Our Grading System
We use the commonly accepted grades for American comics, abbreviated thus from best to worst (and shown with their numeric ‘scale of ten’ equivalents):
We apply the ‘+’ or ‘-‘ symbols to signify where a comic is slightly better or worse than the specified grade, but not to the degree where it would change to the next grade. We also use ‘split’ grades (e.g. VG/FN) where we believe a comic grades halfway between. All comics are complete with nothing missing unless otherwise noted.
Grading is of course a subjective process, but we believe we grade tightly, accurately and fairly. We have over 30 years’ experience in grading comics and related items.
In the event of you not being satisfied with the grade of a comic purchased, we offer a full money-back refund, providing the comic is returned to us within 7 days in the same condition in which it was despatched. If you wish to return something, please contact us before sending so that we can give you details on the correct procedure. We want you to be happy with your purchases and have confidence in ordering from us again. We’re pleased to report that our returns rate is 0.3%. Please note that this does not apply to 3rd party graded comics (CGC, PGX, CBCS), which are not returnable since they are independently graded.
American comics distributed in the UK during the 1960s and 1970s usually had distribution (Thorpe & Porter) stamps on the cover, or often in the case of Marvels were printed in the US with UK prices. This was done in the same print runs, and stamped or UK priced copies are first printings. However, some collectors express a preference for unstamped/US priced copies. We have therefore shown in the listings where a comic has either a UK printed price or a distribution stamp. This is shown by the letter ‘p’ following the grade. All comics without this ‘p’ are US priced unstamped copies. Please note that once the direct market started after this time, copies were dual priced with cents and pence pricing (apart from US newsstand distributed copies), so we perceive no less desirability for dual priced copies than cents only copies; we show dual priced comics from this period without a ‘p’.
CGC/PGX/CBCS 3rd Party Grading
Since 2000, it’s been possible for enthusiasts to get their comics graded by a third party company. There are currently three American companies that do this: CGC (Certified Guaranty Company), PGX (Professional Grading Experts), and CBCS (Comic Book Certification Service).
The process involves a check for restoration work, assigning a grade and encasing the comic in a sealed plastic slab with a certificate. The slab cannot be opened and the comic read without invalidating the grading certificate. The need for this arose, in some collectors’ opinions, with the advent of sales on eBay and other auction sites and the misrepresentation of grades by sellers who perhaps were inexperienced (or over hopeful, to be charitable).
Here at 30th Century, we deal in 3rd party graded books from time to time as they come into our hands, but as collectors ourselves have long held the view the primary purpose of a comic is to entertain and be read.
However, we have to acknowledge that times move on, and in today’s world, people collect comics not just to read and enjoy, but also for investment purposes, particularly with the record prices being achieved by key issues in high grade. Whilst we believe that our grading is at least as tight and conservative as any 3rd party grading company, we understand that some collectors/investors are happier with a slabbed copy, particularly when the time comes to move it on. Also, with more than two decades of 3rd party grading behind us, more and more desirable, collectable comics are ending up in slabs, and to exclude them from our stock would deny us the opportunity of bringing you the best and widest selection of comics that we can.
So, you’ll find a selection of slabbed comics among our listings, clearly identified. Whether you crack them open to read or store them away for a rainy day is, of course, entirely up to you.