Before the accusations start flying about this writer hating CGC let me clarify. I don’t hate CGC or wish them harm. They provide a service to comic book collectors like me and I appreciate them. I own books that have been graded by both companies. The point of writing this article is that I want collectors to think about the big picture and the implications of a CGC monopoly. Stop following the crowds and make your own informed decision about grading, which might be not grading at all. Let’s examine and compare these two grading companies in detail.
We all know that CGC grades more comics than anyone else but competition keeps companies accountable. No competition means that CGC can charge whatever they want to grade your books. They can take as long as they want and provide inferior service if they are a monopoly. Even if you are an avid fan of CGC you should occasionally send some comics to CBCS or another grading company. When you think of companies that gouged their customers they tend to be monopoly or near monopoly companies. Keep our hobby healthy by encouraging competition.
Recently we noticed that both grading companies had the exact same lead time (30 days) for grading so we sent books to both at the exact same time. The distance from our offices in Indianapolis is about the same to each location so the delivery time should be about the same. Here are the results of our test
CBCS received the books in 2 days and completed grading in 30 days as promised. CGC received the books in 14 days and completed grading in 45 days
I’ve spoken with several other collectors about their experience and it was similar. CGC doesn’t receive the books in their system intentionally so the grading time doesn’t start. Technically they are grading your books in about 30 days but the overall time is much longer.
Let’s say that you have 4 books to send off to be graded, a comic from 2020, 1980, and 1960 that are valued under $400 each. One comic from 1970 with a first appearance that is valued at $800.
The lowest Membership fee with full submission privileges is $25
$5 handling fee per invoice
$25 for the 2020 book
$25 for the 1980 book
$37 for the 1960 book
$85 for the expensive 1970 book
CGC total of $202 plus shipping and insurance
$22 for the 2020 book
$24 for the 1980 book
$40 for the 1960 book
$40 for the expensive 1970 book
CBCS total of $126 plus shipping and insurance
$76 savings by using CBCS over CGC.
Signed Books –
In every single scenario, CBCS is better. They charge less for witnessing a signature, they charge less for in-house signing. They are the only company to offer a verified signature process. This is important if you got a signature at a convention and want it verified. For example at conventions, Marv Wolfman charges $20 to sign a book, and with CGC it’s $75. At several conventions, I’ve gotten signatures for little to no cost from artists and writers I enjoy. If I ever choose to sell them, CBCS is the only one who will verify the signatures.
Resale Value –
Based on my experience CGC has better resale value in general. I’ve seen cases where CBCS books have sold for more than CGC comics but that isn’t as common. Sellers get around this difference in price by offering buy-it-now prices that match the CGC prices. We need to generate more data-driven research on this topic before speaking in depth about the values.
Hopefully, average collectors can see that CBCS deserves a chance to win or lose your business. Their success only helps the hobby become healthier by encouraging competition. Please share your thoughts or comments.
by Ron Cloer