Welcome back to Collecting 101 — CGC Edition! Today I’ll be walking you through the different CGC labels and what they mean. All of those colors, and sometimes they even combine colors! Each color label does encompass all comic book eras, starting with the Golden Age.
CGC Universal — Blue
The Universal Blue label is a label most collectors want for their books, and what they (usually) want to buy. This label indicates that your book is not restored, signed, or tampered with. Blue labels can be No Grade, all the way to 10.0 Mint.
Most modern, unchanged books receive a 9.8 grade, which is universally accepted as the mint grade everyone wants.
Blue labels also encompass the lowest possible grade — the no grade. A blue NG label applies to books without covers, or half (if not more) of the interior. There is also the blue label PG, for individual pages, and CVR for covers. No grades, pages, and covers can yield a return, so don’t shy away!
The last blue label, the conservation label, indicates a book that has been conserved — such as cleaning the book or replacing a staple (which is not to be confused with restoration).
CGC Signature Series — Yellow
The Signature Series label is also a label most collectors want. A solid yellow label indicates a book has not been tampered with outside of a signature.
A CGC witness must be present at the time of the signing to authenticate said signature, otherwise the comic will not get a yellow label. In some cases CGC will authenticate a signature without a witness — usually only if the book is coming directly from a publisher.
Yellow can also combine with other colors as well, such as yellow and purple (restoration), yellow and green (qualified), and yellow and grey (conservation). A solid yellow can help the value of a comic, even when combined with purple or green.
CGC Qualified Label — Green
The Qualified label is for books with a defect that needs to be specified. Such as a coupon that was cut out. It can also be used for signatures that were not witnessed by a CGC witness.
While a green label isn’t a bad thing, it may not help the value of your book. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule — Action Comics #1 will always command top dollar regardless of the label. As said before, a green label can also be combined with a yellow label.
CGC Restored Label — Purple
The Restored label is exactly as it sounds. It’s given to books that have had restoration — be it amateur or professional. Many investors and collectors view a purple label as the kiss of death, but a purple label on highly sought after books, such as Amazing Fantasy #15 or Pep Comics #22, can make those books affordable for collectors. There is the risk you won’t see a return on a restored investment, but if you want a key grail this is a great way to go. As said before, a purple label can also be combined with yellow.
CGC Pedigree Label — Gold
The Pedigree label is a label no one should shy away from. A book with a gold label is recognized by CGC as being a part of a larger pedigree collection — such as the Mile High collection.
This label is similar to the blue label (in that it can act as a universal grade), and has the potential to net you a return on your investment. There are also several different Pedigrees acknowledged by CGC. To see them all, click here.
Got a question for me about the different labels? Let me know in the comments below!