New CGC Cash Grab: Grader Notes

CGC, the Certified Guaranty Company, announced a new service yesterday: grader notes. Here’s the info straight from the source.

What are CGC Grader Notes?

When CGC graders examine a comic book or magazine, they often enter comments about the collectible’s condition. These “Grader Notes” describe problems, indicate the condition of the interior pages, and help explain why a collectible received the grade it did. After the first grader enters notes and their grade, the next grader can review those notes and can make any additional notes. For comics with the purple CGC Restored Grade label, Restoration Notes are given that describe the location and type of restoration. These notes are a valuable part of the grading process, and CGC now allows Grader Notes to be obtained online.

Sample Grader Notes

Some commonly used CGC Grader Notes include:

  • Right Center Front Cover Lite Fingerprints
  • Top Spine Water Damage
  • Left Center Back Cover Moderate Erasure Mark
  • Spine Small Stress Lines
  • Staple Rusted w/Rust Stained Interior
  • Interior Heavy Tanning
  • Bottom Right Front Cover Large Crease
  • Top Right Front Cover Restoration Color Touch
  • Left Center Back Cover Restoration Tear Seal

Grader Notes Fee

CGC Grader Notes are available online at CGCcomics.com. The fee for CGC Grader Notes varies based on the tier the comic book or magazine was submitted under.
Introductory Fees for CGC Grader Notes:

Comics Submitted Under (Tier) Fee
Economy, Value and Modern $5
Standard and Express $15
Walkthrough $30

How do I get CGC Grader Notes?

When you enter a certification number for a CGC-graded collectible in the free Verify CGC Certification tool, you will see if it has any Grader Notes. To unlock the Grader Notes, click the “Get Notes” button and fill in the required fields. CGC Dealers can expedite the process by logging in to have Grader Notes billed with their monthly statement.

CGC Grader Notes are sent to the email provided within one business day. If the Grader Notes form says that delivery will be INSTANT, the Grader Notes will appear immediately and also sent by email.

So let me get this straight. Notes on CGC grading have been done for who knows how long, and now for a price you can see why they picked the grade they did, for a price. That’s insane! For years the “common collector” has been scratching their heads and wondering how exactly CGC came up with the grades it did, and now we find out there were notes all along that should have been included in the price of the grading!

Even if I agreed to the $5 fee for modern books there’s no way CGC should be charging for any of the upper tiers. Walkthrough? They charge 3% of book value for this service and now want an extra $30 to see the notes. This is a shakedown pure and simple. Then they have to guts to post this disclaimer.

The customer may view, copy, print out, and use the content herein solely for your personal use, provided that the content is used for informational and noncommercial purposes only. The use of any such content for commercial purposes is expressly forbidden. Reasonable efforts are made to ensure the accuracy and integrity of information and related materials provided by CGC but CGC is not responsible for misprints, out of date information, technical inaccuracies, typographical or other errors appearing herein. These notes and all information and related materials they contain are provided “as is.” CGC makes no claims or warranty whatsoever regarding the completeness, accuracy, currency, or adequacy of, the information and materials it contains.

Personal, non-commercial only. Hmm. Yet is states at the bottom of the grader notes order screen:

CGC Dealers can expedite the process by logging in to have Grader Notes billed with their monthly statement.

So basically the notes may not contain any pertinent or useful information and you pay anyway, and can’t use them to help you sell you CGC book that you most likely had graded for that one explicit reason. If they’re charging to see notes then they should break down explicitly how the grade was determined, pure and simple.

Scott VanderPloeg Written by:

Editor-In-Chief. Scott works in I.T. but lives to eat and read. His other ramblings can be found at eBabble. Art collection at Comic Art Fans. Joe Shuster Awards Harry Kremer coordinator.

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12 Comments

  1. Laura
    May 3, 2012

    That’s ridiculous! If the notes were there all along, they should be free. No one is doing any additional work, and no extra cost is going in to the grading process. Maybe CGC is hurtin’ for cash and this is a desperate attempt to get more money.

  2. Charlie
    May 3, 2012

    I agree this is a cash grab but it’s no different than what other businesses do. Think about what you pay to participate at cons, signatures, admissions… the rising cost of sketches that used to be free. Ebay taking a cut from shipping, Comic Connect who tried to charge me $200 bucks when I asked have my book delisted, then send me a nasty email when I refused to pay… or how they pass on credit card fees to the seller. Think about variant covers and why they even exist… or limited runs. What about lithos (or worse, colour copies) passed off as “limited prints”.

    I called in for notes once (when it was free) but it seemed like a moot exercise to me. The flaws should be obvious to a serious collector and knowing how these flaws are interpreted does not discount subjectivity. Guys on the board are constantly calling in for notes… mainly to determine if a book is worth being pressed. It helps because you can only see so much from a scan but who’s to say how those flaws will be interpreted the next go around.

    Yes, this type of commercialism is in bad taste… but where do you draw the line. I recommend making an personal, educated choice. I don’t use notes because they add NO VALUE to how I conduct the buy/sell or the enjoyment of my books.

  3. May 3, 2012

    Wrong is wrong, even if everyone is doing it. And right is right, even if no one is doing it.

  4. Charlie
    May 3, 2012

    Sure… which is why I generally don’t attend cons, have boycotted ComicConnect and I don’t use CGC notes… but it’s hard to point the finger in one direction when it’s all around you.

  5. Frank Chang
    May 3, 2012

    So do they give the 3 graders grades with this $5 charge because that used to be free too and now they cut that off. I got a hulk 1 cgc blue label 5.0.
    grader 1 6.0
    grader 2 5.0
    grader 3 5.0

    I got an overall 5.0 But grade should have been 5.33 (16/3) or a final 5.5 grade when rounded. Prob is they don’t round and take majority grade only (2 of 3 graders gave the 5.0).

  6. Frank Chang
    May 3, 2012

    oh I forgot mine is a cgc 5.0 SS stan lee auto book not blue label.

  7. marc
    May 3, 2012

    “Guys on the board are constantly calling in for notes…”

    And this is a move likely designed to stop that and free up the phone lines. When people are calling in for notes on books they don’t even own, I could see how CGC might want to not devote time and resources to that.

    Don’t get me wrong, CGC as a company is still kind of a POS and I don’t recommend their service to many of the people asking about it. I just don’t think this is a completely crazy move on their part.

  8. May 3, 2012

    Shouldn’t CGC just provide their notes with the paperwork they send back with the book or have an accompanying email. This could solve the problem of me complaining that I have to pay for the notes they took while grading my comic. This could also solve the other problem that 3rd parties interested in the book represent. These people would have to ask the seller for the notes or pay CGC to get them.

  9. Charlie
    May 4, 2012

    I highly doubt that tying up the phone lines is even remotely concern. Notes were a value added service that helped CGC get established. Now that they are established, they are cashing in. Ka-ching! It comes part and parcel with being a monopoly.

    Unlike PGX, CGC is a well planned coordinated effort. They’ve got the collectors society, GPA, blogs and boards, Overstreet, auctions houses and key people like Doug Schmell that support and champion their service. They’ve built a whole culture around their product which is no small feat.

    I agree, this is not a crazy move. It’s part of a larger strategic effort. It’s anticipated and should not comes as a surprise. Is it a greasy maneuver? You bet. But it’s hard to criticize them with out criticizing the hoards of other greasy ball maneuvers out there.

  10. Cecil F
    August 19, 2014

    Yes they should. Vault Grading and CBCS provide online notes for free. This is just another reason why CGC is done for in comic book grading.

  11. Readcomix
    May 22, 2016

    Agreed, Walt….these guys basically provide an appraisal/inspection report, not as to value but as to condition, akin to a home inspector. The written hard copy or electronic file of the report should be included.
    Another thing, gang — language matters, and Cgc’s is harmful — I’m not ‘submitting” my books to you; I am hiring you for a service. I am under no illusions that the grade that comes back with their analysis is going to be universally agreed upon, and we see this in auctions where books appear to be either under- or overgraded from what one can see in the slab.
    The claim of impartiality bothers me too. Unless their fee structure was completely flat (other than bulk discounts) with no regard to value, it’s not impartial. Fees based on a percent of market value inherently mean they have skin in the game. CGC, your claim of impartiality is negated by your fee structure; please stop claiming this.

  12. May 23, 2016

    For the most part the market has “bought in” to the CGC grades. CGC has been consistent enough that a massive market has arisen around their graded comics.

    It seems even when we disagree with the grade we still have faith the the market will accept it back in as the grade it has been assigned.

Make It Good.