A Bit About CGC
Comics Guaranty LLC, also known as CGC, is the first independent and impartial third party grading service for comic books and has become the industry standard (in North America at least) since opening it doors in early 2000. From its headquarters in Sarasota, Florida, CGC has graded thousands of comic books, and the trend to grade isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
Those new to collecting graded/ slabbed comics may not realize that CGC’s first grading system was slightly different than its current set-up. A red label, for example, was once used for modern-age books. This label – which looks quite different from the current design – has been phased out, and extended the blue universal label to include modern comic books as well. These early CGC labeled slabs, and the comic books found with them, will be the focus of this blog.
Old Label CGCs – Really Worth More?
It is widely believed by collectors, and even CGC insiders, that old label comic books were graded far stricter than those comic books being graded today. Also, since CGC didn’t offer pressing and cleaning services in its infancy, there is a very good chance that comics found within old label slabs most likely did not undergo the procedure. This information is very exciting, especially for anyone in possession of a valuable comic book encased in an old label slab – where a single grade jump could mean the difference of thousands of dollars.
Lets examine a Fantastic Four #1 for example. Say you were fortunate enough to own a copy that had been encapsulated in a 3.5 old blue label CGC slab, according to comicspriceguide.com, the comic is worth $6900. If you were brave enough to free the comic from the old CGC slab, and re-submit, it may come back a half grade to a full grade higher, in which case the value would jump to between $7200 – $8000 or a potential increase of $1100. If the comic book was pressed and cleaned, the jump in value could be even higher, perhaps a 5.0 or 5.5. In this case, the comic book guides for $9600 – $11,200. That’s an increase of $4300.
Cracking A CGC Slab
The potential payout on some of these old label CGC comic books is really quite amazing, but it is a gamble and the following are risks you should be aware of.
1. Removing the comic book from its case does void its current grade. And although the upside to submitting old label CGC comic books can be beneficial, I have encountered those who have had comic books returned with a lower grade.
2. By removing the comic book from its protective slab, you run the risk of damage befalling the comic…so be careful! Even the process of freeing the comic book from a CGC slab takes finesse. Check out this youtube video on how to “free” your comic from a CGC slab.
3. You still have to send the book back to CGC, which not only costs money, but once again the risk of damage is great, plus postage mishaps could happen.
I have some rather valuable comics currently sitting in old label CGC slabs, and I do intend on re-submitting…some day. To be honest, I am in no rush and must admit I do feel weak at the knees when I contemplate cracking open these old slabs. The potential gains are great, but in the end it is up to you.