CGC v. Company X
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7 minutes ago, Timely said:

Sorry to throw facts into the equation, but I was never a head grader at CGC. That honor belonged to Haspel & Litch.

 

West 

My mistake then, I thought you took over once Mark stepped down.  

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20 minutes ago, buttock said:

My mistake then, I thought you took over once Mark stepped down.  

Litch took over from Haspel, and you are correct, the grading got soft, really soft. I still avoid anything slabbed around the 2011 timeframe.  I recently got lazy and bid on a book in auction without doing proper research. I surprisingly won the book with a soft bid. Upon closer inspection I could see the book was graded soft. After checking the grade date, sure enough, graded in 2011. I believe Haspel is back on a consulting basis and the team now seems to be grading properly. Between the emergence of pressing and the soft grading from this time period, again you are correct, many got spoiled.

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1 hour ago, lou_fine said:

No apologies necessary as I consider this type of good discussion to be healthy and part of the learning curve for collectors like me who don't really sen books in for grading.  (thumbsu

Based upon what I am reading here, I also don't see why the book would have graded as low as a CGC 7.5.  Unless they didn't bother to list all of the defects which I am not sure is common or not with respect to their notes.  Maybe it's quite possible that the other company's 9.0 grade might actually be closer to the actual real grade of the book, as opposed to CGC's 7.5 grade.  (shrug)

Is it a requirement for them to list all of the defects they identify on a book because I heard that in cases like a CGC 9.6 or CGC 9.8, they sometimes don't have anything in their notes at all?  ???

Its a shame they don't note length of creases.  A 1/4" light color breaking crease and its a 8.5 or 9.0; a 2" light color breaking crease and its a 6.5 or 7.  Its impossible to say what the correct grade is just from these notes.

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16 minutes ago, Bomber-Bob said:

Litch took over from Haspel, and you are correct, the grading got soft, really soft. I still avoid anything slabbed around the 2011 timeframe.  I recently got lazy and bid on a book in auction without doing proper research. I surprisingly won the book with a soft bid. Upon closer inspection I could see the book was graded soft. After checking the grade date, sure enough, graded in 2011. I believe Haspel is back on a consulting basis and the team now seems to be grading properly. Between the emergence of pressing and the soft grading from this time period, again you are correct, many got spoiled.

Remember all of the Sparkle City auctions that people were talking about then?  I wish I would have submitted my whole collection at that time.  

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2 hours ago, Badger said:

Its a shame they don't note length of creases.  A 1/4" light color breaking crease and its a 8.5 or 9.0; a 2" light color breaking crease and its a 6.5 or 7.  Its impossible to say what the correct grade is just from these notes.

I'm not sure I understand why a notation on the specific length of a crease would benefit you ? Everyone thinks CGC grading is strictly an analytic process, plug in the numbers in a magic equation to get the grade. That's not how it works. There are simply too many permutations. A 1/4 inch crease may be a certain grade if the rest of the book is near perfect but what if it is combined with a 1/8 inch tear or a slightly rusted staple. Also, they usually don't list all flaws in the notes, just those that mattered for the grade. BTW, I think the inside tanning held this specific book down. 

Edited by Bomber-Bob

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I recently played the same game. Buying in the other holder definitely was a discount, but I wanted the books graded by CGC.

Victory Comics 1 Company X- 3.5 OW-W CGC 2.5 OW-W

I sent in a TMNT 1 that was in a 9.4 company X case that came back in a 9.6 CGC case. 

 

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29 minutes ago, PKJ said:

I sent in a TMNT 1 that was in a 9.4 company X case that came back in a 9.6 CGC case. 

 

Wow, that was a big win !!! Congrats.

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9 hours ago, Zolnerowich said:

Such a fascinating thread. And frustrating. The quotes I harnessed above from other boardies in this thread nicely capture a lot of the ongoing issues and inconsistencies we face with third-party grading, and transcend the specific question of CGC vs. Company X.

Here we have all sorts of seasoned collectors with hundreds of years of cumulative collecting experience among them, yet, for either CGC books or Company X books, none of us can (a) accurately describe the grading criteria, (b) accurately predict the grade a book will receive, or (c) rely on the often slim grading notes (esp. CGC) to inform their understanding. And (d) in some instances, even unrestored vs. restored vs. conserved cannot be guaranteed.

As Tony points out, it might be that Company X is actually a more "accurate" grader than CGC. Or maybe not... but without an accepted gold standard with objective agreed-upon criteria, the boldly placed number in the top left corner of the slab remains a cipher, a moving target, a will o' the wisp, dust in the wind (as our books will one day become).

I am happy to see the thread has not been zapped as I believe it is healthy discussion and could be used by the grading company to see their customer's insights.  Grading is subjective and I am not suggesting that grading practices should change based on disgruntled submitters but at least to note consistency should be paramount across staff changes and over time.  Like Zolne says, many or most of us GA collectors have been collecting and grading books for a lot longer than third party grading has been around.  A few may even know how to accurately and consistently grade :smile:

Thanks to @Sqeggs for initiating the discussion.

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14 hours ago, Bomber-Bob said:

I'm not sure I understand why a notation on the specific length of a crease would benefit you ? Everyone thinks CGC grading is strictly an analytic process, plug in the numbers in a magic equation to get the grade. That's not how it works. There are simply too many permutations. A 1/4 inch crease may be a certain grade if the rest of the book is near perfect but what if it is combined with a 1/8 inch tear or a slightly rusted staple. Also, they usually don't list all flaws in the notes, just those that mattered for the grade. BTW, I think the inside tanning held this specific book down. 

Just as the notation of interior tanning benefited you in your grade estimate, more detail on crease length would benefit all of us.  As you point out, usually its not just one substantial defect on a book that determines grade; instead, its a combination of defects.  So, if an auction lists a 6.5 book with grader notes that say, "multiple light spine creases, does not break color and light crease lower right front cover, breaks color" would it not be more informative if it said instead, "multiple light spine creases, does not break color and light 2 " crease lower right front cover, breaks color"?  If the damage to the book is not evident in the auction picture, one description you might roll the dice and see if a press could upgrade the book and the other, probably not. Alternately, if you do not like pressing, one description hides the 2" color break that you might be unpleasantly surprised by, book in hand, while the other one informs your buying decision.

More info on defects is always a good thing; well, at least form the buyer's perspective.

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11 hours ago, Zolnerowich said:

Here we have all sorts of seasoned collectors with hundreds of years of cumulative collecting experience among them, yet, for either CGC books or Company X books, none of us can (a) accurately describe the grading criteria, (b) accurately predict the grade a book will receive, or (c) rely on the often slim grading notes (esp. CGC) to inform their understanding. And (d) in some instances, even unrestored vs. restored vs. conserved cannot be guaranteed.

I'm not sure I entirely agree.  If you ever are in a @thirdgreenham grading contest you will notice that, barring something not seen in scans, many people can come within half a grade of what CGC grades something.  And a quick look at the PGM section shows that quite a few people can spot restoration even in a scan.  And both of these are with people working from scans, I would assume that if we had those books in hand and could look for hidden interior defects or use black lights for restoration those would improve.  Of course there are always comics that will leave you scratching your head, but by and large I believe that CGC grading is pretty well understood now.

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Just now, thunsicker said:

I'm not sure I entirely agree.  If you ever are in a @thirdgreenham grading contest you will notice that, barring something not seen in scans, many people can come within half a grade of what CGC grades something.  And a quick look at the PGM section shows that quite a few people can spot restoration even in a scan.  And both of these are with people working from scans, I would assume that if we had those books in hand and could look for hidden interior defects or use black lights for restoration those would improve.  Of course there are always comics that will leave you scratching your head, but by and large I believe that CGC grading is pretty well understood now.

Maybe I'm unique, probably not :D, but I rarely get surprised on submissions to CGC regardless of the "tight" or "loose" standards of the period.  At least 90% of the time I'm within 1/2 grade. Not being perfect, I do miss things, usually restoration or an interior page problem, so when I am off, I am really off :cry:.

CGC grading is pretty well understood and can even be followed in the latest Overstreet Grading guide.  The guide is not perfect either but it uses CGC graded books and trademarks throughout so CGC tacitly agrees with what it is presenting overall. 

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42 minutes ago, thunsicker said:

I'm not sure I entirely agree.  If you ever are in a @thirdgreenham grading contest you will notice that, barring something not seen in scans, many people can come within half a grade of what CGC grades something.  And a quick look at the PGM section shows that quite a few people can spot restoration even in a scan.  And both of these are with people working from scans, I would assume that if we had those books in hand and could look for hidden interior defects or use black lights for restoration those would improve.  Of course there are always comics that will leave you scratching your head, but by and large I believe that CGC grading is pretty well understood now.

 

34 minutes ago, Badger said:

Maybe I'm unique, probably not :D, but I rarely get surprised on submissions to CGC regardless of the "tight" or "loose" standards of the period.  At least 90% of the time I'm within 1/2 grade. Not being perfect, I do miss things, usually restoration or an interior page problem, so when I am off, I am really off :cry:.

CGC grading is pretty well understood and can even be followed in the latest Overstreet Grading guide.  The guide is not perfect either but it uses CGC graded books and trademarks throughout so CGC tacitly agrees with what it is presenting overall. 

These are all fair points. Though not everyone (including me!) would do so well in a thirdgreenham grading contest. As @Bomber-Bob wrote in this thread, grading is not a pure analytical process, but then the implication is that grading must involve a holistic process, sizing up the book as a whole. That's fine, but such a process takes a lot of experience. How tan does interior tanning need to be... how long does the color breaking crease need to be... how much glue has to gum up the spine... to shift that grade from a 6.0 to a 5.5, or to a 4.0 conserved? 

And while just a 1/2 grade difference sounds good and within a narrow margin, even this small variation has dramatic effects on $$, especially at the grading breakpoints, e.g., for a book at 8.0, there's a lot of $$ at stake if that book goes from a 7.5 to an 8.5, and vice versa.

One thing that would be a great service to our community is more transparency and more details in the grading notes, and (dare I say) free grading notes to all, which would help everyone get on the same page in understanding how a book arrives at its assigned grade.

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32 minutes ago, Zolnerowich said:

One thing that would be a great service to our community is more transparency and more details in the grading notes, and (dare I say) free grading notes to all, which would help everyone get on the same page in understanding how a book arrives at its assigned grade.

I think CGC has gotten much more thorough on their notes. Years ago, if there was any notes at all, there was no access. You had to call and speak to a grader. Often the only thng they could tell you was how the individual group of 3 graders 'voted'. Say, if you had a 9.0 graded book with a 9.2 vote, you would consider a resub.  All of today's requirements of color breaking vs non color breaking was not mentioned.  At least the notes today, if not complete, usually have something informative. LIsting every flaw in the notes would bring the TAT to a standstill and that's not good. I've said this before, they usually list the flaws that mattered in the grade. It seems reasonable to me . (shrug)

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Don’t see them ever making graders notes free, too much of a cash cow for them.  I’m sure the amount of money they make off it is a tightly guarded secret but it’s conceivable that for some of these books that get auctioned multiple times they’re making more than they did off the original submission fee.

As far as vagueness in  the notes themselves, it’s also not in their interest to clean that up.  Vague notes and secretive grading standards = harder to challenge and promotes people resubmitting.

I do give great weight to the  number in the upper left but it’s not the end all be all, there’s so many other factors that go into my evaluation of a book.

 To me CGCs real value is in authentication and certification that a book isn’t restored, and in the preservation and presentation value the slab adds.  There’s also great value having it all slabbed as far as insuring big books, and in knowing they’ll be easier for my family to handle should the unthinkable happen.

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Also, ill defined grading criteria and vague graders notes protect them from liability.

I don’t think they'd put 1/4th inch spine split, because if the book is knocked around in shipping and a customer says your notes say 1/4th inch but it looks like 3/4ths to me , the customer has a claim, whereas if it just says mild spine split top, it can’t really be disputed.

Likewise if a chip comes off the book and is floating in the slab upon arrival they can just say, well that is on us but our graders say that won’t affect the grade on this particular book. 

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6 hours ago, telerites said:

@SqeggsI am happy to see the thread has not been zapped as I believe it is healthy discussion

As long as you don't Cede to Be Conversing uSing the other company's name the thread should be around.

Edited by MrBedrock

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I have been looking at an AI platform with a cloud based backend for creating a new grading company utilizing predictive analytics coupled with big data processing. I plan to launch in late 2019, if you want to get in on the ground floor, let me know and I will give you the address to send money to. Please note, cash only, prefer smaller bills. 

lol

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4 hours ago, szavisca said:

Also, ill defined grading criteria and vague graders notes protect them from liability.

I don’t think they'd put 1/4th inch spine split, because if the book is knocked around in shipping and a customer says your notes say 1/4th inch but it looks like 3/4ths to me , the customer has a claim, whereas if it just says mild spine split top, it can’t really be disputed.

Likewise if a chip comes off the book and is floating in the slab upon arrival they can just say, well that is on us but our graders say that won’t affect the grade on this particular book. 

Good point, things can deteriorate in the slab.  I actually had a chip fall off on a 7.5 in the slab. I sent it back in and they said the flaw is allowable in a 7.5 and sent it back to me.

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