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CLEANED COMICS IS THE WAY TO GO!!

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OK...before we all repeat ourselves again...what if you have a key comic with dried up "snot" (not my snot mind you...I won it without seeing it first) on the cover that's melded itself into the paper. If you remove and clean that off, is it restoration? Should you? would that greatly devalue my book? Unless I find a collector who's into snotty books, I just don't know ... confused.gif

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Action Comics #1

Apparent Fine 6.0 Slight (P)

Restoration includes: Large gob of snot removed from bottom corner, chunk of phlegm removed from back cover

CREAM to OFF WHITE Pages

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I wouldn't blame anyone for C&P'ing such bodily excretion contaminated books, maybe putting it in an antiseptic wash and autoclaving for good measure!! EEEWWW!

 

 

But truthfully, I have come across my share of older Marvels with old boogies or some kind of crust on there. It breaks my heart (and wrenches my gut all at once ) to see them that way.

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If you dropped a french fry on a comic, removed it with your hand before it left a grease stain, and disclosed the fact that you did it, it's no stretch of the imagination that more than a few people in the current marketplace would devalue that comic.

 

Common sense has been driven out of the high-grade marketplace by the fear of losing investment money due to restoration. Ignorance decreases a little every year, though, and I strongly believe that the market--slowly--gravitates towards knowledge and good ideas. It's just a matter of time until information about restoration and restoration detection becomes available to those who want it; that's why many types of restored comics are a GREAT investment in the current marketplace.

 

Restored comics are undervalued for the same reasons CGC 9.8 Secret Wars #8s were overvalued. Ignorant hype. I say it's ignorant because 95% of the people who wouldn't buy a restored book wouldn't even know one if they saw one--assuming it wasn't slabbed. Just like 95% of the people who saw an unslabbed 9.9 wouldn't be able to tell a difference between it an a 10.0. Hype.

 

Nobody's suggesting restored comics and unrestored comics should be equal in value. But when a 9.4 with a spine tear seal is intentionally left alone or an 8.0 with a small piece of tape is left in that condition out of fear that market ignorance will devalue those comics--it's just dumb.

 

The market gravitates away from bad ideas. Or at least I hope so. ooo.gif

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I think the idea that removing something isn't restoration is fairly iffy. If you get tree sap on a comic, you can't remove it without tearing the cover off..for this you need professional work..to clean the cover..you're removing a defect from the book..much like you would be removing a spine stress or crease. If this wasn't restoration then there's a ton more high grade material out there then we originally imagined. A lot of VF or so books can greatly benefit from this service. Hell, lets just cut our own siamese pages and other page defects..we're not adding anything to the book so it's not restoration eh?

 

Brian

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This isn't meant to be an insult to you personally, but you're displaying the exact ignorance regarding different types of restoration/conservation techniques that the general comic collecting community exhibits. That ignorance has led to the depressed market for this type of work. You can't remove a spine color break or most creases; those defects have already done permanent damage to either the ink or the paper fibers. You don't "remove" those, you hide them, usually with color touch. That IS restoration. There is, however, a whole range of materials added to a book which can be removed, some of which are undectable without doing microscopic-level examination.

 

If you get all the sap off, what difference does it make whether a professional or an amateur did it? The implication--which the market as a whole seems to be making these days--seems to be the more skilled the person removing the foreign material is, the worse that work is looked upon.

 

What comic book reader doesn't rip their own siamese pages? It ain't restoration. Restoration isn't determined by the intent of the action which leads to the change in condition of a comic. That is a common misconception, however, and it is a result of exactly what is causing the restored comics market to malinger. People are sick of the undisclosed work done by people greedy for profits. That's why people hate the idea of a professional working on a book. The greedy bastards have given the dedicated professionals a very, very bad name. This is another of the many reasons I feel so justified in railing on Dupcak in these forums; he and people like him are fricking up a significant part of the vintage comics market and lining their own pockets BIG-TIME doing it!

 

Education and time will hopefully minimize these factors.

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So if I trim off some overlaying pages that make my book look bad and then sell it to you as unrestored you'd be fine with that? I realize you can't remove creases from pressing, I was just saying if you could it would be restoration just like removing a devaluing mark on a comic such as dirt. Also, if there's a printing defect such as a DD 168 where there is sometimes extra ink on the cover..does that mean removing it would be restoration since it was printed that way? There's a fine line between what you want to call restoration and what is restoration..if you word it elegantly enough I'm sure you can convince anyone it's not restoration but "conservation". As far as I'm concerned, I'd like neither and from what we've seen in auctions most people feel the same way...say whatever you want about people being uninformed or not knowing the word "conserved" or whatever way you want to spin it..but it's just that simple. People want the original item, not something that's been through the washer and the dryer.

 

Brian

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So if you had a comic book that fell into some dirt, you'd leave the dirt on the comic so as to preserve it's actual appearance? And if you did wipe the dirt off the comic, you would let the buyer know that?

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.........i think the last few posts illustrate that the restoration issue is a very grey area............... confused.gif

 

....there is no easy answer to this, but i think it would help if cgc fully classified what THEY consider as restoration...............

...also i think a full set of grading notes should be supplied with a purple label book, so that the potential buyer clearly knows what has been done to the book.........

...the current label notes are just not specific enough............. frown.gif

 

...i admit to being under-informed as far as the restoration of books is concerned, and from this standpoint can understand where both sides of the argument are coming from.............

 

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That's a good way for Cgc to charge an extra $5 per purple label. Many collectors would want to know the extent of the pro/amateur resto. May make it easier for collector/dealers to sell slight pro resto bks by having a copy of the master grading/resto sheet.

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It's only a grey area if you either don't care much about restoration and don't feel like reading the articles written by pro restorers. CGC uses almost exactly the same criteria to categorize and describe restoration that the rest of the comics industry has for decades, with some small or controversial exceptions.

 

If you're interested in learning more about restoration, read the 1992 Overstreet Grading Guide, the new one coming out later this year, go to Matt Nelson's http://www.comicrestoration.com , go to Tracey Heft's http://www.eclipsepaper.com/frames.htm , and go to Matt Wilson's http://www.fantasymasterpieces.com/ . Throughout the articles available from those sources, you'll find a big part of the body of knowledge that went into CGC's ideas about restoration.

 

I'm really sick of the incredible skill and attention to detail that the honest, professional restorers possess getting dicked over by the incredible skill and attention to detail that the dishonest, professional restorers possess. The dishonest ones have given the honest ones a really, really hard time, and has left a large group of otherwise-knowledgable collectors disliking their work.

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So if I trim off some overlaying pages that make my book look bad and then sell it to you as unrestored you'd be fine with that?
No, I wouldn't. Undisclosed restoration is what has led to the bad rep that restoration has in the first place. Two generations before yours, those undisclosed restorers were a rarity because comics weren't worth multiples of the average American yearly individual salary. The undisclosed restorers started during the generation right before yours, shortly after the fact that comics could be worth money became common knowledge, but most people weren't aware of what they were doing. It's only during our generation in the 1990s and today that the market has fully realized that the scoundrels exist. Our initial reaction to these crooks has been to simply shun ALL restoration. It's a knee-jerk response to negative stimuli.

 

Also, if there's a printing defect such as a DD 168 where there is sometimes extra ink on the cover..does that mean removing it would be restoration since it was printed that way?
CGC would probably call it that, because it's a lot like trimming. Both trimming and removal of misprinted ink are subtractive operations; they don't add new material, they just take material away that was there to begin with. You're not really "restoring" the book to a prior state when you remove original material. I haven't heard a good, succinct term for correcting printing defects.

 

As far as I'm concerned, I'd like neither and from what we've seen in auctions most people feel the same way
If your sole criteria for judging the future state of the market were what the current prices are in the marketplace, then as I have repeatedly stated in this thread, ultra-high-grade Modern keys such as Secret Wars #8 CGC 9.8 would still be worth $200. But they ended up going down in price, didn't they? Why?

 

There was a reason they were high in the first place, and there's a reason they went down. There's a reason restored books are low in price, and ABlue is stating that there's a reason they could go back up again. It's misleadingly shallow to think that current price trends ALONE can be used as a justification for those investing and collecting trends continuing into the future.

 

Restored comics will never be worth as much as unrestored comics. However, the current prices being garnered for restored comics, especially Marvel Silver Age, are abnormally low from a historical perspective. There is definite validity in ABlue's point that the abnormally low prices garnered in the current marketplace have a high probability of recovering in the future.

 

I can see exactly why the investment streak in us all would dislike a restored comic. But why would the collector/reader in us all care? None of you people railing on restoration can even tell the difference unless CGC tells you! Your opinions aren't tempered by having handled restored and unrestored comics, they're a result of your view of final auction results over a comparatively brief period of time. And those prices have been affected by the inability of collectors to protect themselves from the Dupcaks of the world.

 

The restored comics market won't recover anytime quick, but it has a strong chance of eventual recovery if information about restoration detection becomes readily available to those who seek it.

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What is particularly distressing to me about the modern view of restoration is that it is entirely based upon looking at comics as nothing but pure investment pieces. I'm not as distressed that people aren't paying high prices for restored books as I am that people don't want them at ALL for shallow and ignorant reasons. Look at the following link to the CGC Census numbers for Strange Tales #84:http://www.cgccomics.com/poplookup/grades_standard.asp?title=Strange+Tales&issue=84&year=1961Now check out the following comic:

I grade this comic at an apparent 9.4. It appears to have the same high-quality restoration work done to it as the restored FF #3 CGC 9.4 I've posted a scan for in other threads. The piece replacement and color touch is SO good that I wonder whether the same person restored them both, and I wonder who that person was. Which would you rather have--the CGC 8.0 unrestored copy for the $300+ price (if I remember the final auction price correctly) it went for, or the 9.4 copy above? I got it for about $40-$50 (or "free," depending upon your perspective) as one of a bunch of throw-ins on a Spidey #17/X-Men #4/FF #9 deal I made with Harley Yee.From a collectibility and readability standpoint, well-done restoration that is invisible to the layman makes as much aesthetic difference as the difference between a 9.8 and a 10.0. Isn't pure investment the overwhelmingly major reason that people don't want restored comics? Mighty shallow reason not to want ANY restored comics!Investment trends change...
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I totally agree with James on this. I would much rather have a nice book such as the STRANGE TALES #84 for a decent price than one that had a lot less eye appeal for more money. I've never been bothered by professional restoration done well but it doesn't bother me that the majority of collectors are; it gives me a chance to get some primo books for a lot less money.

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In my opinion, restored comics have taken a hit in the market because of three reasons:

 

1) Nondisclosure and overcharging

2) Overlapping of two distinctly separate markets

3) Ignorance and fear

 

We all now know how restoration ran rampant during the 1980's, and very little was made of it, since there was no set standards or watchdog in the industry. Each dealer had his opinion as to what constituted restoration, and sold by those rules. Many were fair, although most were limited by their ability to spot it. Some were unscrupulous, heavily restoring their books (cleaning, trimming, color touch, piece replacement, re-glossing, etc) and not disclosing anything. But the end result was the same: collectors were sitting on all kinds of restored books they weren't aware of, having paid unrestored prices for many of them.

 

Couple that with the discovery of massive profit margins sellers were realizing on restoring and reselling big books, and it was inevitable that collectors were going to be left with a very sour taste in their mouths. This became an issue years before CGC came along, evidenced by declining prices Sotheby's was realizing for its restored material throughout the mid '90s. CGC did not bring about this by itself.

 

What CGC did do was overlap the restored market with the investment market, something that is practically nonexistent in other hobbies such as baseball cards and coins. It's my understanding that coin slabbing companies will RETURN coins that have any work on them, not including dipped coins (cleaned, how interesting for this topic). But in comics, restoration is so prevalent that ignoring these books would cut off a significant portion of CGC's business. So the decision was made to accept them and establish their own identification, which was the purple label.

 

What is CGC for? The high end market. They encapsulate the high grade stuff, make sure it hasn't been tinkered with, and off it goes into the feeding frenzy. It's all about 9.0-10.0, depending on what era of books you collect. The high end buyers have absolutely no interest in restored comics. So now we have these unsightly purple label books sitting among a gorgeous row of blue labels, all selling briskly at multiples of guide. It's no suprise that restored comics suffered in everyone's eyes, both in terms of value and desirability.

 

Which restored comics are we talking about? The slight ones, with a bit of color touch or a cleaned cover. Those gorgeous VF's someone had to turn into a NM. But what has happened is that the "real" restored comics, the FA's and GD's that were professionally restored into pretty copies, ended up catching the bad rap. Collectors lost sight of the purpose of restored comics, which is not investment. These books have no business being in the upper end of the market, because no one loves them up there. They are an albatross. It's the collector's market who appreciates them, the guys that buy restored books because it allows them a chance to own pretty copies without paying the premium. Not to mention preserving a disintegrating piece of Americana.

 

So where does this leave the slightly restored VF's and NM's, the books caught in the middle? Before detection, they traded at premiums among the hobby's elite. Now they sell for a fraction of guide to collectors. Are they good investments? Where will they land when the dust settles? It depends on the scarcity of the book. If you're talking about Golden Age, especially desirable issues, I believe the values will rebound in a big way, especially after the census report will reveal over time how rare, or even nonexistent they are in high grade. What would a slight(P) VF/NM 9.0 Detective #13 sell for if the next highest grade was a F/VF 7.0?

 

People are scared of restoration because they don't know how to spot it, and are afraid of getting burned. It still happens on ebay every day. Because it's impossible to train every single collector in detection, this fear will never go away. I'd like to see the creation of a regulatory board that would set forth guidelines for dealing, and rate dealers based on their credibility. The dealers would know how to spot restoration, and sell comics with the promise of full disclosure. It's idealistic, I know. But it's the best way to build assurance among buyers and strengthen the restored market--besides having the impossible, which is to slab every single existing comic and end all doubt.

 

Matt Nelson

 

 

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Considering your 3rd point has been knocked out with the advent of CGC...CGC'd restored books still are going for nickels on the dollar. I could see it with an unslabbed book or an undisclosed one.

 

Brian

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