Building a great stash of collectible comic books is an exciting pursuit.
However, to ensure you get what you’re paying for, you need to familiarize yourself with the comic book grading system and the standard 10-point grading scale used to grade comic books.
Trusted companies, such as CGC, are known for grading and encapsulating comic books, increasing their value.
This post will help you understand some of the important considerations that go into buying CGC graded comic books. These include:
The first step towards buying CGC graded comics involves gaining an understanding of the CGC grading system.
Every comic book is graded to reflect its level of quality. Based on the physical condition of the comic book, a score is allotted to it. The score typically ranges between 0.5 and 10.0, where the former denotes “Poor” condition, while the latter indicates “Gem Mint” condition.
A 0.5 rating shows that pages or part of the comic book’s cover is missing, or that the book has water damage. A rating of 10.0 implies that the comic book is in pristine condition with no damage or fault of any kind. Needless to say, the higher the quality grade, the more valuable the comic book is.
Having said that, Modern Age (1985 to present day) comic books tend to lose value if they have been graded 9.6 or lower. Hence, when buying a comic book, you should ascertain that it has a grade of 9.8 if it was released after 1990 (for it to hold value).
Look for CGC grading and encapsulation on the comic books as a symbol of trust. You can rest assured knowing that you are getting your money’s worth with CGC collectible comics.
Once you start collecting more and more CGC comic books, you will come across numerous writers as well as art styles.
When you find a writer or an artist you like, go to the beginning of the issue, and note their name. Search online for other issues written or illustrated by the same person to acquaint yourself with stories and key issues (short publications) you wouldn’t find otherwise.
Some of the most popular comic books writers include Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Frank Miller, Chris Claremont, Alan Moore, Kevin Eastman, Mark Millar, and Warren Ellis. When it comes to comic book artists, you want to look for names like Jack Kirby, Frank Miller, Kevin Eastman, Steve Ditko, Todd McFarlane, Neal Adams, Jim Lee, Alex Ross, and John Byrne.
It is a good idea to talk to and befriend other fans of CGC graded comics. You will likely find them browsing shelves at the local comic book stores.
Once you make a connection, you can trade comic books or loan/borrow comics so you can read more without having to spend much.
Most collectors of graded comic books carefully store the issues they’ve already read, and protect them in various ways to increase their longevity, because you never know what dangers are lurking...
More often than not, graded comic book aficionados buy their copies of CGC graded comics from local comic book shops or dealers. However, buying from these outlets can sometimes prove to be expensive.
Here are a few other great places you can buy your graded comic books at comparatively better prices:
- Keep your eyes peeled for graded comic books at second hand bookshops, flea markets, and yard sales. You never know what you may find.
- Auction platforms such as eBay are also worth a look. A quick online search can reveal other popular online marketplaces.
- Attending comic book shows and conventions can expose you to some of the best possible deals on CGC comics books (more on this in a later point).
- You can also go through online forums and communities dedicated to comic books to interact with other comics enthusiasts and exchange information with them. Later on, you can buy CGC graded comics from them as well.
As mentioned, a simple internet search can bring you face-to-face with a list of websites that sell different kinds of graded comic books. However, before you spend any of your hard-earned money on CGC comic books you find online, you need to carefully consider the following factors:
- Compare prices
Purchasing CGC comic books online makes it easier for you to know and compare prices with other online stores. You should use this to your advantage, unearth the best deals available, and then buy CGC graded comics.
- Find out more about the seller
Make sure to adequately research the graded comic book seller’s credentials online. Go through their online reviews, rating, and feedback to know what buyers are saying about them. Find out if the seller offers a money-back guarantee, and their other terms and conditions.
- Know what you’re getting into
Before you buy CGC graded comics online, read every detail about them. Check out the shipping cost and the delivery timeframe. Also, the dealer should be able to assure you of proper handling of the books.
Most of the time, comic books are initially published in short installments called issues. These issues typically contain between 10 and 20 pages, and may be available either in physical formats or digital formats.
The simple truth is that the monetary value of issues in digital formats do not increase over time, and most cannot be sold or exchanged either. So, if you’re looking to make money through your comic collectibles over time, you should buy trade paperback (TPB). These are physical copies, where one volume consists of around five issues.
Another advantage of buying TPB is that they’re easier to store. All you need is a bookshelf or a table you can place them on.
A number of comic cons are conducted in the US every year. They are focused on readers and collectors of graded comic books, and attract thousands of comic buffs who come to meet the people who create these comics. They also find deals on new or rare comics, and gain awareness about upcoming comic books.
You should know that San Diego is the largest comic convention in the US, while the New York Comic Con is the largest on the East Coast.
Collecting graded comic books can be thrilling for true comic book aficionados. Collectors can not only boast of their collections, they can also look forward to making money from their CGC graded comics. However, the process of buying graded comic books can be tricky, especially for those new to this world. Hopefully, the tips mentioned in this post will help you avoid unnecessary pain and missteps on your CGC collecting journey.