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Reasons To Grade Comic Books

Updated on December 19, 2014

Reasons To Grade Comic Books

Grading comic books is something that is fairly new, and yet it has become a big part of comic book collecting. If you are getting a collection started you may be wondering if your comic books are something that you should be grading. The truth is that not every comic book deserves the special treatment; in fact most of them should not be sent in for grading unless there is a special personal reason that you have to want to get it graded. Here are some things to keep in mind about grading your comic book collection.


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What Grading Does

A lot of people are under the misconception that grading a comic book will increase its value. That is not necessarily the case. In some cases grading your comic books can lose you money. Grading a comic book does not increase its value, but rather help establish it. You are telling a potential buyer that an independent third party looked at your comic book and gave it a grade showing what they believe is the overall condition of that comic book. That could backfire in the case of a comic book that gets a low grade because collectors want their comics to be in the best shape possible.

Let’s say for a second that you have a comic book that you want to sell, but that comic book has been restored in some way. The restoration process may have been good enough to fool you, but a professional would catch it and label the comic book as restored. A collector looking to buy that comic book would be more inclined to purchase a non-restored copy if that is available to them at the time. That means that grading the book will give you a lower chance of eventually selling it. So why would you grade a comic book if it can negatively affect you?


Buyers More Willing To Buy For Higher Price

If you have a comic book in good condition and that comic book has not been graded, a buyer that would want to buy it would not be willing to spend as much. The reason is that while the book may look as if it is in near mint condition, they need to take the sellers word that there are no small problems with them. A book that has been graded on the other hand was examined by a professional that will look for the smallest defects. That third party is giving their professional opinion of the actual condition of the book.

Because the comic book has been inspected by a third party that is willing to say that a book is in their opinion in a certain condition the guesswork is taken away and the risk to the buyer is reduced a great deal. That “guarantee” from the third party enables the seller to ask for a higher price and the buyer becomes more willing to pay that premium.



If you go to a comic book convention where there are authors or artists signing comic books you may want to get the autograph and at the same time get it graded/certified. The best grading companies have signature witnessing which means that they will be there when the comic book is being signed and then grade it with a special label certifying that the signature on the comic book is real

Using this type of service will allow you to have a comic book with an authenticated signature which is preferred by most buyers. The signature of an artist or author can increase the value of a comic book if that signature was witnessed by a third party from the grading company and with some comic books and personalities it is highly recommended that you use the witness certification. Keep in mind that some artists and writers will have a special charge if you choose to have a witness service while they are signing the comic book. It is usually a small fee, but with the right book and person it is worth the money.

CBCS and PGX also offer signature verification programs where they will verify a signature after an event even if they were not present. They do so by hiring a service of signature verification and examining the signatures closely to ensure that they are real. While that is a good service, witnessed signatures are much more likely to sell for a higher price.


Not For Sale

Just because you are grading your comic books it does not mean that you will be selling them. In some cases you may want to grade a comic book in order to better display it in your man/geek cave. The good thing about grading comic books is that the case that the comic book is placed in is usually a great case for display. It is important that you know that same cases can easily be scratched or damaged so if you are displaying them you need to be careful. You should also know that you do not have to grade your comics to display them as there are companies that make cases for comic books which look great.

One other reason why some people will grade comic books is because of personal or sentimental value. One of the first comics I personally sent to be graded was Silver Age #1; the reason I sent it was that while I read comic books while I was a kid, I did not start collecting until that issue. Also got it signed by Mark Waid and Brian Bolland so I wanted to display it and having it graded was a good choice for it. There is not much value to that comic book, but the sentimental value was enough to have it sent out.


For Your Kids

Finally if you get your books graded and never plan to sell them, you can still keep them in good enough condition to leave them to your kids when you pass away. No one likes to think of that scenario, but a lot of people are attached enough to their collection that they will never want to sell it; so why not keep them in the best possible shape for your kids or family members to get them?

Grading will allow you to display your comics easily, establish a value and give them a better level of protection than bags and boards. You should know however that a person that takes care of their comic books may be able to keep their raw copies in the same condition as graded ones, so grading is not essential, but rather just another level of protection. The three main companies doing comic book grading today are CGC, CBCS and PGX.


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    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 3 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Interesting hub. I always loved comics but only have a few left. I never knew about grading. Thanks for the info.