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Old 11-29-2018, 02:45 AM   #1
DJCollector1
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Default Random Vintage "condition/centering/eye appeal" thoughts.....

After being away from the hobby for the better part of three decades, things changed drastically.


Even though I was much younger when I "left the hobby" years ago, and I am still "young" err, 48..... (Only been back in the hobby in that sense, for roughly two years) I see collectors in general have matured in a sense.

Many years ago in the mid-late 80s, "corners" were the focal point of many casual collectors, and of course creases. I remember at most shows you could hear "just look at how sharp the corners are, and no big creases either!!". (and of course, everything was "mint", but that's for another topic)
I noticed a couple years back when I started looking into cards again, the growing trend was to gravitate towards well centered cards.
There are likely a few reasons for that, and the one biggie is that THAT, is the one thing that is pretty easily noticed and controlled when purchasing online, be it through Ebay, Amazon, an auction house, or any other online entity.

So more and more collectors are focusing on extremely well centered cards, and what they call "high eye appeal" examples.
I don't really blame them honestly...... after all, it took me all of about 30 seconds to know I wanted to acquire cards that looked "very strong for the grade", or cards that just flat out looked "undergraded", for whatever reasons.

But for my own personal tastes, and I have alluded to this before in a few threads, I try and look for overall appeal, and NOT just well centered cards. (nor strictly sharp corners, the absence of creases, perfect print, registration....etc. etc.)

Many newer-minded collectors will say "give me that exceptionally centered card in a PSA 4-5" , whereas I might actually look at things a bit differently.
I might not need to have a card thats immaculately centered, but really more one that is just "decently centered", but also has other strong attributes as well.
In other words, I don't mind if its merely "above average" centering, if some of the other factors are exceptional. Sort of "one thing doesn't have to be perfect, but maybe overall the card looks great, not JUST centering, or JUST corners , or JUST perfect registration. Etc. etc.
I think you see my point.
I'd prefer a "strong 8", if it is merely "decently centered", but yet the print is very strong and the corners are damn sharp too.
I just like the "overall good look" of a card, more than an only exceptionally centered example, that may have other weaknesses.

I don't really think MY line of thinking is any better than anyone else's, and I certainly don't think the guys that are "obsessed with centering" are going away any time soon either. For better or worse, the centering obsessed collectors are here to stay I'm sure.

By all means, any of us should buy what we like, or "invest" how we choose.

"Investing" - Thats another term I hear now, and use myself often. You essentially never heard anyone say that, or put it in those terms back then when buying cards.
It seemed to be a more innocent hobby. A hobby that wasn't "investment oriented". (Don't get me wrong, there were always businessmen and hustlers looking to make money in cards, just like everything else)
I'd like to think that its just one way the hobby has matured in a sense, or moreso the average collector. Now, they seem to have at least some type of thoughts for the future, and future value. (even if they don't plan on reselling)
There are probably a number of reasons for this, and I am sure the junk wax card "bottoming out" back in the '80s had something to do with it at least at some point.


"Grading" - I'm sure this has been discussed a million times, and I think there are many plusses and minuses when it comes to the grading companies.
But one thing that bothers me a bit, is when you see these cards, that look very strong, very "high eye appeal" and they grade say a "PSA 7". I'm referring to vintage cards in general, say major issues from the 50's and 60's.
Its not so much that I can't see the flaws, as generally even on a strong "PSA 7" you can see what may have been a weak point or something that detracted from the card overall. But you have to wonder and think back to how most of these cards came soaring right out of their packs and how they looked then!
So many cards back then came straight out of the pack, and they did NOT have perfect centering, or they had other tiny flaws, such as the little "fisheye" spots that were prevalent to certain years back then.
Do you mean to tell me that a card that looks damn near mint all the way around, that happens to have a couple little "fisheye spots" should be docked down to a "PSA 8" (or thereabouts) just because there happens to be a few very minor printing flaws?
Maybe I just personally overlook a few things more than others, and I get that its a personal stance and not one that necessarily lines up with most of the grading companies.
It just irks me a bit when I see a card that looks pretty close to perfect get a PSA 8, when I know that so many didn't even come straight out of the packs back then in near as good of shape as said card.

Part of that is grading is subjective, and there will always be a bit of a gray area, and differing opinions.

I often wonder what is the "average condition" of cards that came straight out of the packs back in the '50s....... I'm assuming an average must be somewhere around the "PSA 7" range, or maybe a notch higher.
It certainly seems like the centering back then (overall) wasn't nearly as up to scratch as it is today.

More later........................
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Old 11-29-2018, 04:53 AM   #2
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Good read..

Last edited by HP7163; 11-29-2018 at 02:39 PM.
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Old 11-29-2018, 09:26 AM   #3
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Much prefer sharp corners on an oldish card to "mint" centering.
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Old 11-29-2018, 09:57 AM   #4
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I honestly just want to have the card so centering, condition, etc. are less of a concern for me than price
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Old 11-29-2018, 10:39 AM   #5
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I don’t want any creases or paper loss to the face, or whatever is the focal point of the card, but other than that, centering is #1 for me. I don’t much like the dark border sets, since they show up flaws too easy, and don’t have much eye appeal in lower condition imo.
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Old 11-29-2018, 10:42 AM   #6
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Sometimes it's nice to have all of the good attributes. Great topic!


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Old 11-29-2018, 12:17 PM   #7
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that young is some legit eye candy.

to the OP its great you have your own collecting opinions and preferences. thats one of the wonderful things about this hobby and even grading. a psa 7 could have it all such as the young above but it could have razor sharp corners and 70/30 centering or fuzzy registration (which im not certain is even considered in the grading matrix). i can tell in your post you are old school and i appreciate that.

personally as a buyer who seeks out specific cards for specific reasons i wouldn't touch a classic card if it isn't 1a) perfectly registered and 1b) darn near if not perfectly centered.

but i am without question an 'investor' who enjoys the thrill of seeking out and finding cards that check off all the boxes all the while equally enjoying the sale and making money for my efforts.
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Old 11-29-2018, 06:58 PM   #8
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I think having overall "eye appeal" is the key. Sometimes that's perfectly centered. Sometimes that clean edges. Sometimes that bold colours. Etc. And it really varies from card to card. Many people won't touch a OC card such as this. But in this case the overall eye appeal was better to me than many "centered" copies. In the end you need to choose the card that ticks your boxes and not worry about what other people think.

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Old 11-30-2018, 10:06 AM   #9
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Default centering

Thanks.....When I saw that Young card I had to have it .
I agree with everything you say. That said, I'm not an investor but want my cards to retain value so I try to get the best looking ones (to me) that I can.
I don't usually collect pointy cornered cards but those above were nice and the timing was right. The Ruth might not stay forever but the Young is a permanent addition. It really all comes down to what people enjoy in a card in the way of aesthetics. I am a centering person more than most anything else but focus is important too, and I don't like creases in the facial area but in outward areas I don't mind as much.




Quote:
Originally Posted by rainmaker View Post
that young is some legit eye candy.

to the OP its great you have your own collecting opinions and preferences. thats one of the wonderful things about this hobby and even grading. a psa 7 could have it all such as the young above but it could have razor sharp corners and 70/30 centering or fuzzy registration (which im not certain is even considered in the grading matrix). i can tell in your post you are old school and i appreciate that.

personally as a buyer who seeks out specific cards for specific reasons i wouldn't touch a classic card if it isn't 1a) perfectly registered and 1b) darn near if not perfectly centered.

but i am without question an 'investor' who enjoys the thrill of seeking out and finding cards that check off all the boxes all the while equally enjoying the sale and making money for my efforts.
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Old 11-30-2018, 02:52 PM   #10
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Yep, if you're happy with original condition cards, you'll be able to save yourself a bunch of money compared to those fighting for registry set 8-10s that get knocked down because of centering.
I also prefer clearly registered cards (all four printing colors line up correctly) and the picture looks sharper. A lot of 1950s Topps cards suffer from awful registration issues. PSA does consider that and sometimes even gives those cards the rare OF (out of focus) qualifier. I am working on a PSA 1952 set and worry more about registration than centering/minor surface issues.
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Old 11-30-2018, 10:55 PM   #11
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One of my biggest deals is centering. If I'm going to take the time to hunt and try to find the card and spend the money on it, then I'm going to try and get the best grade I can. I like centering of 55/45 or better, no creases, writing or paper loss and good corners. Anything with creases, writing or paper loss goes straight into the trash.

I'm in the process of selling a lot of my stars from the 1962 Topps set because of centering issues.
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Old 12-01-2018, 08:57 PM   #12
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Here's an example:

1953 Bowman Color - [Base] #76 - Jim Hearn
Courtesy of COMC.com
Card is beautifully centered, has light corner wear. But the registration makes me dizzy. But if this got a PSA 6, I wouldn't be shocked (depends on the bottom right corner). I think PSA should give out the OF qualifier more often for cards like this.
And then here is the counterpart:

1953 Bowman Color - [Base] #76 - Jim Hearn
Courtesy of COMC.com
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Old 12-02-2018, 09:14 AM   #13
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Like others have said, it is all in the eye of the beholder. That said, I'm more of a "centering" guy, but I definitely own some examples that buck that trend. My Mantle and Wilt for example, have great eye appeal to me, but centering is obviously an issue.

Untitled by

Untitled by

Alternatively, my Jordan is of a mid grade but offers great appeal and centering (to me):

Untitled by
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:31 AM   #14
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I bought this raw because of how sharp the corners were. Even with the OC tag I was very happy with the PSA 8 grade.

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