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Just how tight is MCS grading?10634

Collector EbaySeller private msg quote post Address this user
I have some books that I'm torn between slabbing or just sending raw to MCS for consignment sales. I've seen reference to their tight grading here on the forum, and when I was selling directly to them in the past I remember being much more disappointed with the grades than anything I submitted for slabbing. If their grading is just one level tighter than CBCS or CGC, I might as well send the books to them raw. But anything more than 1 grade presents a quandary. Anyone with MCS buying or selling experience have opinions on their grading difference?
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Collector Frontier2Xterra private msg quote post Address this user
In my experience everything I've gotten has been super tight. TOD 10 on mcs was 5.5. Came back graded 7.5. Another example is first furry beast. 7.5 on MCS and 9.4 after grading. I've always been happy with MCS.
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Collector EbaySeller private msg quote post Address this user
I should add a few examples of the books I'm torn over slabbing and just sending raw to MCS:








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Collector EbaySeller private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frontier2Xterra
In my experience everything I've gotten has been super tight. TOD 10 on mcs was 5.5. Came back graded 7.5. Another example is first furry beast. 7.5 on MCS and 9.4 after grading. I've always been happy with MCS.


2 questions: Did you press them? And if you remember, were they purchased as consignment items or MCS stock?
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Collector Frontier2Xterra private msg quote post Address this user
@EbaySeller

1) Yes.

2) Dont recall. Sorry.
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Collector flanders private msg quote post Address this user
I wouldn't be too concerned about raw comic consignments. You may feel that they are very strict with their grading with comics you sell to them directly. I've only consigned one raw comic with them but was happy with the price that the buyer paid. Not sure if this link will work but here's the comic I sold:

clickable text

I believe an Overstreet 8.0 was $31 at the time so I got a very reasonable price for it even though they graded it a 6.5. I don't have any experience with raw comics that I've bought from them and had graded.
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Collector EbaySeller private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frontier2Xterra
@EbaySeller

1) Yes.

2) Dont recall. Sorry.


The reason I ask, When they were buying, trading for their own stock I once sent them 5 copies of the same uncirculated book. Basically I was taking advantage of an opportunity to get $10 credit for a book that could easily be found for $2-$3. Their response was to grade all of them at 8.0, and give me about $1-$2 credit per book. And they did put them up for sale as 8.0's so it's not like they were cheating me, they were just not going to pay me 9.2 to 9.4 prices for those books, regardless of condition. It seemed like it was just their way of protecting themselves. So I'm hoping this is not the same case with consignment items.
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Collector MutantMania private msg quote post Address this user
Shouldn't grading be the same with every company? Why even bother getting a comic graded if each company has it's own set of grading standards??
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Collector Frontier2Xterra private msg quote post Address this user
@MutantMania for a company like MCS, it's insurance. If they state it's an 8.0 but it grades a 9.0, you'll continue to go back and buy.

If it's listed as a 9.0 and a "certified" grader is having a bad day and gives it an 8.0, you likely won't return.

Business is a long haul, not a short one.
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Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock Tedsaid private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by EbaySeller
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frontier2Xterra
@EbaySeller

1) Yes.

2) Dont recall. Sorry.


The reason I ask, When they were buying, trading for their own stock I once sent them 5 copies of the same uncirculated book. Basically I was taking advantage of an opportunity to get $10 credit for a book that could easily be found for $2-$3. Their response was to grade all of them at 8.0, and give me about $1-$2 credit per book. And they did put them up for sale as 8.0's so it's not like they were cheating me, they were just not going to pay me 9.2 to 9.4 prices for those books, regardless of condition. It seemed like it was just their way of protecting themselves. So I'm hoping this is not the same case with consignment items.

It is the same with consignment versus grading, in my opinion. They deal with WAY too many comics to cheat on their standards like that.

I agree, however, that their grades are usually 2 grade points different, and often more than that. (8.0 to 9.0 would be two grade points. So would 9.2 to 9.6.) I don't have an opinion on ASM or ROM, but that Tick, I just sent a BEAUTIFUL copy in for pressing and grading. Holy crap was that a nice color. I've never seen such a black black.

And that Batman continually sells well. I pick up 9.6 and 9.8 candidates all the time. If that is a slight color rub along the spine, then it will probably grade at 9.2 or 9.4 ... otherwise, it will press to a 9.6. MCS will grade it at 7.5 or 8.0. The Tick is a 6.5/7.0 in MCS, or an 8.5/9.0 in reality. The Thor looks good, too ... maybe a 9.4, depending on how much of what we see on the cover is dirt / ink rubs (and how much can be dry cleaned off).

I don't think you should sell them raw. Good luck!
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Collector flanders private msg quote post Address this user
@Tedsaid great suggestions, with my comic there was no point in investing any money into it between pressing and grading. At best it would've been worth $60 after investing $30 into it. Some of the comics above look like they're worth the pressing & grading investment.
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Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock Tedsaid private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by flanders
@Tedsaid great suggestions, with my comic there was no point in investing any money into it between pressing and grading. At best it would've been worth $60 after investing $30 into it. Some of the comics above look like they're worth the pressing & grading investment.

I totally get that, and agree.

BTW, I'm not entirely sure that Tick should be pressed, though? I can't see everything with just a picture, of course. And now that I think about it, I remember that cover is notorious about fingerprints. I don't know how those are graded ... they (CGC, at least) are very inconsistent with fingermarks. The last Batman 428 I sent in, I *thought* it had slight finger prints on the front cover. But it is coming back a 9.8 (!) But a couple months ago I sent in an Avengers 684 that looked perfect. I hadn't noticed a very slight ink rub on the back, though, that *looked* like a partial fingerprint. That one they gave an 8.5.

Overstreet doesn't count these - made not with oils but from handling when the ink isn't yet dry - but CGC says they do. From Overstreet: "Ink Smudge: Printing defect in which ink is smeared, usually by handling, before the ink is completely dry; these defects commonly look like fingerprints." I'm pretty sure, though, that if I sent it in again, I'd get a different grade. They aren't as consistent on some things as CBCS.

Anyway, The Tick is only lightly traded, so probably not worth the press, unless you see something I can't. Maybe your presser knows a good cloth to use, to rub the front cover a bit? Anyway, definitely get it graded, because MCS will certainly SAY those cover marks are fingerprints, no matter what they really are.
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Collector JustABitEvil private msg quote post Address this user



I bought this raw from them and they had it graded 3.5. Came back 5.0 with white pages with no clean/press. I have an old FF that I bought off them for another signing, they graded it 2.0, Im wondering if I can get a 4.0 if I clean/press before I send it in for a red label.
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Collector Darkseid_of_town private msg quote post Address this user
Bought and sold there for years...my experience has been when you are selling them books they grade them down pretty hard, and strictly. When you buy books from the store itself, their grading tends to be loser to me, with the exception being through the auctions each week. In the auctions I tend to find the comics I get are generally graded for instance at a fine, but consensus usually places that Fine at a F/VF

In nearly every case of a raw comic won at auction I have found the grading to be ...generous, in that they will state their grade and the book I receive seems to be anywhere from a half to a full grade point higher than stated


I have puzzled over this apparent disparity in grades for books sold to books placed on consignment or auction and I am almost certain different people are grading for each job. My sense is the graders working for Este in consignment and auction are quite well trained and tend to undergrade to avoid complaints, from people who lean to stricter grading....

I have become a buyer at their store first and foremost, and never sell direct to them for this very reason, unless it is a slabbed book. When I do sell a book its via consignment
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Collector EbaySeller private msg quote post Address this user
Thanks all, great information and I'm really glad I asked. I was putting together a shipment but now I think I better go through the steps and get most of the books slabbed.

I think the reality is that if books are not valuable enough to be slabbed, then almost by definition there will by more supply than demand. The smart business practice would be to please the buyers at the expense of the sellers...since the buyers have the leverage in that situation. Also if they knock $40 off the value of a book, the cost to them is only $4 and the sell-time shortens dramatically. Kind of like a Real Estate Agent selling your house. I thought it would be fantastic to ship a bunch of raw books and then let them do the grading, storing, scanning, selling and repackaging for shipping...but I guess it makes sense that there is no free lunch!
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Collector esaravo private msg quote post Address this user
@EbaySeller - What grades do you give the books? Be critical, but honest. Then look at what MCS is charging for the same books in similar, or to be safe, slightly lower grades. For example, they have a slabbed ASM #162 in 8.5 for $65 (granted, it is not in a CGC or CBCS slab). They also have a few raw Tick #1’s for under $90.
If you feel they are all high grade (9.0 or higher), I would probably get them graded (or at least CBCS raw grade). Then MCS will have to use that grade. A third option is put them up for sale here for a week, and see if you get any responses. I was looking for a Tick #1 a few months ago because Patrick Warburton was appearing at RI Comic Con.
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Collector Mountie73 private msg quote post Address this user
If they list it at say an 8.0, like th Moon Knight #1 I bought from them 2 years ago. Once graded it was a CBCS 9.4. They undergrade. Great for a buyer, not great for a seller.
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Collector GAC private msg quote post Address this user
MCS: buy raw, consign slabbed.
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Collector michaelekrupp private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by GAC
MCS: buy raw, consign slabbed.


I agree with this. MCS grades very tight, doubly so on consignment items and triply so on moderns. I won’t hesitate to buy a VG graded modern book from them because I know I am probably going to receive a FN+ or VF book. I think they grade their consignment books so that there is a zero chance of the book being returned due to over grading. It’s obviously a good policy because MCS is the only seller I have ever paid four figures for a raw comic and in fact is the only seller I would even consider doing so.
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Collector IronMan private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by GAC
MCS: buy raw, consign slabbed.


This.

Whether MCS's over strict grading seems like a good thing or not so good depends on if you are buying consignment books from them or sending them books to sell on consignment.

That said, it's generally agreed MCS is strict on grading consignment books, so if the books enjoy good demand, you can sometimes get a price better than the grade assigned.

My experience is the stuff MCS owns doesn't get under graded so much.

And what michaelekrupp said about "why" MCS grades consignment items so strictly. One of things MCS is known for is paying consignor's quickly. Customer returns are no doubt a bigger hassle on consignment items than they are on books they own.
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Collector EbaySeller private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by esaravo
For example, they have a slabbed ASM #162 in 8.5 for $65 (granted, it is not in a CGC or CBCS slab).


Funny you mentioned that book as its my consignment and I just dropped the price from $75 to $65. If anyone wants to try cracking and pressing a book sold at the PGX discount, this would be a good candidate. I had it slabbed in the days before pressing was a thing. But it did come unread/unsold from a distributor who stored his books without bags or boards. Should come out much nicer with a press.

If anyone is interested, just confirm that it doesn't have a bruise on the upper left back. If it does, then it was part of a shipment that clearly was smashed on a box edge but PGX just went ahead and slabbed without photographing or anything. But I'm pretty sure that particular book is very press-able.
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Collector EbaySeller private msg quote post Address this user
I just got some books from MCS,one was as nice looking a 6.0 and a 4.5 that looks nicer than many slabbed 6.5's. Which raises a question: I would be ethically uncomfortable cracking a nice presenting slabbed book and representing it as a higher grade. Should I feel the same ethical concerns when re-bagging and selling an MCS book without revealing that it had previously been graded by MCS? Or is there a difference since MCS is not an official grading agency?
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Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock Tedsaid private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by EbaySeller
I just got some books from MCS,one was as nice looking a 6.0 and a 4.5 that looks nicer than many slabbed 6.5's. Which raises a question: I would be ethically uncomfortable cracking a nice presenting slabbed book and representing it as a higher grade. Should I feel the same ethical concerns when re-bagging and selling an MCS book without revealing that it had previously been graded by MCS? Or is there a difference since MCS is not an official grading agency?

MCS is, I believe, purposefully wrong in their grades. Doing such keeps down returns, and they have been doing it so consistently and for so long, it must be on purpose. Regardless, they are demonstrably too tight, across all levels and comics. So no, there is no ethical concern in my mind, in selling a raw at a higher grade than what they put on it.

You can grade it yourself and represent that as your grade, or just add 2-4 grade points to the MCS grade and use that instead, I would think. (Again, terms differ, but I use "grade point" to represent each demarcation up and down the scale. So for me, going from 8.5 to 9.0 is one grade point; as is going from 9.0 to 9.2. If there is a better term I would be glad to know it.)
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Collector Darkseid_of_town private msg quote post Address this user
I am unsure its a better term, but the word "graduation" comes to mind, similar to the markings on a measuring cup.

The main point is that your assertions are correct about their grades...they are very tight and harsh when selling to them and it works against you, but when buying from them its all champagne and ticker tape.


I have found consistently that when I buy lose raw books from the auction and ask for grades here on the forum they seem to move from 4.5 to 6.0 by example...I know I bought a JIM that another member traded me for, they had graded as a 4.5 and no way its that low...its easily a 5.0 if not 5.5

As for cracking or buying and regrading, at the end of the day, its all about if your buyer agrees with your grade, or returns the book. I can show you slab after slab that I wonder how it ever got the grade it was given, while others I have that all too well known feeling that someone really was in a pissy mood when they grade that comic feeling.As long as you are honest and provide plenty of images, the book should speak for itself...before I was adept at playing poker my dad would always tell me...it doesn't matter what you think you have, your cards talk for themselves.
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Collector MutantMania private msg quote post Address this user
Yes I think they use the crack head grading scale. I had to see for myself and sent a few books in for consignment. I took 6 books to my lcs to get an estimate on the grades and they told me 3 were at least a NM 9.2 - 9.6 and the other 3 VF/NM 9.0 to NM-. I got VF / VF- / VF on the NM and FN/VF / VG+ / FN on the VF/NM books "graded" by MCS. Definitely not a sellers market on the raw books.
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Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock Tedsaid private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darkseid_of_town
I am unsure its a better term, but the word "graduation" comes to mind, similar to the markings on a measuring cup.

Maybe I'll just start saying "grade gradient."
Quote:
Originally Posted by MutantMania
I took 6 books to my lcs to get an estimate on the grades and they told me 3 were at least a NM 9.2 - 9.6 and the other 3 VF/NM 9.0 to NM-. I got VF / VF- / VF on the NM and FN/VF / VG / FN on the VF/NM books "graded" by MCS.

Wow. That's even worse than I thought. Maybe somebody at that CBCS Expo they're having next month will call out Buddy and ask him what the hell gives.
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Collector flanders private msg quote post Address this user
If he admits to under-grading he owes me a few dollars.
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Collector EbaySeller private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by flanders
If he admits to under-grading he owes me a few dollars.


I do wonder if an insider might one day reveal what could basically amount to an internal conspiracy. For example if they were trained to grade tougher in specific situations rather than just consistently across the board.
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Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock Tedsaid private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by EbaySeller
Quote:
Originally Posted by flanders
If he admits to under-grading he owes me a few dollars.

I do wonder if an insider might one day reveal what could basically amount to an internal conspiracy. For example if they were trained to grade tougher in specific situations rather than just consistently across the board.

That would be interesting. Like, if they had a policy of grading the comic, and then reducing the grade by one point, across the board, for everything. Or two points. That's possible. Might even be part of it.

But a lot of it has to do, I think, with a certain philosophy on grading. If you focus (and train) on the flaws, without looking at the comic holistically, then you just count a series of "points" to deduce. Here's a small water mark, automatic 8.0. Here's a tear, no higher than 6.0. Color breaking crease front cover? Max is 7.5. Each spine tick front cover equals half a point. Or whatever

If all you do is add up every flaw you see, your grades will ROUTINELY be too low. Because every flaw also has a continuum, from being large and noticeable, to tiny and discrete. Also, many flaws can still be counted, even if the grade is already too low for that type to "count." That is, a c.b. spine tick may matter at the 9.8 level, but not at the 9.0 level.

This method is especially bad if it doesn't account for or calculate the comic's virtues. Those should move the grade higher, but many people overlook this aspect of grading.

I saw somewhere someone had written an app to calculate comic grades. I had a brief look at it. I guarantee anyone who uses and follows that app will be terrible at grading. You just can't do it that way. Comics are better than their flaws.
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Collector EbaySeller private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tedsaid
That would be interesting. Like, if they had a policy of grading the comic, and then reducing the grade by one point, across the board, for everything. Or two points. That's possible. Might even be part of it.


If they were doing something nefarious, I'm guessing it would be based on stock levels and liquidity. If a book is in demand and stock is low, they may grade it more fairly. If a book is not in high demand and/or current stock levels are high, they may be trained to grade more strictly. I'm not saying this is the case, but they certainly don't want to be in the business of warehousing other peoples books that are never going to sell, and I'm sure the graders get sick of people trying to send those books to them.

If this were the case, and grading were based on something other than actual book condition, it probably would qualify as a conspiracy to defraud. This theory is purely based on how my books were graded years ago when I sold to them. The less liquid books seemed to get tighter grading.
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