Somewhere, somehow I went from feelings of disdain towards CGC to craving them to grade my comic books. This also includes purchasing them already encapsulated like my favorite set, New Mutants (1983). I am happy to say I currently have the best ranked set of this title, an accomplishment that has only been recently acquired in the early months of 2012. New Mutants #15 started my collection way back in 1984 but a copy of New Mutants #1 graded a 9.8 with white pages started my CGC collection.

I started to collect other titles, some of which have been graded the illustrious 9.8 while others, depending on the age of the book along with the cost, were graded lower (Daredevil #1 in a 3.5). Even my own raw books were not immune to the desire to have them protected. A couple of mine (New Mutants #15 & #16) were graded a 4.5. The sickness spread as I started to look for the worst possible copy and found a few on eBay that were in poor condition (.5). I have over 350 books in my collection keeping pace with my growing addiction.

My latest acquisition was a raw copy of Daredevil #3, which was purchased (Super World Comics), pressed (Classics Inc.), signed (Stan Lee), and graded (CGC). This all happened at Wizard World Philadelphia 2012. This is how it happened.

 

I made a list of not only the comics I wanted to buy but what I would pay and in what condition I would pay for them. As I walked around from dealer to dealer hoping to find that diamond in the rough I checked out an Amazing Spider-Man #16 but continued on. I also found an already graded Amazing Spider-Man #50 over at a booth that belonged to someone that I purchased many things from before. However I was most interested in a comic book that I found at a previous booth which had two signs above the “wall” reading SuperWorldComics.com.

I saw a copy of Daredevil #3 (Volume #1) that caught my eye and asked to see it. On books from the Silver Age I tend to ask the proprietor to open the bag and take out the book. My fear is that I will damage it and be forced to buy something I don’t want. I looked it over, skimmed the inside, glanced over the covers and asked the price. I was given $700.

My untrained eyes considered the book I wanted to buy a solid (F)ine or numerically a 6.0. I checked the notes I took from the 41st annual OverStreet’s Guide and realized it was a little over $300 too much. I couldn’t argue, it was his book and his right to overcharge. Of course I do have to remember it is only a guide and this guide fluctuates because of buyers like me. I would part with my cash for sure if he would drop the price to $400.

Despite being the first day of the convention and all good deals are held until the last day, I asked what the best price he would do on this book. I wanted to buy it on the first day because it was written by Stan Lee and I was hoping to get the best graded copy of a book that I could have signed by this industry giant. I had already in my collection signed copies of Daredevil, the highest graded was a 5.5. I was hoping for something greater and a 7.5 or an 8 seemed ideal. This book being a six might not fit the curriculum but I also needed to listen to my budget.

He dropped the price a hundred dollars, but still too much. I thanked him, handed him the book back and walked away. However, the book looked that good. I decided to get a second opinion and walked over to where Keegan from Comics to Astonish was (he was the one who had the ASM #50) and asked him if he had time to help me make a more informed decision. I was in luck, he did.

We both walked over to the booth I was just at, which fortunately was not that far away. I once again asked if I could take a look at the book.  It was handed over to Keegan who informed the owner of the stand he would be taking it out of the bag. Mind you the reason why I knew I could go to Keegan was that I have purchased from him numerous books, some graded by CGC, and others to read. Over this time I have discovered I could not only trust his judgment but I also respected his knowledge which is why I asked him if he would look over the book I now wanted.

Keegan pointed out the flaws before asking if we could take it over to Matt Nelson from Classics Inc. to take a look at it for potential pressing. I still had yet to dedicate myself to purchasing the comic book. I decided depending on what could be done for the book would help my decision. We took the short walk and waited while Matt finished with the customer ahead of us. After he was done, Keegan and Matt greeted each other.

The book was handed over and Matt started pointing out many of the same things Keegan pointed out, the guestimate was a 9.2 (he said 9.4 if it wasn’t for the upper left corner) after pressing. The only hitch was it would take 24 hours for the job to be done properly and the signing was to take place at 11 am Friday morning. The 9.2 sounded great (not a guarantee) but it wouldn’t matter if I couldn’t get Stan Lee’s scrawl on it the next day.

The next stop was CGC. We needed to find out if we could do the pressing after the signing. As we walked over there Keegan confided that he thought the book would be an 8.5. The 9.2 sounded good and the 8.5 was more realistic, so I secretly accepted if the book received a 9.0 I would be happy. At the CGC booth we both talked to Joe with Keegan doing all the explaining. It was decided that the signature could take place before being pressed. Now the only thing was to purchase the book. On the way over Keegan double checked that the asking price was $600. After I confirmed that he said he would see if he could get a better price. Back at SuperWorldComics.com Keegan talked to Ted asking for a few more dollars off. The book was lowered $50. I reached into my pocket, counted out the agreed upon amount and had just purchased a copy of Daredevil #3. I handed the book to Keegan to get it ready for the signing and now all I had to do was wait.