Most comic book enthusiasts are familiar with the Certified Guaranty Company (CGC). Ever since CGC burst into the scene in the early 2000s, it has revolutionized the comic book grading industry for good. Today, people often shy away from purchasing comic books that don’t sport a CGC grade front and center.
There’s ample reason why CGC grading is so popular. For starters, CGC graded comic books are often more valuable than their ungraded counterparts. Plus, they certainly make for eye-catching display items.
However, CGC doesn’t hand out grades like hotcakes. You’ll have to follow a set of rules to prepare your collectibles for grading. While most of it is self-explanatory, you may make a couple of mistakes, especially if you haven’t done this before.
In this regard, here are five pitfalls you should steer clear of when submitting your comics to the CGC.
1. Submitting an Autographed Comic with No Proof
So, you’ve been through hell and high water to secure an autographed copy of the Avengers. You send it to the CGC with high hopes. Well, tough luck, because chances are they’re not putting that coveted yellow label on your comic.
The CGC cannot guarantee an autograph they did not witness: because there’s no way for them to determine if the signature is authentic. Consequently, you may be stuck with a green label, which usually sells for a much lower price.
If you’re at a comic convention with your favorite artist, be sure to grab a CGC personnel while getting your comic book autographed. Doing this will prove to them that the signature is real, thereby increasing your chances of getting the grade you want.
2. Not Inspecting the Comic Books Thoroughly
Many new collectors fail to inspect their comic books before submitting them to the CGC. However, you will be surprised to know that even the slightest damage can hurt your grade to a large extent.
To prevent this, flip through each page of your comic to check for:
- Interior pages prone to cracking when handled
- Paper loss
- Browned pages
- Missing coupons
- Missing centerfold
- Chip cuts (missing pieces smaller than 1 square millimeter)
- Missing cover
In case you spot these signs of damage on your comic, try and get it professionally restored.
Side note, but what is a restored comic book?
As the term implies, restoration means that the comic has been returned to a prior state (known or assumed) through certain additions. The process can translate into anything, from color touch, tear seals, and cleaning to spine splits and reinforcement.
Although restored comics are not as valuable as original issues in premium conditions, they may bring you a better grade than a copy with visible flaws.
3. Not Pressing the Comic Books
When you purchase a CGC comic book from an online graded comic book store, what do you see? A beautiful, crisp collectible free from dents and folds, right? Usually, this is achieved through comic book pressing.
Simply put, pressing involves treating comics with even heat and pressure to remove physical imperfections. Most collectors get their comics pressed to improve their overall appeal. In fact, comic book pressing can be the difference between a CGC grade 9.6 and a grade 9.8.
In this regard, keep in mind that pressing does not repair all damages. If your comic book has color-breaking tick marks and water stains, they will likely remain after the pressing process. But it can make your comic more attractive and presentable.
4. Not Knowing the Worth of the Comic Books
Why go through the trouble (and expense) of getting a comic graded without knowing what it’s selling for? Not all CGC graded comic books bring in the big bucks: there are several other factors that may influence a comic’s price.
For example, a vast majority of comic books from the 1980s have little to no value today. There are plenty of high-grade modern CGC comic books floating around, so another one probably won’t make any waves in the market. That is, unless you’re planning to hold on to it for a few more decades.
On the other hand, comics from the Silver and Bronze Ages are both rare and sought after. As a result, they are ideal for grading. The same applies to online graded comic books with first appearances of famous characters.
An easy way to gauge if your comic book is worth grading is by visiting online comic trading platforms. If there are different CGC graded versions of your comic, look at the price ranges. This should tell you whether you should invest in the grading process.
5. Not Adding the Packing Slip
This is a small but common mistake many new comic collectors make. Do not forget to add the packing slip when submitting your comics to the CGC. In case your slip is missing, your books may not reach CGC’s receiving team on time. Also, be sure to place your books in the exact order they are listed on the packing slip.
As you see, there are quite a few working parts to submitting books to the CGC. However, avoiding the mistakes mentioned above will improve your chances of acing your grade goal.
Are you on the hunt for CGC graded comic books for your collection? Come on over to Wicked Monkey! Our premium inventory of graded comics is sure to impress veteran collectors. Reach out to us for more information or check out our online collection today!
Author Bio: Matt Shively and Matt Martin founded Wicked Monkey in 2020 in the pursuit of creating a comics shop concerned with the full “ecosystem” that exists in the cross-over between the world of fine arts, contemporary collectibles, and comics. Wicked Monkey an online store that sells a curated collection of high-quality graded comic books from various mainstream publishers such as DC, Marvel, Boom! Studios, and specializes in independent publishers—all boasting a high CGC score, the majority being a 9.8 score out of 10.