So early in my collecting days, I thought a graded 9.8 had to have white pages. A graded 9.8 was pretty much the cream of the crop in collectibles. No one really gets anything higher, so a 9.8 in most people’s eyes is what they want. Don’t even think about getting a 9.9 or a gem mint 10. As far as graded 9.8s are concerned, white pages rank at the top of the color scale. You be the judge, do they really matter?
I never really noticed off-white to white pages and definitely never saw a graded 9.8 sample having off-white pages. Go figure. I used to think the higher premium goes to the graded 9.8 with white pages and any other page quality was a little bit of a discount for buyers. Similar to the argument between CGC versus CBCS sale price differences. I might have been wrong. I am seeing graded 9.8s selling for premiums no matter what the page quality is nowadays. Are buyers getting desperate?
Every collector of graded comics is familiar with the information label located at the top of each slabbed book. The most important part is, of course, the grade, ranging from 0.5 to 10. In addition to the grade, other details that could impact the value of the book such as spine tears, ripped pages, and color breaks are also noted from the serial number given. Above the serial number assigned to each book is the page quality. A book with pristine, bright pages ranks at the top of the color scale and is most desirable, especially for modern age books. Other examples are off-white to white, off-white, a mix of tan and cream colors, and then at the bottom are the extreme cases of dark tan or brittle pages. The most common type of page quality you will see are:
I realize page quality may not matter for some collectors on graded 9.8s, but for other collectors,’ white pages are the only thing they want. To each their own. You decide.
AMAZING SPIDERMAN #316 (1989)
This is one of those covers that any collector wants in their collection, especially Todd McFarlane fans. Amazing Spiderman #316 features the 3rd appearance of Venom and is also the 1st full cover appearance of the symbiote baddie. Pretty cool cover, if you ask me. A graded CGC 9.8 copy with off-white/white pages sold on eBay last month for $470. Believe it or not, a graded CGC 9.8 copy with similarly colored pages sold for $570 a week before that. Go figure! Another graded CGC 9.8 copy with perfectly bight pages sold in the same month for $625.
As you can see, there is a little bit of a disparity, especially between the off-white/white pages and white pages. Ironically, not as much when compared to off-white pages. In many cases, I have seen other page qualities, though not perfect pages, sell for just as much as white pages. It seems page quality on a graded book does not matter. It’s more about the actual grade.
There you have it. Please keep in mind this sample size is just one example so any conclusions must be made knowing that a bigger sample size involving hundreds, preferably thousands, of transactions could come to a more permanent conclusion. Fortunately, numerous graded transactions are happening every day with varying page qualities and more sales examples will be shared in the next installment of this article. Next time you’re wondering whether to pull the trigger on a book with off-white to white or off-white pages, bear in mind this evidence. Bid knowing that the value of the book should not be materially impacted due to its less than white pages. It is starting to be a non-factor amongst some collectors. Either way, I wish you luck in your comic book collecting endeavor. Until next time you comic book junkies…
Please share your thoughts about graded 9.8s and the page quality. Do you only collect 9.8s with perfectly bright pages? Does page quality matter? Or are you more concerned with the overall grade? Would you want a graded 9.8 that has off-white to white pages? How about a graded 9.8 with off-white pages? Let the community know.
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