Oh, it’s Panini, but I’ve sent in many hundreds of cards from the very same packs and gotten a far more normal grade distribution. My concern is they might have started using computers mixed in with humans. I am hearing from other people the same, some orders coming in normal, others with militant grading. Moreso than in the past.
I’m going to crack the 9s and resub them in smaller batches, see what happens.
It’s also in CA, so CoL is high.
You may also consider cleaning the cards prior to resubmitting. I've had grades climb pretty dramatically when cracking and resubmitting just by cleaning them. I basically clean all my cards prior to submission now. Helps with the surface and (slightly) the edges and corner grading, especially with cards like Panini.
It seems like Panini is running into the same issue with their QC that pokemon did prior to them prioritizing their shipping/quality control in the US a handful of months ago. Specifically, the card cuts are pretty rough. Companies like Panini are heavily focusing on turn around time. The amount of downtime on a line to replace the blades of a machine can really impact the amount of cards being shipped out. Right now, they're focusing on quantity over quality, so I'm pretty unsurprised by the low grades. Panini was always pretty shitty with their centering, so the dull blades are compounding the issue.
If the card market stays hot for a few more years, you should see the card companies rectify the issue. You can look at something like Japanese Pokemon cards vs US Pokemon cards as an example. The Japanese market for Pokemon cards has been consistent for decades. Having that certainty allows them to invest appropriately in their manufacturing, and you can see it in the grading. If a Japanese card and US card are both put directly into a sleeve and shipped, the chances of the US card getting a 10 is still pretty low, whereas the chances a Japanese card DOESNT get a 10 is pretty low (relatively speaking).
I'd guess that, sooner or later, all of these companies will have lasers cutting their cards and we'll see grading skyrocket (and prices for 10's plummet). "Vintage" cards will be anything cut with a blade instead of a laser, and those cards will be the chase cards for the next generation of card collecting nerds.
I feel like at a certain point or tier they could do it but the cards wouldn't go home with the grader. The PSA grading criteria is centering, corners, edges, and surface - they could have staff in the physical location to take very high quality photos of the card and then those photos are provided to remote graders who judge on the photos. I certainly imagine it's less precise and it'd probably make more sense to pair it with some sort of AI Grading to check for severe discrepancies (or use multiple graders) but it seems viable.
They would probably reserve on-site grading for higher tiers or higher value cards but with how opaque PSA is anyway, I doubt this makes it much less consistent. With that said, it'd make more sense to invest in some sort of scanning AI/software that can grade based off of said image and maybe just have a human sign off on it as opposed to having a human grade it at this point.
I don't think the ROI for that process would come close to being worth it. Being short on graders increases turnaround time, but the market has shown a willingness to (A) pay for super jacked up pricing and (B) wait a year+ for their grades.
Grading companies would have to change their entire operations process. They'd have to increase their shipping/receiving department drastically, at a minimum to redirect received cards to a grader (and if they want the grader to ship back to the hub, that doubles efforts). They'd need to build out a process for assigning shipments to graders (can't be off of individual packages, as some packages have hundreds of cards while others only have a few). They'd need to provide graders with grading/shipping equipment and also put a whole new technical/software/operational process in place for graders to expense their shipping. None of that includes additional risk of damaging cards to ship to graders (I've heard horror stories about grading companies damaging cards), or the additional turnaround time involved (which was the reason to allow at-home grading in the first place).
And pictures just won't work, at least for surface grading. There are some angles where a card can look pristine, but tilting it into a different light reveals imperfections. The card needs to be held/moved/angled for a full idea of surface.
There are grading companies out there - CSG leading the charge - that exclusively use AI for grading. I think the larger companies eventually make that move, and then staffing for grading becomes a significantly smaller problem.