The Worthless Gem... A 97% Gem Rate Story

Card Ladder
May 30, 20242 min read

Whether you think grading is a sham or not, the one non-debatable topic in the hobby is if grading adds value to cards. You frequently see a PSA 10 Gem Mint designation adding anywhere from 2-10+x premium on cards.

Above you can see the drastic change in price a PSA 10 designation puts on a card. This is the norm, as it's assumed not every card will grade Gem Mint and the pack standard card remains a NM-MT. However what happens when a card has a 97% gem rate?

The 2023 Victor Wembanyama Court Kings Level II PSA 10 has a 97% gem rate as it stands now. Side note, it's kind of funny because every other level in this product is beat to death with chipping and corner issues. However, as a result of the 97% gem rate, there is barely any distinguishable difference after all-in grading cost.

As seen above, a PSA 10 is just marginally above the raw price of the card. It is understandable with a 97% gem rate why this is the case. However it begs the question of; with consumer demands becoming increasingly higher & higher than ever on card conditions out of the pack, will this become more common? If so, will we see grading mean less long term? And how might that affect cards from prior products that have already been graded?