Card Grading Surge: Ohtani and Stroud Shine in February

The month of February brought a whirlwind of activity in the world of card grading, with the top athletes stealing the show and collectors clamoring to have their prized possessions authenticated. The trading card grading landscape was abuzz with over 1.6 million cards finding their way into the hands of authentication entities, marking a significant uptrend in the yearly comparison.

While the figure slightly dipped from January’s numbers, the whopping 25% surge from the previous year underscored the enduring popularity of sports cards in the collector’s market. The split between sports cards and Trading Card Games (TCG) revealed a clear preference, with sports cards claiming the lion’s share at 55.5%, reaffirming their dominance in the realm of collectibles.

PSA emerged as the front-runner in the card grading race, processing a staggering 1.24 million cards in February. Among the array of cards that flooded the grading companies, baseball cards took center stage, with over 293,000 cards making their way through the authentication process. The spotlight, however, shone the brightest on two standout athletes – Shohei Ohtani and CJ Stroud, whose cards garnered significant attention and made them the darlings of the grading charts.

Ohtani’s high-profile move to the Dodgers and Stroud’s stellar NFL season added to the allure of their cards, prompting collectors to submit a whopping 26,800 cards of Ohtani and 16,400 cards of Stroud to PSA for grading during the month. This surge in submissions not only highlighted the growing fascination with these athletes but also hinted at the evolving dynamics of the sports memorabilia market.

The grading frenzy wasn’t confined to just PSA, as other grading companies like SGC also witnessed a surge in submissions, particularly from the 2023 sports season, with a notable focus on football and baseball cards. The player roster at SGC boasted a mix of seasoned legends and emerging stars, with the likes of Michael Jordan, Shohei Ohtani, and CJ Stroud commanding a significant chunk of the grading spotlight.

Meanwhile, ISA Grading and Beckett Grading also found themselves immersed in a sea of submissions, ranging from modern-day gems to vintage classics. Beckett’s recognition of the 2023 Topps NOW Connor Bedard rookie sticker as its most submitted issue underscored the eclectic mix of cards making their way through the grading process, catering to a diverse array of collectors’ tastes.

This flourishing trend in card grading serves as a testament to the dynamic and ever-evolving nature of the sports memorabilia market, where new talents like Ohtani and Stroud are ushering in a fresh wave of excitement among collectors and investors. The surge in submissions not only points to the growing interest in both modern and vintage sports cards but also promises an exhilarating future for the hobby, where every card tells a unique story and carries a piece of sports history within its glossy confines.