There was a recent discussion on the network 54 vintage hockey collectors forum about the pros and cons of getting vintage raw sets graded and by which company. The conversation precipitated into a discussion of PSA versus SGC.
Further along in the thread there was a discussion about the risk of buying seemingly high grade raw singles from dealers. The comment was that collectors should be weary about making such a purchase. The argument is that if a dealer was able to purchase truly high grade singles they would have them graded so that they could flip them for maximum profit. So if the cards were left in their raw state it must be because there is some hard to spot flaw which would negatively affect their grade, or possibly the cards had been submitted but did not receive the grade anticipated by the dealer and were subsequently cracked out. Of course there is also the chance that raw cards have been altered - creases pressed out, corners rebuilt, recolored, etc.
Indeed the last time was at the Expo in Toronto high grade singles were difficult to find. There were a few stacks of high grade singles but indeed the dealers knew what they had, knew the potential of the cards to get 9's or possibly even a rare 10 and charged accordingly - in some case 5-10X high Beckett value.
For me I am happy with collector grade cards in my 60s and 70s sets - cards that grade EX+-NRMT - these cards would grade professionally from 5-8 and hence there is little financial upside to the dealer or I to consider sending them off to the "encapsulators"! Till next time.