Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1

    Graded Vintage...What's Too Low

    I am in the process of starting a graded vintage baseball PC. I mainly have been focusing on raw football sets...but vintage baseball has always intrigued me. I don't really have any interest in putting together sets, but I do want to pick up some of the great players.

    Obviously, some of the great players are quite expensive. For example, I have always wanted to pick up a few Mickey Mantle cards...but they are quite pricey especially in the better grades. For me, eye appeal is very important. I don't need the card to be perfect but I want it to look nice in hand. Part of me thinks that I should avoid lower grade cards no matter what, but another part of me thinks that it might be an economical way to pick up some better cards. I know this is a personal thing and everyone makes up their own mind about what level of quality they are willing to accept...but at what point to do you think a grade is too low?

    For example, I have seen 1955 Bowman and 1957 Topps Mantle's at the PSA 4 level selling from between $200 and $300 online. Some of those PSA 4s look nicer than the average 4 but they have a small crease that puts them at that grade. I also figure that down the road, if I can afford to spend more I can always sell my current piece and buy a nicer example too.

    I guess my big question is...is there anything wrong with lower grade graded vintage cards? Obviously, one shouldn't grab the first card that comes along, but if care is taken is there anything wrong with a nice looking PSA 3 or 4?
    Tony Graziani Collection: 44/49, Autos: 11/13, GU: 2/2
    Have You Seen This Card: 1999 Upper Deck Encore F/X Gold #11 Tony Graziani 1/1
    1967 Topps FB Set: 132/132 - Complete
    1994 UD Collector's Choice Gold FB Set: 384/384 - Complete

  2. #2
    Buy the card and not the grade is my advice. I would rather have a card that is a 4 and looks great than a 5 that looks "worse" in my opinion. Some people are more turned off by poor centering, creases, etc. The grading varies A LOT by companies from card to card (especially PSA) so you can sometimes find a "better" card with a lower grade. Probably one of the problems with graded cards especially vintage is that you can have 100 different cards look totally different yet still were given the same grade.
    Trade Bucket: Hidden Content

  3. #3
    That's basically what I was thinking. To me, poor centering or an ugly crease is a big turn off. I can live much better with bad corners or a few small creases. But, when it comes to vintage baseball I am more comfortable with buying graded examples. I think if the time comes when I do sell or upgrade I will be a little safer.
    Tony Graziani Collection: 44/49, Autos: 11/13, GU: 2/2
    Have You Seen This Card: 1999 Upper Deck Encore F/X Gold #11 Tony Graziani 1/1
    1967 Topps FB Set: 132/132 - Complete
    1994 UD Collector's Choice Gold FB Set: 384/384 - Complete

  4. #4
    Here is another question. I tend to buy online...and when buying online you must base your decision on the photo because you can't see the card in hand (I also collect coins and this can be a HUGE problem with coins). I personally feel much safer buying a graded example of a high dollar card (especially a vintage card) when I can't inspect it in hand. Is this the correct way to think or am I just being overly paranoid?
    Tony Graziani Collection: 44/49, Autos: 11/13, GU: 2/2
    Have You Seen This Card: 1999 Upper Deck Encore F/X Gold #11 Tony Graziani 1/1
    1967 Topps FB Set: 132/132 - Complete
    1994 UD Collector's Choice Gold FB Set: 384/384 - Complete

  5. #5
    If the seller has good feedback and you can get a good scan of the front and back with a decent write up description then you should be fine. And if your gut tells you to avoid it then just avoid it.
    Trade Bucket: Hidden Content

  6. #6
    Buying the card, and not the grade, is a good place to start. But remember, too, that if you look at a card that's a PSA 4, and the same card a PSA 5, there's a reason why one received a higher grade. And for that reason, it's resale will be higher. But typically, from my somewhat limited experience, cards within the same grade will command a premium when they are centered. I've been trying to find a well centered 1958 Topps Clemente for a while, but all the ones I've seen have been in the lower grade range, or super high grade (7.5 or higher).

    As a rule of thumb, I always stay with a PSA 6 (or SGC 80) unless it's a really expensive card, then I might look at a 5. If it's super expensive, like a rookie of Aaron, Clemente, etc, I might even go to a 4 with eye appeal. Some of the different Mantles I will own, like a 1953 Bowman Color Mantle, even a 4 is pretty expensive, but it's worth it. Like the "buy the card, not the grade" mantra, "Buy the best card that you can afford" is another. If you can get a PSA 5, but the PSA 6 is not too painful, get the higher grade, especially if there's a possibility you'll sell it later. That's what I plan on doing. I'll look at a card, and if the next bump up isn't cost prohibitive, I'll wait another month, and get the higher grade. I'm not out to impress anybody, and it's not a race. You are making investments, and the product you are investing in will have a better chance of maintaining it's value if it's of higher quality.

    I'd highly recommend signing up on Net54baseball.com if you're serious about vintage buying. I've learned a lot about vintage buying, and the members are very helpful (I'm the 'stache on that board). When you are ready to make a buy, if you feel uneasy, ask for a few people to provide feedback. Graded cards are safer than raw, but there are unscrupulous people that will sell faked cards, complete with popped slabs, and faked flips. After you've bought vintage cards for a while, you'll learn how to spot cards that aren't legit. Until then, ask for help when you're not sure.

    Buy from reputable sellers. If you see a card you want, look at not only their rating, but other cards they have for sale, as well as the cards they have already sold. If they are selling a PSA 6 1954 Topps Hank Aaron, and they've never sold another graded vintage, it's probably a fake, or at the very least, highly suspect. There are certain vintage dealers that I have dealt with, and feel quite comfortable with. They do their due diligence.

    Develop your eye. Ask questions. Once you start buying them, get them insured. Store them in a safe place (my expensive graded vintage, as well as my high end modern cards, are all going to be stored at a bank safety deposit box after I have them scanned). But most of all, have fun.
    Collecting pre-war, vintage and modern baseball cards.
    Currently working on the T206 set, 1975 Topps, master collections of Roberto Clemente and Robin Yount.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by CamaroDMD View Post
    That's basically what I was thinking. To me, poor centering or an ugly crease is a big turn off. I can live much better with bad corners or a few small creases. But, when it comes to vintage baseball I am more comfortable with buying graded examples. I think if the time comes when I do sell or upgrade I will be a little safer.

    New member, but long time lurker....I'm big into collecting vintage and imho I dont feel that a vintage card that is OC should be that big of a deal and alot of times you can get a great player and great condition card for alot less if its a tad off center. Remember, off center cards in those days were very common. Theres a video of a guy on youtube who i think is on this board that opened a 69 topps cello pack and more than half the cards were off cenetered. I recently got an off centered 68 topps Mantle all star on ebay for $35 and I know it would grade out at a PSA 5 or better. From what I have seen, real deal collectors shy away in order to get the best all around card they can find but The only things that make me shy away are stains and miscuts. just my opinion
    I would rather have four sharp corners!!!
    Last edited by Vintage954; 05-01-2013 at 07:03 PM.

  8. #8
    If it's just for your collection, and you don't ever plan on selling it, then off centered is fine. If there's even the smallest possibility you might sell, you should try to buy the card with the best possible centering.
    Collecting pre-war, vintage and modern baseball cards.
    Currently working on the T206 set, 1975 Topps, master collections of Roberto Clemente and Robin Yount.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •