An In-Depth Comparison of Green Label and Blue Label Grading
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5 minutes ago, zzutak said:

First off, I believe Bradley is a totally competent grader and an extremely helpful member of the CGC Staff.  You rock, B!  :headbang:

That being said, there has always been some level of inconsistency at CGC that goes well beyond the oft-quoted "grading is subjective" observation.  Is this because certain readily quantifiable and easy-to-remember "objective" benchmarks/standards (such as "a book with a completely detached cover shall never receive a grade higher than 4.0 VG" or  "a book with detached and completely split cover shall never receive a grade higher than 1.0 FR" or "a low-grade book with one or more missing pages shall receive a Universal Grade of 0.5 PR") are not memorialized in a written grading rubric?  Or do some graders sometimes forget/misapply these objective (not subjective) benchmarks?  I cannot say why it happens.  However, I can say (with absolute certainty) that it does happen.  Here are five examples of low-grade books with one or more missing pages that were not awarded Universal (Blue Label) Grades of 0.5 PR:

Q-20c8.thumb.jpg.839f57782082ab65e8138b7e65494d30.jpgQ-25c1.thumb.jpg.3f46f69d2d5df661f2080e513800d4ed.jpgQ-30c7.thumb.jpg.f92f08a36ffc3da8ba48a33f7ccb49f0.jpgQ-30c8.thumb.jpg.4b05af1d1c16217ec130f8c326dee608.jpgQ-30c9.thumb.jpg.2382cabc87ec1ba59b002466f8f4727e.jpg

Mistakes happen -- especially when business is good and the workflow is heavy, the grading staff is ever-changing, the QA/QC department is overworked, and/or issues like this are not addressed by company principals or department managers/supervisors during regular staff meetings or through periodic in-house "refresher" training. 

I find it interesting that these are all Golden Age books...

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5 hours ago, zzutak said:

First off, I believe Bradley is a totally competent grader and an extremely helpful member of the CGC Staff.  You rock, B!  :headbang:

That being said, there has always been some level of inconsistency at CGC that goes well beyond the oft-quoted "grading is subjective" observation.  Is this because certain readily quantifiable and easy-to-remember "objective" benchmarks/standards (such as "a book with a completely detached cover shall never receive a grade higher than 4.0 VG" or  "a book with detached and completely split cover shall never receive a grade higher than 1.0 FR" or "a low-grade book with one or more missing pages shall receive a Universal Grade of 0.5 PR") are not memorialized in a written grading rubric?  Or do some graders sometimes forget/misapply these objective (not subjective) benchmarks?  I cannot say why it happens.  However, I can say (with absolute certainty) that it does happen.  Here are five examples of low-grade books with one or more missing pages that were not awarded Universal (Blue Label) Grades of 0.5 PR:

Q-20c8.thumb.jpg.839f57782082ab65e8138b7e65494d30.jpgQ-25c1.thumb.jpg.3f46f69d2d5df661f2080e513800d4ed.jpgQ-30c7.thumb.jpg.f92f08a36ffc3da8ba48a33f7ccb49f0.jpgQ-30c8.thumb.jpg.4b05af1d1c16217ec130f8c326dee608.jpgQ-30c9.thumb.jpg.2382cabc87ec1ba59b002466f8f4727e.jpg

Mistakes happen -- especially when business is good and the workflow is heavy, the grading staff is ever-changing, the QA/QC department is overworked, and/or issues like this are not addressed by company principals or department managers/supervisors during regular staff meetings or through periodic in-house "refresher" training. 

This really is a good post. Too often, it appears as though the 'rules' are not consistently applied. While I love your post, the actual question is embedded in the middle of a long sentence and paragraph and I am afraid it will get lost. His question is basically 'are the rules written down' or do graders sometimes forget and misapply the rules ? 

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Hello everybody. I’m new to commenting on the chat boards, but find the topics very interesting to read. When I saw this topic, it reminded me of a book I bought a number of years ago, which has a baffling label. The book has a universal label, graded 7.0 with OW pages, but is also noted as Incomplete with 11th page missing, 6th page detached. After reading through this topic, I’m not sure where this book would fit in, or if the current label is in error. Any insight would be appreciated. A picture of the book with label us provided below.

 

5A0A6D72-37A9-4578-A4ED-58EFC7417215.thumb.jpeg.d4e007173b1157c7a147152d4ee04fc5.jpeg

 

8A4A440E-AAC8-446C-AFE9-8BC3540C6CBF.jpeg

Edited by Mucheee1
Put in an upside down picture by accident

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Love the work done here 

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 got lots of good news on books today, but my surfer 11 that i was excited about came back a 9.6 qualified, because of a detached staple. can i get this graded with a blue label and if so, do you know what grade it would come back as? it it's going to be very low then it's probably not worth doing. 

i know i can call cgc and ask them but i'm curious what the experts here know about it. thanks! 

surfer-qualified.jpg

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Has this thread been stickied for nine years?

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On 11/28/2010 at 7:50 AM, zzutak said:

Lately, there have been a number of inquiries about CGC Green Label “qualified” grading, including (1) what types of defects result in a Green Label, and (2) how should Green Label books be valued. In my opinion, both questions are worthy of further discussion.

 

All of the images included herein were taken from the Heritage Auction Galleries (HA) archives. Over the years, HA has sold over 300,000 comic-related items, including approximately 630 unique CGC Green Label slabs. Even though the archives contain only a fraction of the books encapsulated by CGC, I believe the number of examples contained therein is large enough to guarantee that the HA sample population is roughly representative of the whole.

 

Let’s begin by identifying specific defects that have led to encapsulation in a Green Label Qualified Grade holder. For simplicity, I’ve subdivided these defects into seven categories, as shown below. The second column represents the defect, while the first column represents the number of occurrences of that specific defect.

 

G0-3.jpg

 

Green Label Category 1 Examples:

 

th_G1-1.jpg th_G1-2.jpg th_G1-3.jpg th_G1-4.jpg th_G1-5.jpg

th_G1-6.jpg th_G1-7.jpg th_G1-8.jpg th_G1-9.jpg th_G1-10.jpg th_G1-11.jpg

 

Green Label Category 2 Examples:

 

th_G2-1.jpg th_G2-2.jpg th_G2-3.jpg th_G2-4.jpg th_G2-5.jpg th_G2-6.jpg

 

Green Label Category 3 Examples:

 

th_G3-1.jpg th_G3-2.jpg th_G3-3.jpg th_G3-4.jpg th_G3-5.jpg

th_G3-6.jpg th_G3-7.jpg th_G3-8.jpg th_G3-9.jpg th_G3-10.jpg th_G3-11.jpg

 

Green Label Category 4 Examples:

 

th_G4-1.jpg th_G4-2.jpg th_G4-3.jpg

th_G4-4.jpg th_G4-5.jpg th_G4-6.jpg th_G4-7.jpg th_G4-8.jpg th_G4-9.jpg

 

Green Label Category 5 Examples:

 

th_G5-1.jpg th_G5-2.jpg th_G5-3.jpg th_G5-4.jpg th_G5-5.jpg

 

Green Label Category 6 Examples:

 

th_G6-1.jpg th_G6-2.jpg th_G6-3.jpg th_G6-4.jpg

 

Green Label Category 7 Examples:

 

th_G7-1.jpg th_G7-2.jpg th_G7-3.jpg th_G7-4.jpg th_G7-5.jpg

th_G7-6.jpg th_G7-7.jpg th_G7-8.jpg th_G7-9.jpg th_G7-10.jpg th_G7-11.jpg

 

Let’s now address the question of how Green Label books should be valued. Because it’s easiest to establish a book’s value once each and every one of its defects have been accounted for via a single representative grade, Blue Label equivalents will be shown for most of the qualifying defects enumerated above.

 

Blue Label Equivalents for Category 1:

 

Approximately 34% of the Green Label books in the HA archives are incomplete by virtue of a missing page, piece, coupon, or attachment (Category 1 in the table provided above). Fortunately, a few incomplete books have been encapsulated in Universal Grade holders, and some of those Blue Label examples are shown below. On this basis, it appears that the “true” grade of an incomplete book is either Poor (CGC 0.5) or Fair (CGC 1.0), depending on whether the specimen is missing a page (any page, story or non-story), a panel, or merely a coupon.

 

th_B1-1.jpg th_B1-2.jpg th_B1-3.jpg th_B1-4.jpg th_B1-5.jpg

 

Blue Label Equivalents for Category 2:

 

Approximately 28% of the Green Label books in the HA archives have partially or completely detached covers, centerfolds, and/or wraps (Category 2 in the table provided above). Fortunately, many similarly flawed books have been encapsulated in Universal Grade holders, and some of those Blue Label examples are shown below. Since the detachment defect is the primary (or perhaps even sole) flaw, these high-grade examples reveal the approximate deduction that CGC takes for a specific detachment defect when it is not ignored. On this basis, it appears that: a lightly worn book with a cover detached at a single staple will have a Universal Grade of 7.0 to 7.5; a book with a completely detached cover will have a Universal Grade of 4.0 or lower (depending on the severity of its other defects); a pristine book with a centerfold detached at a single staple will have a Universal Grade as high as 9.2 or 9.4; and a lightly worn book with a completely detached centerfold will have a Universal Grade of 6.5 to 7.0. Note: DC comics from the mid-1960s were manufactured with relatively thin cover stock and are especially prone to suffering a “blown” staple.

 

th_B8-1.jpg th_B8-2.jpg th_B8-3.jpg th_B8-4.jpg th_B8-5.jpg th_B8-6.jpg

th_B8-7.jpg th_B8-8.jpg th_B8-9.jpg th_B8-10.jpg th_B8-11.jpg th_B8-12.jpg th_B8-13.jpg

 

Notes on Category 3:

 

Approximately 28% of the Green Label books in the HA archives have either a “married” component or “tweaked” staples (Category 3 in the table provided above). About half the books with staple modifications come out of only three collections: forty-eight books with cleaned staples (Four Color and Duck books) are from the Don Vernon Collection; another dozen or so books with cleaned staples (All-American, All-Flash, All-Star, and Flash Comics) came to market as a group during the summer of 2002; and ten books with cleaned or replaced staples are from the Pinnacle Hill Collection.

 

Notes on Category 4:

 

Less than 2% of the Green Label books in the HA archives have manufacturing/production defects such as missing staples, detached pages, missing ink, off-register cover colors, or an incorrect interior (Category 4 in the table provided above). I have not been able to find scans of Universal Grade books with identical flaws.

 

Blue Label Equivalents for Category 5:

 

Approximately 4% of the Green Label books in the HA archives have unwitnessed artist/creator signatures (Category 5 in the table provided above). CGC appears to treat books with unwitnessed signatures in the same manner that they treat books from recognized pedigrees that have the original owner’s name on the cover (Larson, Macon, Okajima, Winnipeg, etc). Since CGC does not offer a post-signing authentification/certification service (similar to what PSA/DNA offers for sports memorabilia), each buyer must decide for himself/herself how to value a book with a “qualified” signature relative to one with a “witnessed” signature and encapsulated in a Yellow Label Signature Series holder.

 

th_B5-1.jpg th_B5-2.jpg th_B5-3.jpg th_B5-4.jpg th_B5-5.jpg th_B5-6.jpg

 

Blue Label Equivalents for Category 6:

 

Less than 3% of the Green Label books in the HA archives have cover stickers or binder/binding holes (Category 6 in the table provided above). The 1939 edition of the New York World’s Fair comic is normally awarded a Blue Label, in spite of the price sticker on cover. Books with binder holes or books removed from bound volumes are rarely slabbed, so there are only a few Blue Label examples in the archives. However, several hundred three-hole punched file copies were among the thousands of books found at the Eastern Color Warehouse in the mid-1970s, and sales of raw specimens have occurred with regularity during the past 30+ years. Most reputable sellers assign grades of GD/VG to VG to otherwise pristine punched specimens from this find. Likewise, scores of bound volumes have sold at public auction over the years. Most reputable auction houses use the VG price of the individual issues to estimate the fair market value of a well-preserved bound volume. This is probably as good a starting point as any for establishing the “unqualified” value of an otherwise well-preserved single book that was once part of a bound volume.

 

th_B6-1.jpg th_B6-2.jpg th_B6-3.jpg th_B6-4.jpg th_B6-5.jpg th_B6-6.jpg

 

Blue Label Equivalents for Category 7:

 

Less than 2% of the Green Label books in the HA archives earned that status by virtue of a “common” defect, such as color chipping, a spine split, or a cover/page tear (Category 7 in the table provided above). The books in this particular category are all high grade (CGC 8.5 or better), and most are from pedigreed collections. However, the overwhelming majority of high grade submissions are encapsulated in Blue Label holders. So I’m at a loss to explain why a relatively small number of books were singled out for “special” treatment. Since CGC no longer lists significant defects on their Universal labels, self-evident Blue Label examples are difficult to come by. But here are a few from the early days of CGC:

 

th_B7-1.jpg th_B7-2.jpg th_B7-3.jpg th_B7-4.jpg th_B7-5.jpg th_B7-6.jpg

 

Even with clickable thumbnails, the presentation is quite image heavy. So please use discretion if you feel a need to quote a portion either post. Also, please remember that CGC’s grading and/or slab labeling standards have changed (and no doubt will continue to evolve) with time. Therefore, past performance is no guarantee of future results.

 

You didn't give any estimate on the value for the Green label for Category 5. As a professional dealer for over 43 years and a senior Overstreet advisor for most of those, the value for a Green Label versus a Blue Label are quite a bit less. That is a beef I have with CGC. I will not ever ask them to certify an unwitnessed signature, but why the practice of placing them in a Green Label? Are they saying if a collector attends a comic book convention and gets their books signed by artists at the show, the book has been defaced and worth less! What I wish is for CGC to return to its original practice before they started marketing their Signature Series books. Place any unwitnessed signed books in a Blue Label with the note about the signature on the cover. This will eliminate the significant drop in value for unwitnessed signed books. It will then be up to the potential buyer to decide whether he believes or disbelieves the seller on the authenticity of the signature. 

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On 9/4/2018 at 6:08 PM, Mucheee1 said:

Hello everybody. I’m new to commenting on the chat boards, but find the topics very interesting to read. When I saw this topic, it reminded me of a book I bought a number of years ago, which has a baffling label. The book has a universal label, graded 7.0 with OW pages, but is also noted as Incomplete with 11th page missing, 6th page detached. After reading through this topic, I’m not sure where this book would fit in, or if the current label is in error. Any insight would be appreciated. A picture of the book with label us provided below.

 

5A0A6D72-37A9-4578-A4ED-58EFC7417215.thumb.jpeg.d4e007173b1157c7a147152d4ee04fc5.jpeg

 

8A4A440E-AAC8-446C-AFE9-8BC3540C6CBF.jpeg

To answer your question, this book should have received a green qualified label...  

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2 minutes ago, The Lions Den said:

To answer your question, this book should have received a green qualified label...  

Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. Just another lesson I learned about making sure to read the CGC label completely before bidding on a book in an auction.

:kidaround:

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On 2/28/2019 at 5:58 PM, Mucheee1 said:

Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. Just another lesson I learned about making sure to read the CGC label completely before bidding on a book in an auction.

:kidaround:

I'm reasonably sure that CGC would correct this issue if you decided to contact them about it; it's their oversight. And you're right, you should always inspect everything on the label and make sure the label matches the book, not only with the correct information, but the correct grade as well...  (thumbsu

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On 2/6/2019 at 9:27 PM, www.alexgross.com said:

 got lots of good news on books today, but my surfer 11 that i was excited about came back a 9.6 qualified, because of a detached staple. can i get this graded with a blue label and if so, do you know what grade it would come back as? it it's going to be very low then it's probably not worth doing. 

i know i can call cgc and ask them but i'm curious what the experts here know about it. thanks! 

surfer-qualified.jpg

Wondering same thing, I have amazing Spider-Man 15 with a small cut out in second to last page (not affecting story)

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I've been trying to look up info on blue vs. green and this thread has been great. In the other stuff i found, i could've sworn i saw comments saying you can request a blue label and take a ding on the grade for unverified signatures, but can't find where i read it anymore. 

My question is, can you request a blue label for an unverified signature or will the green just automatically be given and no request for a blue can be made?

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