I don’t use PGX. I prefer CGC and with that in mind can I be unbiased in this article? Which company has stricter guidelines? Which company is cheaper? And which company has a quicker turnaround time? I think everyone has a separation anxiety when they send one of their books out to be graded. Will it get there? And if so will get there undamaged? I feel the older the book the greater the fear of its loss. I never sent books to PGX and only sent in an order to CGC once. So how can I help you decide which one?
Both companies can be found online, and as with going into a physical store a website should look vibrant and be exceptional to use. The easier it is to move around the virtual store, the more comfortable you feel. A person at ease is willing to spend to get their comic books graded. Both PGX and CGC have a listing of their fees on their respective sites.
PGX is easy and cheap. Sending them a modern age book (which they consider 1975 to now) will only cost you $10 per comic book. The simple math is 10 books to be graded and encapsulated will only cost hundred dollars not including the fees to ship it there and back again. For a full list of its prices for non-modern age books please visit their site.
CGC is easy too but not quite as cheap. The same 10 books to be sent in and returned will cost you $17 per book for the modern age tier (they consider modern age to be from 1980 to now). I am not sure about PGX, but to send books to CGC a paid membership is required. With this paid membership and the online form filled out, a 10% discount is allotted; but this is still more than PGX. So why do I use CGC?
I decided to see what others had to say about both PGX and CGC by their own feedback page, I didn’t read them all but I did look at each and every name that wrote a review. I was confused as to why so many that raved about PGX would sign ‘Anonymous’ or ‘Anon’. If the company I like is doing a good job not only would I let them know, but I would have no problem with them attaching my name to my comment. If I am going to rave about something to a company I am not going to be embarrassed about sharing my name with them or others. I feel if I am going to endorse a product I would be happy to repeat over and over again about them. The other thing I noticed is that they were only names; no companies. None of the feedback was from any store, dealer, or any notorious collector.
What about CGC? What are people saying about them? I also skimmed over the feedback on the CGC site. There, feedback is from collectors (much like myself), comic book store owners, dealers, and notorious comic book entities. I even saw a review from Robert M. Overstreet. This guy wrote the book (price guide) that I treated as a bible growing up, and here he is endorsing CGC. Tom Gordon III, the president of ComicPriceguide.com, even Dave Sim (a comic book creator) wrote a review for CGC. I can visualize Cerebus standing with pike in hand not allowing anyone near his collection of CGC comic books. As you can see by the reviews alone, one of these sites seems to be more prudent then the others. As a reader I will listen to a friend and try a new book, as a collector I will listen to the industry leaders on how to preserve a book. For some of my non-graded comic books I have a double bag approach which I will write about another time. But this is between CGC and PGX.
I remember the old saying “you get what you pay for”. A cheaper service does not mean a better service. There are so many conventions around the country, and at these conventions dealers have their wares for everyone to view. The more expensive the book, the better they are placed on the “Wall”. These books are mostly uncertified, but more and more encapsulated comics are making their way up there. Some dealers now only carry graded books and when I see those dealers most of their books are graded from CGC. Modern age books are in abundance by CGC compared to its counterpart PGX.
Grading is relative and as no two comic book stores will agree quickly on a grade nor do third party grading companies. To ALL of those that I discussed CGC and PGX the census was that PGX does not grade as strictly as CGC. There are even some CGC books that I own that I feel CGC graded a bit too high, and I wonder if I thought that with CGC, what would PGX grade it? I purchased one PGX book and it was graded a 9.9.
A 9.9 is a wonderfully difficult grade to achieve so why did I purchase this book for $45 only to take it to CGC at a convention and pay an additional $24 (same day grading does cost more per book, per tier) for them to crack it open and re-grade it a 9.8. And there was no guarantee it was a 9.8. Why than did I do it?
The New Mutants happens to be my favorite series. This is my collection. You can jump around from there and see. If you take a look at my #5 (unfortunately the picture of the comic you see there is not the actual one I own) you can read what I wrote about that individually. Do you know how difficult it is photographing these slabs? Anyway, I even stated to the collecting world of CGC about its origin from PGX.
I didn’t like CGC when I first saw them, and I clearly didn’t even know PGX existed, but both companies are here to stay. Should you collect graded comic books? And if so which should you collect? As with anything you have to use what you feel comfortable with. My main issues was that you are not able to read the books. You can’t touch them nor smell them, but you can collect them and that is why I like CGC better. As you collect them you can join the registry, which is free. You can see what other collectors have. You can show off what you have and enjoy the medium not just on a local scale with friends (mine don’t collect) and family (mine don’t care) but on a global scale with collectors all over the world.
So next time when you are at a comic book convention or on eBay, check out the world of CGC and PGX and make up your own mind. Ok so all these words later I still didn’t satisfy your curiosity on which is better. Clearly I told you PGX is cheaper and rumored to be faster, but CGC still seems to be the company to beat. Once again if you have any questions you can reach me at CGCLee@comicbooked.com or on Twitter @CGCLee. I support CGC not on the basis that is better than PGX (which is arguable) but it is interactive with other collectors and more fun than PGX. I’ll have more about encapsulation in ten days.
Thanks for Reading