Here is my question: Is CGC really 'THAT BAD' at grading comics; or, do they just grade lower for people / groups they don't know?
I had heard stories about CGC playing favors by giving harder grades to comics that were submit by unknowns sources, but I didn't want to believe those stories. Unfortunately my personal results make it hard not believer them. Either they are play favorites or their graders really don't know how to grade. You can be the judge.
Below are front and back scans of 3 different Dime Press #4 (1st Appearance of Hellboy) comics that CGC graded. Take a look and then give me your opinion of their grading consistency. You can click on the Scan images to pull up a High Resolution image in a new Browser Tab!
The 1st 2 scans are CGC Label #0152098001 (referred to as 98001): It was graded on May 2008 by CGC as a 9.4 with notes about scuffs on the front and back cover. I do not know who actually had it graded, I bought it when it came up on eBay so I would have a standard to select which Dime Press #4s I would send to CGC for grading. This being the CGC 9.4 benchmark.
The 2nd 2 scans are CGC Label #189332004 (referred to as 32004): It was graded on April 2012 by CGC as a 9.2 with notes about scuffs on the front cover. I submit this book and based on the 98001 copy was expecting a 9.6 or better. You tell me, are the scuff on my copy worse than 98001 copy.
The 3rd 2 scans are CGC Label #189332010 (referred to as 32010): It too was graded on April 2012 by CGC and was given a 9.4 with notes about scuffs on the front cover. I submit this book and again based on the 98001 copy was expecting a 9.6 or better. This got the same CGC grade 98001 copy!! I'm still dumbfounded by their biased grading.
Just a little more background. I had over 120 copies of Dime Press #4 to choose from to send to CGC for grading. About 1/2 of them I bought years ago directly from somebody in Italy that had an unopened case of them. These were never read, never opened and only handled to move them from the case to the protective boards/sleeve. I picked the best 15 copies I had and none of them graded better than 9.6 and 1/2 of them graded at 9.4 or 9.2; at or below the badly scuffed 98001 copy.
When I contacted CGC with my concerns and sent them copies of the scans, here was their reply:
"I spoke to one of our graders that pre-graded your books and forwarded these images to them for review. They stated that the grades given are commensurate with the scuffs as per these images and is consistent with our standards. I am sorry that you do not agree, but as I stated earlier, when you submit your comics for grading to us you are paying for our opinion and that opinion stands on these comics."
There was absolutely no mention as to how the badly scuffed 98001 copy happened to a better grade than my 32004 copy.
So if you would take a few minutes to look at the scans and give me your thoughts about CGC's grading of the books it would be very much appreciated.
Please feel free to contact me with comments.
Bruce "DadRat" Fisher