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How much should a 2-inch back cover crease reduce grade?

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Just got some comics in today from a dealer. Amongst them was a Spidey 26 advertised as NM-. That's an accurate grade everywhere on the book EXCEPT the back lower-right corner, which has a 2-inch crease which solidly breaks the paper fibers. He's a pretty good guy and I have bought from him several times over the last year, so when I return it I'd like to give him accurate input as to what the actual grade should have been.

 

Assuming the rest of the book is a 9.2, what would the 2-inch crease knock it down to? Were that crease on the front, I'd say it should be a 7.0; since it's on the back I'd say it's an 8.0.

 

Has anybody seen examples of CGC comics that were very high grade with the exception of a back-cover crease?

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Well, I have had 2 books graded by CGC with creases at least one inch long on an otherwise 9.2 or 9.4 book. My Hulk 181 had around a 1 and a half inch from corner crease and it graded a 8.0 when the rest of the book was 9.4 quality. My restored Avengers 4 had around an one inch crease on the back cover and got an apparent 9.0 on an otherwise 9.2 to 9.4 copy. So...the back cover crease may not be that signficant of a downgrade. smirk.gif

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Interestingly enough, FF, I just talked to CGC about this when I was discussing the grades on my books. I have a book that looked pretty minty to me, but it has a back cover crease. This one doesn't break color, and it's not 2" but without getting into particulars, i.e. just knowing there was a crease on the back, the CGC guy told me it would could make it as low as 8.5 or so, depending on size.

 

-- Joanna

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I don't have any graded books with this specific defect, but I would estimate

either a 7.5 or 8.0 grade...tough to pin it down exactly without seeing the

book in question. I doubt it's as simple as checking it off a list of defects

and taking a numerical deduction...even if they use such a system behind-

the-scenes, I'm sure there is significant latitude for interpretation by the

individual graders (otherwise everybody would end up with the same grade

for every book). Grading is an art, not a science.

 

Gene

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My strong feeling about grading is that a perfect process consists of the following steps, ordered in the sequence they should be performed in:

 

1) Visually inspect comic for defects, identifying and quantifying defects as you inspect

2) Sort defects by severity

3) Use grading criteria to assign grade

 

The most important defect in determining grade on any comic is the one that sorts to the top of the list--the most severe one. That defect alone tells you the maximum assignable grade the book can have. In very high-grade books, often the maximum assignable grade for that most-severe defect ends up being the actual overall grade of the book. This happens whenever the other defects are much more minor in severity and when the count of the remaining defects is rather low. Once you've got a 2-inch crease, little 1/16" spine stresses or 1/8" edge impact lines are water under the bridge and don't affect grade much further unless there are an excessive number of them. This Spidey 26 is exactly like this--all the other defects besides the 2-inch crease are very, very minor, and there aren't many of them.

 

The best grading guide available would tell you exactly what the maximum assignable grade should be for every major type of defect there can be on a paper comic, with a table for each defect type showing the maximum assignable grade for varying severities of that defect.

 

The most common defect on comics is creasing. So, what's the maximum assignable defect for a perfect 10.0 comic with a 2-inch crease? If that crease is on the front cover, I think the answer is 7.0. What about a 2-inch crease on the back? I started a thread over a month ago (Click here to see the thread) asking everyone's opinion on how the back cover (and interior) should be weighed in grading. Most people answered that the back cover should be weighed a little bit less than the front, about half as much as the front, or that it should barely count towards grade. Splitting the difference and saying the back should count half as much as the front, that could mean that if the 2-inch crease on the front reduces to 7.0, then that same crease on the back would reduce a comic to 8.5. Placing more weight on the back as several people did in that thread means that the 2-inch back cover crease reduces grade to 7.5 or 8.0.

 

Looks like you're one of the guys who weighs the back cover at about 60% to 80% of the weight of the front! Thanks for the input. smile.gif

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I've spoken to CGC graders more than a few times too trying to learn more about what they are doing. I often ask the same questions of different graders that I asked in previous calls. Each and every time I asked about defects on the back cover vs the front, I've been informed one way or another that they carry the same weight. I feel this makes sense anyway and treat defects on the back just as harshly as if they were on the front when I prescreen my own books for submission. In a slab we see the back obviously. In a bag with backerboard, it's so east to try and forget we have to pull it out and look at the back. If we only had to "Cover Grade" we would all have some great books.

 

Although CGC has taken that position... my experience tells a slightly (not drastic) different story as I have purchased and own about (10) CGC graded 9.4 books that look 9.4 from the front BUT had enough defects on the back in my estimation, that I would have expected a 9.0/9.2 if I was prescreen grading them for submission and following the above assumption. I can't say if these were overlooked or considered with less weight by the graders... but the surprising higher grade is on the label. I've personally noticed this slight inconsistency primarily in the 9.4 grade for some reason? Maybe its a crapshoot to some degree depending on the CGC graders interpretation.

 

I had about (10) ASM 252's that were all 9.6 to 9.8 from the front... but because of the black back cover and discovering that all of the books had several, color-breaking micro-creases along the back spine, I determined that the books would only get 9.2/9.4's. So, I gave them out as freebies with orders. One client submitted his and got a 9.6. So there is some evidence that there is a better chance of getting a higher grade with the defects on the back instead of the front (to some degree) regardless of the claim of equal weight. With that said, we also see surprising grades with defects on the front but to a lesser degree (in my experience) so an error margin needs to be factored in as well.

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Yes, I had an otherwise 9.0 reduced to a 4.5 on an Avengers #4 by a 2 inch crease on the back cover. Of course, that's me, and it's the way I get all my key silvers treated regarding slabbing (which I don't use anymore). mad.gif

 

Overall, a crease that big on the back cover should be no higher than a 7.0 in my opinion, a serious defect that should be appropriately applied to the book in this case. A conservative approach. laugh.gif

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According to OverStreet Grading Criteria, and the information given about the book in question, I would grade it NO higher than a 7.0. If it did NOT break color, that might make it a more difficult decision. According to OverStreet a book in VF 7.5-8.5 condition can have "A barely unnoticeable ¼ inch crease is acceptable, if color is not broken." Of course, comic book grading is NOT a perfect science, maybe people that grade comic books with less of a technical approach and more according to "eye appeal" would grade it a little higher. That is OverStreet's worth, along with my .02 cents worth. Sorry to hear about the overgrading, every now and then we are reminded that eBay can be a bit of a gamble. Speaking for myself, all in all, I have done quite well with eBay. I can understand how you feel though, trust me.

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Wasn't bought from E-Bay, it was bought from a well-known national dealer who has no problems with returns. I'd almost never buy an unslabbed NM- Spidey 26 from E-Bay, unless I had strong reason to believe the seller could grade and would take returns.

 

I went by that statement from Overstreet's price guides about a 1/4" crease that doesn't break color as a characteristic of a VF for about a year. Then I realized that it conflicts directly with Overstreet's Grading Guide and with CGC's grading. Overstreet gave a Mint 98 grade to a comic with a 1/4" crease that didn't break color in the grading guide, and I've seen several 9.4s with 1/4" non-color-breaking creases from CGC. Also, that statement doesn't make it clear whether it matters that the crease is on the front or back. Sure, you could assume that it means both front and back since he didn't qualify it, but lack of qualifications for grade descriptions is the reason everybody has been criticizing Overstreet's printed grading standard for years, and it's one of the primary reasons he's about to release a new version of the grading guide.

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To be frank, I really don't recall any question of better qualification in the standards to ever be a motivation for putting together the new Grading Guide. As a matter of course, however, I'm quite certain that the new Guide succeeds in adding at least some measure of additional detail to the existing standards and hopefully that will help to clarify a few points here and there.

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Clarification through qualification. I made that observation about your motives after reading the EBay forums where Gifflefunk, Testomanlives, and the others pointed out to you some of the conflicts between the Overstreet price guide grading descriptions and the 1990 Grading Guide descriptions. I recall you saying that one of your goals in the book was to get those descriptions consistent with each other.

 

And with regards to this thread, I hope you guys gave some guidelines this time for weighing defects based upon their location--front cover, back cover, or interior pages. It's pretty obvious that CGC doesn't grade the interior anywhere near as harshly as the exterior--which is as it should be. I don't believe Overstreet has ever given many explicit guidelines for weighing interior or back cover defects versus front cover defects.

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"Consistent with each other" only because some of the details in the descriptions from recent Price Guides reflect a minor but important evolution in the Overstreet standards since the first Grading Guide in 1992, so naturally we want all of our books to reflect the same information. As before, however, the Price Guide will be substantially lacking in the same level of detail we can get into the Grading Guide, since that's what the book is all about - the Price Guide has a lot more ground to cover. But rest assured the next Price Guide will be consistent with the new Grading Guide...at least, I hope so smile.gif.

 

As for front cover, back cover, etc., I know there are some places where we describe a few things in that way, but I'm afraid to say I think the book will remain for the most part vague in the area you're talking about. This is basically a futile exercise anyway - attempting to set down rigid, objective standards on an inherently changeable and subjective process - so there are still many areas where the book remains either deliberately vague or vague by necessity, to allow for interpretation and the application of multiple viewpoints. But hopefully you won't be too disappointed.

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Sorry about confusing your well-known national dealer with an eBay seller. However, it sounds like you may be grading the comic with "wishful" eyes IF you think that a 2" inch crease that breaks color is acceptable in Very Fine grade. If you were reselling the book, would you feel comfortable selling it as Very Fine 8.0?

 

Comparing the OverStreet Grading Criteria with CGC grading is an apples to oranges comparison. Why? OverStreet Grading Criteria is in writing (terms & definitions), and CGC grading is based on the consistancy of several human beings eyes (eye appeal mixed with knowledge of grading terms and interpretation of those terms). Have you considered that maybe CGC graders are NOT always consistant in their grading? Let's be realistic, none of us are always consistant in our grading. Some of us are more consistant than others and let's just hope that the professionals are more consistant than we are (but keeping in mind they too are subject to error). It is because of our inconsistancy that we need written guidelines to help separate "wishful thinking" from fact.

 

Personally, I would MUCH rather base my grading on OverStreet Grading Criteria than to compare a "raw" book with a CGC book to determine the grade. I would rather not get into the negative things I've read about CGC grading, but let me just say, money speaks louder than words. About the OverStreet Grading Guide that you mentioned, it is supposed to be a more detailed guide, but from the reviews at Amazon.com, it is NOT detailed enough. I do NOT have the OverStreet Grading Guide (NOT to be confused with the OverStreet Price Guide), so I cannot confirm or deny your claim about "conflicts". However based on Amazon.com reviews, I can see where you are coming from about the Grading Guide.

 

So maybe their are two choices for us to base our grading on:

 

Inconsitant grading

 

or

 

Inconsitant writing

 

That may be an overly pessimistic way to look at it, and it is an apples to oranges comparison. So I'll just go with the "Standard" guidelines that are in the OverStreet Price Guide (afterall they have been around longer than the Grading Guide, and CGC). IF I were a dealer (which I'm NOT), I would rather slightly undergrade and people be happy, than overgrade and people be pissed. That is the way I see it.

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Personally, I would MUCH rather base my grading on OverStreet Grading Criteria than to compare a "raw" book with a CGC book to determine the grade. I would rather not get into the negative things I've read about CGC grading, but let me just say, money speaks louder than words. About the OverStreet Grading Guide that you mentioned, it is supposed to be a more detailed guide, but from the reviews at Amazon.com, it is NOT detailed enough. I do NOT have the OverStreet Grading Guide (NOT to be confused with the OverStreet Price Guide), so I cannot confirm or deny your claim about "conflicts". However based on Amazon.com reviews, I can see where you are coming from about the Grading Guide.

 

Wait, you're writing these huge parapgraphs on grading based on the grading guide in the Price Guide? Your posts on here are longer than the grading guide from the price guide! Wow. I'm going to let you in on something- the guide in the Price Guide is pretty much useless. Buy the new grading guide when it comes out if you're serious about grading funny books.

 

Also, you really shouldn't discount the usefullness of CGC books when it comes to the grading debate. I've seen as many misgraded CGC books as the next guy and I've complained about as loudly as anyone about some of the problems I see with inconsistency in their service (which one was it that drove me batty recently? The Western PA DD 7? Looked more like a 9.0 than a 9.4,) but overall I think CGC does a great job. Like it or not CGC's "standards" are now part of the grading discussion in a major way and if you ignore them completely, based on speculation, rumor and complaints form disgrunteld board members (which I often am) or ebay sellers then you're doing yourself a disservice.

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"However based on Amazon.com reviews, I can see where you are coming from about the Grading Guide."

 

I find this most surprising, particularly since the book does not exist yet. It's currently at the printers and won't be available to anyone until December). No one outside those working on the book have even seen the content and certainly no one - not even us! - have seen a copy yet. What can these reviews possibly be based on? I'll have to check that out. Until I do, I think I would recommend taking anything written about a book that hasn't yet been published with a HUGE grain of salt smile.gif.

 

Arnold

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Actually, having just popped over to Amazon.com, I see where the confusion lies. There are no reviews posted yet on the new Grading Guide, but there ARE some reviews of the old one from 1992, which still has its own page in the Amazon system. If Gary Carter is listed as co-author, that would be the old edition. I thought the review thing seemed weird when I read it smile.gif.

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The grading descriptions in the current Overstreet price guides are NOT older than the ones in the 1990 Grading Guide. Overstreet has altered those grade descriptions in the price guide about 5-6 times over the last 30 years. He changed them to the current descriptions at some point in the mid-1990s, after the Grading Guide was already out. Can't remember the exact guide where the current descriptions first came out, but it was somewhere between 1994 and 1998, I believe. I'm leaning towards the late 1990s now that I think about it. I'll check it when I'm home again if you're interested. I've been buying cheap back issues of Overstreet from ebay this year to track pricing trends over time; I've got them all except for 3 or 4 issues now. Thumbing through those is when I noticed the grading descriptions have been updated so often.

 

7.5 sounds reasonable!

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