January '23 Grading Recap
February 2nd, 2023
- Overall grading activity declined by 2% in January vs December.
- Cards graded by PSA fell 5%; cards graded by SGC increased 4%, Beckett increased 20%, and the combined CSG/CGC increased 19%.
- Baseball (+6%) and hockey (+9%) were two of the strongest categories for the second straight month; TCG activity dropped 6%.
January Grading Summary
Items Graded - by Month
Items Graded - by Month - Excluding PSA
TCG Cards Graded at PSA
Items Graded by Era
Gem Rate Breakdown by Era
January 2023 PSA Grading Recap
- PSA graded 1,007,889 items during January; output was down 5% vs December and up 30% year-over-year.
TCG activity dips but still dominates
- TCG was 35% of the cards graded by PSA in January.
- Baseball (+6%), hockey (+7%), non-sport (+7%), and multi-sport (+6%) increased in January.
Set Summary - Sports & Other
2021 Prizm basketball holds onto the top spot
- Added to the list in January: 2022 Topps Update and 2022 Bowman Chrome Prospect Autographs baseball
- Dropping from the list: 2021 Mosaic football and 2020 Prizm basketball
Set Summary - TCG+
Ultra-modern Pokemon crowds the chart
- Added to the list in January: 2022 Pokemon Japanese Sword & Shield Vstar Universe, 2022 Pokemon Sword and Shield Silver Tempest, 2021 Pokemon Sun & Moon Hidden Fates and 2019 Pokemon Japanese Sword & Shield Vmax Climax
- Dropping from the list: 2022 Pokemon Go, 2021 Pokemon Japanese Sword & Shield Vmax Climax, 2021 Pokemon Swsh Black Star Promo and 2021 Pokemon Japanese Promo Card Pack 25th Anniversary Edition
Player Summary - Sports & Other
Julio Rodriguez activity jumps nearly 50%
- Added to the list in January: Wander Franco and Justin Fields
- Dropping from the list: Ken Griffey Jr and Jalen Hurts
Subject Summary - TCG
Top TCG subjects decline across the board
Card Summary - Sports & Other
2022 Topps Update Julio Rodriquez holds the top spot by a good margin
Card Summary - TCG
2022 Pokemon releases claim the top five spots
What's Next for PSA?
- As discussed last month, PSA likely used January to gauge how well their new pricing fit the current state of grading.
- PSA subsequently saw a 5% drop in activity during January and quickly announced February pricing specials targeting TCG, vintage and high-end customers.
- With January behind us, we expect PSA to return to its 2022 playbook utilizing strategic pricing levers to generate demand if/when possible. The February pricing specials are likely the first of many to hit the market this year.
January 2023 SGC Grading Recap
- SGC graded 81,232 cards during January - a 4% increase vs December.
Baseball (+9%), football (+10%), and Pokemon (+38%) all outpaced overall growth in January.
2022 Bowman Chrome baseball held onto the top spots
- Added to the list in January: 2022 Bowman Chrome Mega Box, 2022 Bowman Chrome Draft and 1956 Topps baseball
- Dropping from the list: 2021 Donruss Optic football, 2021 Prizm basketball and 2022 Topps Update baseball
Julio Rodriguez falls just shy of the top spot
- Added to the list in January: Bobby Witt Jr, Shohei Ohtani, and Joe Burrow
- Dropping from the list: Nolan Ryan, Aaron Judge, and Jalen Hurts
What's Next for SGC?
SGC was able to carry momentum from December into January with activity up 4%.
2022 Bowman Chrome drove significant volume even as the $9 special expired at the end of 2022.
Looking ahead to February, SGC announced a $12-15 Pokemon pricing special during mid-January.
Given SGC volume to date has been relatively insignificant with Pokemon, it won't take much interest to move the needle for SGC.
SGC clearly recognizes it missed a big chunk of the initial TCG wave and is hoping this move allows it to participate while the category leads overall grading activity.
February results will give us a quick read on how well the market receives the promotion.
Other Charts - CSG
What's Next for CSG/CGC?
- CGC saw a meaningful increase in activity during January while CSG results look very similar to the prior few months.
- Overall, CGC looks well positioned and saw meaningful activity from the newest Pokemon releases.
CSG on the other hand needs a bit of a boost and the company announced updated pricing in January. CSG also continues to push the partnership angle and recently announced a partnership with COMC.
- As it currently stands, we expect February results to look fairly similar to January for both CGC and CSG; that said, the main risk to February results is the PSA TCG special for CGC.
Other Charts - Beckett
What's Next for Beckett?
- Beckett grading activity was up 20% in January.
While many of the December trends held for Beckett during January, it appears some of the incremental growth came from clearing older orders in its backlog.
In many ways, Beckett is still trying to hit its stride operationally, and clearing older orders is a good start.
- Looking ahead to February, Beckett also released updated pricing during January.
Our initial read is that the pricing is an improvement that will likely help Beckett appease its core audience but not necessarily one that is going to help it reclaim lost share.
That said, it's an important step that will likely allow Beckett to pull more strategic pricing levers in a similar fashion to PSA (and SGC with Bowman) during the year.