It’s true that condition is everything when it comes to collectibles, and concert posters are no exception. Here’s an overview of CGC concert poster grading. We hope it helps you understand the value of graded concert posters.
A few old pinholes, small signs of restoration, or a minuscule crease can make a huge difference when assessing the value of a poster. While many independent retailers have their own grading scale and criteria, Certified Guaranty Company (CGC) is currently the most widely-trusted third-party grading service when it comes to posters. It’s also the service we pull most of our data from here at GoCollect.
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CGC currently accepts submissions from five vintage concert poster series. This includes Bill Graham (BG), Family Dog (FD), Grande Ballroom (G/G), Neon Rose (NR), and Art of Rock (AOR). Additionally, they accept submissions for a few modern poster series. These include Bill Graham Presents (BGP), New Fillmore, and Moonalice. CGC accepts posters, handbills, and postcards for grading. Pricing varies on estimated poster value. You can see more information about that here.
CGC Grading Labels
CGC assigns various labels based on certain factors relating to condition when they begin concert poster grading. There are three main labels that apply to a majority of concert posters. These are the universal blue label, the CGC Signature Series yellow label, and the restored purple label. The universal label indicates that there are no special considerations pertaining to the graded poster. It is simply graded as marked. This is the most common label for a CGC graded poster to receive.
The Signature Series yellow label specifies that the poster has been signed by someone of importance to the piece. This could be a band member or a poster artist. In order for a signed piece to qualify for the Signature Series, it must have been signed under the direct supervision of a CGC representative. In rare circumstances, however, CGC will accept verified signatures from the individual whose signature appears. Because of these specifications, this is a relatively rare label to come across.
The restored label appears on a poster that shows signs that it was repaired in order to restore its appearance to its original condition. There are varying degrees of restoration that CGC takes into consideration. They use a grading scale of A, B, or C to denote the quality of the restoration. This is based on visual quality and the materials used for restoration. They also apply a quantity scale of 1-5, which is based on the extent of the restoration. Thus, A-1 would signify that there was very slight restoration to the original poster. C-5 would tell you that a piece had been more dramatically restored. This restoration grade will appear above the poster’s overall grade on the CGC label. Any restoration to a poster can greatly impact its value.
CGC employs a detailed 10 point grading scale for every poster they grade. This, in turn, determines the value of the piece. A grade of 10, or “gem mint,” is awarded only to posters in absolutely perfect condition, essentially looking as though it just came off of a printing press. A 9.9, 9.8, 9.6, 9.4, 9.2, or a 9.0 grade applies to mint or near mint posters that have a range of minor handling and/or manufacturing defects.
An 8.5 or an 8.0 denotes that a poster exhibits a moderate defect or a small number of total defects, but still looks quite presentable. A 7.5, 7.0, or 6.5 signifies an above-average piece in terms of appearance but has either a major defect or a large number of small ones. A 6.0 or a 5.5 grade will mean that a poster is slightly above average in terms of appearance, but exhibits major defects or several moderate ones. Every lower grade will determine that a poster shows significant damage and evidence of handling.
The Importance of Grade
Don’t underestimate the value of concert poster grading. A grade from a company like CGC not only determines the value of your poster but guarantees its authenticity. Consider investing in graded collectibles. Also, think about having your own collection graded by a professional. You may be surprised by how valuable your collection already is!
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