CGC vs. CBCS
With grading comics at an all-time peak there seems to be a lot of misconceptions floating around about the top 2 grading companies, CGC and CBCS. How many times have you heard “CBCS grades tougher than CGC” or “CGC slabs are worth more than CBCS slabs”. I would like to shed some light on these topics.
First, I think that a lot of what you hear online is from people who hate one company and prefer the other. When someone hears a bad thing about the company they hate, they like to let everyone know about the problem. BOTH COMPANIES HAVE ISSUES. Both companies make mistakes, but it’s how you deal with the mistakes that people appreciate.
The notion that CBCS grades tougher than CGC is one topic that I hear often. I personally see a lot of CBCS and CGC slabs on a regular basis. I submit approx. 5,000 books per year for grading. BOTH companies will over-grade and under-grade books at the same ratio. I’ve seen CBCS 9.8 books that you would have a hard time believing should’ve been any higher than a 9.0-9.2. I’ve seen the same with CGC. I
feel this myth is being fueled by the CGC haters. Or in general by people who like to cheer for the little guy. For the most part I would have to say that both companies get the grading fairly accurate. Sometimes, we have to also consider that the owner of the book is looking at their
book through rose coloured glasses. I constantly hear “CGC is really that picky about that little spine tick? I thought it would’ve got a 9.8” Everyone would like to think their books are 9.8 or better but the fact of the matter is that a 9.8 demands a premium for a reason.
The other great debate regarding CGC and CBCS is that CGC slabs sell for more money. This one is easier to prove as we can gather and analyze the data. But just remember, data can be manipulated to prove whatever side of the argument the person is trying to support. If I wanted to prove that CBCS slabs sell for the same or more than a CGC slab, I could just find an example to prove my point. But here’s what I find when I looked at lots of sales from many different books in both CGC and CBCS slabs. I looked at Golden Age, Silver Age and Modern books and at times it was tough to compare because of the rarity of the book. In general, I found that CGC slabs are still commanding roughly a 20% premium over CBCS slabs. But this did vary depending on the books. Very common books like an Amazing Spider-Man 300 did get the 20% premium when they were in a CGC slab. Although there are a few cases where CBCS slabs got the same or even a bit higher.
When I looked at huge key books or as many of us call “Grail” books. I did find that because of the rarity of the book and the fact that you might only find a couple in the grade that you can afford, CBCS and CGC slabs are getting close to the same money. The differences I found was when the seller decided to auction the book instead of listing the book for the price they were willing to sell it for. A lot of the auction books did get less money than a Buy-it-Now book from both CGC and CBCS.
In conclusion, I believe it is a myth that CBCS grades tougher than CGC. With CGC having most of the market it is easier to find faults in the greater number of books overall. Grading, for the most part, is fairly accurate from both companies. They both will make you scratch your head at times. I think owners have to start looking at their books with a more objective mind.
Although CBCS has been improving over the past couple of years, the data shows that CGC books are still fetching a higher premium. The exception would be grail status books where I believe the rarity trumps all.
That’s it for now. I hope this blog gave you some insight and I realize you probably won’t agree with everything but I hope it makes you think and possibly look at these issues in a different light.
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