To CGC or Not to CGC?

This is always a hot topic among collectors and dealers alike. Now, I have resisted writing this column because of the heat that goes along with the debate. Nowadays it seems very difficult to have a serious debate about anything, because of the highly charged state of political correctness. But what the heck, here goes.

This is always a hot topic among collectors and dealers alike. Now, I have resisted writing this column because of the heat that goes along with the debate. Nowadays it seems very difficult to have a serious debate about anything, because of the highly charged state of political correctness. But what the heck, here goes.

I buy raw and graded comics. I always have the excitement of expectation waiting for the FedEx package from ComicLink or Heritage or wherever only to find a genuine level of disappointment after I receive the package. This can be two fold. One is that the 9.2 looks like the grader went on break and took some sort of hallucinogen before returning to the grading room. Or two, the fact that you can’t actually look at the book except the front and back cover.

better comics 1 cgc 7I think we all have stories of either being excited or conversely being disappointed at a given grade. Also, I think that is going to go on for as long as there are collectors willing to buy graded books.

So what then is the point you may ask? For me graded books make it relatively safe and secure using the wonderful world of the internet as your collecting marketplace, to purchase the books you want in a very safe environment. Ultra high grade books for investment purposes, that are CGC graded, remove the relative fear of dropping several thousand dollars on that Silver Age key you covet only to find little Johnny coloured the spine breaks with a felt tip marker that you couldn’t see in the scan.

Or you can crack the CGC graded book and enjoy the quality copy in your personal collection. Graded books in the 6.0 to 8.0 can be quite affordable and those are great grades to enjoy without the fear of some unforeseen accident like a dog eared corner or colour break when you are actually handling them.

Again, I buy both for the two reasons stated above. I must admit, the longer I am involved in this great hobby the more I enjoy raw books. There is nothing like carefully perusing a 9.0 or better copy of a 40, 50 or 60 year old beauty.

Another thing that is becoming clear about graded books is that it is quite questionable just how much protection they give a comic compared to bagged and boarded books. I think everyone has seen rusting staples and faded books in the plastic shell.

So I know this doesn’t touch upon every aspect of this debate but I am counting on all of you to throw your two cents worth in. I know you have an opinion, so let’s hear it.

Oh, and don’t get me started on Signature Series! I don’t like anyone writing on my comics…not even Stan Lee!

Default image
Dennis De Pues

Dennis is an admitted "Son of the Silver Age", having grown up with the influences of Silver Age greats: Kirby, Colan, Romita and Buscema.Three decades later, he is the creator of Crash!! and Galloway Park. More is definitely on the way.

Articles: 260


  1. CGC Graded books are no guarantee either. sorry to say. case in point. someone graded this Cerebus #1 a 9.4, clearly this is a joke ( if i sent in a book like that, i’d be lucky to get it back as an 8.5. CGC is good to a point, but…

    and as far as protection inside the holder, doesn’t CGC state that it’s made of archival materials, and thus, ultimate protection for the comic?

  2. Here is what CGC says on it’s site regarding protection.
    “Once certified by CGC, a comic book is encapsulated in a state-of-the art, tamper-evident holder, providing superior protection and stability for long-term preservation”.

  3. Recently I bought Giant Size Xmen #1 in ‘about 8.0’ for an average sort of a price on the internet and was disappointed to find it was in my opinion, about a 6.5. It hurt a bit and if it was CGC graded it wouldn’t have been such a risk. It’s only human nature that sellers would want to exaggerate to get the most bang for their buck. Unfortunately I live in New Zealand and so yea, most comics that come up for sale are insanely over priced and ungraded.

  4. Short, but to the point, Dennis. I buy both, but I ONLY buy CGC when it is reasonably priced and I ONLY pay for one-half or less of the grading costs. I also see CGC’s grading as very questionable. I also thing mylar with an acid-free backing board provides just as much protection. CGC’s primary advantage is the restoration check and a good third opinion on high-end comics. Too many waste money and time on CGC-PGX grading of low grade and recently published books.

  5. My purchasing of CGC books mirrors your buying practices (eerily so). What CGC has changed the most for me is how I sell my books, particulary to dealers. I will give a real example of what I mean.
    I had a raw copy of Tales of Suspense #49 that I figured would get a n 8.0 grade from CGC. A book of that type and grade usually gets about $600US give or take. Next I subtracted costs associated with getting the book graded and sold by an auction house. Shipping costs to CGC, Grading costs,Sellers commision, and exchange costs (a variable)for sure. This total cost is what I call the net value of the brick and morter comic store to me. In this case at the time it was about $150. I wanted $450 for my book to sell it to a local comic dealer.

    I took my book to 3 local dealers and went through a detailed breakdown of what i wanted and why. None of them of course liked the idea much, particulary the part where I assign a non-negotiable grade that I think a 3rd party grader (CGC) will give. The rarest thing to find to comic collecting is a dealer who thinks he can’t grade better than CGC. Two of them told me to take a hike, the 3rd reluctently agreed to give it as try.

    I did not care what price the dealer put on the book. I put it on consignment with him. If it sold great, if it didn’t the CGC or e-bay route was still open to me. we agreed to give it a month. It was sold in 2 days for $650. I received my money in 10 days the dealer made a quick $200. I have repeated this process successfully 4 more times since ( and now I have run out of $500+ books to sell).

    This system is not perfect and has some risk for both seller and dealer. I could have underestimated the value of my book and someone may have paid more for my book. The dealer sells the book for a lower margin than he is used to, however I don’t think small local dealers will get these bigger books without taking a much lower margin than they used to in the past.

    Finally, Dennis if you really dislike writing of all types on your comic books. I would love to buy that Amazing Spider-Man #47 with John Romita’s scribble on it from you that you used a couple of posts back LOL!

  6. That was the book that got me back into collecting again.I had a chat with JR Sr which is what makes that book special!Signature Series have always been a tough one for me.The business man says”these guys aren’t going to be around forever” while the collector in me says , handle with care and don’t write on my books!:)

  7. It looks like a lot of us are thinking the same way here!The resto check is a big point.And there are an aweful lot of books slabbed that really have little or no business being slabbed.I hope we hear some more input on this.Thanks everyone.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: