Twenty years ago, the Certified Guaranty Company started operations and has since graded over five million comic books. The impact of the CGC, and other later companies such as CBCS and PGX, is staggering – changing much about how comics are bought, sold, and collected but there has been much debate on the value of such graded comics.
There are three advantages to a graded book that ungraded (raw) books lack.
1. The comic is certified to be a certain grade, guaranteeing that a book’s condition is what the seller states.
2. CGC, CBCS, and others encase the book in a hard, plastic container, which protects it far better than a then plastic sleeve.
3. A graded book looks cooler than one in a plastic bag on a hardboard backing – plus the case gives a real feeling of security and protection.
Condition grading can have a huge impact on a book’s price and sometimes increases its value by a factor of ten or more. For example, a Judge Dredd # 1 from the 1990s DC run, in near mint condition, often sells for between $3 to $8 online, however a CGC graded copy can go for over $100.And once a book has been sealed in its hard plastic container, the chances of it being damaged are greatly lowered as only things like UV light or water are the only real threats.
However, having a book graded can be expensive. A magazine sized British Prog (a comic from the UK) can cost as much as $32 a book and even normal America comics can cost between $20 and $100 plus a minimum $5 handling fee. Also, a graded comic doesn’t always jump in price, and a mid to low grade on a book will either not change the market value, or decrease its personal value, or hurt its price.
If your reason for getting your books graded is so that you can increase your profit, caution is advised. Research costs first, and be careful which ones you select for grading.