The Rookie Collector – Time to Grade your Comics, Who to Choose…

by Ariel Lazo

cgc-labels-245x300 The Rookie Collector - Time to Grade your Comics, Who to Choose...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-1-300x300 The Rookie Collector - Time to Grade your Comics, Who to Choose...CGC – Certified Guarantee Company

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 – Comic Book Certification Service5cc5f60b-8b80-40f8-9821-56780a46500b-300x300 The Rookie Collector - Time to Grade your Comics, Who to Choose...

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


download-5 The Rookie Collector - Time to Grade your Comics, Who to Choose...PGX – Professional Grading Experts, LLC

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 – Expert Grading Service, LLCegslogo-300x198 The Rookie Collector - Time to Grade your Comics, Who to Choose...

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!


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Timothy Guerrero January 23, 2020 - 10:02 am

CBCS paid memberships have cupoun rewards. Additionally there is a rewards point program for money spent on submissions.

Ariel Lazo January 24, 2020 - 10:29 am

Correct! Here is the rewards info directly from CBCS for those who want to know more:
“The rewards program is free with automatic enrollment for members. For every dollar members spend on grading, they will receive 2 reward points. Once a member has 100 reward points, they can exchange those 100 points for a $1 credit to apply toward a future submission. During any one-year membership period, if the number of points accumulated exceeds 10,000, the member will begin receiving 4 points per dollar spent, rather than the normal 2 points, for the remainder of that year.”

Thanks for the comment and info!

rxshirts January 23, 2020 - 10:15 am

Good article Ariel! I started with CBCS and had 1 good transaction before things went sideways. After they got bought by Beckett they moved their warehouse and turnaround times got pushed back by 3+ months. Trying to get straight answers was horrible and at the end of the day I had them return all my books. Getting a refund was ridiculous and they did everything they could to make it inconvenient for the customer. I would never use them again. I’ve been using CGC ever since and although they have their own issues here and there, I trust them way more. Plus the market definitely trusts CGC way above anyone else.

Ariel Lazo January 24, 2020 - 10:27 am

Thanks for the comment! Yeah, I have had my fair issues with CBCS but people have been saying that the turnaround times have improved dramatically. Now I don’t know if the rest of their operations have improved but you are right, the market loves CGC.

Ben January 23, 2020 - 3:26 pm

What about Halo ?

Ariel Lazo January 27, 2020 - 8:55 am

LOL Halo

Brooks January 23, 2020 - 3:50 pm

Unless things have changed I believe you can submit to cbcs with the free membership, I did it last year.

Ariel Lazo January 24, 2020 - 10:35 am

Hi Brooks! Nope you are correct you can still submit through the free membership but you will still pay non-member rates. CBCS doesn’t classify the free membership as a regular membership. Regardless you can still submit through the Free sign up.

CollectorsChoiceComics (@ChoiceComics) January 23, 2020 - 5:17 pm

If you would like to see the results of the EXACT same book being sent to the 3 most established grading companies listed above (CGC, CBCS, PGX), then this is a must watch and you can judge the results for yourself:

Ariel Lazo January 24, 2020 - 11:38 am

Just saw the video and wow definitely shocking results! I won’t ruin it for the rest who want to watch it but I do agree with him. Grading needs to become more objective rather than subjective how it is now. With so many graders in so many businesses there will be a few that slip through the cracks. Hopefully some of these issues will get fixed at some point…

Josh January 23, 2020 - 8:48 pm

Just an FYI, the CBCS founder was the head grader at CGC before starting his own grading service

Ariel Lazo January 24, 2020 - 11:39 am

Yes Steve was the head grader at CGC, great catch!

curtis January 28, 2020 - 3:18 pm

hi, I have a collection of comic books that was given to me. I am not a collector. How do I go about evaluating them properly to know what they are each worth? Where would be the best website to sell the collection as a whole or individually?

Ariel Lazo January 31, 2020 - 5:21 pm

Hi Curtis!
Sorry for the late reply. Personally it depends on what books and from what age. Also have to factor in if they are key books and the condition of each one. For books that are graded, Go Collect will give you the Fair Market value. For raw books, I suggest looking at, the sold books on Ebay, and the OverStreet Guide Book. If you like email me or reach out to me on Instagram and I will help you or place you in contact with someone else who can give you better guidance. Hope this helped!


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