All this speculating is silly. Why not just ask the PF and PSE (and the others) to participate in a cross-agency cert database? If the effort is a decently-funded and serious effort, they might not object. . .they might even assist. It would be good for their business anyway.
I'm always surprised that nobody from the PF or PSE comments on these threads where they are discussed. They must see these threads.
I am not sure that a cross-agency database is the issue but rather that PSE in particular has no database that is searchable by other than specific certification number and certificate information that is returned in response to a search does not reference prior and subsequent certificates for the same item. The PF does have a database that is searchable in many ways including Scott number and that contains prior and subsequent certification data.
Philazilla - About a week ago, I called the PSE and talked to Caj Brejtfus (CFO). It wasn't the first conversation that I've had with him about the value a searchable database. I have tried several times to make all sorts of business arguments as to why it would be good for both the hobby and for the PSE. His previous response has been that a search capability would be difficult to create for technical reasons, but that it was on their wish list of things to accomplish. I told them at that time that if the issue was the expense of programming expertise that would have to be brought in to extract the data from their existing databases, I could rather easily rebuild it for them by scraping the data from their cert verification webpage. I don't think they ever really took me seriously. On my last call, Caj added that one of PSE's major concerns is that having a searchable database will result in a deluge of calls asking them to explain why a stamp was graded as it was, and why, when in the collector's view a stamp they submitted is just as nice, it didn't receive the same grade. They don't have enough resources to handle this sort of thing, and it could disrupt their business. I suppose that it is a legitimate fear, but I doubt very much that there would be as anywhere near as many calls as they imagine. On the contrary, collectors might begin to better appreciate the range of conditions that are possible within the same grade. Eventually we might begin to see sales prices more evenly distributed instead of the clustering we see now around SMQ values.