Newbie asking about buying raw vs graded comics
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19 posts in this topic

I am really interested in buying graded comics, however I have noticed on many of them there are significant price bumps even when graded in the 9.4 range.  I am certainly not an expert at grading but from reading some of these forums it sounds like comics that grade at a 9.4 will have some visible defects which begs to ask if I buy a raw comic, what is the likelihood that if I got it graded it would grade at 9.4 or better?  I guess to better put what I am asking is what do you all think the distribution of grades would be for ungraded comics?  I have always held the mentality that if the raw comic was really in that good of condition the seller would have had it graded themselves.  Thoughts?

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Welcome To The Boards!!!

First thing is, not everybody likes having their books slabbed (graded), a lot of folks enjoy raw copies so they can physically hold, touch, read the book regardless of its condition or value, there are still "true collectors" out there that are not interested in comic books as an investment, I am one of them.

I do not have my books graded, I have 2000 books ranging from 1948 - 1975, only one is CGC graded and I bought it that way because the price was right and that book helped complete a run.

If you are looking to purchase books, especially if you are looking for higher grade raw books to send to CGC, before purchasing, you need to see numerous high resolution photos of the books or have the book in hand and be knowledgeable in the grading standards, what to look for, etc., especially if you are purchasing on eBay.

Keep in mind, CGC graders are human, they are not 100% accurate or consistent, nobody, nothing is perfect.

https://comics.ha.com/tutorial/comics-grading.s?show=comicdefinitions

https://www.gemstonepub.com/en/the-overstreet-guide-to-grading-comics-6th-edition

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Excellent advice above. 

Your question is pretty difficult to answer. Comics are meant to be read. As comics get handled and read, the # of NM falls.

 

You could look at the cgc census for a specific comic to get the grade distribution, but remember that's only the comics collectors deemed worthy of grading. There are thousands of ungraded comics that fall well outside of that range. 

My advice would be to buy an already graded one if you want to ensure you'll get a certain grade. 

 

Good luck and welcome to the boards. 

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13 hours ago, TheGreatGambitto said:

I am really interested in buying graded comics, however I have noticed on many of them there are significant price bumps even when graded in the 9.4 range.  I am certainly not an expert at grading but from reading some of these forums it sounds like comics that grade at a 9.4 will have some visible defects which begs to ask if I buy a raw comic, what is the likelihood that if I got it graded it would grade at 9.4 or better?  I guess to better put what I am asking is what do you all think the distribution of grades would be for ungraded comics?  I have always held the mentality that if the raw comic was really in that good of condition the seller would have had it graded themselves.  Thoughts?

Great question, I love it. Everything I am about to say assumes you are talking about modern books. If you buy a new comic at a comic book store and it doesn't have noticeable bends or dents or creases, then your odds of it being a 9.4 or better are very high. The majority of comics on the shelves are 9.4s and many can even get a 9.8 if pressed (the pressing will remove finger bends and only leave the production defects which almost all comics have). 

As for why a seller wouldn't grade it themselves, there can be a bunch of reasons, the main one being that money now is worth more than money later. 

 

Does this answer your question?

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5 hours ago, KCOComics said:

Excellent advice above. 

Your question is pretty difficult to answer. Comics are meant to be read. As comics get handled and read, the # of NM falls.

 

You could look at the cgc census for a specific comic to get the grade distribution, but remember that's only the comics collectors deemed worthy of grading. There are thousands of ungraded comics that fall well outside of that range. 

My advice would be to buy an already graded one if you want to ensure you'll get a certain grade. 

 

Good luck and welcome to the boards. 

I have seen the cgc grade distribution but you are exactly right. Those are the comics collectors deemed worthy of grading.  I am curious about the remaining distribution.  I have seen many comics that sellers claim to be 9.6 or 9.8 but when I look at them I see many visible flaws and some of them don't even look as good as some 8.5s I've seen graded.  I am interested in many modern era comics (from early 90s) and want mostly graded comics for display purposes.  I have many digital copies of these comics if I wanted to read them (legit digital copies).

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5 hours ago, William-James88 said:

Great question, I love it. Everything I am about to say assumes you are talking about modern books. If you buy a new comic at a comic book store and it doesn't have noticeable bends or dents or creases, then your odds of it being a 9.4 or better are very high. The majority of comics on the shelves are 9.4s and many can even get a 9.8 if pressed (the pressing will remove finger bends and only leave the production defects which almost all comics have). 

As for why a seller wouldn't grade it themselves, there can be a bunch of reasons, the main one being that money now is worth more than money later. 

 

Does this answer your question?

Yes I think this helps a lot.  I have read about pressing some and was curious about the process.  Is this something you do yourself or is it part of the service that CGC offers?

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12 minutes ago, TheGreatGambitto said:

Yes I think this helps a lot.  I have read about pressing some and was curious about the process.  Is this something you do yourself or is it part of the service that CGC offers?

CGC does offer that service. But I personally have someone else press them for me. The person I use is @joeypost

Their services can be seen here: https://cfpcomics.com/services/

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Also, for many modern comics (well many comics in general), grading them s only worthwhile if they come back 9.8. 

Here's an example, a dealer friend of mine had lots of Firestorm vol 2 #1 that looked really nice. He thought like you, why let money on the table when a 9.8 could get back way more than selling raw. So he sent them in. They came back 9.4 and 9.6. With the time and money spent on grading, shipping, pressing, that was a loss for him. He would have made more simply selling them 10$-20$ raw. That same scenario can apply for most books, showing you why dealers won't have all their books graded.

Edited by William-James88
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39 minutes ago, TheGreatGambitto said:

I have seen the cgc grade distribution but you are exactly right. Those are the comics collectors deemed worthy of grading.  I am curious about the remaining distribution.  I have seen many comics that sellers claim to be 9.6 or 9.8 but when I look at them I see many visible flaws and some of them don't even look as good as some 8.5s I've seen graded.  I am interested in many modern era comics (from early 90s) and want mostly graded comics for display purposes.  I have many digital copies of these comics if I wanted to read them (legit digital copies).

It's not pretty common for sellers to exaggerate the grade. 

What your doing is the right approach. Learn what to look for and make any grade determinations on raw books yourself. Even the best graders can get stumped without seeing the book in hand, but you'll be less likely to buy a "NM 9.8" that's really a VF 8.0. 

You can ask for help on a particular book on the boards.  You'll have sift through some sarcastic comments, but people here are generally helpful. 

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1 hour ago, TheGreatGambitto said:

I have seen many comics that sellers claim to be 9.6 or 9.8 but when I look at them I see many visible flaws and some of them don't even look as good as some 8.5s I've seen graded.  

I would never buy a raw comic that is said to be 9.8. If someone wants me to pay them 9.8 money, they better be giving me a CGC 9.8 slab.

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On 2/24/2021 at 7:43 PM, TheGreatGambitto said:

I have always held the mentality that if the raw comic was really in that good of condition the seller would have had it graded themselves.  Thoughts?

Grading is expensive.  I'll submit books for grading if I want Signature Series books, or expensive keys that will one day be sold.  It's an expensive hobby and grading every single worthy book is just cost prohibitive.  Especially with moderns, there's just no real point in having most books submitted for grading because people demand 9.8s and the drop in value below that is sharp.  I mostly just collect because I want something in my collection so if I don't care much about grade, then I just leave them raw.  Doesn't necessarily mean the book is in bad condition.  Just means I'm cheap, poor, or both.  :insane:

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18 hours ago, William-James88 said:

I would never buy a raw comic that is said to be 9.8. If someone wants me to pay them 9.8 money, they better be giving me a CGC 9.8 slab.

Those are two different things. I would buy tons of people's raw "9.8" books. I have also paid a premium for several sellers' "9.6+" raw books. But I agree with you that no one should be paying CGC 9.8 prices for anything other than a CGC 9.8 book.

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On 2/24/2021 at 10:43 PM, TheGreatGambitto said:

I have always held the mentality that if the raw comic was really in that good of condition the seller would have had it graded themselves.  Thoughts?

Some people feel that way, yes but blanket statements like that are complete rubbish. There are a number of reasons why people don't slab and it's not necessarily due to someone trying to pull the wool over your eyes when it comes to the grade. Myself? I would never assign a 9.8 grade to a raw comic that I was trying to sell but that's just me.

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Nothing wrong with paying a premium price for a raw book if indeed the book is as described. But, that is where you get into trouble.  Most E-bay sellers aren't professional comic book graders, and their perception of 9.8 and CGCs are going to be different.  That's one reason we have the grading industry to settle any mis-perception about a book's grade, and why people are willing to pay-up for that professional opinion. 

I think the last sentence of the OP says it all.  "If the book really is in the high of a grade why didn't he already have it graded." 

Most of my experience to this point in my collecting career has been with sports cards, and for the most part I used to ask the same question to myself about un-graded cards on E-bay. Once in a long while you may encounter a gem raw copy of something, from someone who still doesn't believe in the grading process, but it is getting more and more rare.  At one time on E-bay you could find these gems for common, but as time has passed, and grading became more common, they are getting quite rare nowadays.

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I mean, some people just can't afford to do the grading thing. It's not exactly cheap. They go pick up a comic at their LCS, read it (or not if they realize they might have something special on their hands), it looks amazing and they know people are looking for that issue, so they go to sell it. The idea that everyone should just grade their comics if they're 9.6+ candidates is a bit elitist.  :)

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Any book in my personal collection when grading never gets logged anything higher than a 9.6. Even if the book looks flawless to me I'm sure enough can be found to knock it down to a 9.8 at a minimum. 

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