I'm not much of a fan of graded cards but some of my customers are so I pick them up from time to time if I can get them cheap enough to run in my weekly auction.
I usually buy them from "PSA Mike", a local dealer. He told me this story of a Tiger Woods card he once had.
It is the 1996 Sports Illustrated for Kids card, The card came on a perforated sheet inside the magazine.
He very, very, very, very carefully removed it so it's "teeth" were perfect.
He sent the card to PSA for grading and it came back a PSA-9 which sold for around $5,000 at the time.
A great return on his $100 investment in the complete magazine ... but not great enough.
He cracked it open and sent it in again, and again, and again, and again ...
Finally on the 10th submission he got the coveted PSA-10 GEM MINT grade !!!
The first (and only at that time) PSA-10.
He sold it shortly later (2001) on eBay for $125,000 !!!
Just wait ... the story gets more interesting.
A few months later a 2nd PSA-10 showed up. It went for around $50,000.
Not a very good investment for the $125,000 buyer.
And it got worse, and worse, and worse.
A recent (Apr. 17, 2013) sale on eBay was for only $7,200.
A drop of $118,000 (94% loss) - $125,000 down to $7,200 in just 12 years.
Then there's the $1,000 PSA-10 1986 Topps Traded Barry Bonds.
Now available via eBay for just $50. A 95% loss.
I think if someone did a study on the values of non-vintage PSA graded
cards the results would be stunning. I'm guessing well over 90% of them would
show losses. With many showing massive drops in the 50% to 90% range.
Lucky for PSA, 60-Minutes just doesn't seem interested.
Look for future "horror stories" on MINT graded cards with paper loss and oil stains.
And let's not forget the "When it Was a Game" PSA scandal from the 1990's to 2003
when they pled guilty to fraud. The story starts with me selling them their first cards
after my wife demanded I clean out my closet.