This is a tough question for many collectors. So you have spent time and money searching for a comic you really wanted. Doesn’t matter what it is or who it’s about, you love it and need to have it. Now that it’s in your hands how do you protect it? Of course, you can use Mylars or Polybags but this is your baby. This is the book you had to have. It can’t sit in a bag, and unfortunately, no matter how many times you call, Fort Knox will not safeguard your books.
So how do you protect them from the nasty UV rays of the nuclear light bulb in the sky or from greasy fingers pawing at your book?
Encapsulation! This is where you send your comic to a company, who will grade your book and place it in a rigid plastic case where it will be safe. Well, as long as you keep it away from that pesky hovering light bulb. Below I have included 4 companies that grade comic books. Although there might be others out there, these are the four that I have personally seen used most often.
CGC is a very well-known and reputable company. They are one of the best in the field according to many collectors. CGC uses a membership service in order to submit books with different tiers. They also have partnered with CCS (Classic Collectible Services) to provide cleaning and pressing services. In order to submit books, you must have a paid membership that ranges from $25 for Associate to $299 for Elite. Personally if you use CGC, OPT FOR THE PREMIUM! The premium is $149 but then CGC will credit your account for $150, which makes it all free! Also when compared to other grading companies, CGC slabs normally have a better ROI (Return on Investment) than others.
- Modern Grading: $30 (Non-Member) $20 (Members) Turnaround Time: 32 Days (Regular) 10 Days (Fast Track)
- Modern Pressing: $12 (Pressing adds an extra 80 days to your turnaround time) Fast Track is 45 extra days
- NO Signature Verification services. All signatures must be witnessed to receive Signature Series Label
- They take online or Comic-Con (In-person) submissions
- Turnaround time is Business days, DOES NOT include Weekends/Holidays
- Certifications can be verified on GoCollect
- CGC Census is also available on GoCollect (Ex. Incredible Hulk #181)
CBCS like CGC is also a well-known company. Both share many similarities, but CBCS is slightly less expensive depending on the service being obtained. CBCS also utilizes a membership service for those who want to submit books. The membership ranges from $100 to $500 depending on the tier. Unfortunately, there is no cool credit given back to you like CGC. Currently, CBCS has been boasting super quick turn around times. CBCS slabs are held in almost the same light as CGC when it comes to ROI.
- Modern Grading: $18(Non-Member)/$16 (Member) with a 5-week total turn around time
- Modern Pressing: $12 ($6 extra for Fast Track) 10-12 Weeks extra
- DO offer Signature Authentication/Verification: $25 for the first one, $15 each additional one
- FREE Grader’s notes on ALL comics submitted
PGX is also a well-known grading company. Although they have had some bumps in the road, people have said they are doing much better. They DO NOT use a membership service in order to submit books and offer some specials for new customers as well as returning customers. PGX is one of the cheapest companies to use to grade your comics. I do not own a PGX book but have heard that their cases are actually well made. The ROI is not as good as a CGC or CBCS but remember, a comic is only worth what someone else will pay for it. This means that the ROI can be equal to or greater depending on the buyer.
- Modern Grading: $13/30 day turn around time
- Modern Pressing: $13/10 days added to turn around time
- DO offer Signature Authentication/Verification: Witnessed $8/Verification $15 for the first one, $10 each additional
- NO membership Fees
EGS is a new company that is slowly making its way into the grading scene. Like PGX they do not have a membership service. They do offer a multitude of options for your grading label. The various colors allow you to mix and match depending on the book and the look you want your slab to have. They also have a very good Instagram profile, in the sense that you can contact them and interact with them directly and easily. This helps garner trust when customers have any questions. They currently have a promo of 10% off on orders of 10 books or more. Price-wise they are more than PGX but offer tons more options.
- Modern Grading: $20/14 business day turn around time
- Modern Pressing: $13 with a MAX 21 business day turn around time
- NO Membership fees
- DO offer Signature Authentication/Verification: Witnessed $8/Verification $10 and $8 for each additional name
- Multiple labels to choose from
The bottom line here is simple, there are many companies for the many needs of people. Personally, I think it depends on why you want your comics graded and what you are looking to get out of them. I think for ROI purposes right now CGC is the way to go. However, if you have a signed comic that you want slabbed just for its own protection, go with another company like CBCS, PGX, or EGS. Every company in the world has pros and cons, go with the company that suits your needs. Don’t focus on what the masses are buying, they do not share the same collecting goals or wallet as you.
With that said, I am done! Enjoy slabbing your books and if you have any questions, comments, or concerns you can reach me anytime here or on Instagram!
Till Next Time, Happy Hunting!