January 2022 PSA Grading Recap

  • PSA graded 775,680 items during January - which was roughly flat with December ‘21 output; however, PSA closed out January with a record high week grading over 212k cards.
  • The backlog now sits at roughly 6 million cards.
  • Basketball was back on top as the most graded category - ending a three month run for TCG/Pokemon.
  • Cards manufactured during or after 2010 made up 72% of the items graded vs 66% in December ‘21 and 61% in November ‘21.
  • Published February 2nd, 2022

    As noted last month: PSA has started to release data as it relates to grading trends. We are very excited to see them participating and sharing their extremely valuable data in a more transparent fashion.

    When comparing GemRate data to PSA, it’s important to remember a couple of items.
    1) PSA very intentionally includes the word “shipped” in its descriptions. The timing of when data updates on a pop report (how GemRate collects data) and when an item ships may not coincide perfectly.
    2) Population data is subject to things like reclassifications, issuance of new certs, reholders, etc. PSA will always be best suited to account for those types of nuances and therefore will always be the best source of truth as it relates to newly graded cards.

    In summary, GemRate data will always be very directionally correct but PSA will always have the source of truth.

    PSA output was roughly flat in January compared to December ‘21 - with 775,680 items graded during the month

  • Although January output was roughly flat, PSA closed out January with a record high week with over 212k cards graded.
  • The backlog now sits at roughly 6 million cards
  • PSA posted seven days with 40,000+ output compared to three in December and seven in November
  • Average output per day was 25,022 items graded

  • Cards manufactured during or after 2010 made up 72% of the items graded in January

    Gem rates increased again in January; however, this increase appears mix driven as grading appears to be much more consistent over the past few months

  • The gem rate across all items graded in January increased to 44% (vs 42% in December, 38% in November, 38% in October, 43% in September and 40% in August). We believe this is mostly reflective of the mix continuing to shift to ultra modern as opposed to a change in grading standards.
  • Of the top 100 cards graded, 45% saw an improvement in the gem rate during January compared to December.
  • The gem rate for 2019 Prizm basketball was flat in January at 58%. We highlight 2019 Prizm basketball as one of many proxies to gauge overall gem rate trends

  • Category Summary

    Basketball was back on top as the most graded category - ending a three-month run for TCG/Pokemon

  • Activity was mixed across the categories; however, basketball, soccer, hockey, and F1 had noteworthy increases in January

  • Set Summary

    2019 Panini Prizm basketball reclaimed the top spot as the most graded set

  • 2019 Panini Prizm moved back into a familiar spot at the top of the list
  • Moving onto the list in January: 2019 Panini Hoops Premium Stock and 2018 Panini Prizm basketball
  • Falling off the list: 1999 Pokemon Jungle and 2020 Topps Chrome baseball

  • Player Summary

    Charizard continues to dominate the list; Michael Jordan continues to slide

  • Charizard remained at the top of the list while Pikachu dropped two spots
  • Michael Jordan activity has declined meaningfully since peaking during the summer of 2021 (53k Jordan cards were graded in June ‘21)
  • Bo Bichette moved onto the list in January while Kobe Brant dropped off

  • Card Summary

    Pokemon and 2020 Topps baseball continue to dominate the top card leaderboard

  • Jumping onto the list in January: 2019 Mosaic Zion Williamson #209, 2020 Mosaic Justin Herbert #204, 2016 Pokemon XY Evolutions Charizard-Holo #11
  • Dropping from the list: 2020 Pokemon Japanese S Promo Charizard Illustration Grand Prix #143, 2021 Donruss Mac Jones #255, 2020 Topps Randy Arozarena #229

  • What's Next?

  • We were surprised to see January activity continue to pace at late 2021 levels given PSA’s desire to clear the backlog and open more grading levels. The backlog now sits close to 6 million cards (was 6.7 million in early January [🔉 7 min mark]). The strong finish to January (a record high 212k items graded during the last week) suggests PSA may be gearing up to push 1,000,000 cards graded a month in the near future.
  • While we think it’s likely that PSA will have more 40k+ grading days in February than in January [7], it is worth considering that demand may not be where the company anticipated during the summer. Mentions of PSA clearing the backlog faster than expected and lower price options becoming available sooner than later suggest that may in fact be the case.