CBSI Writer Wars Round 2 : Grading 101 Introduction : Jim Kovachik

“It’s a 9.8! No, it’s a 9.2!”


“Don’t you know it’s a VF?!


“Come on, bro, that’s a Near Mint all day.”


“That’s going to be a high grade copy after a pressing.”


You’ve heard the conversations and the terms thrown like breadcrumbs in a cyclone. Everyone has their own opinion when it comes to the grade of a comic book and everyone thinks they’re right. The problem is too many people will argue their grade is accurate whether they know what they’re talking about or not. And to be honest, the reason a lot of people who think they know how to grade a comic book, unfortunately don’t. And this is no fault of their own, they truly believe they have the skills and knowledge, but if you’re sitting there reading this and think to yourself “I know how to grade comics.” wellllllll…


Now, understand, I don’t want anyone to think I’m saying everyone’s clueless when it comes to grading, there are people/collectors out there who can grade a book like a “pro” (if there truly is such a thing). But there are other people who look at a book, miss 8 different defects and call the comic a 9.4. If you’re on the fence about your knowledge, someone who is interested in learning about the secret and confusing world of grading or just want to be the person who reads each of these articles and says “I knew that” after each one then read on eager adventurer, read on!


First off, I think we should begin this article series with a common misnomer. You see a lot of people argue all the time: “third party grading companies have missed a defect (we will get into what that is later) here or there and the book still got a 9.8!” Well, comic books, believe it or not, have a grading scale that starts at Gem Mint – 10. If you have a spine tick or two, it IS possible to get a 9.8. The book just isn’t a 10 anymore. Many people forget about the beginning of the scale and instantly think 9.8.


Defects work like a docking system. Simply put as an example, a Gem Mint – 10 comic book with one color-breaking spine tick (CBST) should decrease the grade by approximately .2 so 10 – .2 = 9.8 See how that works? 2 CBSTs = 9.4. Now that’s not exactly how grading works all the time, but as an example.


So, to sum up, Gem Mint – 10 books exist and are the basic starting point for every book grade. Always think how your defects start to downgrade your book from that point and you’ve on your way to becoming a knowledgeable grader. In our future articles, we will discuss common grading defects, how they affect the comic book’s grade and dive into the definitions of common defects.


So, until next time may all your grades be Spot On!



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