PSA to include grader notes for select card submissions

In 'long overdue' change for collectors, transparency coming to PSA grading process

Cover Image for PSA to include grader notes for select card submissions
For Express submissions and above, PSA will explain the reasoning behind each card's grade. (Credit: PSA)

Following years of requests by collectors for greater transparency in the grading process, PSA will be officially including grader notes to select trading card submissions moving forward.

First eluded to by PSA president Ryan Hoge on "The Geoff Wilson Show" in April, information regarding grader notes was included in the latest update to PSA’s mobile app Monday.

“A new feature that brings clarity to grader reveals by detailing the card defects detected during trading and authentication,” the update read.

A PSA spokesperson confirmed to cllct Tuesday that grader notes will be live this week for Express service levels and above.

The Express service level is $129 per card with a declared value of $2,500 or less. Express currently has an estimated turnaround time of five business days.

Grader notes have long been a popular request among collectors hoping for additional transparency into an extremely subjective process. To many collectors, it’s easier to accept a grade they didn’t expect when it’s clear why the card graded the way it did.

Adam Gray, a longtime collector and the publisher of Basketball Card Fanatic Magazine, says the addition of grader notes is a big win for the hobby.

“I’ve always thought, are they ever going to be willing to actually do it?” Gray told cllct. “I don’t know what the impetus was right now for PSA, being willing to finally do this, but it’s long overdue. It’s really wonderful that they’re doing it.”

PSA is currently the only company to offer grader notes for trading cards, and BGS is the only grader to offer sub-grades of any kind.

While new to trading cards, grader notes are commonplace for graded comic submissions to CGC. Notes aren’t included for every submission, though common comments might highlight specific defects or damage to a specific area of the book.

PSA’s grader notes will match this format with comments added for flaws that “can foil a PSA 10 outcome.” According to PSA, submitters will be able to view notes for the primary categories — corners, edges, surface and centering — to see how the grade was impacted in greater detail.

Grader note examples include:

  • Corners: Bend, top left
  • Edges: Fraying, center right
  • Surface: Discoloration, front top half
  • Centering: Back, top-to-bottom

Grader notes will initially be available for four services: grading, dual-service, crossover and reviews. Reholders and autograph-only submissions won’t include grader notes.

Included at no additional cost, it’s currently unclear if all eligible cards will receive grader notes or if they will be limited to the most significant defects.

Additional details weren’t immediately available for PSA’s grader notes, and it’s currently unclear if notes will be available for every card within the included service or how descriptive each note will be.


Ben Burrows is a reporter and editor for cllct.