A raw book is any book not encapsulated by one of the three grading companies. This is a book you can touch, read, etc. Raw books are graded on their appearance as decided upon by the individual.
Slabbed books are books that have been “professionally graded” by one of the three grading companies. These companies are CGC, CBCS and PGX. After being graded they are then encapsulated in an air tight plastic holder. This is also known as Impartial 3rd party grading. On the label located at the top, they will also list any pertinent information.
In my opinion, if you are collecting for fun and enjoy reading your books and enjoying them. You will probably prefer raw books. If you are collecting for investment purposes, then high grade slabs will be what you want.
As of this writing I am under the impression that CBCS has not started encapsulating off sized books like the UK Captain Britain’s from 1975. Also, do your research on PGX. I am not here to tell you who is best and who does a poor job. I have a few of each. But there are some stories you should be aware of. So do your research on all three before deciding which to use.
Join me next time for a discussion on first appearances.
Grading is the single number one item you need to learn about when it comes to buying and selling comic books. Grading is what will more or less dictate the price of any comic at any time. Following is a list of items to look for but not limited to just this list.
Staples for rust and tightness
Detached covers or pages
Missing cover or back cover
Cover or page tears
Page color (White, Cream, Off white,etc)
Writing on or in book
Removed Marvel Stamps
Any type of Restoration.
The 2 major restorations I have found are adding color to the cover and trimming the books to make the corners sharp again.Most of this type of work is done on Golden and Silver aged books. Some Bronze age depending on book.
We will discuss professionally graded books and the companies that do this in a later writing. Today is just to acquaint you with the basics and the knowledge of what to expect. Look at the photos above for a few examples of what I am listing here.
Also, in the photos you will find a card called an OWL Grading card. Now these cards are sort of out of date on page colors and other items but can still be of great use to the new collector. You can compare corner sharpness, the ruler will let you measure tears, creases, and missing pieces, the page colors can still get you close. A good investment for the beginner.
Grading is a huge part of comic collecting and I have just started touching on it. There will be a lot more to come. Make sure you come back later this week as we will continue discussing grading and the difference between Raw and Graded books.
The next question I hear asked by new collectors is, “what should I collect”? My answer is always, collect what you like! There seems to be a misconception that comics are just spandex wearing Super Heroes and that they are just for kids. No way that is true. You have Super Heroes, Zombies, Vampires, Adult books, Drama, Archie, comedy, horror, and tons of others. A lot of people don’t realize that a lot of they’re favorite T.V shows are based on comics. The Walking Dead, I Zombie, Riverdale, The Strain, Preacher and my favorite, Lucifer are all based on comics. Personally, I collect first appearances of characters. Cameos and full appearances. Also anything Deadpool and Harley Quinn. I also like older sets, Mark Jeweler Variants and DC Survey Variants. All of these I will go into more details about at a later time. Some people I have met look for special dates in their lives. Like books released on the same month and year as their children, grandchildren, wives, etc. Some people are completest. If they start for example, the original Avengers series 1. They will get every book including all variants and reprints to complete the entire set. Some just put together the basic set 1-whatever. Some people only collect, golden age books or silver aged books. Direct editions or Newsstand editions. Single books or Trade Paperbacks. You may like a certain artist or writer and only get books they are working on or have worked on. Maybe a particular character, autographed books, certain runs or a complete set, only raw books or only graded books. Beware of the Variant cover hype. The only thing I will warn you about when it comes to variant covers is, book stores will push these on you. You need every cover of the same book. Don’t get caught up in the hype unless you just really like the covers or the artists. These are some of the most over priced books you will ever run into. Be careful.
Hello, my name is Tom. I began collecting comics about 8 years ago. So, yes. I am still a newbie. One of the things I learned quickly, was you could spend a lot of money in a short amount of time. I also ran into some folks that were more interested in my money than helping me when I asked questions. Now don’t get me wrong. I also met some good people that helped me out, but there were fewer of them. So I have started this blog in hopes of spreading information to those who may need some. Now, I do want you to remember. What I write here is mainly my opinion and how I feel. By no means is it the rule or an exact science. Read it, and then do your own research and hopefully you will not hit the same pitfalls I did. Please feel free to comment, ask questions, share stories and knowledge you feel is pertinent. But I do ask there be no name calling or arguing. I can tell you for sure, that I do not know everything and will even be wrong sometimes. I hope you find this helpful and good luck in your collecting. This is an awesome hobby and a lot of fun.