Welcome to Nationwide Comics
  I am writing this report in hopes of reflecting the Southern California perspective on grading to the overall scheme of the new grading guide. I believe that the standards of comic grading, not only have changed over the years, but they have changed more than once. Secondly I believe that there are slight differences in grading standards based on geographical region of collectors. My personal standards have been taught to me over the years by learning what a customer expects from a particular grade as well as what I expect and by looking at what other dealers offer at specific grades. I started buying collections and back issues in 1976, back then there were basically three grades, (good, fine and near mint/mint) which most dealers priced their inventory at. The price spread back then was usually $1.00 for Good $1.50 for Fine and $2.00 for Mint. The price spread was very low. Most collectors thought to buy the cheapest one so you can get more for your money. By the mid eighties the spread was more like $1.00 for good $3.00 for fine and $9.00 for mint. At this point it was becoming obvious to most collectors that the nicer copies were good investments. I also think that this split helped start the creation of grade specific collector groups. Before this you bought whatever condition you could find, because the price spreads were so small. As the 1990's started the new comic market was in high gear and this bought a lot of new collectors into the market. They were used to new comics (that are by definition high grade) and wanted their back issues to be as nice as possible. Supply was low and demand was high, the top prices began to jump ever higher.

  About this time (1992) the first Overstreet grading guide had been released using the now defunct 100 point system, this book was a great attempt to resolve some of the issues that were constantly coming up between the old timer with the older looser and less defined grading standards and the newbees that wanted nice books and were not willing to accept the status quo of the time. While the 100 point system was not wildly accepted by dealers or collectors it had introduced the OWL card for paper whiteness level. This card was a major step in tightening up grading standards. I still keep mine handy, even though it can use a few more color scales. As prices of high grades books continued to climb, the higher grade books standards were again made tighter by picky customers who were willing to spend big if they could find the finest examples of a particular issue. Another odd thing that happened around the mid to late 1990's was that high grade (VF/NM to Mint) and low grade (FA-VG-) books were the only one being collected. It was rare to find any body wanting the middle grade books in those days. Then came the first real downward adjustment of prices in 27TH and 28th editions of the Overstreet Price guides. This was a healthy thing for the market and within two years silver age sales started to increase again. For example Amazing Spiderman #1 was going for $275 in Good in 1990 and listed for $1200 by 1996, by 1998 the 28th OPG it was back down to $700. Today, four years later it still lists for only $800. In the late 1990's two major events happened in our hobby. The first was the adoption of the new 10-point grading system and the second was the introduction of third party grading. The ten point grading system was less confusing and was a better overlay of the old word-grade system then the previous 100-point system. The first and so far only grading service to enter our market was Comics Guarantee Company aka CGC. It took a while for most dealers to be willing to pay someone other than himself to grade their books, but after record sales of high-grade books were being realized, CGC caught on quickly. This was mostly fueled by internet sales where shaky first time collectors had no idea how to grade a book, but felt they could rely on a third party system for fairness. The only real complaint that I know of from most collectors is that the CGC has never published their grading standards; I hope they, and the industry, as a whole will adopt this book.