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.  

Speed –
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.

Price –
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 $25NYX 3
$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


2 Replies to “Why you should seriously consider CBCS over CGC”

  1. Hi Ron, I myself have never had a book graded. I kinda like not having my books sealed away in a plastic box, never to be read or touched again. I know my books would fetch me a pretty penny more, if that wasn’t the case. 🙂 With that being said, I think the main reason CGC has been preferred over CBCS, is the case. CGC’s looks better and is much sturdier. With Steve (Borouck) starting both of them and training the personnel, the grading part must be fairly close, right? If the labels were redesigned (and I changed my mind about grading :))
    I would go with CBCS. They are the better deal.

  2. Updated comment to use:
    The way I see this and all of this is this: Having been and still am a collector of many things and not just comic books, to say the least, the whole point is to purchase or hunt down anything collectible is because it’s old, has history, is a first edition, is signed and the like things because you enjoy or want it or them! The main thing to remember, though, is that most never originally came encased! They were either preserved with professional preservation, contained original packaging, were household names (Famous), and or the like! Their values were set off usually by market trends and or demands and or value because of the things mentioned above, or to put it bluntly, they survived their age or the ages and, as stated, in marketable demand! This encasing stuff that automatically increases price stuff is for the birds and just a cash cow for these graders! The one thing I will give them is that perhaps they have the resources to point out if an item is genuine or not, and this helps, but who’s checking the checkers and encasing just because it is genuine, in my opinion, is bogus! Why I say this is because of the survival aspect to this all! It comes to fruition that it became a Golden Age find because it survived those years & years to make it so… all the meanwhile of not having been encased, to begin with, and It survived in whatever shape, and it either was cared for, or it wasn’t so, so much! I understand many things can be and still are forged or are forgeries! This happens for almost everything, including this having happened to the U.S. Dollar! Collecting shouldn’t come down to trusting just any ole one, and if one is to collect, then one should acquaint themselves with the very subject matter of what they are collecting, to begin with, and then and only then can they call themselves a Collector, having some kind of credibility of knowing market value for what it may be they are trying to sell! Though attributed to P.T. Barnum, “THERE’S A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE,” this doesn’t have to be so among savvy collectors! The internet can and often does point us in the right direction to help us find our own resources, along with books, history, catalogs, auction houses, museums, and the like things to find out secrets of what it is that we really have and perhaps as a bonus its value even if approximate! I’ve yet to meet one who can’t tell if something is brand new or not in most cases. Quite frankly, I think a standardized system should be made up for the whole industry of comic Book collecting! And it starts with how long the item has survived! The condition, in opinion! The price it had on it when brand new! The content! The Author! The Artist! The Edition, period. I have a standard when it comes to a job, or any job for that matter. One must have 5 years of experience in one job in order to even be called an experienced worker! Not 1 year, not two, and so on, but rather 5 years minimum! But hey, that’s just my opinion! I believe when one gets a License to drive a vehicle, the same applies, which I think is two years, I believe it says! I myself have been collecting books in general for some 45-plus years, so I do believe I have enough experience in the field of collecting BOOKS, be it Comic Books or otherwise! I have also antiqued it for much longer than this as well! Give some enough money, and chances are they will do most things for it! This includes fabricating, forgery, and the like things! When it comes to those who choose to encase their item(s), that is entirely up to them, but as a true and purer collector, I would rather have the raw survival! No different than a museum! A museum hates, and I reiterate, hates to have to restore something and or even have to preserve it if they do not have to! Who would? Just those that believe in doing such a thing, and we all know there are those that do! I can agree with the person above about the label and case between the two companies, but one also has to know the history of what has been said about both, as social media can either bump up one company over the other just by what has been stated whether it be true or not! Thus, back into the dilemma of what is to be actually trusted versus what or who to trust! Company turnover is Company turnover! One may have more scrutiny than the other, for all one really knows, or policy could just be the difference! Price does make a difference for sure, and most love a deal as well as I for sure! However, one should never let their guard down just for this factor as one may end up with the old adage of “YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.” And in most cases, this is more true than not! I do own some CBCS pieces and am clear to say I am satisfied with them!

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