Whether you’re looking to get cards graded by PSA or you purchase a PSA graded card from someone, it’s always going to come with a slab. Also known as a case, these help protect cards from damage while providing verification for the card’s authenticity.
PSA promotes their cases to be tamper-proof. But, do PSA cases scratch? Yes, PSA cases scratch. Even PSA admits that their cases will sustain scratching. Therefore, the slabs aren’t actually “tamper-proof” as one might expect.
However, you can remedy the situation. You do not have to suffer with a scratched PSA slab when you notice it. It takes some effort, but it’s not difficult
How PSA Slabs Get Scratched
There are a number of ways a PSA case can sustain a scratch. Carelessness is usually the main culprit. But, accidents, children getting their hands on it, improper storage or attempts to cut into the slab all cause scratching.
This makes the card look unsightly, especially if it’s a huge gouge. Such problems can make the card difficult to sell. Potential buyers may think you’re a card doctor and others may avoid it simply for the cosmetics. If the scratches are really bad, you’re going to have to handle the issue.
About PSA Cases
PSA tells collectors that the case isn’t completely tamper-proof. In the event that there’s scratching or other damages, they had to make it possible to remove the card for re-holder services. While they are made to be durable and withstand many mishaps that can occur, they can get scratched from time to time.
Treating Scratches in PSA Slabs
When you have scratches that impede the view of the card, it’s important that you take care of the issue as soon as possible. This will be especially true if you plan on selling the card anytime in the future. Scratches can be the fine line between a potential sale and receiving accusations of being a card doctor.
First, evaluate the scratches. Try to get a sense of how big, deep and numerous they are. If they’re really bad, you’ll want to resubmit the card to PSA for re-holder service. But, if they’re quite minimal and only on the surface, you can attempt to buff them out yourself.
Whatever you do, do not try and replace the PSA slab yourself. This is one of the definitions of doctoring or tampering. Not only can it land you in trouble, but it will devalue your card. Plus, you may end up damaging the card in the process.
Submitting for Re-Holder Service
Resubmitting the card to PSA is best for when the scratches are long, gouged and deep. In this case don’t use a scratch removing product or switch out the slab yourself. Any deep or intense amounts of scratching should go to PSA for a re-holder service. Even if there’s just one scratch, but it’s deep and obvious, send it to PSA.
Their site makes this easy and self-explanatory. Just hit the green, round “Submit” button on the top right hand side of the page. Simply do the same thing that you would for getting any card graded or authenticated. Either use the online form or print it out and send it in with your submission. Be sure to indicate “re-holder service.”
PSA Recommends using Card Saver 1’s when submitting cards for grading. To check the current price and availability of Card Saver 1 Sleeves, click here to view the selection on Amazon.
Commercial Scratch Products
But, if the scratches are minor, you can use a scratch removing product and attempt to buff them out. It’s important to accept beforehand that this may not always work. But, in many cases, they will improve the case’s appearance and reduce the scratches. If you don’t see an improvement after using it, send the card in to PSA for a re-holder.
There are two main products many collectors swear by: Meguiar’s PlastX or the Novus Plastic Scratch Removing System. With either method, use the product in a well-ventilated area with something to cover the surface you’re working on. Also, wipe away any surface debris with a microfiber cloth.
Designed for plastic parts on cars, specifically headlight covers, the PlastX is excellent on PSA cases. This is a quick, clean process that doesn’t require too much fuss.
With a clean, dry microfiber cloth, put a dab of the product on. Over the surface of the case, rub it in with gentle, circular motions. Use the other dry end to wipe the product away. Use a counterclockwise direction.
There’s also the Fine Scratch Remover offered by NOVUS. This is a three-step process that can be pricey, but the results are worth it.
- Step 1: Cleans, shines and protects from dust. You spray a bit and wipe it down with a clean microfiber towel.
- Step 2: Removes fine scratches and you work it in a similar way as PlastX. Use a clean microfiber cloth and apply a dab of the product in circular motions. Then use the clean, dry end to buff it out.
- Step 3: This one treats deeper scratches. But, you have to work it at a 90° angle against the surface of the card.
PSA cases do sustain scratches from time to time. Although when they advertise “tamper-proof,” you’d think they would be more durable. While the company does make a decent slab to store valuable cards, accidents happen. But, if the scratches are bad enough, it can really detract from the visual appeal of the card.
So, you have one of two things you can do to tackle the situation. You can resubmit the card to PSA for a re-holder service or you can try to buff out the scratches yourself. However, this will impinge on how bad the scratches are on the case.
If the scratches are deep, long or if there’s a chunk gouged out, resubmit to PSA. But, if the scratches are minimal and only on bare surface of the case, then you can try a commercial scratch removing product. In the case the commercial product doesn’t deliver the results you’re looking for, send it to PSA for a re-holder.