Every week I go to the comic book store. I pick up my new books and ask for bags and boards to accompany them, something I wish I did when I was younger. Each bag and board costs me an additional .17 cents, a price well worth it. I know I can get them cheaper if I buy them by the 100 and cheaper yet if I buy them in bulk. My older books (and favorites) are protected a bit more extensively.

To protect them I first place a book into a Mylar sleeve without a board. As acid free as they claim to be I would rather be safe than sorry. I still use a board but I keep this outside the sleeve and place them both into a Mylite bag for maximum protection. Don’t forget if you decide to do this measure accordingly, the Mylar has to be large enough to comply for the book and the Mylite has to be large enough to do the same for book, sleeve, and board. It is probably the most expensive was I can secure my back issues. I tend to buy these bags and boards in bulk during the conventions. This could also be done cheaper by going directly to the manufacturer.

Then there is CGC and PGX, third party grading companies. There is no better way to protect your books (this is arguable) provided you don’t drop then down a flight of steps. Let’s pretend for a second you’re dying for a “Near Mint Plus” copy of Amazing Spider-Man #92.  The copy that you already own has been read extensively and now you are ready to upgrade your copy. You’ve already checked out E-bay and other online auction sites but each time the bidding stretched past your limit. The GPA has the lowest listed price for this book in a 9.6 for $401. Diligently you check store after store; convention after convention looking for the best copy you can find. Disappointment mounts.

Then you finally find a copy worth talking to the proprietor about. The price tag on the bag seems a little high but if it is the grade you want.  A little negotiation could work after investigating the book. It looks beautiful and after being taken out of the bag you see the spine is indeed tight, no staple stress, the corners sharp, and dare you sniff the interior ever so lightly hoping for no acidic smell. The pages are even white as you open the book gingerly. After haggling with the owner you leave with the book, happy with your purchase.

Now what? Do you take it home, read it? Bag and board it?  Forget about it in an attic between the pages of other magazines? Fortunately CGC is at the convention and taking submissions. You decide to preserve it. I understand that you will never be able to read it, but you already did. Although CGC does charge per each book, the prices could be relatively cheaper compared to purchasing a book already graded. At some conventions they have same day grading, which costs a little bit more. Once graded the book has a number which is registered with the CGC registry.  With a free membership you can create a set and discuss with others about your collection, maybe even comment about it. Who knows by some miracle maybe this Amazing Spider-Man #92 will be the first 9.8?

As a collector I want the best I can possibly get. I am working on my own set, although it is not Amazing Spider-Man, it is a set that I truly love collecting….again.  Having books graded by a third party helps having both buyer and seller to be on the same page, this way there is no arguing about condition, just price.

Thanks for Reading