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What is 'CGC' or the 'Certified Guaranty Company'?

Comic Book Certification

Mark Zaid (Owner of Esquire Comics) gives expert video advice on: What does a comic book certification company do?; What are the pros and cons of comic book certification? and more...

What is 'CGC' or the 'Certified Guaranty Company'?

CGC is an independent grading company that was created in 1999. You will submit your comic books to them and they will assess a grade, in this case an 8.5 out of 10, for Blue Ribbon #1 from 1939. They will assess as to whether or not the comic book has any restoration on it and that it is a very significant factor with respect to grading. And if it is encased in a type of plastic that is protective, it obviously still can be impacted by light, but it is helpful for storage. Obviously, the downside is you cannot read the comic book inside. But for the most part, at least with respect to the books I deal with, these are books of intense value and I don't want to be handling these particular comic books, and I want to have them ensured so that I know there is no restoration that I wasn't able to detect. Indeed there are experts down at CGC that have looked at thousands and thousands of comic books over the years to be able to know exactly what this defect means or what that type of colour touch might mean on a particular comic book.

What is 'PGX' or the 'Professional Grading eXperts'?

PGX is another independent grading company that was created after CGC. It also encases it's comic books in a type of plastic, will assess a grade, and also conduct a restoration check for your comic book.

What does a comic book certification company do?

A comic book certification company is like CDC, PGX. They're independent grading companies, so you'll submit your comic books to them and they will grade them and also check them for restoration and encase them in a type of plastic. You can remove the comic books from that but then you've nullified the grade that that company assessed to the comic book.

What are the pros and cons of comic book certification?

Comic book certification companies to some extent are somewhat controversial. When they were created, there was a lot of uproar, and to some extent, this still remains. The biggest con about these is that the comic books are encased in plastic, so you can't read it. Unlike a baseball card or a coin which also have their own certification companies, all you need do is turn the side over. You can see the front side, you can see the back side. The thing about comic books is, the covers are beautiful, but there's not much on the back side very often, just some cool ads perhaps. But you want to see what's inside. So there's a detriment to it, of going down that route. On the other side, this is something that gives you a certified grade by an independent grading company. There's a restoration check which is quite important, and to many, like myself, they're now in a storage container that will minimize my handling of the comic book so there's less likelihood that I'm going to want to read that book and damage it, because that's the last thing I want to do to a $50,000 comic book. I'll just go and buy a $5 reprint and I'll read that one. So it depends on where you're coming from as a collector or as an investor. Some people will have a comic book certified for the sense of the restoration check and then crack the comic book out to be able to enjoy it or put it back in their collection. It all depends on you, as what your individual needs, desires, and interests are.

What is comic book 'slabbing'?

Comic book slabbing is just another term for certification. It's the taking and submitting of a comic book to an independent grading company and the encasing of the comic book into the plastic container. People call them slabs.

Should I slab my comic books?

Whether or not you want to slab your comic book is an individual choice, it depends on what is your interest. If you want to be as a collector and read your comic books, you obviously do not want to slab them because that will impede completely on your ability to read it. If you are looking from an investment standpoint, then you're dealing with very high grade, very expensive comic books, and therefore there is a strong incentive in having them slabbed. Why? For one, you get an independent grade, and two, you have a restoration check performed on that comic book which impacts the value. Thirdly, the comic book is encased in the plastic which will hopefully minimize your handling of the book so the book will not be damaged. and it makes it marketable, especially in the internet age. An ability to sell a slabbed comic book, on say EBay, is a much better chance than what we say is a raw book, an unslabbed book, because you have the feature of an independent grading company coming in who's grading determination is not influenced by how much money this comic book is worth. So, by me selling a comic book raw, I want that comic book to be as mint as possible. Why? It's worth more. You may think its a fine comic book and worth less. But, if it's an independently graded comic book certified in a slab, the fact that it says that its an 8.0, a very fine comic book, now that's a subjective grade to that company, but it's not influenced by me, the seller of the comic book. So you can rely on that as your baseline for making a determination. Indeed it all depends on if you are going to be a collector, a seller, or an investor, or a combination of the three. Those will all influence whether or not you want to have your comic book certified.