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What To Expect When You Send Comic Books For Grading

Updated on October 17, 2014

The first time that you send comic books for grading you can be really confused about the entire process. You think you have some information from the grading companies and from forums but there are a lot of things that you do not really know until you have send a couple of orders. Here are some things that will help you better understand the process.

It Will Take Longer than You Think

The best comic book grading companies are also very busy. Collectors love using their services, and that means that they will have a lot of work to get to before they can grade your comic books. Companies like CGC will give you an estimated amount of time that the order will take to be processed, but if you get the comic books back in the 35 days they tell you the wait time is right now then you should consider yourself lucky.

The time that your comics will be away for grading depends on how busy the company is at the time. The busiest time for grading companies is usually after the bigger comic book conventions in San Diego, Chicago and New York. Those conventions happen during the summer and the fall, so if you send books to them at these times they could take a couple of months or twice as long as it would take in the Winter and early spring.


No Perfection

Technically there is a 10 grade in the grading scale for every company, but it is highly unlikely that one of your comic books will get the highest grade. You could spend a lifetime looking and never actually see a comic book graded 10 in person in your lifetime. There are a few copies that have earned that grade, but they are extremely rare. Some graders do not believe that perfection exists so they even refuse to consider giving any of the books they grade a perfect grade.

More than likely the best comic books in your collection will go as high as a 9.8 which is called Near Mint/Mint. A 9.9 would be a Mint book and a 10.0 is called Gem Mint; even the 9.9 Mint grade is incredibly rare so do not be disappointed because you got a 9.8. A 9.8 is usually as good as it gets even if you think your book is perfect.

New Does Not Mean Near Mint

Sometimes you will want to send a new comic book and the expectation is that you will get the comic book back with a grade of 9.4 or higher. That is not always the case; in some cases a new comic book can be in bad shape and the companies will look for the smaller defects in order to determine the grade. Though it is rare, it does happen that a new comic book will get a 7.0 or higher; it all depends on any damage that it may have suffered at the store or even during delivery.

To avoid disappointment you should learn about the things that will make the comic book grade drop. Before you buy a comic book you should examine it closely. Keep in mind however that when you read a comic book you are risking damaging it. If you want your comic book to get a good grade from a grading company then it is better to leave the book alone and get a reading copy or buy the digital copy and read it on your computer.


Grading Does Not Add Value

A lot of new collectors think that graded means that a book has automatically gained value. That is not the case; some books could actually become less desirable after being graded because an independent party has declared that a comic book is not in as good a condition as the buyer would have otherwise believed.

Think of a collector that has a new book that they never opened. They could try to sell that comic book by saying that the comic book has never been read and that may be true, but at the same time that does not mean that the book is in Near Mint condition. If that seller sent the book to be graded and the result is a lower than expected grade then a buyer would not be willing to pay as much for it. In that case grading has actually lowered the value of a comic book.

The Casing Is Fragile

The cases that grading companies use for comic books will protect your collection, but the cases are not as sturdy as most people would think they are. Those cases can break, get scratched, or damaged and in some cases even damage your book. You need to take care of them as you would glass that you do not want to break.

The companies place the graded comic books in plastic bags which can offer additional protection against scratches. Unless you are displaying the comic books after you receive them it is recommended that you keep them stored at room temperature and that you keep them in the bags that the company provided.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the cases are not sealed shut. In some cases you can see a small gap on the cases, but that does not mean that there is something wrong with it. As long as all four sides are intact your graded comic books should be safe. If your graded comic book case is cracked, then you can always send the comic books back to be encased again.

Do you think grading comics makes your collection better?

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© 2014 Sarah


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    • FatFreddysCat profile image

      Keith Abt 

      4 years ago from The Garden State

      I'm kind of glad that I got out of comics collecting in the early 90s before this "grading" business took hold. It seems like a lot of extra unnecessary hassle. Back in the day we had "Good," "Fine," and "Mint" conditions and those seemed to serve everyone well enough. Now they have decimal number grades added to the mix and complicating things further. No thanks!!


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