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Trimmed pages

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I think a significant problem in buying ungraded comics, in addition to restored and incorrectly graded comics, are trimmed comics. How can you be sure that a book hasn't been trimmed even a little? This is the most difficult form of restoration to identify. I'm a mid-grade collector, and I don't own a CGC comic yet, but am heavily considering it from now on to offset the risk of trimming.

 

Since the comic itself could be scanned at an angle, one thing I tried is to line up the top or bottom of the comic with the edge of my monitor screen (for reference). If one edge is straight, and the other is slightly pitched, I think that's a tale-tell sign that it's been trimmed. Also, if the comic code or date sit right on the perfectly straight edge of a comic, I'm skeptical. I noticed this particular seller on eBay, whose comics appear trimmed (check out his other auctions too):

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2168918363

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2168907389

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2168904732

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2168904942

 

Do I have a legitimate concern, or am I just being paranoid?

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Here are my reasons why. (And these are just 4 I picked out for examples. This seller has many questionable comics for sale right now.) On all these, one reason is that the edges look 2003 brand new. That makes me skeptical right off. Here are other reasons:

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2168918363

Space above "Showcase" appears to be angled. Comics Code stamp is cut off.

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2168907389

Top right corner looks TOO perfect. Comics Code stamp is cut off.

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2168904732

Entire top is cut off. Batman logo, Comics Code stamp, and month.

Again, perfect corners.

 

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2168904942

Bottom right corner looks too perfect for how worn the spine is. Top appears to be trimmed, looks angled too (may be angle of scan).

 

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Rob, I don't know if you can "blanket" statement some of the reasons you give because of mitigating circumstances on some books that may NOT be trimmed. For instance, part of a code being cut off: this can occur on trimmed and untrimmed books and is more part and parcel of how the book is FOLDED (back cover shift onto the front displacing the artwork to the right. Or for that matter, "it looks too perfect". NONE of these 12 open edges on those 4 books look "too perfect" to me. However, they DO all appear to bear the earmarks of NON-factory edges, that is also having junctures (corners) that just don't look right when viewed in concert/combination with all the rest of the edges and corners on those 4 books. Everyone was done (and POORLY) by the same person utilizing the same tools as though he left behind a "fingerprint".

 

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Here's my copy of Batman #174 (Green River copy).

 

It was taken with a digital camera and not a scanner so it's a little skewed/distorted. The edges look pretty close to the one in the eBay auction although just a little bit farther out than the one in the eBay auction. (I don't think my copy is trimmed although I just sent it to CGC so I'm not sure.)

 

(Just for a reference...)

 

Batman #174 - Front Cover (115k)

 

 

Larger Scan - Batman #174 Front Cover

 

 

 

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Nice book. Is that a Bethlehem copy?

 

As for the trimming... given the angle of the camera it makes the cover look concave, but you can see the price box is not sitting on the edge and that the fold is correct. On some of the ones above the fold looks right but the price box is sitting on the edge.

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Box on the edge would NOT matter if the book had a good deal of white showing (back cover margin wrap-around) on the front cover at the spine. I'm focusing more on the EDGE itself (its characteristics), including the corners rather than the position of artwork relative to the edges. Focus on position alone and 50% of your findings on trim can lead to false positives and false negatives.

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Showcase 55 - first note that the spine is showing white - it COULD account for the lesser right edge. Also note that the lower right cover is rounded. How does that rounding coincide with the interior pages? I don't see any of the interior sticking out. robably need interior scans too but don't feel bad about this book...BUT (see END)

 

Flash 151 - Same as the above - spine is showing white indicating a true trim would be less on the right side. Also, again, lower right cover is rounded. And again, how does that rounding coincide with the interior pages? I don't see any sticking out. I do not feel bad about this book...BUT (see END)

 

Batman 167 is definitely suspect - BUT you said "again perfect corners" - but the lower right corners of the two before it are quite rounded.

 

Batman 174 - the only thing that really rings a bell with me is the top edge.

 

END: The top two do not look suspect based on the cover scans. The bottom two DO look suspect based on the cover scans. But even though my inclination is the bottom two have been trimmed, it is absolutely impossible to determine from the scans that the first two have been trimmed.

 

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"However, they DO all appear to bear the earmarks of NON-factory edges, that is also having junctures (corners) that just don't look right when viewed in concert/combination with all the rest of the edges and corners on those 4 books."

 

That's what I meant to say. Just didn't look right.

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Exactly! The greatest authenticator of Baseball Hall of Fame signatures (Richard Simon) talks about "vibes" that a signature emanates when he views it. He's viewed countless Ruth, Gehrig, Cobb, etc. signatures and is extremely adept at autograph authentication, most of the time his FIRST impression about a signature being CORRECT. Of course, when he feels one is legitimate, or a close representative, he will break out the standard equipment to study, under intense light and magnification: stroke, letter formation, slant, breaks, the ink, etc. for finalizing his decision, but it's this initial reading of the "vibes", just the way the sig. "speaks" to his eyes, based on decades of study, that is usually correct. The same is true with the edges of a trimmed book. The more books one has handled, the more variations of factory cut that one has studied, makes one better prepared to "read" the vibes that the edges and corners give off on books that are out of the norm.

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I agree...these are suspect at best, and more than likely trimmed (at worst). As mentioned above, the uneven right edges, and the apparent discrepancy between the amount of wear on the spine of the books compared to the open edges (and corners) are troubling... mad.gif

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spine is showing white - it COULD account for the lesser right edge

 

Pov, I've been trying to figure this one out-- maybe just a mental block on my part, but wouldn't white showing on the spine (left) side indicate that the fold was shifted too far to the right, therefore additional right edge rather than lesser?

 

To my way of thinking, a white edge on the left spine should lead to an overhang on the right side, which would tend to fray over time and provide a tempting target for the trimmer terrorists. (sorry, been reading too many S.A. comics!).

 

Or have I gotten the physics all wrong here?

 

Z.

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Zonker, you're thinking correctly, if the white on the spine was due to spine roll after the comic was made. However, if the binding process shifted the cover too far to the right, the right edge will be cut off during production.

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Zonker, you're thinking correctly, if the white on the spine was due to spine roll after the comic was made. However, if the binding process shifted the cover too far to the right, the right edge will be cut off during production.

 

Precisely. Yes, I was thinking the white came from the binding/cutting. You can tell from the staple placement that spine roll isn't a factor. If it were, the staples would be shifting as well and there'd probably be signs of tearing. The staples on the first two books look clean and tight, and are in almost perfect edge placement.

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Question on restoration detection (sorry if someone already covered

this in FF's forum): would using an "atomic scale" (don't know the

English term - the kind of scale that weighs down to a tiny fraction

of a gram) be useful to detect missing pages, coupons, trims, ...?

Presumably, there must be some standard deviation in the weight

beyond which a trimming/missing stuff flag should be raised?

 

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