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Grading your comics

  • raz68 | Male | 51 years old | NYC

"If you don't stand for something. You will fall for anything."

Have been collecting on and off since grade school.

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Grading your comics

1745 views • Oct 26, '09 • (3) Comments

The profile says that I have been collecting comics on and off since grade school.  I have also been collecting baseball cards.  In one of my long absences in both collecting realms when I returned there was baseball card and comic book grading.  All of a sudden your comic book or baseball card was not worth as much if you didnt have it graded, put in a hard plastic case so it would never be handled or read again and have a number value on it. 

I have a few of my own thought, my own comments and opinions on this.  I have to say that I do have very mixed feelings about it.  The first time I went to a baseball card show after many years and I saw the tables set up for grading cards of course I had to see what it was all about.  So after some pamphlet reading I see that I hand my card over, which to me could be considered to have more than sentimental value than monetary value.  These people then take my card, charge me $30 or more depending on which service you use, and they tell me on a scale of 1 to 10 just how good my card is based upon certain criteria like cut, bends, corners, coloring, etc.  So I think to myself, what qualifications do these guys have to tell me exactly what my card is worth and how it rates on a scale of 1 to 10?  Is this subjective? Is it scientific? Is it fact based?  So I read more and I see if I ever want to sell my cards or comics I better get them graded so i can get more, or my collections could be worth more!  So I decide to take a shot.  I have a Nolan Ryan rookie card that to me is perfect except its cut is a bit off center. The corners are crisp, the coloring is perfect.  So I drop $35 (which I later say to myself I could have purchased more cards with that $35 instead waste it on this, but I get ahead of myself).  I wait 6 weeks to get it back in the mail, open it and see its rated a 5.5.  There is no explanation, no nothing in the envelope (maybe they do more now then when I got mine graded).  So instantly I am turned off to the whole grading process and no it wasnt the fact that it was graded lower than I expected, yes that is a let down but what it did was just make me question more what qualifications do these people have, taking my money, reviewing my collections and telling me what they think its worth.  What if I wanted to sell it without getting graded and the person buying it think its worth more to them, maybe its the last piece of their collection they need, maybe they are a huge fan of the player or the comic.  Regardsless what I realized was what was once a great fun hobby is nothing but a big business out to make more money.

So here it is, my first comic con and there they are all set up with their tables to grade your comics.  So I start with the thoughts all over again.  Luckily I didnt carry any of my collection with me to this convention that I would be even tempted to get my comics graded.  I walk around and truly enjoy my first convention.  I stop at a stand and see that someone is selling graded books.  So I decide to flip through the box.  Most of them graded 935 or higher which was great.  I am really not familiar with the criteria for grading comics but these books looked like they were taken off the shelf or out of the publisher and put right in these lovely hard plastic (being sarcastic) casings.  I see one I like and think, but how the hell would I read it?  Would I want to open the case, if I could, and even take it out and read it and ruin it?  What fun is this?  I enjoy reading the stories.  I enjoy admiring the art, the colors.  I enjoy comics, why would I ever get anything graded?  I want to teach my kids to enjoy comics the way I did, read them, enjoy them, respect your belongings and keep them in good shape.  I do not want them to learn to  treat it like its just an investment, its just a business.  Could they be worth something, could you sell them one day if you really wanted to or pass them on to your kids.  Sure you can but enjoy them.  Artists, writers, inkers, publishers are creating comics for your enjoyment so enjoy them!

So there you have it my opinion.  I didnt come right out and say it but I will, I do not like the whole idea of paying anyone to grade anything.  As its so perfectly stated here on this web site, "Your comic is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it!"  Let the buyer be the judge of what they think its worth, ultimately they have to be happy!!

Always curious of the opinion of other collectors on grading.  You never know maybe someone can change my mind.

Happy Collecting!!

  • Oct 26, '09 by dough boy's avatar dough boy
  • I am just like you. It is subjective and not scientific and just like in Pirates of the Caribbean they say it is "more of a guideline". I could almost guarantee you that you could send the same comic to the same company at different times and likely get a different grade (even by the same grader).

    I think what ultimately should happen is that we create a "tool" for novices to use that makes it easier for everyone to get close to the correct grade. Think along the lines of the eBigs site, but with better results and less ads. If the mob uses the tool and blesses it, then that is how a book should be graded.

    Of course just my opinion.
  • Oct 26, '09 by smeggie42's avatar smeggie42
  • i with you all the way. i like to read the comic. i can see it being different for cards because you can see both sides and it keeps it protected. but if i were you i would also have liked some reason for the grade given. but if they did that then you would be able to do it yourself and they would be out of a job. i agree with DB there should be a point system. start at 10 and each tear take off 1 point if there is a bend .3 color break .5 and so on. maybe thats how it works but i've never seen a break down like that.
  • Oct 29, '09 by nudebuddha's avatar nudebuddha
  • Not to mention that if everyone were to start grading their comics, eventually, graded comics would lose all value.
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