Grade your Comic books for Ultimate Protection
In earlier posts I have discussed the best way to store your comic books. Acid free bags and boards are great, but for ultimate protection, having your prized comics graded is second to none. Thus far I have only ever used Comics Guarantee LLC (CGC) for grading, as these books tend to fetch the highest return at resale, plus they were first on the scene to offer the service (since 2000).
Once a comic book is graded by CGC, two pieces of comic book extender sheets are inserted between the front page and cover and the back page and cover. The comic book is then sealed in a sleeve of Barex (a highly gas-impermeable plastic polymer). Next, the comic is placed in an inner well of a hard plastic holder, where it is cradled securely. The top portion of the tamper-evident holder is then sonically sealed to the bottom. This hard plastic case is often called a “slab” and the entire process known as “slabbing”.
Once a slabbed comic book is in hand, acid free mylar sleeves and storage boxes that fit such books are available. Keeping the books away from direct sunlight and in a room with little humidity and/or dampness is still all important. I personally think that slabbed books look fantastic. Yes, you can’t read the comic book anymore, but one can certainly rest easy knowing that their prized comic book is safe from damage due to handling accidents. So many collectors have books valued in the thousands of dollars, I cannot imagine any of these enthusiasts not wanting to protect these highly valuable books. That being said, slabbing really is intended for super high grade books, books that are significant for one reason or another, and books that are already quite valuable. Attempting to slab one’s entire collection, especially if the comics are not valuable, really is pointless. Remember that grading a comic book isn’t cheap, especially when you take shipping & handling and potential up costs from the grading company into consideration.
Just to be clear, it is not my intention to solely endorse CGC, as there are other companies who also offer third party grading services. In other posts I have also mentioned Professional Grading Experts (PGX) and the Comic Book Certification Service (CBCS). Both of these companies have a broad customer base and they also encapsulate their books in a hard plastic shell.
If you are thinking about submitting your comic books for grading, why not improve their condition first. After all, a higher graded book is worth more. Contact the Comic Doctor for more information.