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Monday, March 10, 2014

My Thoughts on The CGC Qualifed Label


First, I must apologize on the slow response to comments lately, as well as the lack of recent articles. No excuse for that, so I won't present one. Just want you all to know that I greatly appreciate those who chime in on the discussions.

In another blog post, I was asked my opinion on the CGC Qualified label, and I'm glad I was asked this. Thank you to the person who did ask this. It reminded me to write up on this topic. As for the e-mail question I recently got, I'm working on that post pronto.

The Qualified label is the green label, as shown above and taken from the actual CGC site. My answer was going to be way too long for a comment box, so I figured I'd just write a separate post about it.

Now with the green Qualified label, the CGC description of it is a comic book with only one significant defect that needs to be mentioned, but here's where I scratch my head. According to the theory behind this green label, just because this major defect is present on a particular book, it shouldn't affect the grade if the rest of the book is in VF or NM or whatever grade it is. It would be rash to have the book a VG just because of this major defect.

Personally, I think that's moving the goal posts when it comes to CGC graded comics, and I'll explain why. When you grade a book, don't you grade the entirety of that book as a whole?

I'm gonna use Incredible Hulk #181 because this is the best example for this color label. Almost everyone knows that it's a big deal whether the Marvel Value Stamp or coupon in this book is in tact or cut out. There are some copies that have the coupon cut out and are less desirable, and some have the coupon in tact. With the Qualified label, let's say a copy is in gorgeous NM, except for the fact that the Marvel Value Stamp was cut out. Well, CGC moves the goal posts and gives the book a Qualified NM grade, as long as it does not affect the story.

I don't agree with this. If I cut out a huge part of the cover to a comic that's in NM condition, that doesn't affect the story either, so should I get a Qualified NM grading?

Like I said, a comic is graded as a whole. You don't just grade the cover, or just the back cover, or one page inside the book. You grade everything about the book. If a NM grade does not allow a 4 inch tear, then a comic with a 4 inch tear doesn't fall into that grade. It shouldn't matter if that's the only serious defect on the book or not. Sorry, that's the difference of someone really taking care of their books and someone else being a bit careless.


Why have grading standards to begin with then? In this example I got from eBay, this comic, an Amazing Spider-Man #9, first appearance of Electro, has a whole page missing, but it doesn't affect the story. They label it incomplete but put a 6.0 FN grade on it.

I seriously don't get it. If it falls under the incomplete grading tier, then it's incomplete. FN description says nothing about allowing an entire page missing if it doesn't affect the story. What's the point of having the grade of FN then? This comic qualifies for the FN grade, but what is the Universal label FN grade? Is it more FN than FN?

I don't like the Qualified Label concerning CGC graded comics and comic investing in general. When it comes to defects like that, I don't get it. The whole concept to me is extremely contradictory. 

Now, I do understand one aspect of this label and kinda agree with it. However, I'm still a bit shaky on this one as well.

Let's say I got Ron Lim's signature on my Silver Surfer comics that he did his famous run on. The only problem is, CGC was not their to authenticate it. I know it's really his signature. I even took pictures, but nobody else knows if that's really his signature.

So I decide to have it graded (why I have no idea), and that signature makes that NM comic a VG/FN due to the only fact that it couldn't be authenticated by CGC. Now that would suck, right?

When it comes to that, I can see a need for the Qualified Label, but then again, how does anyone else know that the signature is really authentic. I use to be able to forge my mom's signature all the time to get out of trouble in school, and my signature today is actually a hybrid of her signature style. I forged her signature A LOT when growing up.

As for the photo thing? I can Photoshop myself just about on anyone and anywhere.

As an investment comic and graded comics standpoint, my personal opinion is that I don't care for the Qualified Label. I personally steer clear from them.

But if that stuff doesn't really bother you, then it's basically a personal preference concerning CGC graded comics. I'm quite particular about that stuff, especially when I'm on the hunt and looking at unslabbed comics. If it's got a defect on there that I recognize and doesn't fall into the grade it's advertised, there's no way I'm paying what they're asking for. I don't care if I can get it under the Qualified Label when I submit it.

I do have to note that a Qualified Label does sell for less than it's Universal graded counterpart, and I think that it should when it comes to comic investing. Grading is tough enough as it is for comic collectors and comic investors to have this confuse us even more. In my personal, honest opinion, that label shouldn't even exist in the realm of graded comics.


21 comments:

  1. I agree with you, it all seems kinda shady...It should reduce the overall grade. Some people don't seem to care. I did a trade for a Hulk 181 CGC Restored 5.5, but only paid $75 for it, so I don't feel like it was a bad deal. Also, I have looked it over 100 times and can not find the slight color touch they claim it has. I have a good mind to crack it and re-send for grading to see what happens this time. It's a $30 gamble that it might just come back blue label.
    99% of my graded is blue label (my 401k) ; )
    L.K.

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    1. Heya, L.K., great to hear from ya and thanks for chiming in. I think some people don't care about a green label because they'd want a particular book just to have it and if it's a higher grade than FR and PR it'll make them feel better about their purchase, meaning they'll be a little more willing to buy it or own it. It's still moving the goal posts in terms of grading as far as I'm concerned.

      It's like changing the rule to Soccer and saying you are now allowed to use your hands and carry the ball, but you still gotta kick it in the goal for it to count.

      Wow, that's a pretty hard gamble you're willing to take there. Usually, CGC is not very lenient when it comes to color touch up restoration, and they crack down hard on that. But you may be able to slide by if the grader had a hard night of drinking the night before and missed it. You'll definitely have to let me know how that goes if you resubmit it.

      I also prefer the blue label over any other label. Universal is Universal. I had one restored label comic, an X-Men #2 but sold it a long time ago.

      Hope all is well with ya on the East Coast. How is the new album coming along?

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  2. For the "Q" Label. the only reason i would go near a "Q" Label would be for rarity. If it was a bronze age key i would stay clear.but if it was gold age or early silver age key. For example a key dc comic. It would be worth the risk if you get it for a good price. Most of these keys come up in a blue moon so if a "Q" batman 127 came up. i would pay quide just for the rarity.

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    1. You do bring up a very good point. I still think the label is contradictory and an ill way to over-grade books. Comics are rare on two fronts: existence of copies and type of grade of copies in existence.

      Golden age and silver age comics are graded with more leniency to begin with, as opposed to newer books. So far, it's a preference, but when it comes down to it, I still think that particular label is more shady than the rest, and an attempt to drive up prices for comics that should, in the market place, be graded lower and sold much lower.

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  3. Howdy!

    How do printer errors factor into this? That is, the book is solid except for something during manufacturing? Here is an example. Let us say a book is 8.5, but there is only 1 staple. Not that the staple is missing / removed / popped / etc. There is actually just one staple. There are no holes on the cover or through the book, so it clearly just got missed in production. Does that get a green label? Would that type of mistake downgrade the book in your eyes?

    I know this is only subjective, but I have a book with that situation. The seller told me, and I bought it for less because we were unsure how to really deal with it. In this case I am not worried I was taken advantage of, but I am wondering if it might have actually worked out in my favor.

    Thank you for your thoughts and time.

    - Craig Coffman

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    1. I honestly do not know how or what determines a Qualified Label. I know that unverified signatures get slabbed with the Green Label and that's about the extent of my knowledge. Personally, I think the label is bullshit. As for printer errors like a missed staple from production, this should not count as a Green Label, since error copies like chrome not being printed correctly still go under the Universal label, but I wouldn't take my word for it. I would actually call CGC or visit their booth and talk to them about it.

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    2. Thank you very much. I agree that the labels are a bit silly. I see the need for things to more accurately let a buyer know what they are getting, but it does seem a little unnecessary. I will be getting in touch with CGC soon to get some books submitted, and I will take it up with them then.

      Enjoy your day and, as always, I definitely appreciate the information you share :)

      - Craig Coffman

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  4. Sorry if this is beating a dead horse but i recently bought a comic that had 3 folder corners in it. But when i unfolded them the corners made almost a little triangle that stuck out below the actual book. (Picture a rectagle comic with a triangle stuck to the bottom left corner for what i am trying to describe) now i can see why ot was folded as it wouldnt have fit in a bag without crumpling. But obviously 3 pages were not cut when the book was made. How would something like that be graded?

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    1. Hiya, Unknown, that doesn't sound good. It would definitely lower the grade especially if the fold goes through the entire book.

      Not sure about just three pages though.

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  5. Hi, there's a lot of great info on here and thank you for posting it, this has been very helpful!

    I just have a quick question pertaining to Craig's post- I understand that you would consider factory error comics as equal to a blue label of the same type/graded comic. But what if the green-labeled comic in question is a much sought-after key issue graded 9.8? The error being a missing staple that was never added to the book during production, and the book being a New Mutants #98 that I purchased for a tad bit less than its current market value. Personally, what would you value this book as? Or is this something you would avoid altogether because of the green label?

    Also, I'm going to make it a point to talk with CGC at their booth in about a month, but wanted your take on this first.

    Thank you.

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    1. When it comes to factory errors or printing errors, I don't understand why they would be considered Blue Label or Universal. Once again, I think it's moving the goal posts.

      Grading a comic is based on defects...whether it's handling defects, defects from just time, or printing defects. I mean a defect is a defect.

      The Green Label in my opinion so far is good for artists signatures that weren't verified. Other than that, I think the Green Label is basically horseshit.

      I stay away from them for the most part. While I think the concept of Error copies are kinda cool, I still think a defect is a defect and actually grading Error copies 9.8 under the Blue Universal label does have a sense of irony that is both humerous yet contradictory.

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    2. Actually, I should make clear, I don't understand why Error copies would be slabbed at high grade under the Universal label.

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  6. I know this is a little late on your chats. I had sent a spiderman 1 silver cover to cgc with the blue lizard error and it came back a 9.8 blue lable. I contacted cgc about it and they said they would fix the problem for free. So I sent the comic out and today I got a call from cgc and they said with the new cases they do not recognize this error anymore do to no room to place the error info. They said with the new cases they won't be recognizing alot of the errors anymore. So now my question is stick with cgc or go else were?

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    1. CGC is notorious for pulling this. Why say they'd fix it for free when you first contacted them and then later say oh we can't do it because blah, blah, blah. Tell me that the first time I contact you idiots before I ship it back.

      I'd say screw them if they ever pulled that with me. Would piss me off to the Nth Degree! Go somewhere else, but contact CBCS to see if they even recognize error comics first or whatever third party grading co.

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  7. I know this is a little late on your chats. I had sent a spiderman 1 silver cover to cgc with the blue lizard error and it came back a 9.8 blue lable. I contacted cgc about it and they said they would fix the problem for free. So I sent the comic out and today I got a call from cgc and they said with the new cases they do not recognize this error anymore do to no room to place the error info. They said with the new cases they won't be recognizing alot of the errors anymore. So now my question is stick with cgc or go else were?

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  8. Hello, looking for some advise on if I should get a certain comic graded. Currently have an early GL #4 comic in high grade with Gil Kanes signature on the interior page. Due to the nature of the CGC Qualified label I feel conflicted with getting my comic graded. Obviously don't want to hurt the potential high grade with a qualified label and don't want to take away from the signature with a CGC "Unidentified Signature". Any advise would be welcome.

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    1. CBCS has a signature verification program in which you can send in copies already signed that wasn't witnessed in person at a con and they'll have an expert verify if the signature is legit then they'll grade and slab it. You can go that route instead of CGC Qualified

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    2. And why can't the CGC do this? What a money grab to support events and make them relevant, why wouldn't they just create the same thing with a gold label that says authenticated unwitnessed signature. Is the CGC grading really that much better than CBCS.

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  9. This started with their other coin grading company NGC. In the beginning serious defects such as cleaned coins, surface hairlines etc were NOT GIVEN A GRADE! The defect was pointed out on the label and the coin was hence useless because the defect was discovered. After a while NGC said OK, we'll give a qualified grade. If the coin was Uncirculated but cleaned they put that on the label. A lot of people have a hard time telling whether coins are cleaned or not. If done correctly only a pro with a microscope can tell at times. In all fairness with coins you got an uncirculated coin it should be noted. If some dolt cleaned it out of lack of knowledge that also should be pointed out BUT comics no not comics. I purchased a near mint copy of Spiderman 14 at a comic show some years back for $20. I was amazed but the guy said "I have to be honest there is a panel missing and I don't want to cheat anyone." Boy I'm glad cause the rest of that book was sweet. A panel missing or the Marvel Stamp missing is certainly a sign of a book that has not been taken care of properly for collecting purposes and has no business in the hobby as a higher graded book. If it has anything missing it can't be about a VG in my opinion. That's a serious defect. I've also noticed now that CGC is putting 9.8 on books with obvious issues on the covers that you can see from the screen of your computer. I have to step back and think WTF? I can see that slight tear on the top right corner from here. How can it be NM+? It's become a money grab, almost as bad as giving trophies to all the kids despite whose won legitimately or not. Political Correctness enters the comic book hobby business!!!

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  10. I agree with everything, however I brought 15 rare variant comics directly from Rob Liefeld signed with a certificate of authenticity for each book. When I called they stated I would get a green label qualified and that they would enclose my certificate of authenticity in the case with the comic, that doesn't even make sense. Why not just give me a gold or blue with a signature not witnessed if I have a known certificate of authenticity a receipt saying I bought from the artist directly I mean come on it's 2017.

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  11. My concern is that I just purchased 15 ultra rare variants directly from the artist. They are signed with a certificate of authenticity for each comic. So, when I called the CGC they said I would receive a green qualified, but in return they would put the certificate of authenticity for each book inside the closed case. Are you serious? So I have these signed comics with the certificate of authenticity, with the receipt of purchase from the artist, communication via email with the artist's site, and the artist even has them serial numbered so it can identify who the book went too, but I can't get a gold label or even a blue that says unwitnessed signature enclosed with certificate of authenticity, like that makes no sense it's 2017. The CGC with people are paying to have something graded should be able to reach out to the artist via email or something to confirm signature, if the artist refuses to respond so be it, then they won't have people buying stuff from their sites, it's a win win, I just don't understand the green label in that sense especially when you're putting the certificate of authenticity enclosed in the case with the comic. Thoughts anyone?

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