Many of you may not be aware of this, but we have a YouTube channel. Here, you will find videos full of comic book insight. I follow it regularly and a while back a very interesting presentation caught my eye. It sparked a great debate among some people in the comic book community. I thought this would be a perfect topic to review. As a result let us throw a red flag on… Regie’s THIS IS WHY ALL 9.8 COMICS ARE NOT EQUAL! (All collectors should know this).
Fans of the NFL know about coaches throwing a red flag to request an official’s review of a play. This blog will look from a reader’s perspective at the intent of the blog and if the author was correct with their advice. I want our readers to know I have the benefit of time on my side in this review. No reviewer can be perfect all the time. This time we are going to turn the tables on someone who has reviewed my work on GoCollect.
Regie is your friendly neighborhood bodybuilder and comic book collector. He is also the main star of the GoCollect Channel. He produced a great video on a topic that many investors and collectors never even consider. Regie produced a video on why certain books with the same slabbed grade may sell for more. He examines some differences in books with the same third-party grade that may make one book more desirable than another.
This was not your comparison of comic book grading companies. Instead, he compared comic books graded by the same company that had the same grade and how different defects could impact a sales price. Regie also provides the viewer some comic book defects that may be present in books that do not impact the grade of the comic but could still impact the sales price of issues with the same grade.
I want to stress that I believe everyone who buys graded and non-graded books should review this video. It is one of the only times this topic has been covered so thoroughly, in my opinion. I can not present all the information here, so I have only highlighted a few points that I felt were very interesting. Please watch the whole presentation on your own time. Watching the video should assist you in choosing the right books to buy when the grades are the same. The following factors are some of the main topics covered.
1. Page Color
The first factor discussed is page quality. The whiter the pages, the more a bidder may pay for a book. An interesting note is that the evaluation of the “whiteness” of pages can differ based upon the era of a comic book. Regie states that the white pages from the 1960s may be different than the white pages from the 1990s because of advances in printing and technology.
I loved how Regie describes the impact of different eras on grading paper quality. I have seen raw books get little to no attention from buyers because they viewed these books as inferior because of perceived poor page quality. One of the takeaways I got from this section was that even if you do plan to use a third-party grader, you must possess a rudimentary ability to grade books. This applies even when books are already slabbed and graded. The buyer should still evaluate the page quality of the book to differentiate it from other books with the same grade.
Many people do not believe this talent is required with the use of third-party graders. These people are wrong. Page color may make one book more desirable than others, and a book being desirable to collectors and investors can result in a great sales price difference. This is a section that everyone should pay close attention to.
Some production defects are allowable by third party graders without impacting the grade of the book. You may see part of the back artwork on the front cover or vice versa as a result. Regie goes on to mention an example of a book he has and how the poor wrap of the cover makes him actually want to get a “better” copy of the book.
I have seen this desire for perfect covers recently come into vogue even more now among collectors and investors. Comic covers are extremely important as owners proudly display their prized trophies on the wall. Many covers with allowable defects may not be desirable to those individuals. Watch a few of Regie’s videos and you will see how important those covers are to him and then think how many others out there feel the same way.
Covers are one of the most desirable selling points of comics. One should pay close attention to comic book covers even if they are graded. After watching this video, I can now not ignore defects in my own books. Even if they do not impact the grades they do alter my perception of these books. I believe that this is the biggest reason one book would sell for more even if two issues receive the same grade.
3. Production Defects
Regie mentions that if the print run contains a defect that is so prevalent in an issue’s print run that it is, in fact, grandfathered-in to the grading defect allowances. As a result, these defects do not affect the grade of the book. The book he uses as an example to illustrate an allowable production defect is Amazing Spider-Man #800. He states that the corners of the binding tear because the book has so many pages and the type of binding used.
The question I have is, how does a grader determine what defects are allowable? If collectors sent out their copies of Amazing Spider-Man #800 when the books first came out would these issues have been downgraded before that defect was deemed allowable? Grading is an art, but the question of who decides when a defect is so prevalent that it is not factored into the grade is not addressed. This is no fault of Regie because it is probably an industry secret.
I mention this industry secret because of a common issue facing many investors. That experience is if a perfect Amazing Spider-Man #800 with this allowable defect was graded a 9.8 then a book without this defect in the very same condition as the first should be worthy of a 10.0. The problem is that the defect was not held against the first book so why then should the absence of the defect impact the grade of the second book? If one knows what defects are allowable it helps buyers look for prized 10.0 books in the wild.
Finally, I hate “grandfathering” cases because there is no set pattern to determine what is exactly allowable under this rule. It would be nice if these defects that have been “grandfathered” were made known to the general public because if we are looking to buy books and have them graded it would make our choices easier. You would think that the more books we know have allowable defects, the more books would be sent in to be graded in an attempt to find high-grade books. As of this writing, I am unaware of a general inventory database with all those “grandfathered” defects.
4. Reversion Defects
Regie mentions something called paper memory. This is when pressable defects that were eliminated by allowable means before the book was graded return after the book has been encapsulated. These defects then re-appear post-grading and encapsulation.
This is one of the biggest complaints made by most hobbyists. You see a book with noticeable defects and yet have it has the same grade as another book with fewer defects. This leads to hobbyists questioning the ability of the grader. Hardly any hobbyist knows or mentions paper memory in grading discrepancy discussions. I worked with papers and vintage documents and I can testify there is such a thing as paper memory. If you do not know about paper memory then you are severely handicapping your ability to buy quality graded and non-graded books. The one criticism I have with Regie’s description of paper memory is that he never addressed an obvious issue. He, unfortunately, faces the same time/space constraints that I face in writing these articles. The issue not addressed is pressing and cleaning.
Paper memory sometimes re-appears because of the poor quality pressing and cleaning. Not all defects can be cured by pressing and cleaning. The problem is that some pressers may not be as thorough as others and as a result, you have those defects re-appear post grading. As an analogy, you can think of your car getting a brake job. You can do everything you are required to do and the brakes will last a long time, or you can you just change the pads and the brakes will work fine for a bit until more problems creep up over time. Quality pressers do things the right way. Average pressers do the job, but the problems addressed could re-appear later.
5. GoCollect Data
Regie mentions the use of GoCollect data in his purchases.
I love the data features for graded books. I am not an avid buyer of graded books and even I love those features. It helps me see all the data I need to make an informed decision. This is important when it comes to paying more for a book primed for a price increase. The data is even more important when it reveals that a book may be primed for a price decrease and you want to avoid overpaying for that issue. I hate paying more for a book than I should because it eliminates my ability to purchase other books with those wasted funds.
If you are not reviewing the GoCollect Youtube channel you are committing comic book investing and collecting malpractice. On the channel, you will receive insight from Regie and others who work on the media side of the GoCollect universe. That channel produced this great article on how all grades may not be equal. It is important to know why because the difference in the appearance of books with the same grade could impact the sales value of those books.
When you are spending your money it pays to have insight like the information in this video to help you navigate those investing waters. Imagine spending several thousand on a comic book only to find out that you picked the wrong one even though the grade was the same as another book. Is that not worth watching instead of a video of another funny baby reveal party?