Should You Grade Your Comic Book Collection?

The decision to get your comic book collection graded requires a careful evaluation of the benefits and costs of submitting for grading. In this guide, we provide you with an overview of the potential upsides from grading (protection, grades, value) as well as the downsides (time, cost, shipping.) If you are considering having your comics graded, then please continue to read the guide below which provides a detailed overview of the different grading companies, what to expect and how to determine which comics to have graded. In case you are interested in discussing grading your comic collection in details, please reach out using the form below and we will gladly make time to discuss your options.

Benefits of Grading your Comic Books

When considering comic book grading it’s important to understand that grading the right books (most often key issues or high-grade comics) can make a big difference in terms of the value you derive. Grading the right comics can help clearly establish their condition and ensure they are protected. Comic book grading provides you with a clear numeric grade (ranging from 0.5 for lower grade poor condition books to 9.8 for Mint condition comics). Whether you are planning to sell your comics or keep them, having clear grades help to establish their value and also to protect them. When the reputable grading companies (CGC Comics or CBCS Comics) grade your comics, they also enclose them in a secure inner-well which provides an archive-safe seal inside of the outer case. While you still need to ensure the graded comics are properly stored, this helps to provide dual protection for the comics.

Once your comics are graded you will have a numeric grade, information on whether they have any restoration of condition issues as well as grader’s notes which tell you details about the comic’s condition. This can be helpful to understand details on the interior condition, along with the page quality (which ranges from white pages to off-white to cream to brittle). All together this information provides helpful information to establishing a clear value for your comics. The combination of the grade, designation (universal, restored or qualified) and the page quality can help provide a clear reference point to establish values.

The Potential Costs of Getting Your Comics Graded

In grading your comics, the most direct downside is the costs of getting your comics graded which is variable depending on their age, condition and significance. While grading modern comics can start as little as 30 dollars, getting vintage comics can potentially cost much more depending on the book. Each comic grading company has grading tiers which are unique, but generally can be summarized as modern, vintage, standard, express and walkthrough. The higher the tier, the faster the service and the higher the cost. If you are submitting a large number of books, these costs can add up quickly so it’s important to be selective on which comics you might have graded.

In addition to the costs of grading, you will want to think about the time it will take to have the comics graded. While higher tiers can take as little as a few weeks to a couple months, lower tier grading can take many months and sometimes up to a year. If you are looking to ensure a quick turnaround, your costs will be higher as you go up in the tiers. Beyond the immediate costs of the grading, you will also want to think about the shipping to the grading company to ensure the books are well protected and will arrive safely. In general, we recommend shipping with express services to ensure safe transit, and you will want to pack the books securely to make sure they are protected in transit. With grading you will also have to pay for return shipping once they are complete, so your total shipping costs can add up.

The decision on whether to grade your comics depends on a number of factors. We generally recommend you pick out your most significant, key issues and consider them for grading while leaving your more common issues ungraded and have someone help with evaluating their potential condition and value.