CGC Grading and the State of the Hobby

A few weeks ago, Skybolt (Ed) made a great post on the CGC Message Boards. With his permission, here it is:

...we as collectors need to evolve beyond this current state of the hobby. If a CGC graded book can double in value from $10,000 to $20,000 by erasing a small smudge of dirt and raising the grade by a couple of notches, then something is wrong. I truly believe that eventually reality will catch up with perception, and people will wake up to the fact that they're shelling out thousands of hard earned dollars for a minor press job or dry cleaning, to raise a book's value 2-fold. This realization will ultimately have a huge impact on the state of the hobby once collectors are informed about what an 8.5 vs. 9.2 CGC graded copy really entails.

I mean it's like basically taking an authentic vase, that's in great condition, and rubbing off the dirt to increase its price from $100,000 to $200,000! For instance, if I asked a bunch of high end collectors to step into a room and handed them a nice looking CGC graded 8.0 copy of ASM #1, and said this will cost you $10,000. As they reached for their wallet, I tell them to hold on a second. I grab the book, erase a few dirt smudges and apply some minor pressing in front of everyone. I then grab the book and hand it over to a CGC grader. Since they have to go through the proper protocol and grade the book in front of them, they hand the book back to me with a 9.0 grade. I then turn around to the same potential buyer and say the book will now cost you $30,000. How many buyers would jump at the chance to pay that amount when they saw the procedure being performed first hand?!

I'm sick and tired of blaming CGC, dealers, etc. for what they perceive to be a legitimate cause, instead of bringing the truth to the masses. It's just too hard to investigate every little hole or crack. I'm not talking about putting down the main players for using this system to their advantage, but basically revealing what's behind the curtain so everyone can see. I can understand that CGC only grades the book in front of them, and I can even understand certain dealers using the current system to their benefit. I'm not even questioning how the book can go up in grade with this manipulation. But my point is that what does the CGC grade really mean, and should it have as much emphasis as whether or not a book has great QP, centered pages, great gloss, etc. There's no reason why an ugly looking 7.0 Fiction House copy with extremely faded colors should sell for more than a nice looking 5.0 copy that has great gloss, excellent presentation, but with a few non-color breaking creases, and a 1/4" tear. That's not CGC's fault, but ours for blindly following the grades given.

People should utilize CGC's grading to their own benefit and not the other way around. I truly believe that in time the CGC grade would matter to the potential buyer, but its significance would drop to maybe 25% to 50% of what the they're really looking for. When all is said and done, what makes the most sense is usually accepted by the collecting community. Hopefully, that day could be reached soon and people start educating themselves so they are aware of their surroundings.