Blogger Dome: Slabbed vs Raw

by Joseph Overaitis

Blogger-Dome-Slabbed-VS-Raw Blogger Dome: Slabbed vs RawWelcome to the very first Blogger Dome!  Here, bloggers will argue different topics involving the comic book market and industry.  This will be a combination of the Big Bang Theory meets the WWE.  Smack talk mixed with comic book debates.  Bloggers going at each other to amuse and educate our readers.  And we want to hear what YOU have to say about it. Our first topic is “Buying Raw versus Graded Comics”.

Ding Ding! Now Entering the Ring…. JOSEPH AND HARRY!

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JOSEPH: Today my opponent is …Harry Stone III?  Come on, now!!!  To the people reading this, I will now start typing with one hand behind my back and use small words to make this an even debate.  I have a lot of anger in me.  Maybe it is not anger, but rather the bean burrito I just ate from the gas station.  Either way,  I intend to take my inner pain out on my opponent in this first Blogger Dome battle.   I am ready to go, Harry, so put your big boy pants on, and let’s go!

HARRY: If you’re new to comic collecting and investing, you should know healthy and vigorous debate comes with the hobby. Who would win in an epic showdown? Which company is better? What the next hot book will be? So on and so forth. Collectors love to disagree, so GoCollect is now introducing Blogger Dome, where we can publicly argue for your amusement while providing some insight.

In this series premiere, I’ll be making the case for buying graded comics against fellow blogger Joseph Overatis. Joe writes some of my favorite articles to read, and then disagree within the comment section, so it was a natural choice. That being said, there are just way too many hurdles to make buying raw comics worth your while if you ask me. Joe will try to convince you that these obstacles are for the love of the game, but the game has changed. This is Blogger Dome. Two men enter, one man leaves!

Round #1   First Blood!

Joseph: Do you really know what you are getting?

eyJidWNrZXQiOiJnb2NvbGxlY3QuaW1hZ2VzLnB1YiIsImtleSI6IjhmMjcwNGM4LTRlY2ItNDY0Ni04Yzk3LWY2ZGRkZmFkMjgyNy5qcGciLCJlZGl0cyI6W119-194x300 Blogger Dome: Slabbed vs RawOne of the major reasons that people tell me to buy graded books is that there will be no surprises about what you are getting. I agree that there are disputes among grading raw books. That is because no two people will see a book and agree on a book’s condition.   Hey Harry, is that like when two attorneys can see one set of facts and disagree about what those facts mean?  Two lawyers disagreeing is something that would never happen, right? So a book graded 9.2 is now marked forever a 9.2?

Disagreement about grades can occur between graders at the same company.  Investors who have-gasp- dared remove the case and send these “new” raw books in to be graded have seen different grades affixed to the same book.  I guess the uncertainty could now belong to the graders? The grading companies are not infallible, but somehow people buy books with grades as if the conditions are written in stone.  That is not the case, so why pay as if it is?  Let us wait for Harry to catch up because I think he is in his bathroom crying a little now.  It is ok Harry, this battle is almost over.

Harry: Shimmy Shimmy Ya, Shady Sellers Like It Raw.

If you want to get that sweet, sweet near-mint grade back from CGC, the first of MANY problems you’re going to face with raw comics is dishonest sellers. When you buy a slabbed comic, you know what you’re going to get and what you’re investing in. Your slab will have a precise grade designated by a professional, there are grader’s notes, and there are distinctions for page quality. While CGC has been known to occasionally make mistakes, buying a graded book minimizes the margin of error while reducing the subjectivity that comes with raw comics. Simply put, when a comic is already graded, sellers can’t scam you as easily.

142771_f0655e9dcb15bdeb34c33ff5c14af087dd6ea3db-196x300 Blogger Dome: Slabbed vs RawIf you buy a raw book, do you really know what you’re purchasing? Often sellers will downplay flaws in order to maximize profit. This happens especially with online sales. Disreputable sellers will use lighting to hide problems that a raw comic might have. They’ll conveniently “forget” to mention that Marvel Value Stamps, tattooz, or posters are removed. You rarely see listings discuss page quality or show photos of the comic’s interior. They will bank on you not removing or thoroughly inspecting your comics upon arrival. Meanwhile, you’re left holding the bag at the end of the day. Take it from someone who has been disappointed more often than not with the raw comics left at his doorstep, graded is the way to go.

Don’t Get Got!

Even with in-person sales, sketchy sellers will try to feel you out to see what price they can get away with. How many of us are expert graders? Do you really know how many spine ticks it takes to drop a 9.8 to a 9.6 or 9.4? Can you tell the difference between cream and off-white pages? Odds are, you can’t. People selling raw books know this. I don’t know how many times I have had sellers try to convince me to buy a book for double what it’s worth.  Someone told me yesterday that his raw Gold UPC Spider-Man #1 yesterday was a 9.9, no joke. I fell for these tricks countless times when I returned to collecting. I can’t think of too many other scenarios where people buy something for hundreds of dollars without knowing what they’re really investing in.

Let’s take a look at the Copper-Age king, Amazing Spider-Man #300 for example. A 9.8 has a fair market value of $4,300 while a 9.6 retails for $1500 or so these days. One barely visible spine tick and you have a $3000 difference. These margins are where sellers make their money and where you lose yours. My friend Joe will try and convince you that buying raw comics is a great idea, despite the obvious potential for disaster. Hey Joe, I have a bridge to sell you over here in NYC while we’re at it. Maybe I can interest you in a game of three-card Monte too?

Round #2 Second Swing…

Joseph: Lack of Industry Standard

eyJidWNrZXQiOiJnb2NvbGxlY3QuaW1hZ2VzLnB1YiIsImtleSI6ImE3OWRjOTIyLWJmZDAtNGQ5Ny1iNTI3LWVlYjgxOTViMTUwNi5qcGciLCJlZGl0cyI6W119-192x300 Blogger Dome: Slabbed vs RawI said this years ago in a comment printed by COMIC BUYERS’ GUIDE.  I feared that the company that graded the comic book would be considered more important than the comic book itself.  Is that now what we have in our industry?  The fact that there is no universal grading scale is a problem.  The Overstreet grading scale guide was the industry standard. We graded comics with one set of rules.  Now we have CGC, CBCS, and PGX who use different “guides” to grade books.  It is now like a puzzle, trying to fit each companies’ different grading criteria into a uniform system.  A 9.6 grade from CGC may not be a 9.6 from the other companies. So now instead of buying slabbed comics, you have to also buy the right slabbed comic.  I guess the package is more important than the comic now, Harry?

Imagine if during the Super Bowl Tom Brady was playing under one set of rules and Patrick Mahomes was playing under others.  The game would not be the same.  This is the same thing with graded comic books.  I thought that uncertainty was avoided with buying slabs, but I guess not.

Harry, it is ok.   You did not know any better.  Now you do!

Harry: Unpleasantly Surprised

If picking a raw book isn’t hard enough, I now present to you the dumpster fire of sending books off to get graded. Picture this: you copped a raw copy of Amazing Spider-Man #300 for $1000, a fairly common price for an ungraded, near-mint copy. You and the seller swear up and down it’s going to come back a 9.8 and you think you’re going to make thousands once you get it back. You’ve hit the proverbial comic lotto. Off to CGC it goes, and a few weeks later, a 9.4 with an FMV of $825 arrives at your doorstep. You have officially lost money on your investment between the price of the raw book and the cost of grading. You can resubmit, but that is more time and money.

So what happened? You most likely made the mistake, not CGC. Learning to grade comics properly takes years of practiceIMG_3143-300x201 Blogger Dome: Slabbed vs Raw and countless submissions. These learning curve submissions are painful. When I first started sending books off to get graded, I never knew what I was going to get back and every submission felt like a roll of the dice.

I know some collectors like to buy books raw, which they clean and press themselves, then send them off to maximize profits and eventually trade up. This is a great option if you’re an expert, if graded comic prices are prohibitive, or if you enjoy gambling. If your purpose is to invest, however, go graded. If you bought a graded 9.6 Amazing Spider-Man #300 last year, your investment has already doubled, and that’s without the headache of purchasing a raw comic and submitting it yourself. Joe is trying to take you to the casino, I’m trying to take you to the bank.

Round #3    Third Strike!

Joseph: GoCollect Readers put Time into Their Books

eyJidWNrZXQiOiJnb2NvbGxlY3QuaW1hZ2VzLnB1YiIsImtleSI6IjA5ZWMyMGU5LTJlNzktNDNmOC1hNzhlLWE2ZmQ2YTdiYmQxMy5qcGciLCJlZGl0cyI6W119-194x300 Blogger Dome: Slabbed vs RawI do not want to bring this to the reader’s attention, but  I feel I must.  Harry Stone III  thinks he is the smartest one in the room when it comes to comics.  He is trying to fool you into believing that buying slabbed books is the way to go.  Harry probably believes that all of you are so stupid that you put two quarters in your ears because you want to listen to 50 Cent.

I have nothing against selling books that you have had graded, but not buying graded books.  Our readers are some of the best and brightest in the hobby.  You all use research tools and resources to minimize expenses and maximize your profits. You bring magnifying glasses to inspect books to see subtle flaws others miss.  The GoCollect reader puts time into their books.  That is why you read our blogs, so why would you pay a premium to trust someone else’s work?  Harry is telling you to buy slabbed books because you know what you are getting.  The problem is that slabbed books can not tell you what went into the mind of the original person when they slabbed the book.  Questions exist that Harry can not address. Oops. Harry is probably now googling himself to find out where he lives.

It’s a Game

Pressing and cleaning a book could increase the grade, and thus the fair market value of the book.  Most buyers of slabbed comics ASSUME the book was pressed and cleaned.  Unless the book grades out at a 10.0, you never know if proper pressing or cleaning could have raised the grade of the book. It may seem silly to our readers, but some people do not have the books pressed or cleaned before grading in an attempt to save money.  This could cost you a higher grade and several thousand dollars.

The next question buyers of slabbed books ignore is how sophisticated the hobbyist was who slabbed the book.  Was the original owner smart and knowledgeable like our readers? Or were they rushing the process with limited funds?  Did the individual choose a good pressing company or did they do it by themselves with limited results? Once slabbed, you do not know the answer.  It is much better if you buy the book raw and then use the best presser to increase the potential for a higher grade after their work is done.  That way you control the process and know what actually went into the grade.  This will eliminate the true unknown of the comic book’s condition, which is present with slabbed books.

Our readers study books and review the different companies that press and clean comics.  They do not put their blind faith into trusting others.  Our readers are intelligent and put in the time because they know knowledge is money.  I guess Harry does not care to spend that time inspecting books like our readers.   Instead, he will pay a premium for blissful ignorance.

Enough with these body blows Harry… Get ready for the final blow that will destroy your case.  I want you knocked out!!!!

Harry: Time is Money

Buying a graded comic is as easy as hitting the buy-it-now button on eBay or strolling around your favorite convention. I find the extra money spent on buying a graded comic is worth it for the confidence in my investment and the time saved.IMG_3142-202x300 Blogger Dome: Slabbed vs Raw Many of us would love to buy and sell comics for a living, but for most, it’s a hobby or an investment alternative. Researching which comics to buy is time-consuming as is. If you go down the rabbit hole, it’s easy to spend hours on GoCollect sifting through sales data. When you have a job and a family, you don’t have the time to also browse for the perfect raw comic and then clean and press it for hours. That’s before submission, and for results that aren’t even guaranteed. Raw comics are cumbersome.

Raw comics and their turnaround time with CGC can also lead to missed opportunities. We are currently in a fast-moving market where we are seeing record-breaking prices across the board on a weekly basis. We are constantly bombarded by movie announcements. Everyone is tuned-in to Disney+.

Do you enjoy comic speculation? Do you have a theory on the next character to be introduced on WandaVision? If so, you don’t necessarily have the time to buy a raw comic and send it off to be graded to take advantage of a surge in price. Buy that first appearance of Mephisto graded already and take those profits now before it’s too late. Or you can listen to Joe, buy that raw Silver Surfer #3, send it off to get graded, and by the time it gets back we’ll find that The Beyonder was behind everything on the show. Womp womp.

FINISH HIM!!

Joseph: The Death Blow… Price

eyJidWNrZXQiOiJnb2NvbGxlY3QuaW1hZ2VzLnB1YiIsImtleSI6ImE4MGJiYTZmLThmOGItNDZkNS05NTQ2LWJiYTU4YTAyYTg0Yi5qcGciLCJlZGl0cyI6W119-193x300 Blogger Dome: Slabbed vs RawIf Nicolas Cage is reading this article, please ignore the next section.  Still reading this section?  I can now assume that most of you do not have millions of dollars to put into your comic book collection.   If that is the case, why would you pay a premium for a graded book?  A graded book sells for a premium because a third party graded the book.  The reason is that all the work has been taken out of the process.  Again, our readers are not lazy.  They put time and energy into the hobby.  As a result, most can review a book and approximate the grade of a third-party company that would be attached to that book.

Ask the seller for high-resolution scans.  Buy from reputable sellers and ask for references.  In addition, study books that have already been graded and review grading guides, if listed, that companies utilize.   Do all this and you can approximate a range of grades that the book should receive.  Once this is done, price those factors into what the book could be worth and then make a low purchase offer.

Use the fact that this book is not graded as a bargaining point.  If the seller is not going to put in the time and energy to grade the book, they may also not put in the energy to bargain on price.  I have purchased books on the cheap because of a seller’s laziness. Use your skills to find these deals and make them for your benefit.  Harry wants to ignore the higher cost associated with buying graded books.  I guess he missed my final punch. It should really be a knock-out-blow to any argument he could ever make. He would rather you waste your money like he wastes his words in trying to prove me wrong.

Harry: Comic Feng Shui668136_e040006170b05f2f57948f152feb94d27f5f0a79-195x300 Blogger Dome: Slabbed vs Raw

When it comes to comic books, I find that less is more. If you’re new to the hobby, it is very easy to get overzealous and buy up every comic that makes a hotlist. This often leads to collectors being disorganized and overwhelmed by burdensome long boxes full of raw comics. This excess of raw comics is how many collectors reluctantly end up becoming sellers in the first place.

I live in Manhattan, and as most New Yorkers can tell you, space is an issue. Comic collecting and investing should be fun, but when you start misplacing issues and renting out storage space for your comics it becomes a chore. I would personally rather have 20 high-grade comics displayed on my wall than 20 long boxes full of raw comics I can’t see any day. Joe will have you become a hoarder, don’t listen to Joe. More importantly, Joe is a Miles Morales naysayer. This is comic heresy.

Post-Fight Cool-Down

detail-198x300 Blogger Dome: Slabbed vs RawJoseph: I know that our readers are very knowledgeable.  You are already putting in the time and energy by using the GoCollect data.  Take that energy and learn how to properly grade raw books.  If you do so, you will find some books ignored by the vast majority in our hobby.  Buying raw books will also expose you to potential great deals that others will never experience because of the fear.  Why trust that the other guy knew what he was doing when he had the book graded. Sometimes the only person you can trust to do something right is yourself.

Harry Stone III wants you to pay a premium for peace of mind. I say that our GoCollect readers are smart enough to use their minds and skills to be able to purchase books raw and then have them graded at a later date.  I trust and believe in you.  Harry Stone III does not believe or trust you.  I say it is time for Harry to just tap out and realize our readers are smart enough to be able to purchase comic books without anyone having to hold their hands and grade their books before they buy them.  Give it up, Harry.  I know you think you are right. But you are the same guy who asked for a new donut because the one the waitress gave to you had a hole in it.  We are not buying the junk you are selling during this Blogger Dome Battle!!!!

Harry: What are your thoughts on buying graded vs raw comics? Are there any Battle Dome topics you would like to see in the future? Do you want to tell Joe he got smoked? Comment below!

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HARRY STONE III

Harry has loved comics since he began digging through long boxes at Forbidden Planet in 1980s New York City. His primary focus is investing in overlooked and undervalued Bronze, Copper and Modern Age keys. Don’t believe the hype! Check out Harry’s other blogs here!

Our newest GoCollect Swag drops tomorrow! Be sure to check out our newest bits and bobs!

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33 comments

JayPele February 15, 2021 - 6:56 pm

Grade and slab older comics made from newsprint. Getting Modern comics encapsulated is a game for suckers.

Reply
Joseph Overaitis February 15, 2021 - 7:14 pm

JayPele

Thanx for the comment. May i ask do you have any suggestions about other issues you would like to see in the blogger dome? We are always looking for topics

Reply
Ed Dee February 16, 2021 - 12:28 pm

Yes, take us step by step what to look for when estimating a grade of a raw comic.

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Joseph Overaitis February 16, 2021 - 1:05 pm

Ed

It would be hard to do the specifics but I can do a generalized process. I use the overstreet guide to grading that i have used for years. Even before CGC was an idea LOL. I did this with a couple of books. Look at cover, page colors, flaws, etc. Basically the works. Then I would assign it a rough grade based upon those overstreet. There is also online step by step grading tools you can use. Get that ball park grades though of how you see the book Dee. So lets say that Dee does all that and sees the book as a 8.0, 9.5 and 4.5. Now you send them to get graded and thy come back as 7.5, 9.4 and 3.5. Well you know you are an easier gradeer so when you buy raw books you can price it accordingly because you have a good baseline of how your grading differentiates from the grade it will probably receive. Then make your offer for an even lower grade for standard of deviation.

a friend who taught me how to do this is a harder grader than CGC. He looks at these books and then goes through the overstreet and online tools. He then gets his grades and buys the book with a target grade in mind. For the majority of books he gets they come in at higher than he graded them himself. As a result he got these books at a better price than he would have paid if they were graded. In addition he looks for books that can be pressed to have the book grade even higher after the defects are cured. Certain defects he knows can not be cured but others he says can be. It is a talent that needs to be developed. It takes time..but that time can save you money

Reply
Harry Stone III February 17, 2021 - 12:45 pm

Jay,

Thanks for reading. I generally agree but what do you think about slabbing valuable modern books like Ultimate Fallout 4 that would sit and accumulate damage in their polybags otherwise?

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K Matt Curtis February 16, 2021 - 12:23 pm

How about a discussion regarding pressing and cleaning; restoration, yes or no…

Reply
Joseph Overaitis February 16, 2021 - 1:06 pm

K Matt Curtis

I love that topic. Let me see what I can do.

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octoberland February 16, 2021 - 2:39 pm

I like the cleaning / pressing debate. I know it is a touch point for many. I think there could be something there. In my mind I have a line, but I know others who are far more open / closed on the issue.

– Craig Coffman

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Joseph Overaitis February 16, 2021 - 5:40 pm

Craig

I am glad we are having these debates. It educates us on how others think and how that influences the comic book market. K Matt and you may have different views on topic and yet both could influence a market segment. We may not always agree with what the other guy is thinking but that does not mean knowing what they think is not effecting the comic book market.

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octoberland February 16, 2021 - 12:55 pm

Nice article. I like the idea of the back and forth. I was just thinking of this topic last night, so reading your post is timely.

What got me thinking about raw/slabbed started from talking with my wife about signatures. Maybe a pro/con of signatures could be a thing? It does overlap with the slabbed raw (verified or not) debate. I always balk at the price jump for a signature I did not obtain, and often from an easy to get artist.

Anyway, maybe there is a debate in that space?

– Craig Coffman

Reply
Joseph Overaitis February 16, 2021 - 1:15 pm

Craig

I loved that topic. I was taught that a signature in old school grading was technically a flaw. I get a Golden Age Capt. America #1 and I have Chris Evans sign it. Does that make it more or less valuable? Great Idea.

Blogger Dome is a great way that we can present ideas that face our readers. There were some elements I never thought of when Harry and I discussed it. I thought of grading but not how getting something graded may be a time is of the essence event. I did not think he thought that if a book is graded what if it could have been pressed and received a higher grade. How many times do you look at a graded book and assume it was pressed when maybe if it had it would be a higher grade. I like blogger dome because you get an old school comic discussion like the old days at your LCS.

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octoberland February 16, 2021 - 2:43 pm

Thanks! Hopefully it gives you at least a hook to start with. I had heard similarly, and that most people signed inside to respect the artist. Now with everything in a case, the signature needs to be on the cover or else why bother? But if the signer doesn’t find a smart spot, it can wreck the art. Or so I think. And that’s beyond the idea of paying someone else for standing in a line if you buy a piece already signed. IMHO you just paid them to meet a creator and gain that experience so you can pay more for a book without that level of connection. Broad strokes, but it definitely keeps me away from most signed books.

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Harry Stone III February 17, 2021 - 12:50 pm

There’s definitely room for debate here. Personally, I think a signature on anything before the Copper Age is a crime.I also wouldn’t pay for a signature outside of Stan Lee since meeting the artist myself is what its about for me. CGC has definitely encouraged people to get more signatures and I think Signature Series will eventually cut into the raw population making them even more rare.

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Galen February 16, 2021 - 3:38 pm

This is a great article!

For me, it’s dependent on the book and how much I like the book, its age, and whether I can afford the book that factors in to whether I want to buy a raw or slabbed book.

One of the things that came to my mind about slabs was how chromium and hologram covers and bagged books with trading cards in them are graded. Would love to see an article about this.

Reply
Joseph Overaitis February 16, 2021 - 5:38 pm

Galen

Thank you for the comment. Harry put forth some great arguments during our pregame discussion that went beyond the mere simple approach. It made us think of more complex issues and some that people may not realize (fast turn around for speculation like for MCU TV Shows; books graded not pressed that could increase in value). Glad you liked it.

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Ken Johnson February 16, 2021 - 4:56 pm

Loved the discussion. Have to side with HSIII on this one. Its purely a matter of the time I have to devote to the hobby (and I devote a lot) and therefore don’t want to be too wrong (occasional grading error) and hence the slabs. When I buy raw its general a lot or a run of comics and believe me it takes all my energy to open each individual comic and flip through them for imperfections not noted. I guess I fall into Joseph’s uneducated group because I don’t know how to grade comics (sounds like a cool retirement hobby) so for now I buy slabbed and then display them. P.S. I’ve watched cleaning and pressing videos and I can just see my entire raw collection going up in smoke on the first attempt.

Looking ahead maybe you guys can discuss best covers to own: hero vs hero (Spiderman/Daredevil – Daredevil #16) or hero vs villain (Spiderman/Rhino – Spidey #41) or another topic: X-Men (original vs new vs newer?).

Finally I like the previous topic posted on signature versions.

Reply
Joseph Overaitis February 16, 2021 - 5:36 pm

Ken

Even if you love slabbed learn to find defects and to see if books were pressed. I have seen a few where they had defects that could be cured by pressing to improve the grade. I am glad you loved the discussion. Harry was a great debater and we loved putting it together for the fans. I guess we hoped it would present the topic in an entertaining light that educated people. If we could give you some new information that maybe you did not think of that was the goal.

PS you are not uneducated. The mere fact that you read gocollect puts you in that educated class. Consider it a tool you have not added to your collection quite yet but I bet you are better than you give yourself credit.

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Jason Maggio February 17, 2021 - 6:28 am

Grading standards change over the years. I have an ASM 129 graded many years ago with 3 noticeable minor flaws that came back as a 9.4. Last year I submitted my walking dead 1-10 and all came back 9.4 with grader notes that a fingerprint was on the cover!

Slabs should contain the date graded and if cleaning and pressing was done.

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Joseph Overaitis February 17, 2021 - 10:00 am

Jason

I agree with the cleaning and pressing part as well as the date graded. It would be a great way to know if a book may receive a higher grade. Imagine the money a grading company could get if the book was regraded? No guarantees but still that chance for a smaller than original fee? Your idea of pressing and cleaned would make a lot of buyers happy.

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Harry Stone III February 17, 2021 - 12:56 pm

Ken,

Cleaning and pressing comes with a giant learning curve. Its fun and can pay off, but if you’re going to take that dive, make sure you practice on books that are absolutely worthless. When I first started, I used the most beat up and worthless comics I had at the time, my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comics from when I was a kid. I butchered many of them and am kicking myself after the year they just had. Moral of the story, you never know when something might go from worthless to worth thousands. I eventually went on to practice on dollar comic books I would pick up at my library. Can’t go wrong practicing on those.

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Jeff February 16, 2021 - 5:53 pm

Great stuff gentlemen! I created GoCollect back in the day out of frustrations around many of the topics that were brought up here. For me, the value of a book is always going to be whatever someone will pay for it. But due to the niche I collect within, emotion plays a huge role and can often get the best of me. See, I love… no I LOVE golden age comics. In particular, I love the covers and the glimpse they provide into the mindset of the times. And those that are generally referred to as “classic covers” get me all warm and fuzzy inside. Oh yea, if at all possible I also get a thrill out of knowing (or at least thinking I know) that I own one of the very nicest copies that exist. In the realm of golden age, 100 copies being known to exist means there are a lot of that one out there. It’s a market where appreciation of preservation can be just as exciting as what was preserved. For many, many GA books, there are less than 10 copies known to even exist. And most of the time a 7.0 is considered “high grade.” Sometimes, that 7.0 can be the best known copy. It gets me all excited just thinking about them!!!! But therein lies the rub, right? When my emotions get the best of me, I tend to see a 5.0 as more of a 7.0. Or (worse yet) have the ability to completely disregard any thought of scrutinizing a book to see if it holds any level of restoration. So I personally rely on the grading companies to keep me (and those whom I’m possibly bidding against) in-check to ensure I’m not blindly overpaying. Before GoCollect, I would look up past sales on another site, but I hated that I couldn’t see the actual book that was sold. I personally love when a GA book has bright, vibrant colors… most of them do not. But often times that can’t be detected in the grade or page quality alone. You have to either hold the book or compare it to others in similar grades to feel good about what you’re about to pay for something. If you study within your niche, you’ll quickly understand differences between a 9.0 from company A vs. what to look out for in a 9.0 from company B. So for me, being able to see the actual books that sold is intensely helpful… and can often be the eye-opener within golden age books as to when a book was re-holdered. When I want to bid on a book where only a handful of copies exist, I go straight to the sales history to see if this is a resurfaced copy. GA books essentially have their own fingerprint that’s easy to detect with good imagery. Finally, I have no choice but to buy on opportunity. And most of those opportunities come out of the biggest and best online auction houses, because the seller (rightfully so) wants to maximize exposure and price. For my collecting interests, I’m extremely grateful for the grading companies for stepping in and leveling the playing field. Without them, the market wouldn’t be where it is today. They allow the casual collector/investor to more easily tap into that emotional drive that I do… and the flywheel of value vs. excitement vs. raw vs. grade keeps turning. – Jeff

Reply
Joseph Overaitis February 16, 2021 - 6:59 pm

Jeff

Thanks for the comment. Harry was a great opponent and he brought out the best in me and I think vice versa. Before I wrote for the site I studied it. It was the best tool I could find in that was my new “Overstreet”. GoCollect provides me real time data I could find no where else. The one advantage that I think is completely ignored by a lot of individuals is that the GoCollect FMV is more important for raw books than anything else. I have seen collectors scared off because a book is not graded. Online that can be a problem but if you put some time in studying how grading companies grade their books and then review GoCollect data you can find books that others are afraid to purchase because of that fear of the unknown. Grading companies have leveled the playing field. I hate all of you LOL (joking). It is like they gave everyone the teams playbook. To get that edge back I think that using the tools that can be mined from the GoCollect data beyond mere FMV as well as studying how the companies grade books gives people an advantage lost after third party grading companies became in vogue.

I love golden age books and if more people want I will write about it, but again you are right in that certain books have fingerprints people can track. GoCollect gave me the tools to find books though out in the wild and when you find a GA book that is so clean a condition and then you see what it should sell for you feel like you found hidden treasure when your purchase price is not close to the FMV!

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Harry Stone III February 17, 2021 - 1:16 pm

Jeff,

I am definitely prone to excited, impulsive buying myself which is why graded books are great. They make it harder for a seller to take advantage of that. On a separate note, thanks for creating GoCollect. I think comic grading and GoCollect together have changed how people collect permanently. Now everyone can see which books have low populations and are undervalued with a simple search and I think that has played a role in a lot of comics breaking records in the last several years. Like Joe, I was a big fan of the site before writing for it. It’s been cool to go from digging through sales histories to writing for the site. Thank you for giving us the tool to chase down truly rare comics and know what we are working with. By the way if you ever want to relieve yourself of some GA books let me know lol.

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Chase Girard February 16, 2021 - 9:13 pm

I am an online comic book seller and collector and I try very hard to be as transparent and honest with my grades as I would want the people from whom i buy comics online to be (the golden rule and all).

One thing that I wish more online comic book vendors would know about is an app called Spot On Grading (available in the google Play Store for free). It is a CGC-style grading wizard that i use for each book that i list online for sale. I find that it helps to eliminate any bias that I might unintentionally allow to affect the grades i assign to my books, as well as to maintain consistency regarding the grades. (No it is not my app and this is not a shameless attempt at advertising. I am not connected to the app in any way other than a user and proponent of its utility.)

I don’t have to tell anyone who reads this blog just how difficult it can be to get reliable information regarding the things that professional graders look for and how each flaw impacts the overall grade. Professional grading services are notoriously secretive about their methods so it can be extremely tough to assign a grade that is close to what the professionals would grade it. But this app is the closest way I’ve found to obtain accurate grades without having to spend hundreds of dollars, not to mention waiting 2 months for your books to come back. Time is money, as they say.

I can personally attest to the app’s accuracy. I recently made my first submission to CGC and before i sent off my books to be graded i used the app to grade each book so that i would be able to compare the app’s grades to what CGC actually graded the exact same book. I sent in an Amazing Spider-Man 252 (app: 9.6, CGC: 9.6), a Rick and Morty 1 BAM variant (app: 9.4, CGC: 9.4), a Rick and Morty 1 blank variant (app: 9.8, CGC: 9.8), a Year of the Villain Hell Arisen 3 1st print (app: 9.8, CGC: 9.8), & a Batman 92 Jimenez 1-per-store variant (app: 9.8, CGC: 9.8). As you can see, I was very happy with my grades but more importantly I was happy with the app’s accuracy.

The only real criticism I have with the app is that it is more difficult to arrive at a confident grade when using it on mid to low grade books (books grading at less than 6.0). There are just so many different kinds of flaws that you run into on well-worn books that are 25+ years old. The app provides a tutorial video to help you get used to using the app and answering the questions but it’s not perfect. Where it really shines is helping you answer questions like: is your book an 8.5 or a 9.0? Is it a 9.6 or a 9.4? A 9.4 or a 9.2?

An additional benefit to using the app is after using it for a while you begin to be able to quickly and confidently assess books in the wild for grades which is very helpful when trying to determine whether an asking price at your LCS is appropriate. I wish more vendors would utilize this tool so that this debate over slabbed vs raw might lose some of its significance and our shared back-issue marketplace might become less predatory.

Chase
Chase_Comics_of_Colorado

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Harry Stone III February 17, 2021 - 1:01 pm

This sounds super interesting. I’ll have to check this out and maybe write about it in the future. I hate to say it but you’re right about the market often being predatory.

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Joseph Overaitis February 16, 2021 - 10:32 pm

GoCollect Readers

I hope you enjoyed this first blogger dome. I want to be serious for a moment and say that Harry was the perfect opponent for this match. In fact he had a difficult task in that he had to flesh out more than the simple position of why graded books are better than raw than certainty. His research and dedication to the article was outstanding. He wanted to make sure people were educated beyond what other blogs on different sites present. I thought I had a good game with my arguments but Harry came ready for battle as well.

I like to answer one question that I think Harry and I can agree. Who was the winner of the first blogger dome. I think it was both bloggers. The reason is because of you our readers. Providing insight while trying to entertain you is something we both enjoy. Thank you all for letting us do that in the first blogger dome!!!!!

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Harry Stone III February 17, 2021 - 1:17 pm

It was a pleasure Joe. Let’s get this rematch going and we can all learn together.

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Obi-Wan Stalloni February 17, 2021 - 9:49 am

So much fun to read! Well done!!

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Joseph Overaitis February 17, 2021 - 9:55 am

Obi Wan

Thank you for the comment. Welcome to the boards. We value your input so make it a habit ok?

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GARRY S February 18, 2021 - 5:21 pm

I love this new segment! I often find myself reading the comment section after reading the GoCollect articles to see other opinions. Sadly, there usually aren’t many comments or differing of opinions. This new blog does just that! And, done in a fun way not just listed as pros and cons. Great job guys, keep it up! I could read these daily!

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Joseph Overaitis February 18, 2021 - 10:22 pm

Gary

Thank you for the post. Keep your comments coming. Harry and I loved the blog and in the future maybe you will see others you like. We tried to find things to say that not only differed, but that maybe were not exposed before. I loved his comment again about taking advantage of hot trends before they expired. I really am more of a long term investor so short term day trading I maybe ignored. When I mentioned not knowing if a graded book was pressed may not seem like a lot to know but imagine if the difference was a few thousand dollars! We are trying to give more to our readers because it is you guys who make this site what it is today!!!

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Harry Stone III February 19, 2021 - 11:20 am

Garry,

I felt like the comment section was underutilized for discussion myself, hopefully this new format changes that up a bit. This lays out some differing views for everyone to debate. There’s a cool one coming on Monday about Variants vs Directs that you’d probably enjoy and Joe and I will be at it again next month. Thanks for the read.

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Joseph Overaitis February 19, 2021 - 6:09 pm

Harry

I cant wait for the variant versus direct throw down.

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