Author Topic: Has PSA ruined the Wacky Hobby?  (Read 5655 times)

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Online 70s_Kid

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Has PSA ruined the Wacky Hobby?
« on: August 20, 2013, 06:51:44 PM »
I don't get the whole PSA thing....  it has really gotten out of control in my opinion.  Outside of truly rare cards, why do it?  Take a look at this auction.  $200 for one 14th series slabbed puzzle piece???  Really?  I have been looking to upgrade a few of my cards recently.  The only ones I can find of the ones I was looking for have been PSA'd at 8 or 9 and the prices are as high as 10-20 times what I'd pay for it....  Give me a break!  

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1975-TOPPS-WACKY-PACKS-ROTSA-ROOT-PUZZLE-14TH-SERIES-CENTER-MIDDLE-PSA-10-RARE-/141025795335?pt=US_Baseball&hash=item20d5cadd07

« Last Edit: August 20, 2013, 06:53:39 PM by 70s_Kid »

Offline Paul_Maul

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Re: Has PSA ruined the Wacky Hobby?
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2013, 07:47:19 PM »
eBay sellers overcharging for cards is not PSA's fault. The market will determine what graded cards are worth just like anything else.

PSA is certainly not perfect, but I sense you resent being asked to pay any premium for a graded card. The grading fee is around $6. A PSA 9 or 10 is unusually high grade, of course it will cost more. If you don't value especially nice condition enough to pay what the market dictates, settle for lower grades.

So to answer your question, no.

Online 70s_Kid

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Re: Has PSA ruined the Wacky Hobby?
« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2013, 04:34:09 AM »
I don't have anything against PSA.  My collection has been upgraded over the years to where I am very happy with it.  I would say a majority of my collection would grade at least 7-8, with  a good number of 9's.  I gave that example of $200 for one relatively common puzzle piece or 9's listing at 10-20 times what I'd be willing to pay.  Really?  That's just nuts.  Or middle series common stickers listed for what a nice complete set would cost?  That's the point I'm making.  I don't believe for a second that this common slabbed stuff is selling at these prices....  but like you said market will dictate.  Here's another example of what I'm talking about, and there are countless examples.  A $3-4 sticker going for $250???  So, this example is going for 50 times what most would say it's worth.  LOL.  I wouldn't pay that if I won the Powerball lottery.  

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1974-Topps-Wacky-Packs-PLAY-DUMB-CLAY-PSA-9-MINT-Series-6-Packages-1-4-/221252948919?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3383b413b7

btw, according to the PSA website, it costs $17 to slab a sticker.  And the vast majority of these stickers aren't worth the cost of slabbing IMHO.  The difference between a 7 and a 9 or 10 is so small, who really pays that close attention?  Now truly rare cards I would agree are worth more in nicer shape.   But, 10-50 times more than one unslabbed?  Who's buyin?  

« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 05:34:52 AM by 70s_Kid »

Offline JasonLiebig

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Re: Has PSA ruined the Wacky Hobby?
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2013, 07:49:35 AM »
First, I'm not an endorser of the whole "graded cards" phenomenon, though other collectors have opened my eyes to the value of the service given how much buying and selling happens on Ebay these days, rather than in-person the way things used to be.  So I've been sold on that aspect of it.  And I can appreciate the value that it brings to the table.

But I think the other question is, "who is buying" is more of a psychological or philosophical question about hobbies in general.

That is to say that, rather than ruin the Wacky hobby, I think PSA and their ilk simply give you "another thing to collect" if you're so inclined to find collecting that thing enjoyable.  For whatever it's worth, building a "high-grade PSA" set of some series is a task that someone can take on, like any other collecting hobby.  Is it expensive?  Yes.  Do many of us not see the point?  Of course.  But that can be said about our hobby at large, without any involvement from PSA at all.  And if you can have fun hunting down those high-grade PSA's... well, I GET THAT hunting part of it.   It's fun.  I personally don't give two rats craps about PSA slabbed cards, but I get it.  And I think that goes for Golds or "created rarity" modern chase cards. 

Is a PSA-10 graded card worth 50x a VG ungraded one?  Well, is a die-cut Cracked Animals worth 5,000 times a great-looking reprint?  To some people, it is.  But not to me.  

So, if graded or slabbed cards don't appeal to you, I think you can look at these services like PSA as almost an entirely different hobby from the one you're engaged in.  Then you are as to the civilian looking at most of us, who couldn't care less about Wackys, wondering why we would waste so much money on something that can't possibly be worth what we paid.  

« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 07:52:06 AM by JasonLiebig »
Jason Liebig - A swell TV host who used to oversee Marvel Comics' X-Men - now creator and curator of WishbookWeb.com and CollectingCandy.com, a celebration of candy packaging, marketing and the people behind it all.

Offline JasonLiebig

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Re: Has PSA ruined the Wacky Hobby?
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2013, 08:04:11 AM »
This sort of reminded me of a blog posting that Wil Wheaton recently posted about how, with geek and nerd culture at an all-time high, there are more and more of those who would like to be gatekeepers of it, and why there a so much better ways to go about loving something.  It reminded me a lot of how some folks here will sometimes deride people for enjoying new material, or sketches, etc. for whatever reasons they come up with.  

Not exactly what we were talking about on this thread but I somehow think it's related... and I suppose the folks who love PSA could end up being big gatekeepers in their own way... but I think it comes down to trying to be cool with other people loving the same things you love, even if they love them in a very different way.  

https://wilwheaton.net/2013/08/memo-to-gatekeepers/
« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 08:06:02 AM by JasonLiebig »
Jason Liebig - A swell TV host who used to oversee Marvel Comics' X-Men - now creator and curator of WishbookWeb.com and CollectingCandy.com, a celebration of candy packaging, marketing and the people behind it all.

Offline Paul_Maul

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Re: Has PSA ruined the Wacky Hobby?
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2013, 08:41:41 AM »
PSA has monthly specials, if you're willing to wait 45 days and submit more than 10 cards at a time the grading fee is $6.

I don't disagree that some PSA wackys are overpriced on ebay. That's why they don't sell. The same can be said of sketches, or anything else. I guess I don't understand why that phenomenon constitutes ruination of the hobby.

Either a collector likes things in great condition, or he doesn't care. I happen to care, and would rather have one 1st series
sticker in beautiful shape than an entire ratty 1-16. That may seem strange, but I can look at images of wackys anytime I want without owning them. I have no interest in owning anything in crappy condition. So the attraction of PSA is that it at least increases the chances I will be happy with a wacky that I buy. Absent that filter, my only choice would be to buy huge collections, sift out the 99% of them that are drek, and flip them, an activity which I don't enjoy.

Bottom line, 10-15 years ago, I had a much easier time finding ungraded wackys in stellar condition. These days it is much tougher, and I find PSA grading to be an asset in that quest.

Offline JasonLiebig

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Re: Has PSA ruined the Wacky Hobby?
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2013, 08:56:35 AM »

Either a collector likes things in great condition, or he doesn't care. I happen to care, and would rather have one 1st series
sticker in beautiful shape than an entire ratty 1-16. That may seem strange, but I can look at images of wackys anytime I want without owning them. I have no interest in owning anything in crappy condition.


This is it, isn't it?  And I don't think its strange at all (well, it's ALL strange to most people - just not us).  

You like what you like and you define what your hobby is and justify it however you please.  

It's funny because I can justify NOT needing to own everything in great condition for the same reason you DO - I can look at great images of Wackys anytime I want without owning them.  So I don't need to spend the money to own them in awesome condition.  And one could use that very same statement to justifying not needing to spend money on Wackys at all, or not collect them at all - when many of them are now available in the Abrams books or online.  

Perhaps 70'sKid's point and your statement seems to support this, is that with PSA around it's harder to find non-PSA high-grade stickers.  

I guess if you define your hobby as ruined because it's become harder to find what you want for a reasonable price, than PSA IS ruining your hobby.  IF what you want is high grade cards. 

« Last Edit: August 21, 2013, 08:58:37 AM by JasonLiebig »
Jason Liebig - A swell TV host who used to oversee Marvel Comics' X-Men - now creator and curator of WishbookWeb.com and CollectingCandy.com, a celebration of candy packaging, marketing and the people behind it all.

Offline Paul_Maul

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Re: Has PSA ruined the Wacky Hobby?
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2013, 09:06:43 AM »
Yes, I am somewhat annoyed I have to pay much more than I used to for high grade comics and cards. In the old days one used to be able to substitute legwork for having a lot of money. That certainly changed with ebay and grading companies. That did bother me for a long time, but I can't bang my head against a wall. So I buy that portion of what I want that I can afford to.

Somehow I've never been one to feel jealous of wealthier people in this context. The smart thing to do is to supplement your own collecting budget by selling a few things you don't care as much about to those wealthy collectors and splurging with the proceeds. 

Offline JasonLiebig

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Re: Has PSA ruined the Wacky Hobby?
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2013, 09:36:47 AM »

Somehow I've never been one to feel jealous of wealthier people in this context. The smart thing to do is to supplement your own collecting budget by selling a few things you don't care as much about to those wealthy collectors and splurging with the proceeds. 

Ahh... Wise words.   I do still stomp my feet and shake my fist sometimes when I get destroyed by the spendier collector, by I try to remind myself that it's silly to do so.
Jason Liebig - A swell TV host who used to oversee Marvel Comics' X-Men - now creator and curator of WishbookWeb.com and CollectingCandy.com, a celebration of candy packaging, marketing and the people behind it all.

Online 70s_Kid

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Re: Has PSA ruined the Wacky Hobby?
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2013, 03:26:37 PM »
PSA has monthly specials, if you're willing to wait 45 days and submit more than 10 cards at a time the grading fee is $6.

I don't disagree that some PSA wackys are overpriced on ebay. That's why they don't sell. The same can be said of sketches, or anything else. I guess I don't understand why that phenomenon constitutes ruination of the hobby.

Either a collector likes things in great condition, or he doesn't care. I happen to care, and would rather have one 1st series
sticker in beautiful shape than an entire ratty 1-16. That may seem strange, but I can look at images of wackys anytime I want without owning them. I have no interest in owning anything in crappy condition. So the attraction of PSA is that it at least increases the chances I will be happy with a wacky that I buy. Absent that filter, my only choice would be to buy huge collections, sift out the 99% of them that are drek, and flip them, an activity which I don't enjoy.

Bottom line, 10-15 years ago, I had a much easier time finding ungraded wackys in stellar condition. These days it is much tougher, and I find PSA grading to be an asset in that quest.

points well taken.....

Offline HawaiianPunks

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Re: Has PSA ruined the Wacky Hobby?
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2013, 10:21:11 AM »
I would say a majority of my collection would grade at least 7-8, with  a good number of 9's.

Most people are shocked when they get their grades back from PSA.  I suspect the cards you think are 9s are more likely 8s.  There's a reason 8s and 9s are commanding much higher prices.  They simply are superior.  I love it that 7s are fairly cheap on eBay.  A 7 is an extremely nice card, but the general perception is completely the opposite.

Offline ratchet007

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Re: Has PSA ruined the Wacky Hobby?
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2013, 10:50:02 AM »
Most people are shocked when they get their grades back from PSA.  I suspect the cards you think are 9s are more likely 8s.  There's a reason 8s and 9s are commanding much higher prices.  They simply are superior.  I love it that 7s are fairly cheap on eBay.  A 7 is an extremely nice card, but the general perception is completely the opposite.
I agree. I've even bought a few 6's here and there that are very nice. When taken out of the plastic they look really good.

Offline RawGoo

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Re: Has PSA ruined the Wacky Hobby?
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2016, 10:16:01 AM »
I agree. I've even bought a few 6's here and there that are very nice. When taken out of the plastic they look really good.

I think PSA grading adds another dimension to the hobby - I'm having a blast with PSA Wackys!  It's so much fun scrutinizing my keepers to see which ones I think are worthy of grading, and going through so many beautiful Wackys.  And, it's nice to know that if I buy a sticker on ebay, I'm going to be reasonably happy with it.  Still, not all graded Wackys are equal, and there are times I prefer a 7 to an 8.  Guess it's in the eye of the beholder.

Regarding the 6's, you're right, there are some that look really nice!  If I was working on a raw set for a binder, rather than buying loose stickers, I'd be inclined to pick up cheap 6's, maybe even 5's, and crack them out.  I have a good candidate, and watched a video on how to crack them, just working up the nerve.

And, for anyone who doesn't like or want graded material, there is still plenty of raw stuff out there.

Offline drono

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Re: Has PSA ruined the Wacky Hobby?
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2016, 01:25:59 PM »
I think like everything else, taken in moderation it's OK.  I can certainly see the value of PSA grading if I were buying a high dollar sticker.  It's comforting to know that it hadn't been trimmed or re-stuck with a different back (1st tans, 1st/2nd ludlows).  Hopefully they can tell those things.  Sometimes I wonder with the number of Wonder Bread issues I see mislabeled as 1st tans.

However, I think some of the higher prices being sought for a 9 or a 10 is a little silly. Stating that it's the highest known graded sticker really has little relevance considering how small of a percentage get submitted to PSA.  It's almost like the pilgrims coming to the new world, living here for a couple of months, and claiming they'd found the only turkey in existence in the New World.  Without exploring the rest of the 9.54 million square miles of North America, who would know?

As far as submitting for PSA, I can see how it might be an intriguing game.  "Will this one get a 9? Will this one get a 10?"  I have to agree that I don't think it's destroyed the hobby, but as you said, it has added a new dimension to it.

By the way, I'm interested in that video on cracking them open.  I'm not a PSA guy, and I completed my large perforation Wacky Ads with a bunch of PSA 6s from eBay.  Now I'd like to put them in the album with the rest, but I'm not sure about cracking them open.  Anyone have horror stories (or success stories) from doing that?
« Last Edit: January 09, 2016, 01:28:49 PM by drono »

Offline Paul_Maul

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Re: Has PSA ruined the Wacky Hobby?
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2016, 03:03:33 PM »
Drono, I used to feel exactly as you do with regard to PSA populations. It may have even been true at one time. But I guarantee you, there are enough people actively seeking gradeable wackys that the numbers now are definitely meaningful. That doesn't mean there aren't still raw wackys that would grade 9 or 10, that will always be possible. But original series wackys that still have a very low population are legitimately rare for whatever reason, usually because of endemic centering problems (see 8-lives, Clammy, etc.). Of course, with re-issues, etc. there is no financial motivation for submitting them, so I'm not talking about those issues.

I do think paying crazy money for 10s is not wise, because they cost way more than 9s and are not notably better looking. 9s are much much nicer than 8s, however, and I feel that premium is justified.