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Old 09-18-2013, 02:31 PM   #1
ReplicantSavior
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My CGC Comics Grading Experience & Slab versus Mylar Storage

I recall there were a few threads here about CGC. I finally got around to testing out the whole CGC grading experience. Here are my thoughts for those who haven't tried it out.

CGC has a variety of ways to submit comics. But they require an account of some type for the most part. You can submit comics through a local or online comic shop. Or you can also take your comics to a convention. Which would seem a bit rushed to me. But they offer it. If you don't do one of those you need a yearly membership. At first this sounded bad to me. They have three types of yearly memberships: $39, $125, and $275.


http://comics.www.collectors-society.com/benefits.aspx


You'll have to weigh the pluses and minus of each yourself. But the $125 and $275 memberships come with 4 free standard comic submissions. Standard is almost the quickest in turnaround times. Only express is faster. Anything else and you'll be waiting for a few months to get your comics back. The higher memberships also have added discounts for the year. Depending on the number and type of comics you want to grade and if you want them back quickly, the higher memberships might make more sense. Especially with conventions if you factor in the cost of the ticket and parking. CGC also has categories for the maximum value of comics accepted for each grading service level.


http://www.cgccomics.com/services/Services.aspx


This maximum value grouping makes things slightly complex as you'll have to go to recent eBay auctions or a Price Guide to get values. Even then CGC can disagree on this and change your comic to a higher level if they think it's worth more. Also, the return shipping from CGC can be expensive. You can pick Registered Mail for your more valuable comics. But normal UPS is fine for the majority of comics I would think.


The CGC case versus Mylar. A high mil Mylar sleeve and strong acid free backing board was and is still the way I will store my comics. However, the CGC case does make a nice strong display. You won't worry about the comic getting damaged in there. Yet, the CGC case needs to be changed. I believe it's recommended at between 8 and 10 years. Most of us who go the Mylar / acid free board route won't need to worry about changing them as long as they are quality Mylar sleeves and boards. There is a topic I think on the CGC forum or somewhere else that checked the acid free nature of boards. The E Gerber ones seem to always be the best for the price.

Another big problem with the CGC cases. They prevent light or are just not as clear as a Mylar sleeve. At least the E Gerber ones. I noticed that in my comparison, comics were a bit darker in the CGC case compared to the Mylar. Also, colors were more vibrant and warmer in the Mylar. It's something you have to see for yourself. I tried a few photos but they weren't good enough to illustrate what I'm talking about. It's like an overcast day versus a sunny day. Or a display with the backlight turned down a few notches. With comics if you have a normal comic that was colored or created on a computer. Then you see it in a hardcover with better quality printing. That's what it's like. Definitely noticeable. And since you are displaying the comics for the covers, it's a bit disappointing for the price.


CGC also grades other stuff I didn't know about like: magazines, lobby cards, money, and coins. In the end, my feelings are still the same as when I didn't use CGC. If you are selling a valuable comic or something else valuable that they grade, it cuts through all the potential doubt a buyer might have about the item. Even if the seller is well known. With CGC you know what you are getting and there will be no problems with a seller unless they package it poorly in shipping. CGC is used enough now that everyone basically says ok they are right. And for the most part they are. I consider myself a harsh grader on comics. Especially on new, modern issues. I was kind of lenient on old comics because it basically becomes a check list to grade, marking every defect and seeing where it fits on the scale. I'm sure CGC does this check list and compares between the three I believe graders to decide on the final grade. That's why the cost is so high. You can see the grader notes for an extra fee. When I sent my comics to CGC to test I was on average in the same range. A few times higher and a few times lower. But by no more than a half point.


In the future, I probably won't get much graded. I was thinking about getting a series or group graded. For example the X-Men Phoenix issues or Psylocke covers. Something of a similar theme. But it's more showing off. Like "look I have the issues with Phoenix and CGC says they are all 9+!" People who are comic collectors and know grades don't really need something like that. Unless the comics are really old and they want to protect them. But even then a nice clean comic / reading room and having the comics in Mylar with a strong board will do a good if not better job than a CGC case. And you won't have to worry about changing the case or the comic not looking as bright either.
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Old 09-18-2013, 03:26 PM   #2
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Most of your points are valid. As a collector for 30 years nothing irks me more than subjective grading. I've bought books on ebay, from new sellers to firmly established ones and get disappointed with what I receive almost half of the time. Some of the damage comes from transit but that's partially on the seller in my opinion. In a hobby that's condition sensitive you would think people would ship accordingly but you'll be suprised. I do most of my book shopping online because the cons have gotten too expensive and the experience too commercial. Which brings me back to CGC. With a majority of the books available online, I still buy paper because I like the touch and feel of it. But I also want to get a return on my money or purchases whenever possible. Books nowadays, actually 99% of the books published after 1980, have temporary inflated values so picking up "key" issues graded by CGC almost always will pay off.
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moon_knight1971 View Post
Most of your points are valid. As a collector for 30 years nothing irks me more than subjective grading. I've bought books on ebay, from new sellers to firmly established ones and get disappointed with what I receive almost half of the time. Some of the damage comes from transit but that's partially on the seller in my opinion. In a hobby that's condition sensitive you would think people would ship accordingly but you'll be suprised. I do most of my book shopping online because the cons have gotten too expensive and the experience too commercial. Which brings me back to CGC. With a majority of the books available online, I still buy paper because I like the touch and feel of it. But I also want to get a return on my money or purchases whenever possible. Books nowadays, actually 99% of the books published after 1980, have temporary inflated values so picking up "key" issues graded by CGC almost always will pay off.
Very few sellers / dealers know how to pack comics correctly. It takes more time but is worth it in the end. It really is as simple as getting a larger box, having the comics together between boards, wrapping them in bubblewrap just in case, and taping them to a larger board that will take the corner damage if anything crazy happens in shipping.

I think grading will always be subjective. That's the good thing about CGC. But they need to make a clearer case. And one that is acid free for a longer period. But even then I can't see myself paying for that when I've been buying comics since I was a kid.
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Old 09-18-2013, 10:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReplicantSavior View Post
Very few sellers / dealers know how to pack comics correctly. It takes more time but is worth it in the end. It really is as simple as getting a larger box, having the comics together between boards, wrapping them in bubblewrap just in case, and taping them to a larger board that will take the corner damage if anything crazy happens in shipping.

I think grading will always be subjective. That's the good thing about CGC. But they need to make a clearer case. And one that is acid free for a longer period. But even then I can't see myself paying for that when I've been buying comics since I was a kid.
I have been selling comics on eBay for a few years now - all I do is sandwich the comic between two pretty hard and durable boards. I don't know what the boards are made of - but in order to bend these you have to be TRYING to break them. I send it off in a fitted envelope and I have never had an issue and most of the time I get accolades on how I package my comics.
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Old 09-19-2013, 12:20 AM   #5
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well, i have nothing but keen things to say about CGC. RS, im pretty sure any level of grading is available as a "fast track", which will get your books back to you in less than a month. of course, that option costs an extra $10 per book. if youre sending in a bunch of books, that adds up. the last few orders i sent in i did the slower route and i check the status every day, hoping that itll change to "scheduled for grading" rather than "received". i shouldve known better. i hate waiting. the coupon given to you when you sign up is indeed for the standard processing, but, the value of those books is, i believe, as much as you want. i used my coupon for my key TWD books, which wouldve cost me at least $60 for fast tracking. i personally dont display my slabbed books. theyre nestled away in boxes, appreciating in value. i dont honestly think CGC books are meant to be kept. i see them more as purely investments. sure, comics are meant for reading, but, when was the last time you HAD to have a NM/MT copy to read. readers are always available and wont cost as much, no doubt. the return shipping is stiff. i recently started going with the UPS route rather than the USPS registered route. CGC has to insure the books when they send them back to you. USPS you have to declare the value on each on and then CGC will base the additional shipping on that value. at first, i was told to value your books higher because in the rare case something happens to them while in CGC hands, said value will be refunded to you. since i wised up, i only value the books at what i get them for and UPS has a maximum $100 insurance. all the slabs ive gotten back from CGC are always packaged with care and never cracked or scratched. solid shipping. now, getting slabs off eBay, thats a different story. ive had cracked slabs show up, and in those cases (3 or 4), i give the seller the option to refund my full payment or pay for the reslabbing ($12 + $5 handling). either way, it works out for me. i have a box at my desk with all the "to be slabbed" books in it, maybe 12 or 13 at this point. i have been on a killer silver age tear at my LCS lately and a lot of those are in sweet condition.
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Old 09-19-2013, 06:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratchet View Post
I have been selling comics on eBay for a few years now - all I do is sandwich the comic between two pretty hard and durable boards. I don't know what the boards are made of - but in order to bend these you have to be TRYING to break them. I send it off in a fitted envelope and I have never had an issue and most of the time I get accolades on how I package my comics.
That works. I've received comics like that before. Also, in the hard cardboard envelopes. But they are still potentially open to slight corner damage. Unless the boards are bigger than the comic and the comics are taped to the board.

A box is just safer. I received comics the first time either from an eBay seller or My Comic Shop that used the method I mentioned. There is no chance for damage that way unless someone drives over the box.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simplyrob View Post
RS, im pretty sure any level of grading is available as a "fast track", which will get your books back to you in less than a month. of course, that option costs an extra $10 per book. if youre sending in a bunch of books, that adds up. the last few orders i sent in i did the slower route and i check the status every day, hoping that itll change to "scheduled for grading" rather than "received". i shouldve known better. i hate waiting. the coupon given to you when you sign up is indeed for the standard processing, but, the value of those books is, i believe, as much as you want. i used my coupon for my key TWD books, which wouldve cost me at least $60 for fast tracking.
The current turnaround times are usually correct when the time is a long wait. I wouldn't "fast track" unless I needed money to sell/flip a comic. And only the Modern "Fast Track" is faster than the Standard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simplyrob View Post
i personally dont display my slabbed books. theyre nestled away in boxes, appreciating in value. i dont honestly think CGC books are meant to be kept. i see them more as purely investments. sure, comics are meant for reading, but, when was the last time you HAD to have a NM/MT copy to read. readers are always available and wont cost as much, no doubt.
Most people I see online tend to display their CGC comics. I don't see why you wouldn't display them. But I'm the type that gets some comics just for the covers.

If CGC comics aren't meant to be kept. Then this could turn into a glorified sealed baseball card situation. Unless the comics are really rare or old. If they are just investments. Why use CGC at all unless you are about to sell? A Mylar sleeve and acid free board will protect and preserve a comic just as well if not better than a CGC case and be cheaper.

And when I get comics I always go for NM. For reading or otherwise. New comics that aren't NM really bug me. And if I want an older comic for reading, if the cover has damage or the interior has a torn page or something. That's still upsetting to me. Just because I have something to read doesn't mean I'm going to toss it around or something. At least not anymore. My Amazing Spider-Man #300 is well read. Probably in a 8.0+ condition or something because of that.

Plus these days there are HC and TPB. So if you really like a story there isn't a need to get a reading copy. Especially when the page quality in the HC or TPB will probably be better than in the comic.
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Old 10-29-2013, 10:29 PM   #7
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This is tremendously helpful. Thanks you guys
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Old 03-30-2016, 09:32 PM   #8
ReplicantSavior
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When I posted my CGC experience almost 3 years ago, a big problem for me was the clarity of the CGC case. As I like to look at the covers, having them darker or not as vibrant bugged me. A few things have happened that caused me to bump my thread.

1. CBCS has entered the grading market. I've been meaning to test their grading and the clarity of their cases. I watched a comparison on youtube and the reviewer pointed out that the CBCS case is clearer compared to the CGC case. You can even tell in the video. That's a big difference and plus over CGC if you like to look at your comics and display them.

2. CGC is coming out with a new case on April 4th which is supposed to be clearer. I guess they finally realized the problem. Also that they are using Mylar inside the case. Which is another plus as that fixes the other problem I had with CGC. Which was the need to have comics sent back to CGC for a new case after 8 or so years.

I'm still not going to go crazy grading all my comics or notable comics. But this is a step in the right direction for collectors that have the old issues that they will never touch or read. To have the comic displayed as they would see it in hand, clear and bright.
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Old 03-31-2016, 10:28 PM   #9
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While I don't have many worthwhile comics to slab, I have referred to this thread to take care of my raw issues that I would like to display.. so thank you for all the input.

Also, I have read around that CBCS does a more stricter job grading as other are having difficulty getting desired 9.8s through them.
They are also current on grading all tiers recently while CGC takes a longer time.

Those being said, CGC has such a hold on the market that they are still considered the go to grading company.
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Old 04-01-2016, 07:49 PM   #10
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FYI - CGC just announced they came out with a new case.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypRQOpA1mYk
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