CGC 101: Is Restoration the Kiss of death?

by Lauren Sisselman

022522B-1024x536 CGC 101: Is Restoration the Kiss of death?Welcome back to CGC 101! Today we’ll be talking about a rather hot topic — restoration in comic books. Per CGC’s website;

Restoration is the act of adding foreign material to a comic book through certain techniques to return its appearance to an ideal or original state.

Restoring isn’t new to the party IMG_8410-Large-300x200-1 CGC 101: Is Restoration the Kiss of death?

Restoring paper material is nothing new; the practice has been around for a long time. Restoring items, in general, has been a way to preserve the longevity of the said item. But comic books seem to face much more scrutiny in restoration than, say, your grandmother’s antique china cabinet.

Many fans view restoration poorly and would prefer to take a lower grade Universal blue label than a Restored purple label.  This is due in part to mistrust when it comes to restoration, as well as purple label books being largely less valuable than their blue label counterparts. One collector, JD Yoders from the CGC Comics Fans Facebook group simply said:

Yes. Restored books are inherently less valuable. I’d rather have a beaten up original copy than a restored one

s-l1600-7-e1645809254835-199x300 CGC 101: Is Restoration the Kiss of death?Does blue always beat purple?

This seems to be the general consensus with many collectors, who will happily take .5 blue label books than a restored any day of the week. Collector Scott D’Errico from the CGC Comics Fans Facebook group believes it does depend on the book;

It also depends on the rarity of the book itself. I knowingly purchased a restored copy of All Select #2 last year because there are only a total of 37 copies on the CGC cencus.

Scott would then go on to send the book to Kenny Sanderson to have the restoration removed, and instead opting to have the book conserved. But conservation is a topic for another day!

Mistrust with restoration stems largely from collectors buying raw books only to find out after grading that they are restored, as restoration can sometimes be hard to detect. Other times the restoration is crude, resulting in the book appearing worse than it would have unrestored.

Yet despite that, restoration can be a great and affordable way for many fans to get the books of their dreams. I personally owned a restored Pep Comics #22 as that was the only way I’d get my grail book. As stated earlier, purple label books typically go for less than blue. Depending on the book you could still make a profit off of it, even with a purple label.

lf-2022-02-25T121601.910-e1645883418279-197x300 CGC 101: Is Restoration the Kiss of death?

Detective Comics #27 always commands high dollar amounts regardless of the grade. For example, a blue label 8.0 sold for $107,550 in 2010. Four years later a purple label (trimmed) sold for $137000. While this is a rather extreme example, it does highlight the price discrepancy but also shows purple keys can be more affordable. Detective Comics #27 is also a rare comic, so finding one in any grade or condition is worthwhile!

Many fans agreed that restoration on books newer than silver age will not fare well once it’s time to resell. Golden Age books seem to have more leniency due to the scarcity of many of the books published, and a restored modern book? Why bother?


Overall, restored books do have a somewhat lukewarm reception to collectors. Perhaps you are a collector who sees the value in a well-loved book, or maybe you want a presentable copy of a Golden Age key. No matter what kind of books you collect, your collection should always be about what you love, no matter what the label is!

AAA-Lauren-Baltimore-Footer CGC 101: Is Restoration the Kiss of death?*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not reflect investment advice on behalf of GoCollect

You may also like


Jay Pele February 26, 2022 - 6:08 pm

Restoration matters, I think it will always matter regardless of rarity or age, an unrestored copy should always sell for more than a restored copy, in the same grade. The thing is, sometimes you have no choice as a collector, if you want a copy of some of the rarest comics, you take what you can get. When the census is in low double-digits, or even single digits, your options are limited, and when a book you want becomes available, you need to move on it.

val March 2, 2022 - 8:37 pm

it’s ok to restore masterpiece paintings, but not comic book?

Jay Pele April 6, 2022 - 8:55 am

Yes, because masterpiece paintings are much older, they’re usually, and quite literally, falling apart. If they weren’t restored they would be dust. They’re also entirely unique. With comics there are many, many copies of any given issue and the unrestored copies are more desirable to collectors, then much further down are the copies that have been restapled, color-touched, trimmed, or bleached.

Chris Nariz February 26, 2022 - 7:42 pm

Great article 😃

nicholas Dalessandro February 27, 2022 - 6:22 am

I believe people should avoid restoring books… the exception in my mind maybe removing rusty staples that will harm the book even in the protective shell


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: