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McDonalds 25th Anniversary Pokemon Collection (analysis of POP reports)
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7 posts in this topic

I recently received back from CGC my 25 card Confetti Holo collection of the McDonalds 25th Anniversary Pokemon Collection. Generally, I'm very happy with the grades. Just for fun I did a comparison of grading between CGC and PSA; and I found some very interesting differences. Here's my observations and conclusions upfront, and then I'll list some of the data below.

If we assume that the population of submitters are roughly the same (meaning they submit cards of equal raw quality) between those that submit to CGC and those that submit to PSA then the following seems to be true: PSA gives out Gem Mint 10s like candy on Halloween. On the other hand, it is very difficult (in comparison) to get a CGC 9.5 Gem Mint. The McDonald's set is a perfect set to perform this analysis as the cards were released in 2021 so we are looking at recent grading standards between the two companies. Here's what the data says...

Total cards graded: CGC 16,793; PSA 7,647. 
Percent of cards graded Gem Mint or better: CGC 6.1%, PSA 41.8% !!!  A few samples of the Holos:
Bulbasaur - CGC 6.2%, PSA 34%
Charmander - CGC 6.3%, PSA 38.8%
Squirtle - CGC 5.4%, PSA 38%
Pikachu - CGC 6.1%, PSA 43.9% 

Wow. Just wow. So... the conclusion is unmistakable -- why in the world would you prefer a PSA 10 slab to a CGC 9.5 slab? With PSA there are many, many cards that they grade as Gem Mint that clearly don't meet the same standards as CGC is using. So, for me as a collector, I prefer CGC since I can be confident that a Gem Mint graded card is truly Gem Mint. 

Edited by IrishPrince
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On 6/17/2022 at 4:56 PM, rhunnicutt said:

Awesome analysis! 

Pretty wild 41.8% of the 7,647 PSA has graded are a 10.... lol

Thank you. Yes, I can't think of a valid reason why the quality of the submissions (the raw cards) wouldn't be same between what gets submitted to CGC and PSA. And if that is the case, objectively, PSA has much looser grading standards. Something to be aware of if you are buying and collecting cards. 

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Wow, that's super interesting! I'd image people are more careful with what they're sending to PSA and possibly spending more time reviewing/cleaning cards. But those numbers are ridiculous, haha. I'd love to see more comparisons like this to other sets

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On 6/28/2022 at 3:17 PM, CamelJR said:

Wow, that's super interesting! I'd image people are more careful with what they're sending to PSA and possibly spending more time reviewing/cleaning cards. But those numbers are ridiculous, haha. I'd love to see more comparisons like this to other sets

Here's a quick analysis of the 2021 Pokemon Celebrations Classic Collection. I don't think there is a defensible case whereby we can claim that PSA submitters spend more time reviewing/cleaning cards compared to CGC submitters. I'd like to hear opinions to the contrary, but I can't see how that actually works in practice or why that would occur to account for the large differences in cards graded Gem Mint or better. 

Total Cards Graded: CGC: 16,602; PSA: 12,332
Percent of Cards Graded Gem Mint or Better: CGC 45.7%, PSA 72.9%

The only rational conclusion that I can draw from this is that the standards for grading cards are different, and PSA has "lower" standards as to what qualifies as a Gem Mint card compared to CGC. So... objectively you are more likely to have a "better quality card" in a random CGC 9.5 case compared to a random PSA 10 case. I just don't know how you can argue otherwise. 

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About PSA vs CGC submitters, I can only speak to my own experience. My PSA friends are generally more familiar with grading, evaluating/buying raw cards, and carefully only sending the "best" cards. They are not sending every pack-fresh hit to make the 50-card bulk rate. 

I also believe CGC has adjusted their standards the last year. CGC used to be overly harsh imo, and a majority of the 9s should be 9.5 or better. I've cracked and resubbed a bunch of 9s with 70% getting upgraded.

So my point is, I think in a year or two these POP reports may become more aligned.


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