If you could make double digits returns on your investment by grading a comic book, would you? In some cases, you might be able to do just that. So when exactly does it make sense to grade your comic books? In my previous article, I discussed the topic of getting your books graded vs. keeping them raw. In the end, I concluded that it really depends on your situation and your goals. Today, I’d like to dive into the numbers a little when it comes to grading your books and the potential increase in value that it could provide.
I took a look on eBay earlier today to see what a raw Hulk #181 could be picked up for, I was able to find a raw copy estimated grade at 3.0, which looked to be fairly accurate based on the picture provided. Of course, a part of the gamble with buying raw books online is the risk of getting a book in a lower grade than you expected. This book looked pretty solid and I would guess that it would be graded around a 3.0 (maybe higher). This particular raw copy sold for $1,600.
When you look to see what a graded Hulk #181 is selling for, there was a recent sale of a CGC 3.0 at $2,000 and a CGC 3.5 that sold for $2,300. So, in this case, the math is pretty simple. We just need to figure out roughly how much it would cost to purchase that book ($1,600) and how much it would cost to get that book graded. The other option we have is to have that 181 pressed by CGC (technically CCS Pressing) and shoot for a higher grade, potentially hitting that 3.5 grade.
How much does it Cost to get a Book Graded?
The big question to consider, as with anything, is how much does it cost? Taking a look at the CGC grading pricing, you can see that our example Hulk #181 could be graded Express for $100 plus shipping ($3,000 max value). If we want to take the extra step and have that same book pressed, it would fall into the Express category as well ($3,000 max value.) This would cost $85. So, we would be looking at $185 plus shipping (let’s say $30) to bring our total to $215 for a grade and press.
What kind of ROI can you Expect?
I’m no mathematician, but I can work out a simple formula here. Follow along with me to figure a rough estimate of our return on investment for this hypothetical Hulk #181 scenario. Of course, your mileage may vary, based on the book you purchase, what kind of deal you can find, and what kind of grade you can achieve. The cost of the book was $1,600 plus the cost of pressing, grading, and shipping which equals $1,815 total. IF you can obtain a 3.5 grade you could likely sell it for $2,300. That is a little over a 26% return on your investment. If you received a 3.0 grade, your return would be around 10%. Both are solid returns and would probably warrant the grading! The caveat is if the book comes back lower than expected, you could be sitting on the book for a while before the price increased enough for you to break even. If you believe in holding long term, it’s not as big of a deal, however. If you grade your comic books, you’ll have them ready when the perfect time to sell appears.
Consider One Last Thing
There is one last thing to consider and that is TIME. If you look at the Express option for pressing it says there is a 10 working day turnaround. The Express grading is a 6 working day turnaround. You also have the time it takes to ship to and from CGC. Plus, any backlogged time they haven’t accounted for. Based on many conversations with collectors, it notoriously takes longer than expected to have a book fully pressed, graded, and returned. If you aren’t in a rush, believe you have some upside opportunity with the grade, or want to hold the book as a value investment over time, then grading is likely a great option for you!
Are you going to grade your comic books? Tell us all about it!