidelines for these types of cards.

PSA suggests that, in order to achieve the highest grades, the cuts of the cards should be relatively close to the visible borders without exceeding the limit. Cards that exhibit a clean, accurate and properly shaped cut have the best chance at achieving the highest grades. Eye-appeal is very important. When it comes to excess paper or cardboard around the edges of the visible borders, the graders will place significant importance on overall eye-appeal. Keep in mind that all cards of this type will be designated as "Hand-Cut" on the PSA label for accuracy. In addition, if the customer chooses, PSA will grade and encapsulate entire panels if those panels will fit in any of our current PSA holders. With the exception of the aforementioned items, normal grading criteria will apply.