Off They Go to CGC

Back in November, before things with CGC went kind of bonkers, they ran a promotion where for $100 You got a year membership and received $150 in grading services. So I said, why not…?

Anyway…I’m not really all that into grading books these days…grading moderns for selling can be risky as you need 9.8s to make a decent profit, and older books I’m thinking I might still want to enjoy reading.

But I was able to choose 5 books. 2 magazine size and 3 comic size. Unfortunately I have to pay a $5 invoice and $20 return shipping because magazine and comics can’t be combined (FYI - CBCS allows combinations without extra fees and ships together). So below are the books being sent in and a little brief about why. These are all getting cleaned and pressed as well.

Also, because I didn’t want to go too far over my $150 allotment, I had to make some tough choices on what to send. So for fun I’ll also reveal what books didn’t make the cut and why. Feel free to offer your constructive criticism of my choices. :grin::flushed:


Transformers #1 - UK

This was a grail book of mine a few years back. Although not technically the first appearance of the Transformers (it came out a few months after issue #1 US) it is truly a rare book in high grade. Only 5 copies in 9.0 or higher, and only one copy higher than 9.2. There are only 17 total on the CGC census, 11 of which are signature series…so only 6 total copies that are “clean.”

The lone 9.6 sold for $2000 back in February and it included the transfer stickers inserts which came with copies (Note: the stickers were not physically attached to the book, but inserted separately so not having them does not result in a qualified grade…I’m actually surprised CGC allowed them to be in the book when graded…but they must have made a special exception). The transfers were meant to be applied to a poster attached at the centerfold. And many copies have them applied which I would consider a defect. It’s better to not have them at all than to have them stuck to the book.

There are two mid/lower grade cgc copies on eBay now (a 7.5 for $1500 and a 5.0 for $900). One has the transfer stickers separate.

My copy is without the stickers, but as shown in the photo above the stickers have not been applied to the centerfield.

It’s not without some minor defects. A small spine tick here or there…a tiny dog ear fold at a corner. No tears and very clean. The worst defect that will likely keep it from a 9.2 is the “tanning” along the bottom of the back cover. I’m not sure how that will be seen, but my grade estimate is an 8.5 with off-white to white pages. I’d be ecstatic with a 9.0, though.


Transformers #113 - UK

First Deaths Head. This has been a key for a long time. An original story from the UK run. It’s a rare book in high grade (8 copies above 9.2, high of 9.6) but 78 total grades. You can snag a mid grade CGC copy on eBay for under $200 if you’re patient.

Another thing about these UK marvel books is that kids wrote their names on the front or back covers…so finding a copy without writing is tough.

So I was originally thinking this book was about a 7.5 with a press, but then as I was taking photos of the books before sending them off I notice the spine has a significant split from the bottom almost up to the lower staple.

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So I think this drops it down to a max of 5.0. Maybe even lower. Maybe as low as a 4.0. But it’s for the PC, so even if it comes in a 4.0 it’s going to be a very well presenting 4.0. So off it goes.


Batman 423 - Newsstand

I pulled this out of a back issue bin at my LCS for $10. It has some spine ticks and a little dirt. I think it’s an 8.0, and the pages are off-white.

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It still fetches a nice $ in sub 9.0 grades so I figured I’d get it graded. I have a nice NM 2nd print copy as well (raw), so I’m good putting this one in a plastic case and keeping that one “free” for now.


Edge of Spider-Verse #2

This one I’ve been putting off getting graded for a while. It’s not a 9.8…not even a 9.6. It’s a stretch at a 9.4. It has some slight color rub along the back spine, and a few specs of “dirt”’or ink likely from being stacked up with other books when it was originally shipped from the distributor. The spine edges are a little “soft” with wear as well. It does not have a single spine tick or indent.

I paid $50 a while back (pre into the spider-verse) from a UK seller. So definitely did well with this book. Hoping for a 9.4, but thinking more a 9.2. On a bad day and if the cleaning doesn’t get some of the dirt off the cover it may be a 9.0.


Star Wars #1 - 1977 Newsstand (1st Print)

I’ve kept this book free for a while, mostly because it’s not NM. It has some spine ticks that break color, but fortunately they are all in the “white” part of the edge and have not reached the black cover. Those probably cap it at a 9.2, but the real flaw that could kill the grade is that it has a very odd manufacturing defect along all the free edges that basically looks like “wrinkles”.

They don’t appear to break color, so I’m hoping they can be pressed out. If they can’t I don’t know what this would grade…but going to give it a go and whatever grade it gets it’ll still present very well, and it’s a PC book anyway. Also pages are pretty off-white.

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I paid $100 for it a few years back. One of the very rare times I’ve paid $100 or more for a raw book.


So that’s what’s been sent out. I’ll follow up this post with what didn’t make the cut and why.

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Books Cut From My CGC Submittal

As promised, here are the books that I contemplated but ultimately chose to keep home. Normally I’d send in a larger number of books, but I’m on a tight budget these days.

I have a few GR 15 newsstands in high grade. But this one has a shot at 9.8. I looked up what they sell for and realized if I want a 9.8 graded I should just buy one.

The ASM 316 has a light “fold” across the lower front cover…it’s possible it comes out with a press and this book has a shot at 9.8. If it doesn’t it’s more like a 8.0. So I’ll send it off to a presser first and see how it comes back before sending it in I think. I may just want to keep it raw to be able to flip through it and enjoy the art.


A couple Hulk+Wolverine keys here. The Hulk 340 has spine ticks so it’s likely a 9.0/9.2. Similar to ASM316 for now I decided I’d rather have it raw to flip through it and enjoy the book in its entirety. I originally thought The Wolverine 8 had a shot at 9.6 or higher, but upon closer inspection found a very small/light “blot” on the back cover that more than likely makes it below 9.4. So keeping it raw.

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Well, now I wanna know the results!

I’ll post them when they come back. I took plenty of photos too in case something unexpected should occur or show up in the graders notes. That’s my biggest worry is the handling, those transformers uk covers are basically like newspaper in strength (which is why they are rare in high grade…plenty out there of most issues).

I have a graded 9.6 of Star Wars #1 that has those printing wrinkles on it. They aren’t as pronounced as on your book but they are there. A press might be able to minimize them a bit and maybe the graders, especially these days at CGC will ignore the flaw altogether.

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Well, my 3 comics arrived today from CGC. So it’s Time for the big reveal. Below is a quick summary of the grade I thought it could get with a press, and then what it came back as.


Batman 423, Newsstand

I pulled this out of a back issue bin at my LCS for $10. It has some spine ticks and a little dirt. I think it’s an 8.0, and the pages are off-white.

9.4, Off White-White pages?

Whoever graded this was feeling very generous. Although it presents well, it’s got multiple spine ticks which are clearly visible on the back cover. In a good day this book should not grade higher than 9.0.

I was only grading this for the PC, so it doesn’t matter. But if I was going to sell this book it’d likely be a problem…I’d have to disclose that it’s not a 9.4.

But this book is the prime example of how CGC’s quality has suffered in recent years.

A $400+ book in 9.4. Not bad for a $10 purchase.


Edge of the Spider-Verse #2

I paid $50 a while back (pre into the spider-verse) from a UK seller. So definitely did well with this book. Hoping for a 9.4, but thinking more a 9.2.

What I was hoping. So happy with it. But if Batman 423 was a 9.4, this is a 9.9…


Star Wars #1 1977

The “wrinkles” appear to have pressed out fine. Still a gift grade as there are still little flaws around the corners that should have capped at an 9.2. The white pages was a surprise. Paid $100 for this, so happy with the pressing results.


So all 9.4s, yet clearly when comparing these books very inconsistent grading. Such is CGC now. These are all for the PC anyway so the grades didn’t really matter to me. But just emphasizes that you can’t trust the label, you need to look at the book before you buy cgc.

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I often wonder, if we have to buy the book not the grade, then what is the purpose of the grade/grading?
I know the answer and it is a rhetorical question.
But there is something important built into the sarcasm of the response that is quite sad.

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Honestly, for me I’m grading my more valuable/Key PC books so that whomever ends up with them knows they have value.

As for buying graded books, I’m really just looking at bronze and silver age keys and paying for the restoration check at this point.

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What I recommend is looking over any book you buy. Whether it’s graded or not. I’ve got several graded books that should definitely be graded lower and if it’s for sale it’s disclosed in the description.

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