CGC encapsulation question

Hello, long time collector but first poster here.

I just purchasted my first CGC certified comic book, which arrived in the mail today. I’ve never dealt with encapsulated books before, but for this particular purchase felt it made sense.

Anyway, I have a question about the case. Looking it over, I see that I can separate the outer case very slightly along the long edge on both sides. I have no reason to believe that the case has been tampered with or to distrust the seller, but I did want to know if this is normal. I don’t think one could actually fit anything through there, but the outer case is also clearly not entirely sealed towards the middle along these long edges.

Hope this is normal, and thanks for any help…

Thanks for any help, and I look forward to reading this forum. I’ve just resubscribed to CBG after an absense of a few years.


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15 Responses to CGC encapsulation question

  1. alexml. says:

    Hi. Made the same inquiry at the Collector’s Society Forum and have been told that this is normal.

  2. William Vanderburg says:

    I only have two encapsulated comics….It is my understanding that the cases are not air tight, and that they can be opened. If you open it, you will void the grade on the book.

  3. Michael Tierney says:

    I’ll also confirm that. Your CGC case is normal.

    And, like William noted, if you open it; the grading is voided.

    It should also be noted that, because of the lack of an air-tight seal that first raised your concerns, these are not archival cases. Your book is not locked in a vault.

    To maintain your CGC grade you’ll need to re-encapsulate after a few years.

  4. rick says:

    hi, long time collector, first time posting

    so, you’re saying if i’m planning to keep my cgc books any length of time i might as well break them open and stick them in mylar, as the cases aren’t air tight anyways?

    rick felchlin

  5. luvs-silver says:

    Mr. Tierney

    i , too , have never bought any CGC comics and never will , and i have almost 100 k of them , but , i’m curious as well . why would you have to re-encapsulate them every few years to maintain the grade ? they wouldn’t get damaged in their cases , and if you keep them in a cool dark storage place , i can’t imagine the paper quality changing !

    if you see this , please answer , thanks !


  6. William Vanderburg says:

    In the preservation of paper, there is no 100 percent sure-fire way to stop the aging process. It just can’t happen unless you seal the books in a vacuum and never exposed them to light.

    There are a myriad of forces at work the day the book came off the press; acidic decomposition starts immediately. Every time the books are touched, rebagged, held, exposed to heat, cold, light, or what have you. The preservation materials only slow down the processes, they do not eliminate them.

    Since the CGC encapsulation is not air tight, that same air that causes you to rebag your books would probably cause you to have to re-encapsulate your books. More than likely, it reduces the number of times you would redo them.

    But, it’s not going to stop the books from aging. No one, to my knowledge, ever said it would.

  7. William Vanderburg says:

    I was never in favor of encapsulation the first time I heard about it. To me, I collect not to make money, but for the pure enjoyment of the books, and the joy of collecting. If you are collecting high dollar books in hopes of flipping them to realize a higher profit margin, then encapsulation may be for you. But it’s not for me.

    I see encapsulation as placing a false sense of perspective on the relative grades of the books. IMHO, a 9.2 grade bagged and boarded book appears to not be worth the same as a 9.2 grade encapsulated book, for the mere fact that one book has been deemed superior because of the plastic case it comes in.

    I’ve seen encapsulated books on eBay that were just out on the shelves not more than two weeks ago. I find that highly ludicrous.

  8. rick says:

    the main reason i buy cgc books is to ensure i’m getting what i’ve paid for, when buying books more or less sight-unseen, like on e-bay
    most of my cgc books are in the 4.0 to 6.5 range, and i’ve found if you shop around they can be had for close to actual guide price, which is what i pay for most unencapsulated books anyways.

    rick felchlin

  9. Michael Tierney says:

    Hey Chris,

    It sounds like you’re doing what it takes to protect your investment in comics. Keeping them away from the light and stored in a climate controlled environment is very important.

    When the CGC first started, what with their UV protection and mylar interior sleeving, the cases were touted as being archival safe. They no longer make that claim.

    From what I understand, CGC now suggests that you resubmit your books every six or seven years for re-encapsulation, at a reduced price.

    Considering the way that you’re storing your books, you might be able to extend that time.

    Me, I’m going to be breaking the cases anyway, so I’m not the re-encapsulation target audience.

  10. zookeeper615 says:

    I know the hard plastic case isn’t air tight but isn’t the inner envelope part? I’ve had reason to open a couple and I had to cut open the inner sleeve to get the comic out.

  11. William Vanderburg says:

    If CGC is suggesting that you resubmit every 6 years, then No, the inner sleeve is not air tight.

  12. Capn Trips says:

    I never liked the whole encapsulation thing from the beginning, but could certainly understand the desire to have some integrity in an independent grading system for buyer protection. However, if the encapsulation needs to be re-done every 6-7 years, what’s the point of encapsulating at all, EXCEPT incident to obtaining a grade to support a purchase? If somebody offers for sale a CGC-graded comic that was graded and encapsulated 10 years ago, how am I to know that this amount of time has elapsed since it was graded and that the grade is now meaningless? It smacks of just an ADDITIONAL opportunity for CGC to get more money for a service that is already overpriced.

    (Also, could someone explain the fairness of CGC’s pricing structure? What does potential Guide value of a book have to do with the amount of time, materials and effort it takes to grade and encapsulate a book? Be it Action comics #1 or Countdown #13, I expect the same care taken and the same amount of “work” done in grading each book, hence the fee should be roughly the same – perhaps varying based upon page count or something like that)

  13. Michael Tierney says:

    In the beginning, I believe they were sealed… back when the cases were touted as being archival secure.

    They’ve since made changes to the way they encapsulate, and no longer claim that their cases are archival secure.

    Having not cracked open cases from the different ages, my information is strictly observational. The cases and the way they’re packed look diferent today.

  14. Maggie Thompson says:

    How can you tell how long ago a comic book was graded?

    There’s a code number on each label. You can contact CGC, tell them the code number, and they can tell you when it was graded. You can communicate online, no problem.

    As to why there’s a difference in charges based on the value of the issue graded, it has to do with the firm’s insurance. (Don’t think icky things can’t happen to valuable items; CGC has a secure site and responsible staffers, but those who submit items for grading should be happy to learn that it does insure items in its custody. But that insurance isn’t free, and the company has taken that into account for comics that pass through its doors.)

    Finally, I don’t recall that CGC has ever claimed that its containers are airtight. The protection is, however, archival — with the comics encased in Mylar or its equivalent: an inert plastic bag that won’t interact with what it contains. There are, indeed, things that can degrade something in the container — and some would act that way even if the container were airtight. (If you store your comics at a consistent 150 degrees, for example, the sulfur in the newsprint will brown the pages.)

    You’re right that the primary reason for grading and encasing is to put buying and selling a comic book on an even playing field for everyone. Precisely.

  15. blinky705 says:

    While the idea of slabbed comics is distasteful to me personally, I can see how it would be helpful for those who are only in comics to invest. If a CGC book is graded at 9.6, you can be guaranteed that the comic you buy is 9.6, which is especially important when you’re spending thousands of dollars. I’ve purchased non-slabbed books that were wildly overgraded and resultantly way over-priced. I know that when I buy a slabbed 9.4 comic, it’s going to be in nice shape, and I can always de-slab it. Which I do.

    On the subject of just how much protection the slabs provide, I think the hard plastic case will keep most physical harm from the comic. While the side edges can be pried apart slightly, I think the case will still keep out insects and other varmints. The inner sleeve DOES look water- and air-tight to me (but I’m not about to test it.) I’ve purchased probably fewer than two dozen slabbed books and have taken most of the comics out of the case. CGC provides suggestions on how to do this without harming the comic, basically sliding the tip of a butter knife up that side crack until the top pops open. It’s a little tougher to get the book out of the inner sleeve. I think I’d feel more comfortable performing open heart surgery than worrying that my X-acto knife blade will nick the edge of the comic, because there’s not a whole lot of room between the comic and the edge of the sleeve. They also recommend sliding two backing boards into the sleeve, one in front and one in back of the comic, so the book doesn’t get scratched by any sharp edges as you slide it out.

    And presto! You can actually read the comic!

    Alan Hutchinson

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