At What Price Point Do You Think Slabbing Makes Sense?
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Also, if you are a tight grader then picking out 9.8s is not a difficult task. Just take the best copies you have and you should be fine.

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On 1/16/2021 at 6:57 PM, the blob said:

I'm engaged in a little debate elsewhere where a fellow boardie is under the impression that low census numbers indicate scarcity of a book (in grade), an early 90s Marvel, whereas I am more of the opinion that people don't want to spend the money to get back what might only be a $40-60 book even in 9.8 and the low census numbers are more due to that.

Tell your friend you are 100% right with this statement. Can the CGC census be used to determine rarity? Sure but I moreso refer to the census for Golden Age books. Everything else was printed en masse and a lot has survived. Golden Age books, specifically books from the 40s, are harder to come by, having had to survive the war and the effects of it, not to mention that comics weren't established as a hobby yet.

Reality is, I am sure you can find a LOT of comics with 0 books on the census. Does not equal rarity or value at all. And even if it does indicate rarity, does not mean its worth it.

As to your question about at what point does slabbing make sense, I am going to answer this question from a "I might want to make money" perspective. Also, my answer is coming from a small time collector and someone who sells to support the hobby, not some big time buyer/flipper of comics. For me, I think it is pretty simply. If I am fairly confident in the grade the book will get and I think getting that grade (or a half grade lower thinking worst case scenario) will allow me to make money, I would do it if the potential profit was $50 and up.

Example....raw book in VF sells for $75-125 depending on the day, listing, etc

I am confident in VF, at worst, VF-

VF- slabbed sells for average of $200 or so. I would get likely get this comic graded as even after costs to do so, I am going to come out ahead by the margin I would like. That is enough of a margin for me, as a small collector, to make it worth my time. Anything less, and I would probably be more likely to sell raw in the interest of saving time. I could understand people sending stuff en mass being happier with smaller gains per comic but that is where I would be.

Also, I would also grade several books I own with zero interest in value...simply to better display/protect/possibly preserve a little better than my current method of storing. 

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12 hours ago, kimik said:

Also, if you are a tight grader then picking out 9.8s is not a difficult task. Just take the best copies you have and you should be fine.

I think it is difficult for someone who has not made a lot of submissions given how many 9.4 - 9.6 copies of books there are out there that wouldn't have been slabbed if the owner did not think they'd be 9.8s. For books that will be money losers in 9.6 I am going to do a pre-screen to get a sense of whether I am any good at distinguishing. I've looked at too many 9.6 vs. 9.8 slabs and been unable to see what the differences were. 

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1 hour ago, comicginger1789 said:

Tell your friend you are 100% right with this statement. Can the CGC census be used to determine rarity? Sure but I moreso refer to the census for Golden Age books. Everything else was printed en masse and a lot has survived. Golden Age books, specifically books from the 40s, are harder to come by, having had to survive the war and the effects of it, not to mention that comics weren't established as a hobby yet.

Reality is, I am sure you can find a LOT of comics with 0 books on the census. Does not equal rarity or value at all. And even if it does indicate rarity, does not mean its worth it.

As to your question about at what point does slabbing make sense, I am going to answer this question from a "I might want to make money" perspective. Also, my answer is coming from a small time collector and someone who sells to support the hobby, not some big time buyer/flipper of comics. For me, I think it is pretty simply. If I am fairly confident in the grade the book will get and I think getting that grade (or a half grade lower thinking worst case scenario) will allow me to make money, I would do it if the potential profit was $50 and up.

Example....raw book in VF sells for $75-125 depending on the day, listing, etc

I am confident in VF, at worst, VF-

VF- slabbed sells for average of $200 or so. I would get likely get this comic graded as even after costs to do so, I am going to come out ahead by the margin I would like. That is enough of a margin for me, as a small collector, to make it worth my time. Anything less, and I would probably be more likely to sell raw in the interest of saving time. I could understand people sending stuff en mass being happier with smaller gains per comic but that is where I would be.

Also, I would also grade several books I own with zero interest in value...simply to better display/protect/possibly preserve a little better than my current method of storing. 

Well, not "friend," I think he is annoyed with me pointing this out, but I think we have to understand that CGC and the books on the census are a small part of the puzzle in determining the existence of books out there. You have a guy like me with 30,000 comics who has never slabbed one and currently owns like 7 slabs (once upon a time I probably owned 40 or 50 at my peak) and if I start slabbing it sure won't be books that might only sell for $40-$60 in 9.8. I don't think I am that unique. Every time I think about spending a few hundred bucks on slabbing I think about the books I could buy instead with that money and spend the money on books, not plastic and opinions.

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10 minutes ago, the blob said:

I think it is difficult for someone who has not made a lot of submissions given how many 9.4 - 9.6 copies of books there are out there that wouldn't have been slabbed if the owner did not think they'd be 9.8s. For books that will be money losers in 9.6 I am going to do a pre-screen to get a sense of whether I am any good at distinguishing. I've looked at too many 9.6 vs. 9.8 slabs and been unable to see what the differences were. 

It is usually ncb spine ticks or bends on the cover/edges that drop the books. You have to hold the book at an angle in good light to spot them.

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23 minutes ago, the blob said:

Every time I think about spending a few hundred bucks on slabbing I think about the books I could buy instead with that money and spend the money on books, not plastic and opinions.

I don’t have 30000 books but I feel the same way anytime I get the slight urge to send some in. I get the books out and go so far as to see the cost and think “why am I really doing this?”...I love my raw books and I could spend $$$ right now on books instead of slabbing stuff I have. 

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25 minutes ago, comicginger1789 said:

I don’t have 30000 books but I feel the same way anytime I get the slight urge to send some in. I get the books out and go so far as to see the cost and think “why am I really doing this?”...I love my raw books and I could spend $$$ right now on books instead of slabbing stuff I have. 

The 30,000 is a result of bad habits, I'm not bragging, it just is what it is. Going to my LCS and buying a stack of 15 for $10 books a few times a week instead of lunch. It adds up when you have been doing that since 2004... (and before that buying stacks of 25 and 50 cent books at my prior shop that closed since 1993). That coupled with about 300-800 books a bought a year at shows since about 1994. I've certainly sold books during that period, but inflow has definitely far exceeded outflow in terms of quantity. My main shop closing 2 years ago certainly slowed things down a bit on that end though. And covid. Less compulsive habit buying. I have fewer venues to go to.

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If you are looking to sell a bunch of you stock, check out the prices that Heritage gets for their lots in the weekly Sunday night auctions. Almost all sell for full guide, with top titles going for more than OSPG in grade for common books depending. At those prices, you are better off straight consigning there than slabbing them.

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2 hours ago, kimik said:

If you are looking to sell a bunch of you stock, check out the prices that Heritage gets for their lots in the weekly Sunday night auctions. Almost all sell for full guide, with top titles going for more than OSPG in grade for common books depending. At those prices, you are better off straight consigning there than slabbing them.

Doesn't Heritage want a $5000 consignment? Anyway, I see some of their sales results and they don't seem that great. Honestly, with some of the lots I see some meat on the bones for resale sometimes. The other option is my comic shop, but I have concerns that they may turn a cc 9.6-9.8 into an 8.5/9.0 on consignment

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3 minutes ago, the blob said:

Doesn't Heritage want a $5000 consignment? Anyway, I see some of their sales results and they don't seem that great. Honestly, with some of the lots I see some meat on the bones for resale sometimes. The other option is my comic shop, but I have concerns that they may turn a cc 9.6-9.8 into an 8.5/9.0 on consignment

There used to be meat on the bones, but the past few months that has not been the case. Many lots now are at GPA prices if they have a key in them, so there really is no margin left. Good for the consignor, but bad for the buyer. I guess they are betting that prices will continue run? 

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Ok, I can't say I have watched heritage closely lately, I've just seen some marvel lots I would have maybe bid more on. 

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heres the alternative to selling at retail w/o slabbing.  develop a reputation as an honest grader, and you can get good prices on raw books. Sell them here on the Boards.  No middleman, buyer pays shipping etc. If you're not confident in your grading skills -- and who really is? -- always undergrade a bit.  You still come out on top selling them raw yourself.  And of course, if you CAN grade, you won't los out on your keys and books in demand by selling too cheaply.. Slabbing our books is great because thats how we really "know what we have" grade/value wise.  But the cost for most books adds up to just a huge haircut!  In the end, I think we all come to the conclusion that it was a lot easier to buy our way into the hobby... than it is to get out!  Pay retail going in... but no easy or cheap way to exit without sharing your gains with your new "partners"

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9 hours ago, comicginger1789 said:

Tell your friend you are 100% right with this statement. Can the CGC census be used to determine rarity? Sure but I moreso refer to the census for Golden Age books.

Even then, it's not a great indicator. I remember Detective Comics 187 being all the rage once since there were so few on the census. So prices were high, and then people got wind and submitted theirs and now it's got 90 on the census, so as much as any other issue and far from being rare compared to others (Detective 27 has 69 on the census if we are comparing). On the plus side, that meant prices went down and after looking for it for 10 years, I got one at the price I wanted.

And better yet, many Fawcett books (like Captain marvel, Captain marvel Jr, Mary Marvel, marvel Family) have less than 25 on the census but since they are worth so little compared to other Golden Age Super Hero books, it's probably because sending in a low grade copy would end up being worth less than the cost of getting them graded (since GCG charged a premium for older books, regardless of their value). We have no clue how many of those books are left from their million book print runs.

 

4 hours ago, the blob said:

Doesn't Heritage want a $5000 consignment? Anyway, I see some of their sales results and they don't seem that great. Honestly, with some of the lots I see some meat on the bones for resale sometimes. The other option is my comic shop, but I have concerns that they may turn a cc 9.6-9.8 into an 8.5/9.0 on consignment

Yes they want a 5000 consignment. And honestly, Heritage has been pretty disastrous for buyers in the past due to their really big fees (they take a significant cut two ways, limiting how much money you are left with). They are the place to sell your $1000 books but that's about it. And yes, Mycomicshop will turn your potential 9.6 into a 9.0 or 9.2. But I agree with them on that point. As a buyer, there is no way I am buying a 9.6 or 9.8 if it's not written 9.6 or 9.8 on the slab. If you want 9.8 returns, you have to give the buyer a 9.8 slab. 

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I did some quick math to highlight my thought process when it comes to what to slab and what not to slab.

Lets say I'm debating sending in 50 very high grade books that have a 50% chance of a 9.8 and 50% chance at 9.6 (there usually is a couple outliers but let's assume 50/50).  If the 9.8s are $100 books and the 9.6s are $50 books I'll just go ahead and slab them all.  I could sell them all raw and lets say they get $15 a piece which would be a quick $675 ($750 minus 10% e-bay fees).  I could do a 9.8 prescreen and sell the 25 for $2,500 and the returned 25 for $375 raw but my fees for grading and e-bay will drop my profits to $1,725.  If I grade them all then I'm looking at $3,750 once all 50 sell.  Grading and E-Bay fees will drop my profits down to $2,025 which is $300 more then doing the 9.8 prescreen and a ton more then just doing raw.

If the books are $75 in 9.8 and $40 in 9.6 then it starts making less sense especially considering time lost.  If I do a prescreen for 9.8 then I'm looking at about $1,238 profits compared to $675 for raw.  If I don't prescreen then my profits for all 50 graded copies is still $1,238 (assuming $30 grading cost per book which includes shipping both way).  I've done the 9.8 prescreen on $75 9.8s before but once you factor in some inherent risk in submitting and the 3 month turn around time it really is not worthwhile for most people.

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