Turtlemania #1 Question
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Hi CGC, I have a question.

There is in existence a Gold variant of Turtlemania #1. Apparently there are only ten copies of this variant in existence, and each was released with signatures and sketches from the creators. This is how they came, and there are no copies that do not feature this. As such, should these sketches/sigs not be considered part of the production process, as that is how they were released? I believe all CGC copies are green labeled due to unwitnessed writing/drawing, but since they are an inherent part of the production of these issues, should they not receive blue labels? These are extremely valuable books, and I'm very curious why CGC considers them qualified.

Thank you!

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@mackenzie999 Since the book wasn't manufactured with the signatures and sketches, and they were signed after production and unwitnessed by a CGC witness, by default we give it a Qualified Green Label. You can request for a blue label, but we would have to treat them as a defect and downgrade accordingly.

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I guess where we differ is whether or not the sigs/sketches were part of the manufacturing process of not. Since the people who created the book intended for those to be part of the book, and no copies exist without them, I contend that they absolutely are a part of their manufacture. The fact that they are generated by hand (if that is the point of contention) and not by machine should be irrelevant. The ink is not additional, it was always meant to be there.

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I’ve had a related thought before...

By CGC verifying silvers and golds as authentic copies, they are consequently verifying the signature is authentic. Why not a signature series? CGC can’t stand by the book being a silver/gold without standing by the signature being real...they are one in the same.

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14 hours ago, Callaway29 said:

I’ve had a related thought before...

By CGC verifying silvers and golds as authentic copies, they are consequently verifying the signature is authentic. Why not a signature series? CGC can’t stand by the book being a silver/gold without standing by the signature being real...they are one in the same.

This sounds like a very big stretch to me.  Verifying the book and verifying the signatures and sketches are two very different things and really need to be kept separate.  To do otherwise would compromise the integrity of the Signature Series program and open a path for others to exploit for their own gain.

Just as a "for instance", your assertation works on the assumption that there were ONLY 10 Gold Turtlemania books and ONLY 100 Silver Turtlemania books.  No more, no less.  It also assumes that every single one of them was signed and/or sketched as designed.  Already, this is a pretty big assumption.  What happens when a few years from now, Peter Laird or Kevin Eastman sell off some crazy stuff from their personal stashes and it comes to light that there are unsigned/unsketched Artist Proofs of the books that were developed for approval before the print run took place.  Stranger things have happened.  These would be official Gold or Silver books, but wouldn't be signed or sketched.  If submitted for grading, these would be Universal copies.  It would then be very hard to explain why the sketched versions aren't Green Labels when these Blue Labels exist.

For what it's worth, I agree with CGC on how they handle these.  It's consistent with how they tend to handle situations of this nature (though I can think of one or two examples where they break from this standard, but that's for another time).  With a book this rare, I'm not sure why the color of the label matters.  From recent auction results, the Green Label certainly isn't hurting the resale value of these books. 

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I don’t really care, and I understand this would deviate from the purposefully rigid signature series protocol. Playing devil’s advocate more than anything...

To continue pulling that thread, if a silver were to be sent in without signatures...would it qualify as a silver? Are sigs a prerequisite? To me, if it’s not signed...it’s a proof (or something to that effect)...and is NOT a true silver. Same for gold with sigs/sketches.

These particular items are tougher than usual, and I’m grateful CGC grades them at all to be honest...

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48 minutes ago, Callaway29 said:

I don’t really care, and I understand this would deviate from the purposefully rigid signature series protocol. Playing devil’s advocate more than anything...

To continue pulling that thread, if a silver were to be sent in without signatures...would it qualify as a silver? Are sigs a prerequisite? To me, if it’s not signed...it’s a proof (or something to that effect)...and is NOT a true silver. Same for gold with sigs/sketches.

These particular items are tougher than usual, and I’m grateful CGC grades them at all to be honest...

I suppose for me, I disagree with signatures or sketches being part of the production process the way you and @mackenzie999 are stating.  For me, production ends when the books roll off the machine.  After that point, any additional signatures, sketches, stamps, staples, inserts, or whatever are just extra flourishes and are not part of production.  It doesn't matter if one copy gets that extra flourish or the whole run does...it's done after production is finished and has no bearing on something being a "true" copy if nothing else than for the simple fact that there's too much of a human element involved.  A copy could be missed or otherwise skipped...it doesn't make it less of a "true" copy. 

Two examples of this:

1) Every Free Comic Book Day, dozens of comics are published and many are designed with blank spaces on them to allow stores to stamp or sticker them with their own personal store logo.  The INTENT is for these books to be stamped or stickered.  If a book doesn't get stamped or stickered, is it not a "true" FCBD book? 

2) Several years ago, Dynamic Forces had a blank variant made for Avengers Invaders that was made for the sole purpose of sending to artists for sketches and then used as some sort of dealer incentive or special order purchase that would allow people to buy already-sketched books.  Hero Initiative sends out exclusive blanks to artists for sketches for their 100 projects.  These blanks are made exclusively for Hero Initiative 100 projects and were not intended for the general public.  In both cases, blank copies made their way into the hands of collectors.  Setting aside the issue of whether or not these are "true" copies or not, it pretty clearly illustrates the point that just because the intention of a print run is one thing, the reality of the situation can be entirely different.  The intention of the Gold Turtlemania book was to only have 10 copies.  Is it possible that there are more?  Absolutely.  If CGC were to treat signed/sketched copies as either Universal label books and then an unmarked 11th copy pops up, it would make for a very confusing situation and given the world in which we live, I think CGC is wise to maintain their position and not make any assumptions. 

It's especially tough to assume print runs for early TMNT books are 100% accurate.  I see many people throw around the number 3000 when referencing how many copies of TMNT #1 1st print were out there.  Of course!  Why would you question it...that's how many there were, right?  Well...Peter Laird has been known to say that the number is really closer to 3,275 on his blog, citing the printer randomly made 275 extra copies.  Looking through other early issues, getting print run data can be tough when looking for 100% accuracy.  Why would Turtlemania books be any different?  There's just too much to question on this subject to assume anything is 100% as we believe it is. 

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On 7/10/2019 at 8:44 AM, Turtle said:

This sounds like a very big stretch to me.  Verifying the book and verifying the signatures and sketches are two very different things and really need to be kept separate.  To do otherwise would compromise the integrity of the Signature Series program and open a path for others to exploit for their own gain.

Just as a "for instance", your assertation works on the assumption that there were ONLY 10 Gold Turtlemania books and ONLY 100 Silver Turtlemania books.  No more, no less.  It also assumes that every single one of them was signed and/or sketched as designed.  Already, this is a pretty big assumption.  What happens when a few years from now, Peter Laird or Kevin Eastman sell off some crazy stuff from their personal stashes and it comes to light that there are unsigned/unsketched Artist Proofs of the books that were developed for approval before the print run took place.  Stranger things have happened.  These would be official Gold or Silver books, but wouldn't be signed or sketched.  If submitted for grading, these would be Universal copies.  It would then be very hard to explain why the sketched versions aren't Green Labels when these Blue Labels exist.

For what it's worth, I agree with CGC on how they handle these.  It's consistent with how they tend to handle situations of this nature (though I can think of one or two examples where they break from this standard, but that's for another time).  With a book this rare, I'm not sure why the color of the label matters.  From recent auction results, the Green Label certainly isn't hurting the resale value of these books. 

Didn't the prototype surface a few years ago?  And a printers proof cover was signed and sketched by Eastman and Laird? 

TurtlemaniaGoldSample00.jpg

 

TurtlemaniaGoldProofCover000CGC.jpg

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