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.