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TRADING CARDS & COLLECTIBLES

Amid Major Expansion, PSA Temporarily Halts Most Card-grading Services

One of the trading card industry’s biggest names is scaling up to handle the unprecedented demand for grading and authentication.

If you think the rapid growth of the trading card industry has been hard to keep up with, imagine how card-grading giant PSA feels. With the market for cards continuing to skyrocket, they’re in a unique position — they’ve now got more consumer demand than their staff and resources can manage with quick turnaround times.

If you’re a business, this is one of the best “problems” you could possibly have. And it’s led to an ambitious scale-up of operations at Collectors Universe, the company that operates PSA, with an eye toward historic success.

On Tuesday night, PSA President Steve Sloan announced in an open letter that they will halt nearly all card grading services, effective immediately, as they build up their infrastructure to new heights.

Until July 1st, PSA will prioritize grading submissions in their “Super Express” service tier, which includes cards with declared values between $2,500 and $4,999.

PSA additionally clarified that they will extend all Collectors Club premium service plans to accommodate the duration of the suspension of the “Value” tier of service (declared value below $500), so a one-year plan is still guaranteed to include 12 full months of the promised benefits.

The announcement comes as PSA experienced a surge in submissions in early March after announcing that it would double the price of its grading services from $10 per card to $20. Eager collectors naturally tried to get their cards in for grading before the upcharge was implemented, so this latest announcement certainly didn’t come out of nowhere.

Sloan said that PSA recently received as many cards in just three days as they had previously received in three months. Insiders estimate that PSA’s backlog consists of as many as 10 million cards.

That’s a ton of business. From one perspective, it’s a challenge — Sloan called the company’s decision “an unpleasant conclusion.” But from another point of view, it’s an incredible and lucrative opportunity.

This shake-up comes on the heels of another big PSA announcement spurred by the hobby’s leap in popularity. Last month, Collectors Universe revealed plans for expansion in order to accommodate the incredible volume of card submissions. The company has added over 100,000 square feet to their California operation since last October, with 58,000 square feet announced just this week.

“With PSA continuing to experience explosive growth, coupled with excellent performance from our PCGS (coin-grading) division, it was imperative that our company have access to even more space to increase our operational capacity,” said Joe Orlando, Collectors Universe’s President and CEO.

Collectors demanded it. And PSA will deliver.