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Messages posted by: telitor
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I can answer this with an actual grading situation. I have a Black Cat #6 that is physically an 8.0. I had a couple professional graders look at it to help me figure out if it was trimmed or not. They agreed with me and called it a solid 8.0. But there was a neatly hand-written date with curlicues on either side in faded pen above the "Glamorous" on the cover. This put the date dead-center at the top of the page. Pretty conspicuous location in my opinion but the grade came back from CGC as a 7.5 with no restoration.
I think the biggest factor is how distracting the mark is from the cover. If it is the first or second thing you see the grade will be lower than if it takes your brain awhile to click to the date. All things being equal, the date written on the front cover drops a book automatically from NM to VF. After that things like: location, neatness, size, color of ink, color of cover, type of pen, etc. come into play and determine how far down the book slides on the scale.
Whenever a comic I buy comes in a top loader, I put the comic in a sealable bag. Then I stuck labels on the top and make them dividers for my boxes. Being taller they work well and I don't really think they are worth using for anything else. One thing you can do is get good butcher wrap and use it to seal the bag. The plastic will adhere to itself and the loader without damaging the comic like tape can.
I don't agree with being so harsh about markings on the cover. But I do come at this a little differently since I'm generally a golden age collector so my favorite comics are 60 years old. But as far as I was taught; if the mark doesn't detract from the artwork, bleed through or damage the paper in anyway, it only effects the grading slightly. For a minor mark, it can be considered a crude stamp or store mark and the grade should shift from VF to VF-. If it is more invasive to the artwork or damage to the paper, then drop the grade another point and call it VF-/F+. When the mark is clearly distracting or damaging then the grading can drop to the VG or lower range. Of course, grading is very subjective and I think F- to VF-/F+ is the hardest range to judge accurately.
I have to agree on the variant issues. The rarer the book the more people seem to want them. In fact, a lot of my collecting in modern books is based on low print run variant and recalled editions. Case in point, the only League of Extraordinary Gentlemen I own is the recalled #5. I have never even read any of the comics or the series but I just had to have a comic that was only one of a few to survive the incinerator. The Marvel douche ad was a big bonus, as well. I think owning a survivor of a recall or even a Gerber 9 or 10 from the Golden era is the thrill of claiming something that so few other people can claim. "I own this and you don't!"
As to on purpose, the big boys at DC would never have sanctioned this because of trouble with coding violations. If it was deliberate, someone lower on the food chain made it happen. Could there have been a wink and a nudge from higher up to generate interest in the series during an economic downturn, who knows?

I listed almost the same question on another forum site just yesterday. I didn't get much help and received the typical "PGX is the devil" answer. Not very helpful when I am trying to improve the longevity of my golden age comics. I have figured out that PGX has the better case but CGC is the better choice for grading golden age. My real question is whether encapsulating is better than bags, acid buffered boards, extenders, etc. for preserving comics? The ones I have in question I won't be selling unless I am desperate so that issue isn't a factor for me but I do agree, the market holds out that CGC comics sell better than PGX.
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