EGS Comic Grading: An Alternative Worth Checking Out

by Alan Harper

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I’ve thought it; you’ve probably thought about it – I should have started a grading company.  Anthony Trombetta actually did it.  Expert Grading Services is delivering a product with a difference that should make everyone with an interest in graded comics take note.  I had a chance to talk with the EGS President recently and learned a lot about what EGS Comic Grading is trying to bring to the previously monopolistic world of comic grading.  His focus on transparency, quality grading, artistic labels, and faster turn-around times are all positives.

Five Years Ago

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In 2017, Tony wondered if there was room for another grading company in the comic collectibles industry.  He was already working grading comics and was pursuing a certification in grading; he put out some feelers in the comic community about a new service. His mission was to create a grading company that would address many of the frustrations collectors experience in turn-around time and consistency in grading and maybe, just maybe, even provide a better product.

The biggest initial challenge was how to slab graded books.  In 2018, Tony opened his doors with the Comic Skins product. He would use this to seal books internally and combine with tamper-proof security stickers.  Early reviews of the EGS product took issues with the tabs on the top and the security stickers, which distracted from the presentation of the graded slab.  Even with those criticisms, EGC has continued to grow over 50% annually every year since opening.

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Papa’s Got a Brand New Case

EGS is now manufacturing its own proprietary slab which it will begin using in late summer or early fall of 2022.  It will be similar to other slabs being produced in clarity and security.  Tony described it as thinner than the CGC slab and a bit thicker than the CBCS slab.  It will be grooved for easier stacking (no sliding off and having your case get scratched) and will have the usual labeling on the end for easy identification while boxed.

This will be a huge step up from the current EGS product.  Plastic supplies are still an issue globally and contribute to the 90-day turn-around time for EGS on standard orders.  The new product, which will be produced in Utah, should provide better access to this critical input material.  But this puts EGS just on par with everyone else, it isn’t what separates them from the field.

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Why Did My Book Get That Grade?

Grading comics, according to Tony, is not rocket science, nor is it magic.  There is a subjective element, of course, but EGS strives to grade straight by the Overstreet Guidelines.  Here is the kicker – they tell you exactly why your book received the grade it was given in detailed certification notes.

Many of us have been left wondering at the vague notes provided by the big grading companies.  Not knowing exactly all the details seems to be a way to keep criticism at bay – it’s hard to take issue with what they won’t tell you.  Tony believes that each grading house has a slightly different standard or interpretation of standards which leads to debates – do you still get a 9.8 grade with two spine ticks, with three, maybe with four?

Everyone should have the same standard, but the reality is that they don’t.  While collectors will continue to ‘shop’ the various reputable grading companies for the best grade, with EGS you will know what caused the book to receive a certain grade.

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Value Added – The Labels

The other fascinating thing about EGS is that you can select your own color for a grading label.  This makes so much sense, I have to believe that other companies will have to add this feature or lose ground.  Everyone I know with graded books loves to display them and there is no reason to have only a blue or yellow label as a required top portion of a display.

EGS-graded books can use selected colors or have specially designed labels that enhance the presentation.  Would you rather have a 9.8 book with a blue label or the same 9.8 book with a fantastic label that integrates the book cover?  I wondered if people would pay for this extra feature and Tony reports that about 80% of his work includes a specially colored or designed label.

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Turn around time at CGC or CBCS for standard grading is pushing six+ months.  This seems crazy for a variety of reasons but if there are no other legitimate options, then why would the big grading houses improve their service or turnaround time?

EGS says they are committed to keeping a 60/90-business day turnaround and bringing in the staff to do it if the plastic slabs can stay in inventory.  I don’t care if you are a collector or investor, a quality product with a better TAT is worth considering.

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How Can I Not Try EGS?

It is a great plan.  Now, let’s see it comes together.  Reviews of EGS-graded books appear to be solid.  There is extra value to me in getting detailed notes and an option to improve the display of some books I have in mind.  If the TAT is close to half of the projected time of CGC, it will be a win.  The fundamental product of quality grading has to happen in order to be accepted by the community as a whole, but EGS seems to be on its way. They’re also active on Instagram – check it out!

I will send off a variety of books, including a book I’ve been thinking of cracking. We’ll see how EGS compares.  I will report back when I get to unbox them.  Let me know if anyone else decides to give EGS a try, or if you have already.

Check out more Grading coverage!

AAA-Alan-Harper-footer EGS Comic Grading: An Alternative Worth Checking Out*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.
**This blog was not sponsored nor requested by EGS. 

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Kenloi June 26, 2022 - 10:19 am

Wasn’t sure about EGS. Want to get books graded for the first time but still unsure about which company to use. I am seriously considereing EGS. Important to me – 1: Clear website with easy to follow pricing for all services. CGC and CBCS to me unclear. 2: Accurate professional grading that stands up to criticism with free in depth notes. 3: Lower cost compared to the other two grading companies. 4: Quick turnover with quality. 9 weeks including press? 5::Professional designed header labels with the all important hologram shiny logo of quality. Love CGC hologram label. Along the same lines. 6: Possibilities to add certificates inside with signature reassurance verification of unwitnessed signatures. 7: Low priced professional press and dry clean available using only the best 8: Professional aquaeous cleaning services with clear pricing and not down graded as preservation. Wet cleaning indicated on label. Dry cleaning and press also indicated perhaps on back. 9: Large magazines graded. Especially early 2000ad.

Redskydigger June 26, 2022 - 2:40 pm

Thanks for looking into this! I look forward to seeing the results.

GQGuyforComics June 26, 2022 - 10:20 pm

im wondering what got the writer to do something like this , cgc can use the image of stanlee for signature series, images of spiderman etc on their slabs. there is already enough discrepancy with choosing to buy cgc or cbcs slabs wherein clear preference choice that often cbcs slab books sold a bit lower than same grade counterparts of cgc. what is it for EGS can offer to collectors or sellers more than a great return or maximize the value of the book ?

Grant June 27, 2022 - 10:00 am

Neither CGC nor CBC does labels like these, though. I like the customizable colors. And as far as resale value, not everyone slabs to sell. Some of us just like the way they look and want to preserve them.

Alan Harper June 27, 2022 - 10:41 pm

My hope is that sharing the information about options makes a better market place. I don’t think this is the end of shopping books around for the best grades. I have certainly looked at CGC grades as the standard but I do think there is room, and benefit to lots of collectors, if there are multiple reputable grading services. Plus, the books I know I just want to display, I like the option of the unique labels. Time will tell.

GQGuyforComics June 28, 2022 - 10:02 pm

thanks for replying, its really a gamble sending books for grading. the hardest part has always been the decision factor for comic owners and the graders on how much the grade should be ,did the standard was followed to the dot versus to each one understanding and the graders opinion on the matter. its like ref’s in a basketball game. the rules are rules but what happen on the court during the play have always been under their discrepancy by their own reasons. i understand the service , the choice of colors or even the price. if grading a book is a given that its prone to issues , then whats the next thing you consider ? best return of your investment? no matter what angle you have for grading it. bottom line you wanted to obtain the best situation for your collection/investment be.

Michael June 27, 2022 - 8:46 am

If anyone uses this company, you will most liking get a 9.8 on a new book. This company gives out 9.8s like candy on Halloween. If anyone has used this company, I dare you to send it to any of the 2 big companies. Bet you don’t have a true 9.8.

Grant June 27, 2022 - 10:17 am

What an ignorant thing to say – any new comic stands a good chance of hitting 9.8 if it’s been taken care of since purchase.

Sean June 27, 2022 - 12:09 pm

This sounds great. CGC is a joke because their grading is sometimes WAY off and they have no accoountability if a grading mistake is made. A grading company should stand by their grading. We know slight subjectivity is unavoidable,
but if a grade is way off beyond a half of a whole grade, a customer should be allowed to have it regraded at no cost. I think revealing on a label why a comic was graded is the way it was, is a good step towards “professional grading” being not just professional in name only.

Alan Harper June 27, 2022 - 10:38 pm

I am hoping that the notes and consistency of grading is something that comes from this commercial competition. The worst outcome for everyone is a race to the bottom of easy grading but in a business where reputation is everything, I hope that isn’t the path taken.

Timothy Guerrero June 29, 2022 - 12:36 pm

I’d like to try them out when they get their own cases. Could you let us know wheb they do? I’ll send in a batch of moderns to try them out.

Gary June 28, 2022 - 3:15 pm

I submitted some books earlier this year to EGS for raw grade only. They were Silver-Age non-keys and I thought all of them were in the 6.0 range. Also none were pressed. All but one graded lower than I had estimated. Unfortunately on raw grading, they don’t include any notes so I was not able to compare their notes to mine. If appears they are very strict on the older books. Have not sent them any moderns yet as I’m waiting for the new cases. I do like the customizable labels.

bsc249 July 2, 2022 - 4:21 pm

Dang it! I just read this a week after joining CGC. Never heard of them till reading this. A TAT of 60-90 days and more customizable labels. Sounds like a win for next year. Now I just have to decide if I want save my favorite books another year before grading…


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