My first Restored Comic Book
I remember the first time I submitted some comic books to CGC for grading. Although the experience was sort of fun, I was absolutely terrified my comics would be lost in transit. You see, I decided to save a few bucks and not send my package (which included an Amazing Spider-Man 1, 6, 129 and Avengers 1) with overnight delivery. Instead, I ended up using a three day delivery option that UPS had at the time. Those were the longest three days of my life! Fortunately, my comics did arrive safe and sound and were returned to me a short time later.
Opening the package, I was thrilled to see my precious comic books slabbed safe and sound. I did, however, notice that two comics were slabbed with blue labels, while the others had purple ones. I soon came to realize that my Amazing Spider-Man #6 and Avengers #1 were restored grade – also known as the “dreaded purple label”. Please know that I bought these comic books way before the days of CGC – way back in the 1980s- when only the hard core collectors gave a darn about restoration. Today, however, comics have become big business, and getting stuck with an undisclosed restored book can really put a damper on things. I am discussing restoration today because many customers ask me to inspect their comics before I clean and press them. Please understand that while some some signs of restoration are obvious, others can be much harder to detect. The best advice I can give to collectors is to simply pass on any comic book they might suspect has been restored…that is, if a restored comic book is something you hope to avoid (believe it or not, some collectors don’t care!). These days, key books can cost collectors not hundreds, but thousands of dollars, and a restored specimen is just not worth as much – so buyer beware!
A Non-Disclosed Restored Comic Book
A customer recently purchased a gorgeous copy of Daredevil #1 from one of his local dealers. He sent the comic book to me for a quick press and clean before sending to CGC. I quickly realized that the comic had been restored. I wanted to show this comic book to you because the store owner did not disclose any restoration, yet charged the gentleman full guide value for the comic. I suppose it is possible that the store owner had no idea the comic had been restored, but I find that hard to believe – anyone who owns a store should be able to recognize some obvious signs of restoration. Glancing upon the first pic, it is virtually impossible to detect any restoration… most simply see a beautiful copy of Daredevil #1. But take my word for it…upon closer examination, slight discoloration around the main image, title and text on the front and back cover is obvious. Upon further investigation, I also notice extra piercings where the original staples/ or extra staples used to be. And finally, the texture of the comic was all wrong. It was almost rough to the touch; like over-spray from a bad paint job. This was a good indication that some sort of spray fixodent or gloss was applied to the book’s cover. The staples were also black in colour and glossy (also a result of the spray).
For your viewing pleasure, I also provided some shots I took of the comic using a UV flash light. Notice how the restored areas now glows purple. UV lights are a great tool for detecting certain types of restoration work. So again, when buying a high valued raw book, take your time and inspect the comic very closely. Take pictures, send them to either myself or a restorer or other individuals who press and clean and have examined a lot of comics over time. The last thing you want is to pay top dollar for a comic book only to find out later that it is actually worth far less – because the comic is not original. And one more thing – most collectors I know do not leave their high valued comic books raw. If a comic is worth over $500, most usually have the book slabbed by CGC or another third part grading service – doing so ensures a higher return on their investment. So, if a dealer is selling a high valued book that is not slabbed and graded, that in itself should be a red flag. Not to say that all raw books are restored…just be extra cautious.