Comic book grading is the process through which the condition of comic books is gauged based on certain parameters. This is followed by the assignment of a suitable grade, which directly influences the value of the comic book.

Comic book enthusiasts should definitely learn about comic book grading. This way, you can feel assured that you’ve bought yourself comic books that carry a good value in the market.

Comic book grading entities like Certified Guaranty Company (CGC) play a decisive role in this. Launched in early 2000, CGC is a comic books grading service that can help you determine if a comic you’re buying is restored or conserved.

No wonder buying from an online graded comic books store is preferred by most collectors nowadays!

Let’s find out more about CGC and graded comic books.

 

How Does CGC Grading Work?

The primary role of CGC is to allot a universally-accepted grade to comic books, which makes it easier to resell them. CGC is known for providing unbiased and accurate valuations of comic books without collectors having to worry about fraud or inconsistencies.

CGC grades comic books for a fee. You can choose from among their several pricing options and will be charged according to the service you need. For instance, the same-day appraisal of a comic book will cost you a percentage of the book’s value, while a 14-week timeline for the same job will cost you around $20.

You can ship your books to CGC directly. As per the process followed by CGC, packages are received and opened by its receiving department. They make sure that the package has not sustained any damage in the shipping process. They also verify the contents of the package.

Once that’s done, all the information pertaining to the comic book is entered into a digital database so it can be tracked at all stages of the grading process.

The book is then sealed in a mylar sleeve for its protection. It is labeled and stored at a particular temperature. Thereafter, it is evaluated by a CGC professional for any previous restoration work. The findings are mentioned on the certification label and the book is kept ready for the grading process.

The grading process involves a thorough assessment of the comic book, which includes counting of pages, review of content, and checking for factors such as fading of colors, splits and tears, crinkling of pages, and so on.  The opinions of three professional graders as well as the approval of a primary grader are then sought. Based on these, a final CGC grade is awarded to the comic book.

Once the comic book is graded, it is stored safely with its bar-coded grading certificate. It is then place in a transparent sleeve for encapsulation. After this, one final quality check is performed to ensure that the label is accurate and the book is in flawless condition.

The CGC graded comic book is now ready to be picked up by or shipped to its owner.

 

Reading the Grading on Comic Books

As mentioned, graded comic books carry a specific rating, which indicates their value. CGC uses a 10-point grading scale to denote a comic book’s condition, with 10 indicating the best (“Gem Mint”) condition and 0.5 indicating the worst (“Poor”) condition.

The scale uses numbers, abbreviations, and symbols to indicate the precise grade. For instance, the forward slash (/) is used to signify that the book is between grades. The use of plus (+) and (-) denotes that the book is slightly above or below a grade. Further, the abbreviations suggest the overall condition of the book.

The abbreviations and their meanings are as follows:

  • Near Mint (NM): A near-perfect copy that looks brand new with negligible defects.
  • Very Fine (VF): A copy that is in excellent condition overall with minor defects. Most
    well-maintained modern comics fall under this grade.
  • Fine (FN): A book in above average condition with a certain degree of wear.
  • Very Good (VG): A copy that has a good eye appeal with significant wear, but not enough to render it undesirable.
  • Good (GD): A copy with major defects, but is complete and readable.
  • Fair (FR): A copy that is immensely damaged with zero eye appeal.
  • Poor (PR): A copy missing up to four pages (or two spreads) of story or ad pages. Its spine may be completely split, or have considerable damage that impacts the book’s readability.

 

For example, “FN/VF” (“Fine/Very Fine”) indicates that the book is graded between “Fine” and “Very Fine.” If comic books are graded a “Fine+,” it means that they are a tad better than “Fine.” A grading of “Fine/Very Fine” is supposed to be better than a “Fine+.” Similarly, a “Very Fine -” is considered better than a “Fine/Very Fine,” whereas a “Very Fine” is better than that, and so on.

Here’s the rating scale used by CGC:

  • 10.0 – Gem Mint
  • 9.9 – Mint
  • 9.8 – Near Mint/Mint
  • 9.6 – Near Mint +
  • 9.4 – Mint
  • 9.2 – Near Mint –
  • 9.0 – Very Fine/Near Mint
  • 8.5 – Very Fine +
  • 8.0 – Very Fine
  • 7.5 – Very Fine –
  • 7.0 – Fine/Very Fine
  • 6.5 – Fine +
  • 6.0 – Fine
  • 5.5 – Fine –
  • 5.0 – Very Good/Fine
  • 4.5 – Very Good +
  • 4.0 – Very Good
  • 3.5 – Very Good –
  • 3.0 – Good/Very Good
  • 2.5 – Good +
  • 2.0 – Good
  • 1.5 – Good –
  • 1.8 – Fair/Good
  • 1.0 – Fair
  • 0.5 – Poor

 

Conclusion

 

Before CGC came along, there were no established quality standards for determining the true value of comic books. However, comics aficionados now depend on CGC to add legitimacy to and provide a trusted benchmark to measure the quality and worth of their comic books. Hopefully, the above information will help you understand how CGC’s grading process works and how grading can reveal whether or not you’re making a good purchase. Visit an online graded comic books store now and start buying your favorites!

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Comic book grading is the process through which the condition of comic books is gauged based on certain parameters. This is followed by the assignment of a suitable grade, which directly influences the value of the comic book. Comic book enthusiasts should definitely learn about comic book grading. This way,...