CGC “Standards”

What is up with the new grading standards of CGC?  I mean why is it I used to be able to go though my long boxes and know, without a lot of guess work, that this book will not come back a 9.8, it’s a guaranteed fail?  Why am I buying freshly graded CGC books that are 9.8 with spine flecks?  Why am I seeing large blunted corners on 9.8’s?  Well folks, sad to say, you and I really had to see the writing on the wall, and you can blame it on the economy—here’s why!

CGC is a business, and in order to stay in business they need to charge to grade books—plain and simple.  They don’t want you to pre-screen 30 books at 9.8 and have them all fail, even though years ago, these books simply would not pass as 9.8’s.  Of course the pre-screen charge is nice change for them, but that’s not going to pay the salaries of all the graders.  Besides the obvious reasons of why this is happening, let’s dig a little further.

Over the period of the last 3 years, common graded bronze and up have started to feel the pinch in this poor economy.  Many have sold at such incredibly low prices you’d have to feel a little sorry for the guys buying this stuff up in 2006/07 when everything was at nosebleed prices.  Books that are so common and could easily have so many 9.8’s were getting graded up at a record pace and as more came to market, the less they would fetch.  As these common books would command less and less money, more and more former graders/speculators started to drop out.  So now you have less money for these common books, but also less total books/submissions being sent to CGC.   So how does CGC stop the bleeding?  Well, unfortunately, 9.6’s become 9.8’s now at an alarming pace because they WANT YOU BACK!  Just like Walmart will take back your defective merchandise even though YOU broke it, CGC needs you as a return customer.  Some of you will read this and think sour grapes, this guy’s got a bone to pick with CGC which is the furthest from the truth.  I’m just a guy who was grading books as early as 2002, that has been there through the ups and downs and sees the inconsistencies that are now easier to spot after nearly a decade.  I for one still send a lot of books to CGC, because I know I can now take my 9.6 pile (books that I really didn’t know what to do with 3 years ago because as 9.6’s they weren’t worth the grading fee), pre-screen at 9.8 and usually 30-40% of those books, many of these same books were 9.8 rejects 2 years ago, and get 9.8’s.  Believe me, I’m not upset about it, I’m just letting you know the score.

Jason Halstead
Jason Halstead

I'm the new guy here and a self described toy freak! As a Generation X who still actively buys, sells, and trades 70’s and 80’s action figures, I'll have some fun stories to tell and some insight on the state of each individual market currently.

Articles: 7


  1. Don’t they also charge on a sliding scale so the higher the grade and the higher the value they appraise it at the more they make of you.

  2. Jason, as you know, there is much more to this story beyond the fact that “CGC is a business”. There are various currents at work here, including the economy, online trends and the group mentality of buyers, sellers and everyone in between.

    I’ve commented before that CGC is a finite business model but it’s hard to say how long they can continue. Other people have tried to create a “halo” businesses around CGC by offering slabbed subscriptions for newer books with a 9.8 guarantee but have failed.

    Personally, I think the current state is nothing more then a result of “irrational exuberance” which is a phrase that the stock market uses when growth defies logic. There was never any reason for slabbed comics to rise in value so quickly… and so high.

    For CGC to remain reputable, they really need to reign in their standards. They also should consider diversifying their operations but this may be an oxymoron considering that it’s a shrinking market. But, like most small business… it’s more likely that the owners just don’t give “hoot”…

    Consider if you will… what do guys in their late forties and fifties think about…

  3. “Ship Of Fools”! Most ‘mid 60’s comics are way overpriced, and most ‘pre 60’s underpriced!
    Pox on condition junkies!!

  4. Let’s be honest – you’re just bitter that they’re not handing out 9.9s and 10.0s like candy anymore!

  5. The standards I have observed by studying many, many CGC books seem to have slackened in the last several years. CGC is not the only pariah to blame; those that think because a 9.4 is worth 10 times more because it’s in a slab are also to blame. These speculators are driving the price unnaturally high and IT’S GOING TO CRASH; particularly on the mid to low end. There will always be a need to independently grade and preserve the old classics, but a 9.8 copy of Walking Dead selling for nearly $1,000? RIDICULOUS!

  6. Standards of cgc have certainly diminished over the last 2 years as the recession has caused graders to give more gift grades to entice more submissions. Folks they have to meet a sales quota and this is the only way to do it. Higher grades keeps everyone happy whereby cgc gets their cut and submitters get higher grades for repeat business. Particularly when CGC looks at the low census numbers on certain books and says ok whats another one so they give out a free gift grade- often pressed examples moving up 2 notches.

  7. Hey, I don’t mind if CGC inflates prices.

    It just lets me be able to buy similar (or lower) quality books at a FRACTION of the price. I’ve got a bid on a FN/FV (Rated 6-7) Silver Surfer #3 for $10!!!

    Let CGC do their thing, it doesn’t scare away those of us who would rather have the book now, and deal with grading when I’m ancient and ready to sell and retire.

  8. Deviating slightly from the discussion, since we are talking about CGC, I have questions. Consider this scenario: 1) You decide to send your comic to Classics, Inc. to have it professionally pressed. 2) Next you send it to CGC to have it professionally graded. 3) Finally you send the comic to an auction site like Heritage Comics to sell. So you have had to pay for pressing, slabbing, sales commission fees and postage several times. Is there a more cost effective way to do this? At some point, it is better to just sell on eBay or pay Comic Link $5 per comic for them to grade and sell as is on their site?

  9. They are totally inconsistent! I just got books back that were in nicer condition than ones I sent a few years ago that got 9.8, and the highest I got is 9.4 ! I think they grade higher for certain customers!

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