High End is Up, Low End is Down, What's Next? Part 1: The Closure of PSA's bulk Service

Card Ladder
Dec 4, 20213 min read

As the market currently stands two trends are abundantly clear with one being that low end is tanking and high end is rising. Was this inevitable? Yes, ultimately as PSA returns more and more bulk orders with pop reports soaring it should have been expected that low end slabs specifically would tank in price. A big reason for this being is that the cards that were sent off in bulk orders, were not sent by collectors who actually wanted 25 Devonte Graham Prizm base but rather people looking for quick flips. In many cases the profits from the bulk subs were either taken out of the hobby, re-invested into more bulk subs, and or leveling up into higher end cards. That will lead us to our first reason as to why low end is down and high end is up.

The Closure of PSA’s Bulk Service:

While many long time hobbyists despised what this service had become over the last year and a half of its existence. There was no denying the positive impact it had on the hobby for new and old collectors. Whether you had been in the hobby for years or joined just recently, arguably the best way to make money was sending PSA 45 day bulk for $8-13 a card. The term “printing money” was often associated with getting bulk PSA returns back as there was no way to lose money. The closure of PSA’s bulk or even 20 day service has been disastrous for the hobby in more ways than one. The low end market was thriving because people wanted those cards to grade and flip. Now with PSA not offering a service below $100, these cards have become relatively useless as the investor can no longer grade and flip through PSA.

With PSA’s closure of services under $150 starting on March 1st, we can see the downward trend Prizm rookies had because of this. The days of buying bulk Prizm base rookies raw then sending them to PSA are over which was the main source of income for a lot of new hobbyist. Buying cards for $1-5 then sending them to PSA for $8-13 did not take much brain power despite what the financial returns would say. The harsh truth is a lot of the people who joined cards over the pandemic were in it for the money and this was the easiest, safest, and most efficient way for them to do so. Which is ultimately why PSA found themselves with a 10,000,000+ card backlog and had to close bulk service levels.

Looking at the Low End Index we can see the market peaked in mid March with it slowly starting to fall in April. Based on the data we have with the raw market dipping dramatically over the next few months and even the following month, it is safe to conclude this was a direct result of PSA’s closure. With the data showing that low end cards dipped with the closure of PSA's bulk service then the opposite is likely to become true. A bulk service for PSA would do wonders for the hobby, getting people back into cards which would cause a domino effect that will lead to an increase in prices.

I think its important keep in mind, a lot of the lower end junk slabs will continue to tank. Grading Pascal Siakam 2019 Mosaic base for profit will never be a thing ever again. While using a bulk service level to grade a DeJounte Murray Prizm purple ice is something that is much needed in the hobby. Ultimately if a bulk service does come back maybe PSA will put limitations on cards accepted to stop the potential overflow.