GLENN DISHMAN BASEBALL CARDS

Glenn Dishman is considered one of the top authenticators of baseball cards in the sports collecting industry. Through his company PSA, Dishman helped revolutionize the trading card grading industry and turn baseball cards into major financial assets. His authentication certification through PSA gave collectors confidence in the condition and authenticity of their cards. Some of the most valuable baseball cards in existence have received the coveted PSA 10 “gem mint” grade. While other companies have since emerged to compete with PSA, Dishman’s company remains the gold standard for grading and remains the top authenticator and certifier for valuable cards on the secondary market.

Dishman founded PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator) in 1991 in his home state of California. He realized there was a lack of consistency and trust in the sports card industry, as individual collectors had no reliable way to independently verify the condition or authenticity of the cards they were buying, especially high value vintage cards. Dishman created the PSA authentication and grading service to bring standardization, consistency and integrity to the sports card marketplace. Collectors could now submit their cards to PSA to be examined by experts and receive a numerical grade assessing the card’s condition along with certification of authenticity.

Some key aspects that made PSA’s authentication and grading service so appealing to collectors were its rigorous quality control methods, emphasis on collector protection, and official certification seals that increased confidence. PSA became known for its exhaustive authentication process that was very difficult to defraud. Any questionable cards were instantly flagged and researched extensively. The company also took collector protection seriously by standing by its certifications and maintaining a database on problem cards. The numbered certification labels that had to be broken to open provided peace of mind that cards certified by PSA had not been tampered with.

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Among the earliest and most significant cards certified by PSA in the 1990s were vintage rookie cards of Hall of Famers like Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron. Receiving a high grade from PSA transformed many of these cards into true investments. Mantle and Mays’ rookie cards in PSA 10 condition now routinely sell for over $1 million each at auction. PSA also authenticated and graded Gretzky rookie cards, Jordan rookie cards, T206 baseball cards, and other valuables across multiple sports. The certification process gave collectors confidence to pay top dollar for “gem mint” condition cards, knowing PSA had scrutinized and verified the cards.

As PSA grew, Dishman expanded the company’s operations and hired expert graders, researchers and authentication specialists. To handle skyrocketing submission volumes, PSA opened facilities across the country and established rigid quality standards. The company also published authoritative population reports showing the number of a certain card graded at each numerical level. This provided collectors crucial data on the relative scarcity and condition census of various cards. Pop reports allow buyers and sellers to better understand the marketplace value of cards based on their PSA grade.

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In the mid-1990s, PSA began providing third party authentication and grading services to the largest sports card companies like Topps, Fleer and Upper Deck. This allowed the manufacturers to focus on production while PSA scrutinized cards for anomalies, errors or defects before they reached collectors. Any miscuts, misprints or oddities could be identified and the normal production run protected. PSA authentication also gave added value and collectability to new cards certified as authentic directly from the manufacturer in pristine condition.

Dishman showed great foresight in expanding PSA’s services beyond just vintage cards. As new sports emerged with their own memorable rookie stars like Kobe Bryant, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, PSA was there to authenticate these modern stars’ first cards as well. The company became the go-to authenticator for virtually every major sport and area of collectibles. Through TV exposure on shows like Sports Collectors Digest, PSA branding grew tremendously and the company handled authentication and population reporting for industries beyond just sports Memorabilia.

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PSA continued establishing new standards for the collectibles industry under Dishman’s leadership. Some of its most innovative services included the PSA/DNA strand of DNA tested memorabilia, pioneer of third party authentication for unopened wax product, and holder and encapsulation formats that seamlessly integrated cards with authentication labels. The plastic holders protected cards while allowing easy viewing, resale and retained full certification. PSA inventories topped 10 million collectibles by the 2000s and its strong brand recognition and expertise is unparalleled in the field.

Now in his 70s, Glenn Dishman has since retired from daily operations at PSA but remains owner and a behind-the-scenes guiding force. Through his vision and creation of PSA authentication back in 1991, he fundamentally changed the sports collecting industry. Dishman filled a vital need and demand from collectors for trusted, independent, third party examination of cards and memorabilia. The integrity, certifications and pop reports provided by PSA gave immense value to the collectible assets holders spent considerable money and time assembling. Due to Dishman’s pioneering efforts, today’s multi-billion dollar memorabilia marketplace rests firmly on the foundation he established. PSA is still going strong ensuring the authenticity and preservation of everyone from Babe Ruth to Mike Trout’s earliest trading cards.

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