March 2022 Grading Recap

Published April 2nd, 2022
  • PSA graded 987,092 items during March - just shy of a massive million card milestone - up 31% from February. A new monthly record for output for PSA.
  • SGC also set what appears to be a new monthly record crossing the 100k card mark with 103k items graded.
  • TCG/Pokemon continues to the be the headliner with momentum seemingly increasing as the backlog at PSA clears.
March Grading Summary

Category Comparison

Items Graded by Era

Gem Rate Breakdown by Era

March 2022 PSA Grading Recap

  • PSA graded 987,092 items during March - just shy of a massive million card milestone - up 31% from February.
  • March was easily a record month for PSA and was ~20% higher than the previous record set in September ’21.
  • Baseball, soccer, hockey, and non-sport (along with others) outpaced overall activity during the month.
  • Nearly 300k TCG cards were graded during March.

Category Summary

TCG/Pokemon finished just shy of 300k cards graded in March; momentum continues to build

  • Baseball, soccer, hockey, and non-sport (along with others) outpaced overall activity during the month

Set Summary

Pokemon claimed half the leaderboard in March

  • 1999 Pokemon Game held the top spot again - topping the list for the fifth time in six months
  • New to the list in March: 2020 Pokemon Swsh Black Star Promo
  • Dropping from the list: 2019 Chronicles basketball

Player Summary

Charizard holds top spot again as Michael Jordan sees large spike

  • Charizard activity grew as did overall Pokemon activity
  • Michael Jordan activity had been on a steady decline for months but saw a resurgence in March
  • Tom Brady moved onto the list in March while Fernando Tatis Jr. dropped off

Card Summary

Pokemon and Topps baseball still dominate the list; 1990 Fleer Jordan resurfaces; and a soccer card breaks through

  • New to the list in March: 2020 Topps Now Bundesliga Youssoufa Moukoko and 2020 Pokemon Sword & Shield Rayquaza
  • Dropping from the list: 2020 Topps Chrome Luis Robert and 2020 Panini Prizm Joe Burrow

What's Next for PSA?

  • PSA finally broke out and hit new highs during March - which is important to see if PSA wants to grade 15+ million cards in a given 12-month period.
  • That said, near-term demand still remains something of a concern. Anecdotally, it feels like many of the 20-card allocations are being granted to users that then go seek out 20 cards to grade vs having a queue of 20 cards ready to go (opportunistic but not necessarily huge pent-up demand).
  • Fresh off its $100 million fundraising announcement and brand refresh, we hope to see some new product announcements out of Collectors and PSA in the near future that help to stimulate demand in the hobby (related to things like the Set Registry, Card Manager, etc)

March 2022 SGC Grading Recap

  • SGC graded 103,264 items during March - which appears to be a record high for SGC (GemRate only began tracking SGC at the start of 2022).
  • SGC grading activity was fueled by baseball, non-sport, and misc card growth.

Category Summary

Baseball activity was the main catalyst behind March growth

  • Baseball, non-sport, and misc cards all outpaced overall activity during the month

Set Summary

2020 Mosaic basketball claims the top spot; Wander mania starts to surface

  • 2020 Mosaic basketball took the top spot from 2021 Donruss football
  • New to the list in March: 2021 Panini Mosaic football and 2022 Topps baseball
  • Dropping from the list: 2021 Bowman Chrome Prospects baseball and 2020 Donruss Optic football

Player Summary

Michael Jordan leads but Tom Brady closes the gap

  • Michael Jordan continues to top the list
  • Tom Brady and Joe Burrow saw meaningful increases in March
  • Baseball saw a legend (Mickey Mantle) increase by 30% and a new hobby darling (Wander Franco) shoot onto the leaderboard

Card Summary

Wander Franco mania has begun

  • New to the list in March: 2022 Topps Wander Franco, 2021 Donruss Ja'Marr Chase, 1993 Topps Derek Jeter and 1966 Topps Mickey Mantle
  • Dropping from the list: 2020 Panini Prizm LaMelo Ball, 2020 Donruss Optic LaMelo Ball, 1981 Topps Joe Montana and 1990 Fleer Michael Jordan

What's Next for SGC?

  • SGC continues to be a strong number two player in the grading category. They've been very consistent with their output and have been increasing their brand presence meaningfully.
  • Steady and predictable increases in output might not be the most newsworthy story in 2022, but might be what is necessary to solidify SGC's position in the market as it gets attacked on multiple fronts - including the looming PSA price drops, the repositioning of CSG, and the potential awakening of Beckett

Other Charts - CSG

Category Summary

Set Summary

Player Summary

What's Next for CSG?

  • CSG announced its much-needed label redesign and an updated grading scale to what we would categorize as generally favorable feedback. It wasn't a homerun but also wasn't a big miss.
  • That's a win for a company trying to establish itself as a serious player in sports cards. It was important that it got out of its own way and allowed its slabs and grading to speak for the company (vs having everyone focused on a glaring weakness).
  • The company is still juggling many initiatives as it is quickly expanding its capacity - we'll see how grading activity shakes out with all these changes over the next few months.

Other Charts - Beckett

Category Summary

What's Next for Beckett?

  • One of the strongest brands in the hobby finally broke its silence recently. While the news wasn't earth shattering as it relates to grading activity and backlogs - any news and signs of life out of Beckett is thought to be a positive.
  • A brand that still has a very loyal following and not so long ago was a leader in grading - had practically not been heard from in any meaningful capacity going on over a year.
  • Change seems to be coming to Beckett - which would be welcome by many in the hobby. While details remain few and far between, there's hope that Beckett may be a much more relevant player in the hobby sooner than later. TBD.