CBCS vs CGC Gap Analysis

Data Provided by: Scott Robertson

There has been an ongoing controversy at CGC for the last 5 weeks. The timeline of the case controversy started at the end of March with the announcement that a new case was about to be released. The first wave of book submissions were sent back to the customers around mid-April. The first Newton ring post was on G+ on April 15th. As time went by, the posts expanded onto the CGC boards with the additions of more defects in the forms of staple pops and color rubs. With this in mind, I have tried to gather information from the period of April 15th to the current date for new CGC case data. I have also gathered data from a period close to April 15th for old case data.

It's only last week that CGC admitted to the faulty cases. In the last 5 weeks, comic book collectors have been run through the gamut of emotions: Fear, Desperation, Anger, Shame, and Guilt. Their one true competitor, CBCS, has been closing the gap in price discrepancy. CBCS seized the opportunity and took advantage of the situation. They sent emails stating the defects of the books inside the inner well (too much pressure on the comic). They offered discounts and provided assistance by replacingCGC cases and putting by CBCS holders. They also created videos putting down the CGC while promoting their cases and company on their Facebook page.

In business, many executives say competition is good for your company. With the CGC controversy happening, this validated CBCS as a clear competitor to CGC. CBCS stated that they would fix the errors of CGC. This has led to many CGCers switching to CBCSers. This correlated to the price gap closing due to the “unknown” amount of CGC cases in the field that were possibly damaging their contents. The damages came in the form of staple pops and color rub due to the increased pressure on the inner well of the case.

I will try to highlight the price gap analysis of CGC and CBCS between actual graded books and show the effects the CGC case controversy has caused in the last 5 weeks.

Batman Adventures #12 – 1st Appearance of Harley Quinn

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This is by far the hottest comic book in the current year of 2016. This book is always sub by every comic collector on the planet. We have plenty of data to show a closing price gap.

OLD CGC Case

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NEW CGC Case

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CBCS Case

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As you can see from the data above, we have a closing gap of $2.88 for the CBCS ($1902.88) to the New CGC case ($1,900). When we compare this price to a CGC old case ($2,195) it outsold the CBCS case ($1,902.88) by almost $300. The CGC premium of old case to CBCS was around 13%. We have also pulled the completed sales from after 4/4 (new case launch) to now… 12 sales of BA 12 CGC 9.8 and 5 sales of CBCS 9.8. The sales average price for CGC BA#12 is $2,000. The sales average CBCS for BA#12 is $1,736. With the latest sales on CBCS being $1,902 and $1,900, the point is that the first 3 sales were in the $1,600 range and as time has gone by those sales jumped $300. The June average price for CBCS BA#12 9.8 is $1,901.

It shows that a damaging find of faulty cases quickly eroded the premium of CGC new cases in the market. Keep in mind this is at the beginning of the CBCS controversy of faulty cases. I know some people will be quick to attack this by saying well this is only one study. Let’s look at another comic.

Walking Dead #1 – 1st Rick Grimes

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This book has been solid as a rock when it comes to pricing. There has been no crazy movement like Batman Adventures #12 where someone could state that the market could have pushed the value up or decreased the value of a book.

OLD CGC CASE

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NEW CGC CASE

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CBCS Listing

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As you can see that the New CGC case has a price of $2,800 with a listing of a CBCS case is listed at $2600 bringing this to a $200 gap difference in favor of CGC compared to CBCS.

Amazing Spider-man #300 – 1st Venom

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Amazing Spider-man #300 the first appearance of Venom is a solid book with a plethora of data point information. This book has been pillar of constant and steady price breaks. We will look at a 9.6 CGC New case to a CGC 9.6 old case vs a 9.6 CBCS.

CGC New Case

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CGC Old Case

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CBCS Case

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As shown in the screenshots above, the New CGC Cases are going for around $365. Compare this figure to the CBCS case and it shows that with both companies it is the same price area. The CBCS case is at maximum and $20 price gap compared to the new CGC label. When we compare the CBCS case or the old CGC case, there is a commanding price difference of $100. This is a 25% profit margin decrease if you sub this book with a new CGC case comparable to the old CGC case.

Batman #1 New 52

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CGC New Case

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CGC Old Case

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CBCS Case

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As you can see from the screenshots above, this is the first book that sold in favor of the new case. This shows that the CGC case only rose $20 as to most people thought the new case would command a premium in the marketplace. The CBCS case sold for $150 compared to $195 for the old case and $215 to the new case. But if you take a deeper inspection the new CGC book is coming from Canada so it could be the reason it commanded a better premium.

With all these comparisons I have shown above, you can see the factors that new CGC case is devaluing comics and the company has paid for it with bad PR and loss of market share.

It's alarming that the value of an iconic comic could cost you money based on the factors of a case and an improper handling of a critical situation. Along with these factors, the competition showing Facebook posts of how they create their cases closed the gap.

This is not a hate filled article. It just shows how factors of economy i.e a technology gain or a quality issue can affect pricing. The technology gain from CBCS as having the prominent case in the comic industry and the quality issue of the CGC New case can show market corrections in the comic industry. If the CGC does not get their act together this could become a market correction that favors  CBCS.

This is the purest form of capitalism. It reminds me of the old adage of Rockefeller vs Vanderbilt. For the business history people on the site, you can read an excerpt below for an eerie similarity on how people handle and squeeze out competition. Will history repeat itself if CGC doesn’t correct its failures and maybe CBCS could overtake the market share and dominate years to come?

John D. Rockefeller vs. Tom A. Scott and Cornelius Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt saw the demands in Kerosene and the requirement for shipments for ever-increasing demand. He needed a supplier to make himself stand taller than before. He invited John D. Rockefeller, owner of a small Kerosene industry. Vanderbilt built the railroads towards Cleveland, sitting on an ocean of oil. Rockefeller promised to ship through Vanderbilt's railways. He started the refinery which produced the uniform quality of kerosene named Standard Oil. And to grow big and providing kerosene for every lamp in every home, he decided to take on Vanderbilt.

Rivalry: Soon Standard Oil became the largest kerosene refinery company. It started producing more than Vanderbilt could ship. Rockefeller then invited Scott, the rival of Vanderbilt, to ship oil. Rockefeller's profit started to skyrocket and with that he started to buy out other refineries with the goal to buy them all (and achieve monopoly). At the age of 33, he was the most powerful man in the country supplying 90% of the kerosene required. Vanderbilt created a monster and to stop him he formed the alliance with his long-term rival Scott, owner of the Penn Rails Roads. Together they pull off all of Rockefeller's deals. The war began.

But Rockefeller was not some naive businessman. He was ambitious and a winner and wanted to win this war too. With that he took on both the rail giants alone. He started building a pipeline to ship oil and to throw the railroads out of the oil business for his own good, the revolution in the oil industry. Standard Oil was laying a mile and half pipeline down everyday for a total of 4,000 miles, connecting Ohio and Pennsylvania to Cleveland. And with that he won over Vanderbilt and Scott, the rail giants.

Scott decided not to go down and started stepping into oil business. Rockefeller hated that. But Scott had launched a full-blown war. Standard Oil's pipeline didn't reach Pittsburgh and Scott saw that as an opportunity. Winning matter most to Rockefeller, so he shut down his refinery in Pittsburgh and stopped transporting oil through Penn railroads in response. Penn rail lost half of the business, workers sat on strike and burnt the train yards. Company laid in ruins, Rockefeller won again.

Stocks plummeted crashing the New York Stock Exchange and remained closed for 10 days, a third of the railroads companies got bankrupt. The first ever great economic depression. Rockefeller became the wealthiest and most powerful man surpassing Vanderbilt. Vanderbilt died at the height of depression.

14 comments

  • I like the general concept of your article Deno! Good job.

    I do have a hard time drawing any hard and fast conclusions without a few more data points.

    For example: I have moved many asm 300 9.6s and $375 to maybe $400, in old cgc cases, was about what they would bring. By using what I view as a more accurate market pricing and more data points, would love to see the study continue.

    Plus, maybe I am just bitter nobody ever paid me $500 for a 9.6 of one of the most liquid and traded modern books.

    Really love to see the more statistical angle you have used applied to comic sales, even though it can sometimes be an emotion driven hobby. Thanks again!

    • Deno Pappas

      Yes I didn’t want to get data overload. I think we all are bitter that no one pays us more for our comics. 🙂 Thanks for the read and the comments.

  • Scott Robertson
    Scott Robertson

    I would also point out 1 more example that I found interesting: Preacher #1 … Everyone is all about this book.. Preacher 1 had 4 sales of 9.8 in June of CBCS AVG 872…and CC was AVG 908. What’s interesting is that Both had sales around June 21. 1 day apart The CGC on 6/22 Sold for $775 and on 6/21 the CBCS sold for $826. how’s that for interesting?

  • Deno Pappas

    Thanks for Simon Payne to pointing out that one of the ASM300 is a chromium reprint for $410. So we can redact that from the article but it still the same information context wise.

  • Wow. Amazing insite in this writeup!

  • Gwenpool4President
    Gwenpool4President

    It is too early to tell if there will be a long-term effect to this CGC hullabaloo. I like both, CBCS, and the new-new cases from CGC. I’m going to be submitting to whichever company most people will be using in the future. Perhaps, they will be in unity and it simply won’t matter which case you use to encapsulate your books.

  • I don’t feel like CGC has admitted to the faulty cases in any of their statements.
    They really said – There is a “perception” of a problem and a wavy affect is being noticed in a small number of cases. It is an optical illusion caused by distortion from the case.
    Basically, we are all either lying or being dramatic, but they are going to change the design to make us feel better.
    It’s not the same as taking responsibility and it does nothing to restore confidence.

    • Scott Robertson
      Scott Robertson

      David, I hear what you are saying, however let me throw something out for you, how many books recieved the new case?

      Thousands I am sure, if cgc came out and admitted to an issue they would open themselves up for potential law suits for the damage that the new cases caused. Cgc can not come out right and say their cases damaged books as it would open them up to liability of lawsuit for every book that they slabbed.

      This is a typical of large companies to avoid any lawsuit liability. By changing the cases and not admitting fault they limit the liability and exposure.

  • I just don’t like the ASM 300 comparison. While they are both valid data points, comparing an auction to a Buy it now can be very deceiving. When doing comparisons I would really suggest auction VS auction unless its a book that doesn’t sell that often.

  • Great job, I really enjoy your articles. btw that was my ASM #300 CBCS you have pictured that sold:)

  • Not trying to beat a dead CGC horse but a recent purchase of mine, in a new CGC case is causing more waves in the book than you find in a bag of Ruffles….There is an undeniable issue and now I have to deal with it. As all consumers who have to “work” due to a mistake by a company, it not only sucks, wastes time and $, but ultimately erodes the confidence one has in said company. All I want to do is enjoy my hobby and admire my beloved books, which now are turning into Wavy Lays. Can you tell I love potato chips lol

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