Comics Guaranty LLC, also known as CGC claims to be an independent and impartial third party grading service for comic books. You think you have a mint condition comic book that is worth a lot of money? You send it to these folks and they will give your comic book an official grade.
Here is what they say about their service on their website:
Professional comic book grading eliminates concerns about grade misrepresentations by providing a professional assessment of condition and quality. Every comic book certified by CGC is graded by the hobby’s most experienced and trusted team, according to well-established grading standards. Furthermore, every CGC-certified comic book undergoes a thorough restoration check by leading professionals during the certification process. When restoration is detected, it is fully noted on the certification label.
Once certified by CGC, a comic book is encapsulated in a state-of-the art, tamper-evident holder, providing superior protection and stability for long-term preservation.
CGC employees are prohibited from commercially buying or selling comic books, eliminating any potential conflicts of interest. CGC was the first impartial, third-party certification service.
Over one hundred thousand comic books are submitted to CGC each year. Books are carefully handled and tracked through the grading process, and always fully insured while on our premises. You can explore comic book grading by tracing through the grading process.
So you send these folks your comic book to be graded and encapsulated. What you get back is the following pictured on the right.
So what does this mean to you as a collector?
Peace of mind… maybe?
Lets walk through the process so you know where I am coming from. Say you take your mint condition Transformers #1 comic book (current value as of this posting is roughly $30.00 give or take a few bucks) and you send it into CGC to be graded. Their cheapest option is a $380.00 service that will take up to 120 day to complete. Assuming they give your copy of Transformers #1 a perfect 10 score. You are still left with a $30.00 comic. Its just encapsulated now.
The funny thing is people go crazy over CGC graded books on ebay. At least the Transformers ones I have seen are selling in the hundreds. It does not change the fact that it is still a $30.00 book… on a good day.
In the end its your money and you have a right to spend it anyway you want. If i were honest with myself the truth is I would really like to own a few CGC graded Transformers comic books. If I ever see one for a reasonable price on ebay or a comic book store or convention and it is ranked 9.8 or higher, I will pick one up. But so far, I have only seen them go for hundreds on line and I am just not going to spend that kind of money.