What Are CGC Comic Books?
As a collector, you care about your expensive collectible comics. Unfortunately, the slightest bit of damage can compromise their value. Rips, creases, color distortion, and other problems all deteriorate their overall investment worth. That’s why it’s important to have a professional evaluate the condition of your collection - before you try to sell any comics.Certified Guaranty Company (CGC) is a third-party comic book grading service that grades comics on a scale of 0.1-10 based on their conditions. The higher the grade, the better physical condition of the book. Essentially, the comic book grades give buyers (and collectors) a standardized concept of the item’s worth and condition.
There are several reasons to have your comic books or other collectibles graded. CGC graded comic books can help you receive a larger profit if you decide to sell some or all of the pieces in your collection. Even if you don’t plan on selling your collectibles, CGC graded comic books can increase the intrinsic value of your collection, and official grading can even protect the insured value in the case of a damaging accident.
CGC is one of the most trusted grading companies for collectibles and has graded over five million comic books since its inception. It’s a well-known entity within the comic book realm, but if you’re new to the scene, you might be wondering just what they have to offer to collectors. In this post, we'll break-down how CGC certifies comic books, their grading scale, and how you can get your collection graded. If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out to Wicked Monkey or browse our blog further.
How CGC Certifies Comic Books and Other Collectibles
CGC uses a multi-level process to grade comic books, concert posters, magazines, trading cards, and other collectible items. Every CGC comic book grading process includes the following steps.
ReceptionOnce your collection arrives at CGC’s receiving department, their expert staff carefully opens the shipment under surveillance cameras. Everything is captured on video, which means the collector is never responsible for damage caused by CGC staff members. Your books will always be monitored and properly handled.
VerificationNext, the CGC grader conducts a detailed review to check that the collectible comic books match the descriptions provided by the submitter. At this stage, the comics are given a unique barcode and ID that allow the submitter to track the CGC comic book grading process. You’ll always know what’s going on.
The submission papers are also separated from the collectibles at this point so that the graders can objectively assess the items without knowing who the submitter is. The goal is to eliminate bias throughout the grading process. The only thing that matters is the book’s condition as it is in that moment.
AuthenticationWhile awaiting authentication, collectible comics are stored in a CGC vault to minimize the risk of damage. The graders will determine if the collection is genuine through a series of standardized tests. If it is, the graders will then begin the actual assessment.
During the authentication process, a comic book collection might be rejected for a variety of reasons - fragility, misprints, explicit content, etc. If your collection is rejected in the authentication stage, the CGC comic book grading fee will be refunded and your comics will be sent back without a proper grade.
GradingMultiple CGC professionals are involved throughout the grading process, which helps ensure the accuracy of each book’s final grade. CGC experts will grade the book on a scale of 0.1 to 10 based on the overall quality of the comic. The grade is then hidden from the next CGC grader, and the process is repeated three or more times for surefire accuracy.
If the grades do not match up after several reviews, the books will continue to be passed around until inconsistencies have been eliminated. This eventually leads to a consensus on a final grade.
EncapsulationIn the encapsulation step, CGC comics are given labels that indicate their description and grades. These labels list all the information about a comic book, including its title, publisher, artist, issue number, and other necessary details. Additionally, the label explains why the comic received its grade – including why it was ranked highly or poorly.
Note that all CGC labels and barcodes are specifically designed to make counterfeiting difficult. This helps CGC comic book buyers trust that all CGC grades are accurate.
Before CGC comics are sent back to the collector, each label is carefully checked for spelling mistakes or other errors. All the certification details are reviewed for defects.
Packaging and ShippingFinally, the CGC comics are counted and checked against the submission papers before being shipped back to their owners. All CGC graded comic books are packaged safely and securely to reduce the chances of damage during transportation.
Understanding the CGC Grading Scale
As discussed earlier, CGC comics are graded on a scale of 0.1-10 based on their age and condition. More specifically, grades are broken down into eight different categories:
Mint Condition (Grade of 9.9-10)
This is the best possible grade your collectible comics can be awarded. These books tend to have little to no defects, bright and glossy cover art, and zero rips or damages on any of the pages.
This grade is extremely difficult to secure, especially for older comic books that were printed in the 90’s or earlier. Mint condition is the ultimate standard you want your books to come in.
Near Mint Condition (Grade 9.-9.8)
These CGC comics are close to mint but will have a minor flaw, such as a slightly stressed spine. A near mint condition comic will lack larger defects such as water stains or bent corners.
Very Fine Condition (Grade 7-8.9)
This grade indicates more defects than the previous ones, but generally, the comic’s condition is still considered to be exceptional.
Fine Condition (Grade 5.5-6.9)
Fine condition GCG comics show signs that the comic book has been read frequently. The copy can still be valuable, but it’s been “well-loved” over the years. There might be some discoloration, creases, or minor rips, but nothing too dramatic.
Very Good Condition (Grade 3-5.4)
Very good condition CGC comic books can still be valuable to collectors. However, they come with defects and are generally older or well-used copies.
Good Condition (Grade 1.8-2.9)
The word “good” is a bit misleading here as it applies to CGC comics with a 1.8-2.9 grade. Comics with this grade usually have a variety of defects including creases, smudges, and more. Despite all the defects, good condition CGC comics include all of their original pages.
Fair Condition (Grade 0.1-1.8)
These comic books have major defects, are fragile, and lack virtually any collection value. This is the lowest score a CGC comic can receive.
If you have a collection of comic books, and you want to sell a few or calculate its value, CGC can help. Comic books are fragile collectibles, and if you want buyers to feel confident in their quality, they will need professional grades.
Looking to Purchase CGC Comics?
Are you looking to add some more graded comics to your collection? Tired of playing games with online tricksters?
Unlike some no-good-doing online sellers, we only stock items on our site that are already graded and in stock, we never list anything we are only estimating to be graded at a certain level. We take the purchasing risk so you don't have to. Need a guaranteed 9.8 to finish your collection?
No prob. We got you.
Wicked Monkey has a curated collection of only CGC graded comic books. We offer items from a wide range of publishers such as Boom! Studios, Marvel, and more. Whether you are looking for superhero, horror, or indie comics, we have you covered. Take a look at our website to learn more about CGC comics or find the exact copy you’ve been dying to get your hands on.