Conserved Vs. Universal Values?
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13 posts in this topic

First, there is no guarantee that leafcasting will get a conserved grade. The guidelines say "some leafcasting" under conserved guidelines. It's probably based how much is being replaced and  on color touch. Leafcasting replaces missing pieces (which is normally restoration) - and missing pieces that are replaced are typically colored to match the surrounding artwork/area. Color touch is always restoration. 

Second, we don't really have comparisons to know if the conserved label consistently sells for more money than restored. And if conserved sells for more, how much more? 

There is no one formula that works for conserved/restored vs Universal. It depends on the age of the book (GA restored books will bring a higher percentage of universal than SA - and SA a higher percentage than BA) 

But the biggest factor is the actual numeric grade.  Low grade restored copies of very sought after books might bring 40-60% of universal. But as grades get higher, the percent of universal gets lower. 

A universal 9.6 Amazing Fantast 15 sold for 1.1 Million in 2011. It would no doubt sell for a lot more today.  But a restored 9.6 just sold for $42,222.  That works out to a restored book being worth 4% of the universal grade. But restored AF 15's in 2.0 will bring 40-50% of universal. 

The why is easy to figure out.  If restored/conserved always sold for 1/2 of universal - than that would make a restored AF 15 in 9.6 worth $550,000.  For half a million, you could get a universal 9.0.  Which would you rather have? A restored/conserved 9.6 or a universal 9.0?

Edited by Tony S
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I have been under the impression that leaf-casting to replace small non-complex pieces is Conservation. Anything else may be Restoration.

Example: Corner missing off of Page 3 replaced, making the book complete; Conservation. 1" tear off of cover replaced, requiring touch-up to match design; Restored.

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Might as well give away the book - not that I'm trying to keep secrets but should make the conversation more exact (if possible). Before and after pics of cover. Many of the 'holes' in the spine were really just folded in, so actual amount of missing pieces was relatively small.

IMG_20210215_215607_824.jpg

IMG_20210215_215419_701.jpg

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It looks nicer for sure. But IMHO, 98% of the improvement is from pressing (including aligning the spine) and getting all those folded over pieces out and flat.   Where it has been leaf casted - because no color touch was done - essentially still LOOKS like missing pieces. This is exactly what the book would look like - in a picture anyway - if there had only been a careful press and no leaf casting. We would be looking at the newsprint first wrap where there are holes instead of newsprint leafcasting material. 

And it wouldn't be conserved or restored. It would be blue universal. 

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My impression is that while the lack of a purple label may make some feel a little better about buying a "conserved" book, and help with realizing a little better price than a similar copy  designated as "restored", that most buyers are astute enough to realize it's essentially the same thing, and that the type and  degree of work done is more important than the nomenclature used on the label.

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This is a really complicated and nuanced question. I think we can all agree we prefer universal to restored/conserved books in the same grade but the actual degree of preference will vary from collector to collector and will be influenced by the time period we're talking about and the rarity/desirability of the book. 

For a book like the Phantom Lady you're sharing, I'm probably willing to pay closer to the universal grade if there is professionally done conservation or slight restoration due to the rarity/desirability of the book. But there isn't a handy rule of thumb that says "50% of universal label value." 

I think the more useful comparison might be between a book in tatters vs. conserved/restored version of that book (e.g., 3.0 Conserved book with spine split leafcasted and cover attached vs 1.5 Universal with cover detached and spline split) In this scenario, I would hope the the conserved book is slightly more valuable if the conservation is done professionally and meant to preserve the book. 

And just for full disclosure, I'm a GA collector that prefers raw books for the PC so I can handle and read them so I generally view conservation positively if it lets me read a book that otherwise would be falling apart in my hands. I know other folks have different collecting habits/opinions and they can weigh in as well. 

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My recollection, based on GPA review (and experience), is that conserved books will sell for about 60-70% of Universal books, and that purple will sell for around 30-35%. Of course, it greatly depends on the grade, and the book.  

I had an Avengers 4 CGC 9.4, conserved (from the Nicolas Cage collection... don't know if that helps or hurts LOL).

I believe the most recent sale on that book at the time (two years ago) was around $13,500. IIRC.

My book sold for about $8500, again, IIRC. 

2c:)

 

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On 2/15/2021 at 7:00 PM, Qua-Brot said:

Sent my first book to be Conserved (leaf casting) and was wondering what you all think the value for Conserved would be relative to a book graded Universal, in the same grade of course (i.e. 3.5 Blue vs. 3.5 Gray)?

Thanks!

There is no set rule for that, not even a trend.

Nothing 

Its case by case and will differ book to book

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On 2/16/2021 at 6:59 AM, Angel of Death said:

I have been under the impression that leaf-casting to replace small non-complex pieces is Conservation. Anything else may be Restoration.

Example: Corner missing off of Page 3 replaced, making the book complete; Conservation. 1" tear off of cover replaced, requiring touch-up to match design; Restored.

This is only partially correct.

From what I've seen covers that are leafcasted (regardless of where the pieces are added) is conservation. Once you start adding pieces to the interior it is no longer considered structural unless the pieces added are only at the spine area (regardless of leafcasting). The corner piece that is replaced would be marked as restoration since the piece added is not structural and on an interior page.

 

The odd thing about this, however, are two things:

1. A cover that is leafcasted is, by process, washed. So you can get away with adding non-structural pieces to the cover, but you're now dealing with a washed cover that can never technically be "unwashed". The book would forever be graded as Conserved; a Universal label is no longer possible. As is the case for the above mentioned Phantom Lady.

2. At the same time, a book can be conserved using more conventional techniques to achieve nearly the same outcome except that the cover does not need to be washed, and pieces can only be added to the cover near the spine area. As long as the work done is archival it can always be removed and the book can get a Universal label. 

So to answer the OP's question as others have mentioned: to the educated buyer the degree of work will really dictate the value % of the book. In the case of the Phantom Lady, in my opinion it would have more value if the cover had underwent standard tear seals/ structural piece fills, and reinforcement instead of leafcasting because the work could always be reversed and the book could be graded Universal. The compromise here was the decision between adding non-structural pieces to the cover under leafcasting (and having the cover washed) vs. not adding those pieces and the cover not being washed. Since the non-structural pieces added do not add eye appeal, personally I would not have leafcasted this book. The difference between the books, for example could be a 3.0 Conserved (leafcasted) book with a cleaned cover, or a 2.5 Conserved book without a cleaned cover. My $ is on the 2.5 selling for more, but I could be wrong.

There are some buyers who see "cover cleaned" and they stay clear when auction time comes. Other collectors don't care as much. A book like this, however, will certainly have interest either way.

 

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It honestly depends on the book, what type of work done, the amount of work done, and most importantly the buyer. 

If you were to show me two books and one was in a conserved label with small leaf casting, staple replacement, cover reinforced and whatever else and compare it to a purple label that got that designation because someone put a dot of black on the spine and it says 'small amount of color touch", I am going for the purple label. 

If you show me a conserved book that had the staples replaced versus a restored book that is trimmed, large amount of color touch and whatever else I will drift toward the conserved label. 

Then it comes down to what book is it?  Is it a readily available book?  Is it a book that can be commonly found? 

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On 2/15/2021 at 7:00 PM, Qua-Brot said:

Sent my first book to be Conserved (leaf casting) and was wondering what you all think the value for Conserved would be relative to a book graded Universal, in the same grade of course (i.e. 3.5 Blue vs. 3.5 Gray)?

Thanks!

It's better than resto, I think the market is still variable. Higher percentage of blue value on a lower grade and vice versa. If selling, please make sure CGC did not screw up the labels!

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