As most comic book connoisseurs know, the Certified Guaranty Company (CGC) uses two calibrated systems to grade comic books: a basic letter-grading scale and a ten-point numerical scale. After careful examination, the CGC grants each submission an appropriate score based on their condition.
While there are a ton of 9.8 Near Mint (NM) and 9.6 Near Mint+ (NM+) copies out there, you’ll have to dig deep to find CGC comic books with a 10.0 Gem Mint (GM) grade. Here’s why.
By CGC’s standards, a 10.0 graded comic can have only minimal bindery or printing defects. Additional requirements include:
- Flat cover with no signs of surface wear
- Bright, highly reflective inks
- Sharp, square-cut corners
- Centered, clean, original, and rust-free staples
- White, supple, and fresh papers
- No interior autographs or signatures
That’s a lot for a book to live up to, which is why gem mint comics have a mythical status in the world of comic collection. However, they do exist. Let’s look at a few ways in which you can add them to your arsenal.
- Learn How to Identify Gem Mint Comic Books
Any gem-mint comic book will have its grade laid out front and center. But in case the comic book has not been under CGC’s microscope, there are a few alternative means you can use to gauge its score. When analyzing the copy, ask yourself the following questions.
- Does the cover have bends, folds, or warps?
- Is there any moisture or water damage?
- Do you see any evidence of tape, glue, or other repair attempts?
- Are there any fingerprint marks on the pages?
- Is there any discoloration?
Fair warning, self-assessing comic books has its downsides. It’s best if you only buy certified CGC comic books to avoid making wrong choices.
- Keep an Eye Out for Auctions
Back in the day, buying and selling comic books required a lot of legwork. But in the current age of online auctions, collectors have several opportunities to get their hands on a perfect, gem-mint graded comic book without breaking a sweat.
For starters, take some time to scope out a few online auction sites. See what they have on sale and place your bids accordingly. You probably won’t find a gem-mint comic book right out the gate, but chances are you might get hold of the next best thing - a 9.9!
If you want to take the old-fashioned route instead, you can always look for local offline auctions near you. This way, you’ll be able to check out the graded comic books for yourself and walk back home with your prize in tow.
- Subscribe to a Reputable Graded Comic Book Seller
Why go on a wild goose chase for gem-mint comics when you can turn to an acclaimed graded comic book store? Every once in a while, an online seller will put up something special and send the entire comic world into a tizzy. All you need to do is wait for the right moment to grab the bull by the horns!
What’s better, graded comic book stores like Wicked Monkey have several comic series packed into one inventory. Whether you’re a Marvel fan or swear by DC, you’ll find high-grade copies of your favorite issues all in the same place. Just sign in and check out the stock!
- Visit Comic Book Conventions
For the uninitiated collector, a comic book convention may seem like no big deal. But it’s definitely where all the magic happens. Besides providing fans with an opportunity to meet fellow collectors, conventions allow them to get up close and personal with their favorite artists.
Although conventions have forayed into different avenues over the years, they're still centered around comics. You’ll find plenty of retailers selling popular comic issues at almost every convention.
If you’re lucky, you may end up landing a brand-new, freshly minted copy. Don’t even open it- get it graded and slabbed right away. Even minor handling defects can get in the way of a perfect score!
- Protect Your Collection!
The moment you purchase a newly released comic book and bring it home, it starts depreciating. The more you read it, the more it loses its value. To get a 10 Gem Mint grade on an issue, you’ll have to treat your collection with a lot of care. Here’s what you can do.
Keep your comics flat by using a clear protective sleeve with a backboard. Be sure to use durable sleeves for rare comics and mint copies.
Store your comics in acid-free cardboard boxes. They can protect the books from external light and prevent fading.
- Ensure ideal temperatures. Try and invest in a professional storage service to minimize the risk of heat damage.
- Check on your comics every few months. Look for unusual discoloration or mildew before you sleeve them again.
The Bottom Line
Although gem mint comics have made a few cameos over the years, they’re still extremely rare. However, with a little patience, you may be able to find one. Hopefully, this post has given you some insight on how to streamline your gem mint comic collection efforts for the best results!
Need CGC comic books pronto? Look no further than Wicked Monkey. Our extensive inventory of graded comics is sure to sweep you off your feet! For more information, reach out to us today or check out our collection!