Gellman over at Sportscards Uncensored has blogged about grading in the hobby. It is a piece I think everyone should read.
When I returned to the hobby back in 2008, graded cards were new to me. I checked eBay and saw what graded cards were selling for, I hurriedly searched my old binders. I sent in a Rickey Henderson, a Nolan Ryan, and a Lou Brock. The cards looked awesome to me. I got a 9, an 8.5, and a 7.5 respectively. I put them up on eBay, and barely got back what it cost me to have them graded. I have no doubt that a large volume grader, like 4-sharp corners, gets preferential treatment. Larry Peon Sewingmachineguy won't be getting many 9's or 9.5's.
Catching Up with Joe Shlabotnik
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