April '23 Grading Recap

Published May 1st, 2023
  • Overall grading activity declined by 4% in April vs March.
    • PSA graded 1.22m cards - flat vs March and up 48% YoY
    • SGC graded 94k cards - down 22% vs March and up 1% YoY
    • CGC graded 57k cards - down 32% vs March and down 19% YoY
    • Beckett graded 56k cards - down 21% vs March and down 29% YoY
    • CSG results are not being reported as the pop report remains under maintenance
April Grading Summary
Items Graded - by Month
Items Graded - by Month - Excluding PSA

Category Comparison

TCG Cards Graded at PSA

Items Graded by Era

Gem Rate Breakdown by Era

April 2023 PSA Grading Recap

  • PSA graded 1,226,939 items during April; total output was flat vs March and up 48% year-over-year.

Category Summary

TCG reaches a new high...again

  • TCG was 41% of the cards graded by PSA in April.
  • TCG (+3%), baseball (+3%), and hockey (+5%) were amongst the faster growing categories in April.

Set Summary - Sports & Other

2022 Mosaic football grabs the top spot

  • Added to the list in April: 2023 Topps baseball and 2021 Mosaic football
  • Dropping from the list: 2022 Bowman Draft Autographs and 2022 Topps Update baseball

Set Summary - TCG+

Top 3 sets remain unchanged

  • Added to the list in April: 2022 Pokemon Japanese Sword & Shield Incandescent Arcana
  • Dropping from the list: 2022 Pokemon Sword and Shield Brilliant Stars

Player Summary - Sports & Other

Shohei Ohtani activity jumps

  • Added to the list in April: Patrick Mahomes II
  • Dropping from the list: Jalen Hurts

Subject Summary - TCG

New entrants emerge again in April

  • Added to the list in April: Marnie, Arceus, and Blue-Eyes White Dragon
  • Dropping from the list: Irida, Serena, and Elesa

Card Summary - Sports & Other

Iconic Griffey back on top as it approaches 100k grades all time

Card Summary - TCG

Newer Pokemon releases continue to dominate

What's Next for PSA?

  • PSA followed up a record March with similar results in April, in terms of both overall volume and category mix.
  • They also introduced a pricing special targeting recently released sports cards with a modest discount, and May's results will offer insight into the promotion's reception.
  • Lastly, we've been hoping to see non-pricing related innovation and PSA has recently launched some new features to its mobile app. PSA's new digital grade reveal and slab showcase are nice additions to the collecting experience. While these new features may not directly increase grading volume, they should positively impact the brand and contribute to a more enjoyable grading experience.

April 2023 SGC Grading Recap

  • SGC graded 94,909 cards during April - a 22% decrease vs March and a 1% increase year-over-year.

Category Summary

Baseball activity slows, but continues to dominate

Set Summary

2023 Topps activity drops 50%

Player (& Subject) Summary

All baseball with Jordan and Charizard mixed in

Card Summary

Leaderboard is all 2023 Topps

What's Next for SGC?

  • SGC's results slowed in April (as expected) with the end of the 2023 Topps promotion. Given the success of their two most recent promotions, it was unsurprising to see SGC launch a 2023 Bowman special in late April. These specials have driven grading volume, and we expect more of the same with this promotion.
  • Like PSA, we appreciate companies innovating beyond pricing. Therefore, we were pleased to see SGC partner with a large breaker to grade cards as they were pulled. Although the impact on grading activity is negligible and may have even distracted from daily operations, it demonstrates SGC's willingness to take chances and think outside the box. This particular execution may not drive demand for SGC, but it does help to reinforce the company's current strength around turnaround times.

Other Charts - CGC

Set Summary

What's Next for CSG/CGC?

  • CSG has had its population report on pause for an extended period, and we hope to see progress soon. Pop reports are an important part of the collecting experience, and a lag in data for an extended period of time can present challenges for an emerging brand like CSG.
  • CGC experienced a significant decline in activity during April. While the exact catalyst is unclear, the competitive environment has undoubtedly become more challenging.
  • On a side note, CGC added Marvel cards to the pop report (which they began grading in fall 2022), showing promising initial traction in a new category, with 30k cards graded over 6-8 months.

Other Charts - Beckett

Category Summary

What's Next for Beckett?

  • Beckett experienced a slowdown in grading activity during April. Considering current turnaround times, it's probable that Beckett processed January and February submissions in April. This is noteworthy because concerns about Beckett's upcoming grading scale changes potentially affecting demand may not be reflected in the results yet.
  • On a positive note, Beckett has been responsive to the extraordinary feedback received regarding the proposed grading scale changes. Collectors remain passionate about the brand, but this passion is a double-edged sword due to the variety of differing and biased opinions. How Beckett navigates appeasing its current collector base, stimulating short-term demand without overwhelming operations, and positioning itself for long-term growth (e.g., investing in the collector's experience) will be interesting to follow.