You’ve heard about graded cards, and you probably know that PSA — Professional Sports Authenticator — is one of the top companies in the business. But did you know there is an actual, official PSA price guide?
Actually, there are (at least) two PSA price guides.
Here is a rundown of the tools that PSA provides for tracking cards prices, and how you can use them to your benefit.
PSA Sports Market Report (SMR) Price Guide
This is ostensibly the main PSA price guide — in fact, the PSA website recently seems to have dropped the “Sports Market Report” bit … this is the PSA Price Guide.
Here, you can search for just about any card or set you can imagine, in any grade and across all sports and non-sports issues. Heck, you can even drill down into memorabilia, like a full lineup of autograph values.
In terms of how the listed prices are derived, PSA has this to say:
Every issue contains card prices based on established price histories. No subjective pricing surveys or price ranges of ungraded cards are ever included.
You can also subscribe to the monthly physical version, which now goes by the moniker of PSA Magazine. As you might expect, the magazine gives you a bit more insight through articles and such, but it can’t keep up with the more rapid changes in the market.
In fact, if you spend much time on hobby forums, you’ll find that’s a frequent criticism of the online PSA price guide, too — it doesn’t always reflect current pricing.
Fortunately, PSA offers an alternative …
PSA Auction Prices Realized
As the name implies, the Auction Prices Realized (APR) tool tracks actual auction selling prices for PSA-graded cards and reports on them through the website.
The APR reports on listings from across the hobby, including the voluminous sales going down on eBay and the more infrequent, generally higher-dollar transactions happening at the various auction houses.
The lag time for the APR is much shorter than what you’ll find with the SMR — usually PSA reports sales the same day they hammer down.
Organized by sets, the APR tool gives you a chance to see a list of individual sales for each card and also presents per-grade average pricing and most-recent sales numbers for each entry.
Using the data from the APR, you can break up pricing information over whatever time period you want to help determine if the card you’re considering purchasing is priced right, or maybe how you might be able to sell your own graded cards for.
So there you have it — a rundown of both versions of the PSA price guide, along with some tips on how to use them.
Of course, as with all price guides, these are just that — guides. Even PSA can’t predict what a particular card will be worth on the open market.
And, as an extra piece of cautionary advice, be forewarned — these tools are addictive, and you may just find that a couple of hours have gone by before you can even blink, should you venture a deep dive into either or both PSA price guides.