How To Grade Comic Books
How To Grade Comic Books
When buying or selling comic books, you need to learn how to grade in order to determine a fair market price. Once you learn the techniques of grading you'll be able to conquer any comic book sale.
Step 1: You will need
- The comic
- The Overstreet Comic Book Grading Guide
- A well-lit, moisture free room
- A new, fresh reference comic
- Paper and pencil
Step 2: Take It In
Make sure your grading area is indoors. Don't let direct sunlight fall on the comic, and do not put the comic under any unfiltered fluorescent light which may generate ultraviolet rays. Normal incandescent lighting is best. Choose your location carefully. You are master of your domain.
Step 3: Read The Guide
The industry standard guide for grading is the Overstreet Comic Book Grading Guide. Between point 5 for Poor and 10 for Gem Mint. Read the Grade Description for each section. It summarizes all the checkpoints in grading a comic book.
Step 4: Get It Out
Lay the comic down on a flat, clean surface. If it is in a taped plastic bag or a Mylar sleeve, remove the tape entirely. If you don't remove the tape, you risk damaging the book when you remove the comic from its sleeve.
Step 5: Exterior
Review the general exterior look of the comic and find a comparable example from the Grading Guide pictures. Carefully examine the exterior of the comic from front cover to back cover, identifying all defects, such as: creases, folds, and tears; soiling, staining and discoloration; ink brightness and cover gloss. Even the smallest flaw on the cover can be a determining factor- after all, the cover is the first thing anyone will see. Note your problems down. This running list of defects will help you find the right grade for your book.
Step 6: Spine
Carefully examine the spine of the comic. Next to the cover, this is the most important area for evaluating the comic's grade. Check for rusted staples, stress lines, tears, spine roll, and other such defects.
Step 7: Interior Defects
Examine the inside front and back covers. Pay particular attention to the area where the interior of the comic meets the covers. Estimate the whiteness level of the interior pages by putting a new fresh book next to the book your grading. In all cases, keep comparing the comic to the examples picture example you selected. Ask yourself “Is my comic book better or worse than this?”
Step 8: Centerfold
Confirm that the centerfold and all pages are still present and check their condition.
Step 9: Reality Check
Just in case you can't be honest with yourself, get a second opinion from a veteran grader or another collector as a “reality check.” Comic book grading is an art form, that takes years of practice.