Saturday 20th December 2014,
Comic Booked

CGC vs PGX

Comic Booked Guest Writer 04/05/2011 Features

Beta vs. VHS; Blue Ray vs. HD-DVD; Star Wars Vs. Star Trek; and the list goes on.
Both CGC and PGX use the same basic principles to encapsulate their books. The following was taken from their own sites.

The first is from CGC:
The newly-printed labels are stacked in the same sequence as the comics to be encapsulated with them, ensuring that each book and its label match one another. The comic is now ready to be fitted inside an archival-quality interior well, which is then sealed within a transparent capsule, along with the book’s color-coded label. This is accomplished through a combination of compression and ultrasonic vibration. The result is a newly-encapsulated CGC comic, ready to be shipped to its proud owner.

The second is from PGX:
Our holder also offers optimal protection for your book — the airtight inner-holder is surrounded by a durable outer-holder, which preserves and protects your book much better than conventional storage methods. Each book has two pieces of micro-chamber paper inserted inside the book to help absorb any gases or acids the book lets off over time, thereby helping to slow down the aging process a great deal.

It seems that the above keep comic books safe from being damaged and retain the grade given but how do Both CGC and PGX grade. PGX has a comparative price list on what they charge and what CGC charges; CGC only has what they charge. However anyone keeping up with encapsulating their books knows that the information PGX has is outdated. I do not know how PGX can compete if they are not even updating their own website. The company has so much potential but at the moment they cannot hold a candle to CGC’s light (that was so cliché).

I remember when I first started to collect back issues. Most books when becoming a back issue were simply put in a bag with a board and then twenty five cents was added to the price stated on the cover. This was probably just to cover the cost of the bag and board. I remember when extra issues from my local comic book shop were put in the back issue bin I still recall seeing the New Mutants #98 for only a $1.25. Now years later CGC comes along and grades this book (along with the success of Deadpool) and the comic has been selling for over two hundred dollars (graded as a 9.8). Recently 9.9 copy fetched a few thousand dollars. I do not think this book would be anywhere close to this price in a simple Mylar.

I have this book (the previously mentioned New Mutants #98). I purchased it off the rack, read it, and put it in a Mylar bag with board. I didn’t do this with all my books, barely any in fact, but I loved this series so much that when (starting with) issue #86 came out I labored to take care of this series. I got my #98 graded with the hopes of receiving a 9.8. I looked it over numerous times. The spine is tight. The corners crisp. The staples clean, dare I dream a 9.9 when I expect a 9.6, and it did receive a 9.6?

I had one PGX 9.9. Of course it is from The New Mutants, issue #5 in fact. I purchased it off of e-Bay under the “make an offer” option. I offered $45(the average I like to pay for a 9.8 from this series). He accepted. I took it to one of the Wizard Worlds Philadelphia 2010. Before I did take it there I called the company up and asked how this would work.  They told me all I had to do was bring the book but there was no guarantee it would receive the same grade. I understand this but I wonder if it does not receive the same grade how do the two separate companies agree or disagree on what is and what is not a flaw.

The #5 is indeed crisp. The corners are magnificent; the cover colorfully vibrant. I stared over and over at the staples and they are my main concern. They are clean but where the cover is attached I question the space between metal and paper. I would have graded this book a 9.8 by Overstreet’s Grading Standards but then again I am strict in grading my own books, maybe too strict but I don’t want anyone telling me that I only gave it a high grade because it’s mine. CGC graded it a 9.8 as well.

So how do CGC and PGX grade? A rip is a rip, very east to distinguish; a rusty staple also very easy to tell, but what about spine stress. I have Daredevil #158 (graded an 8.0) which looks nicer than my X-Men #141 which I bought from auction as a 9.6. Sure it helps my points when I add it to my registry but I don’t get as much joy out of it as let’s say a Rom or the Human Fly graded in a 9.8 (just kidding). If I brought both with me to Wizard World 2010 would they look them over (the Daredevil and X-Men not The Human Fly and Rom)? Would my 9.6 drop, would my 8.0 increase? I plan on bringing a copy of X-Men #142 to get graded by CGC. This raw book is beautiful (better than the 9.6 141of X-Men I won) and anything less than a 9.6 would make me lose faith in CGC’s ability to grade properly or consistently.

I am reminded of the days when there was VHS and Beta. Beta had better quality and better packaging (think green, they were smaller), but VHS had better marketing. Recently it was Blue Ray vs. HD-DVD. Blue Ray won. Who would win between CGC and PGX? If PGX could allow them to excel in so many areas including placing themselves into the forefront of the market rather than sit back and take the scraps that CGC leaves behind, I believe PGX could dominate. I am reminded when UPS went on strike about ten years ago and Fed Ex had the opportunity to excel…..they didn’t.

Until then my preference is CGC. I can’t tell you why. Maybe it is the comprehensive registry. Maybe it is the journal’s that are so easy to post and get feedback from. It could also be like a pedigree that the market has deemed them the first and foremost expert in grading comic books. But if I had anything vested in either company I would honor another fully encapsulated book and grade it the same grade if they wished to switch their collection from PGX to CGC or vice versa. After all a rip is a rip and a rusty staple is a rusty staple, which leaves the question how many creases does it take to lower a grade and which company is better suited to make the distinction?

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  1. Robb Orr 04/07/2011 at 4:04 pm

    Someone needs to hire you as a full-time comics appraiser. Another informative article!

  2. Skott of Fables 04/08/2011 at 10:33 am

    I have many books I would like to get graded, not for the presumed 'value' of them (I never cared for that) but for the protection of them. My main problem is in breaking up my collection. Graded books won't fit in my collection drawers with my other comics, I'll need a special box for them and that bothers me. Picky, I know, lol.

  3. CGC Lee 04/10/2011 at 3:42 am

    I have actually purchased shelving just for my comic books. They hold the three different half boxes I own very well, including my CGC boxes, but I am slowly running out of space and the shelves have been discontinued.

  4. Adam 09/01/2011 at 5:48 am

    Great article on comics but the main reason VHS beat Betamax was that the recording time was twice as long on VHS tapes.

  5. Tom 03/29/2012 at 8:24 am

    I have purchased both CGC and PGX books and I find them to be very comparable; each has its flaws and each has its strengths. I have about 75 graded books and I like PGX grading better on some and CGC grading better on others. I fault both companies for grading on the curve when it comes to Golden Age books and also for not counting production flaws as defects and for not counting pressing as a defect. It's restoration, no matter how they define it. I'll buy from both; depends on whether I agree with the grading.

  6. speedmaster 05/25/2012 at 4:00 am

    Pressing is not counted as restoration because most times it CANNOT be detected. How can you count it as a production flaw if you can't see it?

  7. CGC Lee 06/01/2012 at 4:17 am

    I know that a pressed book cannot be detected and even had a book pressed before taking it to someone to see if they could detect it. They couldn't. Pressing is something I am still on the fence about. I have no problem pressing books I am going to keep but wonder about the ethical boundaries one might have it selling a book pressed, should full disclosure be among the selling notes when the seller knows the book is pressed.

    As an experiment I had two books pressed. I and a companion (more knowledgeable than me) looked over two books. One we decided was a 5.5, the other a 6. The 5.5 book came back, a 5.5 and the 6 jumped to a seven, so I still am questionable about the value of pressing. I will be touching on this subject more and with greater knowledge after discussing this with a leader in the industry.

    Oh and not to mention the slabs the books are being preserved in, also wind up pressing the book as they remain in their imposed carbonite shell.

    • Eric 05/27/2013 at 12:03 pm

      I believe that one of the reasons PGX has lower fees is they have to in order to compete with a company that has been around longer and for not necessarily any
      good reason has a better reputation. In saying all this, I have purchased both CGC and PGX books, and think that overall they are both great graders, and sometimes they BOTH are capable of making minor mistakes, but I'm more likely to use PGX on my collection because from my experience they are strict, much less expensive, with much faster turnaround times, and great customer services.

  8. Eric 05/27/2013 at 11:58 am

    That is being uneducated to say that you prefer CGC buy don't know why? I have purchased CGC graded books and I have submitted books to PGX. PGX grading from my experience is quite strict. Their customer service is excellent. If you call them, you will speak directly to the men in charge. I have talked to some of the Golden and Silver Age comic book dealers in my state and those with experience with both have said that PGX has caught up to CGC. CGC's fees are insane, and their turnaround time is nothing short of ridiculous. Plus, to top it off, you have to submit through a third party or incur even more fees to become a member. So even if a similarly graded book from both companies might be worth more with CGC because they are "trusted in the industry" the extra money and time you will wait will actually cost you more in the long run.

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