Young Guns Gem Rate

Contributor: John McTaggart

In this week’s edition of the SCN Newsletter I’m actually going to talk about something that doesn’t necessarily fall into character for me.

I actually plan to discuss a topic that is based on facts, statistics and real numbers. 

I know, you didn’t think it was possible did you?

Well, believe it or not, I am actually a very scientific fella.

Except for the rare moments where I enjoy a good tussle with some of the hobby’s most polarizing topics, that or, I just want to complain about things.

This week, however, things are going to be different.


As you all know, I love hockey.

And more than that…. I love the hockey hobby.

And more than than… I love Young Guns rookie cards.

That love, however, is rarely shared by the folks at PSA.

And truthfully, I find this both troubling and awesome all at the same time. 

For an ultra-modern card set, the Gem-rate is crazy-low on most Young Guns sets compared to other sports, such as Prizm basketball or football.

The 2022 Upper Deck Series 1 hockey, in particular, the main Young Guns are Matty Beniers, Matt Boldy, Kent Johnson, Owen Power, Lukas Reichel and Pyotr Kochetkov.

These are the chases in series 1, and most people are thrilled to pull one of these from a pack and send it off to PSA. 

But, after receiving my fair shore of PSA 9s back from this year’s Young Guns, I decided to take a little closer look. 

What I found was crazy in today’s modern card world.

Now, for the numbers…


Player Total subs to Date: PSA 10s Gem-Rate

Matty Beniers 966 302 31.2%

Pyotr Kochtkov 322 107 33.2%

Owen Power 511 190 37.1%

Lukas Reichel 202 51 25.2%

Matt Boldy 631 159 25.1%

Kent Johnson 255 67 26.2%

So What?

What does this mean?

Well, in short, it means either the QC at UPPer Deck is terrible with this year’s series 1 stuff, or PSA is tough on this set.

The important thing for collectors to think about however, is whether the value is there to actually grade these cards or not right now. 

With such a low gem-rate, and such a disparity between PSA 10s and PSA 9s in price, it does make one stop and think about whether to send it off to PSA if only one-in-four Boldy Young Guns cards is statistically going to grade a gem-mint 10.

For someone who is a purest in terms of Young Guns collecting and value, I think I would just buy an already graded PSA 10, which range from $50-$280 for this group of players mentioned previously, than take the chance of buying there card raw, paying for the grading and hoping it’s in the minority in terms of actually getting a 10. 

In some cases, you get a 9, you’re underwater on this card for a while.

I personally think buying raw is great, and holding for a while is even better. 

There really isn’t much advantage right now to grading unless you’re really confident it’ll gem. 

This is one thing about hockey I actually enjoy — the accepted prime rookie card, the Young Guns, is not a PSA 10 given, like it can be in basketball and football in particular. 

In fact, the odds are against you,

In my opinion, this makes the chase even more exciting. 

See, yet another reason to love hockey — and this time I brought some cold, hard numbers to the table.

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