Customer Communication Center

Your source for the latest updates, news and data on PSA and the Hobby

PSA’s Recent Updates

11/4/21

Recently, we’ve begun using internal sleeves to protect thin stickers and cards from moving within the holder. Ever since, we’ve been contacted by a few collectors concerned about what appears to be moisture trapped within their case. The unusual occurrence is referred to as Newton’s Rings, a phenomenon that can occur when two plastics come in contact with each other. In reality, the area is completely free of moisture. Read all about this peculiar light illusion on the PSA Blog.


10/26/21

A changing of the guard took place today at Collectors Universe (CU). Steve Sloan, who has served as PSA President since 2018, was named Chief Marketing Officer for CU and will oversee all such efforts for PSA and the Collectors Universe family of brands. Steve has passed the baton to Kevin Lenane, who has been serving as PSA’s Vice President of Product since April, and who will now take on the role of PSA President. Read all about the organizational realignment right here.


9/21/21

All orders submitted under the ‘Regular’ service level have now been processed and shipped back to customers. There are no Regular orders remaining in the backlog. For the latest progress on Value and other service levels, check out the Complete Through Date chart updated daily.


9/9/21

This month’s update from PSA President Steve Sloan includes news of a price reduction, the latest on our capacity growth, a spotlight on the Set Registry Awards and some very cool news for game-used bat collectors. Read all about it in the September President’s Letter..


8/18/21

PSA has announced the 2021 Set Registry Award winners. Browse through some of the most incredible collections in the world: Best Collection of the Year, Best Set, Best Rookie Set, Sports, Non-Sports, Tickets, Autographs. It’s all here. Check out the best of the best from PSA’s 20th Annual Set Registry Awards.


8/6/21

The PSA team has just returned from the 41st National in Chicago. A jam-packed booth. On-site grading. One hundred happy contest winners. A steady flow of job applicants. All while reducing the backlog back at the office. Read all about it in PSA President Steve Sloan's August Customer Update.


7/12/21

PSA is gearing up for the 2021 National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago (July 28 through August 1). We will be offering on-site authentication, grading and encapsulation for all cards including crossovers, reviews and dual-service. Read the announcement for all the details on services offered at the show.


7/1/21

PSA continues to devote nearly all of its operational resources to processing the backlog. Express returns today but most other services remain suspended. PSA President Steve Sloan explains the rationale in his July President's Letter.


6/10/21

Complete Through Dates provide greater visibility into order processing progress as the CTD advances forward toward your order’s Entered date. Read our latest post on CTDs & Batch FIFO for greater understanding on the effects of Batch FIFO on order completion.


6/7/21

In this month’s update, PSA President Steve Sloan shares an order entry milestone, unveils PSA’s Customer Request Center, introduces a new policy on Qualifiers and much, much more. Read the June President’s Letter for all the pertinent details.


5/24/21

As part of our efforts to continually improve operational efficiency as we work through the backlog of orders, PSA will no longer require submitters to decide whether to request “No Qualifiers” on items in their submission. Characteristics such as Centering, Staining, Print Defects and Focus will be assigned at the grader’s discretion, and most typically will impact the numerical grade rather than carrying a qualifier. There are exceptions and we encourage collectors to review the updated policy on the PSA Grading Standards page.


5/5/21

In this month’s update, PSA President Steve Sloan shares the latest news on operations and order fulfillment progress, details on the acquisition of Genamint, Inc., introduces new PSA executives and a whole lot more. Read the May President’s Letter for all the details.


4/21/21

PSA announces the acquisition of Genamint to integrate next-generation technology into the grading process. Advancements in imaging and card diagnostics are key initiatives for PSA as we apply technology to improve efficiency, accuracy and capacity. Read the acquisition announcement for additional details.


3/30/21

PSA President Steve Sloan’s monthly update to customers announces the suspension of Value, Regular and Express service levels. Read the April President’s Letter for details.


3/30/21

All active Collectors Club members will have their memberships automatically extended to match the duration of the Value suspension. This extension will ensure existing members have twelve full months to utilize their annual Collectors Club benefits. Additionally, unredeemed vouchers will still be accepted during the suspension of service.


3/18/21

As part of the continued effort to streamline operations and get customers their cards back faster, PSA has temporarily removed the ‘Minimum Grade’ option from the Submission process. This move follows the recent decision to suspend the Crossover grading service, the primary application for selecting a Minimum Grade. PSA will post an announcement upon the return of the Crossover service and the Minimum Grade option.


3/1/21

PSA President Steve Sloan’s monthly update to customers details the CU acquisition, Complete Through Dates, pricing changes, and more. Read the March President’s Letter for details.


2/19/21

To focus on the PSA backlog, the Custom Encapsulation service has been suspended. PSA will make an announcement upon its return.


12/16/20

The December installment of Steve Sloan’s monthly update to PSA customers looks back on all we experienced during the past 12 months, both as a company and an industry. Read the December President’s Letter for all the details.


11/2/20

The November installment of Steve Sloan’s monthly update to PSA customers details the expansion of our operations facilities, the latest on our hiring efforts, the newest enhancements to the communication of our order process, and more. Read the November President’s Letter for all the details.


10/7/20

In response to the widespread increase in trading card valuations, PSA raises the maximum Declared Value to $199 on any card submitted under the four Value Services; Ultra-Modern, Modern, Vintage and TCG. Combined with the recent reduction in the minimum Value order size to only 20 cards, PSA is making it easier for collectors to take advantage of our lowest price points.


10/1/20

PSA releases a formal Group Submission page that guides interested collectors to the PSA Dealer Directory. These dealers have signed a formal code of conduct agreement with PSA and are approved to manage and submit group submissions. Read the announcement for more details.


10/1/20

PSA restructures Value pricing while lowering minimum order size for the service. Ultra-Modern pricing is now $15 per card with 20-card minimum order quantities. Modern pricing is now $12 per card with 20-card minimum order quantities. Read the announcement for more details.


10/1/20

PSA sells out of the Gold and Platinum Collectors Club memberships for the remainder of the calendar year. Current members who have not yet submitted valid vouchers are able to do so prior to membership expiration. Read the announcement for more details.


10/1/20

Due to overwhelming demand, PSA suspends Economy service for both the trading card and dual authentication and grading services. This suspension will allow PSA to catch up on impacted turnaround times for these services. Please continue to check this page for updates.


9/28/20

PSA releases a new Appraisal Service. After years of customers asking, PSA at last provides a formal answer to the age-old collector question, ‘what is my item worth?’ The service is available only to items that have been certified by PSA or PSA/DNA. The PSA Appraisal service will expand to include uncertified items submitted to PSA or PSA/DNA for authentication and grading on January 1, 2021.


9/23/20

2020 PSA Set Registry Award Winners have been announced! Judges have selected over 30 winners, including 10 new Hall of Fame inductees, from the nearly 180,000 registered sets. Additionally, 14,468 sets have received designation as the ‘Best of the Registry’, the largest total ever. Please visit the 2020 Awards page and the Hall of Fame page to see all of the award winning collections.


9/22/20

Collectors Universe hires industry veteran Jamie Kiskis as the company's first Vice President of Product Development. Jamie will focus primarily on expanding the PSA Set Registry and providing a better experience for both current and new users.


9/15/20

PSA releases a new website with a cleaner design and better user interface. The new site makes it easier to find information about our services and instructions on how to submit.


9/14/20

PSA’s New Jersey office stops accepting drop off submission for PSA trading card, ticket, pack, professional bat, professional glove, and ring/award/trophy authentication and grading services. However, the office will honor previously scheduled appointments for those services until November 30, 2020.


9/11/20

PSA implements a 5% service charge to submissions with items not submitted in the same order they are listed on their submission forms. Items not submitted in order cause delays in the Receiving department and delay the overall grading process.


9/11/20

PSA launches a new Submission ID label for orders processed through the Online Submission Center. This allows customers to print out and adhere a label to this side of the package instead of writing the Service Level name. When packages arrive to PSA, the barcode is scanned, and the customer is notified via email.


Complete Through Dates

by Service Level

A service level’s Complete Through Date is the day before the date of the oldest open order in the PSA system for that service level. The CTD is based on order entry date, which means the day the order was formally entered into the PSA system for authentication and grading.

Check the progress on your order by comparing the “Entered” date on your My Orders page to the service level’s Complete Through Date to get an idea as to the remaining time before your order will be completed.

CTDs are applicable to all retail card grading orders submitted directly to PSA. If you are a dealer, please reach out to your PSA representative for updated status on your orders. If you are a participant in group submissions, please contact your group submitter for updated status on your orders.

Posted CTDs update daily and you can follow along as the CTD advances closer to your order’s Entered date. Learn more about PSA Complete Through Dates on our CTD FAQ.

Service Level Complete Through Date % of CTD Month Completed
Walk-Through 11/16/2021 N/A
Super Express 11/9/2021 N/A
Express 10/20/2021 99% of October
Regular COMPLETE 100%
Economy COMPLETE 100%
Reholder 2/21/2021 99% of February
Collectors Club Vouchers 9/26/2021 93% of September
Value - Ultra Modern 1/17/2021 99% of January
Value - Modern 1/14/2021 96% of January
Value - Vintage 1/17/2021 96% of January
Value - TCG 1/5/2021 35% of January
Quarterly Specials 1/5/2021 96% of January

Last CTD Update: 11/26/2021 at 11:19pm PDT

Last Monthly Completion Update: 11/21/2021 at 11:30pm PDT

Understanding CTDs & Monthly Completion

Please note: Orders that require special handling, have payment or shipping issues may be exceptions to the published Complete Through Dates. If you are waiting for an order that is an exception to the current CTD and you don’t know why, please contact PSA customer service.

A Deeper Look at The Backlog

The unprecedented demand for PSA’s authentication and grading services has far surpassed our grading capacity, which has resulted in a substantial backlog of orders waiting to be processed. The demand that has created the backlog is largely driven by lower-valued cards submitted via the “Value” (aka ‘Bulk’) service level. This chart illustrates the current state of the backlog, with more than 84% of the items residing within “Value” service submissions.

Items in Backlog

Pie chart showing 84.2% Value Service and 15.8% Everything Else.

PSA Growth History

It took PSA almost seven years to reach 1 million cards certified, a milestone that the company surpassed in 1998. Since that time, PSA customers have submitted at least 1,000,000 collectibles for certification every year. In 2020, that number grew to over 7.5 million. Incredibly, to start 2021, PSA has averaged over 1,000,000 cards received each month for the first three months of the year.

Collectibles Certified Per Year (Millions)
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 3.5
  • 3.0
  • 2.5
  • 2.0
  • 1.5
  • 1.0
  • 0.5
  • 0
Collectibles Certified (Per Year)
Packages Received Per Month
  • Oct 2020
  • Nov 2020
  • Dec 2020
  • Jan 2021
  • Feb 2021
  • Mar 2021
  • 49000
  • 42000
  • 35000
  • 28000
  • 21000
  • 14000
  • 7000
  • 0
Total Packages

Employee Growth

In January 2020, PSA's parent company Collectors Universe employed 421 team members. Today we stand 783 people strong and growing daily. We’ve been adding more than 2 people per business day for more than 6 months and we’re still going.

Capacity Growth

How many companies can say they doubled capacity in 2020? PSA can. In fact, PSA’s grading capacity has tripled since 2018. Plus, during 2020 and the early stages of 2021, PSA has added over 120,000 square feet of new office space to ensure our operations continue to expand.

PSA Initiatives

Expanding grading capacity is a multi-faceted endeavor. Read on for details on some of the steps we are taking.

1
Initiative One
Hiring

We are adding to our team daily. We have numerous open positions on our Careers page. If you are interested in joining the team at PSA, or if you know someone who would be a good fit, please apply.

Collectors Universe is a healthy, growing company with locations in both California and New Jersey. We offer 401(K) matching, and medical and dental benefits. Even if you do not see an exact fit with your professional background, still do apply. We are always looking for passionate, energetic, and hard-working collectors to join our team.

DID YOU KNOW?
Since December 2020, PSA has added over 175 new employees to its workforce.
2
Initiative Two
Technology

We have multiple initiatives in the works to apply technology to expand our grading capacity. Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning…regardless of what you call it, technology will play an ever-increasing role in streamlining key steps throughout the submission process. Automation to streamline receiving. Software for image recognition and card identification. Machine Learning to fine-tune quality control. Throughout 2021 and beyond, PSA will be introducing advanced technology to continually improve safe handling and faster order processing.

3
Initiative Three
Lean Principles

Another important step is the implementation and adherence to Lean manufacturing principles. Throughout 2020, we systematically reconfigured every department in our operation to optimize workflow. The results were impressive and immediate. Each step in the process saw capacity gains of at least 80%, with many departments gaining even greater production, compared to a year ago.

4
Initiative Four
Continuous Improvement

PSA is eager to answer the surge in demand, working on multiple concurrent continuous improvement projects to scale our operation. PSA has implemented numerous holistic changes to the way we process orders. Eliminating paper submissions and pay-by-check for greater automation. Segmenting Value submissions for greater specialization. Introducing Submission ID Labels for better order tracking. Many other smaller internal changes have been made as well as we seek continuous improvement to our process. It’s a daily challenge for our staff, and one that they have taken great initiative to institute.

5
Initiative Five
Global Expansion

PSA is working on physical office expansion to new domestic and international markets. This will help diffuse submissions across multiple locations and allow PSA to tap into new grading talent across the hobby.

PSA opened offices in Tokyo in 2018 to better serve the growing Asian market in Japan and Southeast Asia.

Additionally, PSA has official agents in China, Canada and the United Kingdom, making it easier for collectors in these markets to submit to our U.S. headquarters.

PSA New Jersey
Office

PSA Japan
Office

PSA Canada
Official Agent

PSA China
Official Agent

Shanghai Ruika, Ltd
PSA UK
Official Agent

PSA EU
Official Agent

A look at PSA’s First In, First Out (FIFO) Process

PSA’s primary goal is to adhere to FIFO operations for each of our service lines. The recent launch of Complete Through Dates is an illustration of our commitment to FIFO standards.

We continuously strive to process submissions in the order they arrive for each of our service levels, although it's important to note that FIFO is not always possible. Certain aspects of our process, unique to trading card authentication and grading, may result in certain orders taking more time than typical. Orders that need extra time can result in Complete Through Dates appearing stalled. But the service line continues to advance. Once the delayed order is completed, the CTD may skip ahead multiple days.

Here are some of the scenarios that may cause an order to be delayed.

Receiving and Order Entry

Following PSA’s submission guidelines is an important part of ensuring your order gets off on the right path once it arrives a PSA. We encourage customers to adhere to these guidelines in order to avoid the dreaded “Hold” designation that can occur at the Receiving stage. Delays can be caused by:

The cards not placed in the same order as they appear on the submission form. This can slow the process so much that we apply a 5% service fee for cards packaged in a sequence that differs from the order confirmation page sequence.
The submission form contains incomplete information such as payment method or return address.
Cards included in the submission not being listed on the submission form.
Researching Items

PSA’s Research department is one of the largest departments in the company, and has the core responsibility of accurately and efficiently identifying the wide variety of collectibles submitted to PSA. As you might imagine, this includes a rich and diverse assortment of collectibles, from 19th century cabinet cards to the latest releases from Topps, Upper Deck and Panini. Some orders may take longer in the Research department due to:

An order may contain 20 cards, and all but one is readily identified. However, that 20th card is a rarity and requires added research to confirm its year, manufacturer and other details.
The order contains cards that were just recently released and have never been seen before by PSA, requiring time to research and catalog the cards within our database.
PSA’S Grading Process

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look and how PSA grades your cards.

01 SHIPPING PREPARATION

You’ve completed the online submission process and you’re ready to send your cards to PSA.

02 DELIVERY

Soon after you’ve shipped your cards, they will be delivered to our facility in Southern California. Your package will be among the tens of thousands of collectibles we receive every day.

03 ARRIVAL

The Submission ID Label on the side of your package is scanned, and your Account and Orders pages are updated to reflect the arrival of your items.

04 ORDER ENTRY

Your order is reviewed, entered into the grading system and assigned an order number to replace your personal information – thus removing the potential for bias throughout the grading process.

05 THE STICKER

Order ID stickers with unique certification numbers are placed on each Card Saver in the order.

06 THE RESEARCH DEPARTMENT

Your cards are researched so they can be properly identified on the PSA label.

07 GRADING

Your cards are authenticated and graded by PSA’s team of graders.

08 THE PSA LIGHTHOUSE™ LABEL

PSA’s LightHouse labels are printed showing each card’s information and grade.

09 THE SEALING DEPARTMENT

The card and LightHouse label are sonically sealed in PSA’s tamper-evident holder for security.

10 GRADE CHECK

Another PSA grader will review and check your order again for accuracy.

11 QUALITY ASSURANCE

A final quality control check is done on your order to check for errors.

12 THE FINAL STEP

Your order is reviewed one final time to make sure everything is accounted for and then is shipped.