October 2021 Recap

  • PSA grading activity declined considerably to 640k cards graded (down 23% vs September) and was the lowest monthly output since May ‘21.
  • PSA used October to catch up on lower price submissions (following September’s record output) - highlighted by a noteworthy drop in the percentage of cards graded after 2010.
  • TCG (Pokemon) was the top graded category for the first time and was the only major category to post an increase in volume compared to September.
  • On a like-to-like basis, gem rates mostly held at the more recent elevated levels; however, the overall gem rate across all cards declined thanks in large part to the mix shifts noted above.
  • Published November 1st, 2021

    PSA output declined by 23% in October compared to September - with 640,085 items graded during the month

  • The October output is a sharp decline from the record highs reached in September (830k) and is the lowest monthly volume since May '21
  • The average output per day was 20,647 items graded

  • Cards from the 1990s and 2000s increased as a % of cards graded during October

    Gem rates remain favorable vs spring '21; overall gem rates drop due to the shift away from ultra-modern

  • The gem rate across all cards graded dropped to 38% in October (vs 43% in September and 40% in August). However, a closer look shows this decline can be attributed to the large shift in the mix of cards graded.
  • Of the top 100 cards graded, 46% saw an improvement in their gem rate during October compared to September.
  • 2019 Prizm basketball gem rates continue to see an atypical climb and were 60% in October.

  • Category Summary

    TCG tops the leaderboard for the first time and was the only major category to show an increase in October

  • TCG increased 6% vs September
  • Basketball and baseball experienced significant declines in volume; basketball activity alone was down by more than 100k grades vs September

  • Set Summary

    1999 Pokemon Game surpasses 2019 Prizm basketball as the top graded set

  • All of the top sets showed a drop in activity during October - including Pokemon - despite overall category growth for TCG

  • Player Summary

    Jordan holds onto the top spot

  • Only Jordan, Kobe, and Shaq outpaced overall activity (down 23%)

  • Card Summary

    Pokemon surges and now makes up half the October leaderboard

    What's Next?

    Was October a blip or is there more to it? Is this just a reset after a record push in September and a big push to close out the year? Is it any coincidence PSA very recently touted its capacity growth allowing it to process (not necessarily grade) 40,000+ cards per day? Does the higher mix of Pokemon cards somehow impact PSA's ability to process cards at a rapid pace? Does this impact the potential reopening of a service level before year end? (unlikely as the higher mix of TCG cards isn't a surprise to PSA)