How Important is Condition? by Devin

June 24, 2021 Articles

I am sure many of us Graham Cracker employees have gotten a call in of someone inquiring about a certain book, and if the answer is “Yeah I got a one in stock”, the next question is usually “What’s the grade?”. There are quite a few reasons on why people look to see what a book’s grade/condition is before even thinking about purchasing them. One is a big one if it is a high grade and a big book can I make a profit on it? And yes, depending on the book and how highly sought after it is you can make a profit. Another reason is a person’s price range, do they want higher graded books for their collection and do not mind spending more, or do they just want to own the book and will go for a lower grade. Now these are probably the two biggest reasons, but there are more like someone will get a lower grade and clean and press it themselves to make it a better grade, either for practice or again for their own collection.

My stand on this is quite simple, I’m not a big stickler on grade. I collect the first run of Amazing Spider-man books there are a lot of Amazing (yes pun intended) and old books in this run, so it’s easy to say that a large majority of these early issues are beat up (and expensive).

The most important thing for me is that I’m able to get a certain book into my collection would I like to have a high grade, and be able to open it up and read it?

Of course, who doesn’t love reading some Stan Lee goodness, while enjoying amazing Steve Ditko or John Romita art.

However, searching and being able to afford these nice books can take a long time to do, and I’m to impatient to wait that long. So, what I do is if I find a lower grade copy of a book that is missing in the collection, I’ll buy it and then to be able to still read it I get a book that collects a majority of these issues and read them. Now what do I mean by this, well if you’re not familiar with books such as omnibuses they are big books that will have 40-50 issues of say a series like Amazing Spider-man.

So, you can read these awesome and old books in even better quality they were printed in while still owning and original copy yourself.

Now many of us collect and buy comics for this one big reason we all have in common; we love to read them and take in a great story. I mentioned things like omnibuses which can help with collecting and reading, but for every one of me with this idea there are hundreds who have a different one. For some the book can be beat up, but as long as the pages are readable and not falling apart it doesn’t matter. With some it’s the opposite they want that higher grade book with the great page quality and read that one, and why do they do this? Well for the same reason many of us are excited for Wednesday to fall around, so we can read these amazing stories and then talk about them with others who do (or don’t) feel the same way.

Now before I continue on, I’ve been saying condition and grade well if you’re not well versed on what a book’s “grade” is well it’s basically the condition of the book, but it’s assigned a number from a 10 or 9.9 being the highest but are very rare so 9.8 is basically a perfect copy. To a .5 being the lowest. Why is this important? Well because like I said earlier the biggest question, we’re usually asked is what a books grade is. With many they want that high grade, they want that 9.8 to either keep the collection immaculate and sell it one day, or it’s just for them something their proud of. But the book can have a medium to low grade and for most it’s not important BUT if the book itself presents well that low grade isn’t important. For example, I have an Amazing Spider-man #300, great book first full appearance of Venom, the 300th issue, 25th anniversary of Spider-man, and an incredible cover by Todd McFarlane. The grade on my Spidey 300 is about a 7.0 if you really inspect it, but the book presents at a 9.0. So, I have this incredible issue of my all-time favorite series to collect, it’s mid-grade and a bit more affordable, presents great, and if I chose to, I could read this copy without worrying about anything falling out, all this because looking for that 9.8 wasn’t my top priority. With how long I’ve been going this is still just a small amount of examples on the importance of condition. This is such a huge subject in the comic community that it can take hours on discussing (but this article needs to stop at some point). But, in the long run the most important on a books condition is how you feel about it, how you want your collection to look at the end of the day. So I hope when you call your favorite Graham Crackers comic shop and ask if we have that special book the answer will be yes, and with that thanks for reading keep collecting.