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CGC Comics vs. Unslabbed Comic Books! Investing In Comics That Are Third Party Graded!

Updated on January 27, 2012

There's been a constant debate about whether to get your comics third party graded by companies like CGC or PGX or to just leave them unslabbed when it comes to investing in comics or just collecting. An unslabbed books are comics that have not been graded by CGC (Certified Guaranty Company) and encapsulated within a "slabbed" comic protector like shown in the picture to the right.

Some non-supporters of CGC and PGX believe that it's not worth getting their comics professionally graded. I agree to a certain extent. There are definitely some comics out there that are not worth getting graded. Nevertheless, I do believe that certain comics are well worth getting graded when it comes to comic investing.

In this article, I will explain exactly why you'd be foolish not to have certain comics in your collection graded if you someday hope to get the best value and return on your comic book investments.

Guaranteed Grade

Now don't get the example picture confused. A comic does not have to be in ultra high grade just like the example picture in order to consider submitting it to CGC or PGX. A comic book doesn't have to appear flawless in order to get graded, although it doesn't hurt.

Most modern comics in my collection, which are very few, I wouldn't even consider having them graded. Unless, of course, they are in demand key issues like my New Mutants #98, the first appearance of Deadpool.

Right now, my first choices to get CGC graded are my silver age key issues, despite the condition I can already grade them at. My rule for getting these particular books graded by CGC is whether they are valued over a hundred dollars.

For example, I have an Amazing Spider-Man #6 Vol 1 (1st series) and is the very first appearance of the villain the Lizard that I've graded at a GD/VG. Despite it's grade, it's worth around $200 dollars. This is a prime choice in my collection to be graded by CGC as a comic book investment.

Don't get all CGC happy, however. Some comics aren't worth getting CGC or PGX graded. Visit the link to learn more about which kinds of comics to consider getting CGC graded.

So why is it important to get certain comic books CGC graded if you're serious about comic investing?

It's because CGC offers a comic investor a grade that's guaranteed to be accepted by those in the comic industry. That means if they encapsulate it with a grade of 4.5 VG, that's the grade most people, even comic dealers, will accept even years from now.

Unslabbed comics, ungraded comics, leaves too much of a subjectivity when it comes to grade. I can grade my book at a VF (Very Fine), but yet when I try to sell that comic to a comic dealer, he or she can haggle that the comic is only a Very Good plus.

If you're a bit confused about the comic grading jargon, I'm writing about, click the link to learn more about the CGC comic rating scale.

Comic dealers have a notorious reputation for under-grading comic books so they can underpay you for a comic or a comic collection. However, if your comic book investments are CGC graded, it leaves less room open for debate upon the grade.

What's even worse is most of these comic dealers will pay only 30% and under for a comic's guided value. Sometimes, but rarely, 50% for high demand key comics. It's the nature of the business and you have to know this if you're considering putting good money down in comic investing. Don't get discouraged. There are plenty of ways to go around comic dealers when it comes to selling your investment comic books.

Thank, God, for the internet and auction places like Heritage, Comic Link, and Comic Connect. This is another reason why getting your comics or investing in comics already stamped within the CGC comic rating scale is important.

To further my point, if you look at auctions on ebay, you'll find that an unslabbed comic will sell well under the same comic that's been CGC graded. The unslabbed book may be the exact same key issue and advertised at the exact same grade, but the CGC graded comic places a guaranteed acceptance of that particular grade.

The unslabbed comic is uncertain, which is why most buyers will underpay for the comic. It's a major concern, because many sellers on ebay are notorious for over-grading a comic.

The Point of CGC Graded Comics As Comic Investments

The point of comic investing and investing in comics is clear. You're main goal is to have your investment appreciate in value, but even more so, get the best financial return on your investment as much as possible.

Unlike stocks, a grade of a comic has a lot to do with the comics grade. The difference of value between grades can be staggering.

Like I said, we didn't invest in comics so comic dealers could make money. We invest in comics so we could make money off our investments. There's nothing wrong with that. What's wrong is losing hundreds of dollars on highly valuable comics that you spent hard earned money and time tracking down because they weren't third party graded and open to the subjective debate of grading.

Get those valuable golden, silver, and bronze age comics in your collection graded by CGC or PGX. Or, buy valuable comics that are already CGC graded. Visit the link to my other hub that talks about the best investment comics to get in 2012 to get a better idea of comic investing and the right choices.

Having comics graded by CGC will benefit you years from now when you do try to sell them. You'll save time on grading debates with sneaky comic dealers (Please note I do not advise ever selling a valuable collection to a comic dealer), you'll get a better return on your comics, and you'll have more choices and avenues to sell them at.


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