Why Collectors are Gravitating Towards Graded Items

With comic books breaking records almost daily and collectible cards demanding higher premiums than ever before, the modern collector has witnessed a dramatic shift in the collectible market: third party grading services. If you have recently delved into the world of comics, or any collectible of that sort, you probably have noticed graded items becoming more and more prevalent in the market. From local comic book shops to major online retailers, third party certified collectibles have revolutionized the way collectors tackle the current market. But why have collectibles and those who buy them been favoring graded collectibles? And more importantly, why should you?

Growing Confidence

In any collectible market, especially comics, condition is key. The value of a comic and its desirability by collectors is predicated on the condition it is in. However, collectors have been faced with a difficult task when it comes to assessing the condition of a book accurately and impartially. Third party grading services, such as the Certified Guaranty Company (CGC) or the Comic Book Certification Service (CBCS), have eliminated this otherwise impossible challenge. By providing an impartial and professional grading service, confidence in the collectible market has increased both the price and trustworthiness of comic books at large.

Offering Protection

Assessing condition is one thing, but being able to preserve that comic’s condition for years to come is a feat of its own. CGC and CBCS have moved beyond their certification service and encapsulate comic books in a protective case. This case provides valuable information via its label. However, it serves a more valuable role when it comes to protecting the collectible from damage. Shipping, storing, packaging, and collecting have become significantly safer with the introduction of slabs.

Determining Population

The most powerful factor when it comes to the value and desirability of collectible is scarcity. How scarce a comic is coupled with its demand has been a contributor for the rise of the collectible market. However, determining the supply and population of a comic is nearly impossible to the average collectors. With third party grading services, census population reports have been a priceless tool. When a comic is graded and certified by CGC or CBCS, the information attributed to the collectible is placed in a public database that provides collectors with an accurate and detailed report of a comic’s population. It’s worth mentioning that CBCS didn’t offer a census until May of 2020 and they had some glitches in uploading all the data.  Not all graded copies are accounted for.  Eventually this will be a non-issue as time goes on, but there are cases where the census is inaccurate. 


Whether it be confidence, protection, or market analysis tools, third party grading services have seen exponential growth over the past decade. Collectors are finding themselves preferring graded books over their raw counterparts and there seems no end in sight.  

Written by the great and powerful Ethan Hoornstra

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1 comment


  • Howard Lee

    Liked the article but had to add a word of caution. The census or population may not be as accurate due to many collectors cracking graded cases and then pressing and resubmitting the books to get graded again. The end result is the same book gets counted twice and inflates the census.


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