Back on March 30, PSA Authentication and Grading Services, a company long considered the gold standard in the sports card collectibles grading field, shut down several of its services. The reason: It was overwhelmed with customer demand.
The result was a months-long backlog of card and memorabilia submissions from hobbyists and dealers, leaving the white-hot industry in a lurch. Cards are still trickling back to their owners, but turnaround times are currently lasting months.
In May 2020, the president and CEO of Collectors Universe (PSA's parent company), Joe Orlando, revealed to shareholders that the card backlog was more than one million cards. It grew since, prompting the shutdown.
For years, the desire to have experts grade sports memorabilia, especially cards, has dramatically increased. Graded cards bring in more money, and they come with the guarantee that the product being sold is authentic.
Companies such as PSA, Beckett and others receive cards and collectibles from dealers and hobbyists alike. Those items are put through a rigorous grading and authentication process before they're issued a numeric grade (most companies like PSA use a 1-10 system) before being shipped back to customers.
The correlation is simple: The higher the grade on cards, the more money they're worth on the secondary market.