Friday, July 8, 2016

CBCS - Comic Book Certification Service

Steve Borock and Alec Born
CBCS is the newest third party grading service for comics, and has quickly become the second most popular company for grading comics due largely in part to Steve Borock.

He, along with Alec Born, set out to create a company that not only had a great service, but also had exceptional customer service along with being a "transparent" company. By transparent I mean a very open company that let's it's customers know what is happening within the company, whether it be turnover delays and any other problems that may arise.

For example, a problem arose with the plastics they used shortly after the company started. Instead of keeping it all hush hush and continuing business as usual, they sent out emails to everyone that was a member, and stopped putting our valuable comics into slabs that they thought were substandard. They also gave out huge discounts to everyone that submitted comics to them during that time, even though it almost bankrupt them.

CBCS has recently updated their website and isn't quite 100% functional yet. You can still submit comics, but portions of the website, like collectors sets or a census, has yet to be implemented. They say that they are working on them, but there is no timeline as to when that will be. Hopefully sometime in the near future.

CBCS grades their comics very similarly to the way CGC does. When they receive your comic, it goes through a restoration check, is looked over by a  series of graders, until finally it is seen by the head grader, in this case Steve Borock, and it's given a final grade.

Graders notes
However, there are a few differences between CBCS and their main competitor CGC. For one, you don't need to be a paid member to submit you comics to them via their website. Although CBCS does offer a paid membership tiers with perks for each level, you're not required to purchase them for the privilege of sending them your comics directly. If you decide you'd like to sign up for one of their membership tiers, or would like more information on them, click on this link here.

Another key difference, and one that I am grateful for, is that the graders notes are free and available for anyone to use. CGC makes you pay for them. This comes in handy for anyone that's looking at a CBCS graded comic online or, if you have a smartphone, at a convention to easily see why that comic got that particular grade. In my opinion, it's a great resource to have and I use it fairly often. I've included a picture of the graders notes on The Uncanny X-Men #297 Pressman Edition to give you an example of them. Also, if you'd like to know how this comic made it's way into my collection, just click the link above.

CBCS uses many different labels. The first label is the Certified label, which is the equivalent to CGC's Universal label. This label is given to comics that are in their original, off the shelf condition, that has no autographs, or any repairs or restoration done to it.

The next label is the Restored label. CBCS doesn't use colored labels like CGC does. It looks very similar to the Certified label, but it's still very easy to spot a comic that is sporting the Restored label. All you have to do is look under the numerical grade. Examples of restoration would be color touch on the cover, trimmed edges, torn pieces reattached, ect... Just like CGC, CBCS doesn't consider pressing and dry cleaning restoration.

I'm not a big fan of the Conserved label. CBCS states that "Conservation is a process used to prevent the deterioration and further destruction of a comic". I have no idea what CBCS considers to be conservation, but to me, this sounds a lot like restoration, and I consider them to be restored comics, but that's just me. Again, you can tell the Conserved label by looking under the numerical grade.

There are two labels that are color coded. The first is the yellow Authenticated Signature. This is also very similar to CGC's yellow Signature Series label. A comic that has been signed by a writer or artist, either at a convention or other special event, in the presence of a CBCS authorized witness, will get this yellow label.

CBCS teamed up with CSA Comics to create this final label, the red Verified Signature label. I, for one, think this is a great idea. For all of those comics that were autographed long before grading companies existed can now be verified as authentic signatures and receive a proper label, rather than being slapped with a green Qualified label at CGC. If you'd like to know more about the verification process, just click this link here.

There are other advantages to using CBCS. Even though they recently increased their grading fees, it is still cheaper than using CGC. I recently sent in some comics to CBCS. It cost me $300 to have eight Silver Age book graded by them. The same books would have cost me $480 to be graded by CGC. You can check out their pricing page here.

There is a drawback to using CBCS as well. At this moment in time, CBCS graded comics aren't selling for the same prices as CGC, but that is slowly changing. Values for both are starting to even out a little bit more now that more people are starting to trust the services from CBCS. However, there are still a lot of people out there that will pay more for a CGC graded comic than a comic at the same grade with the CBCS label.

In closing, CBCS still has a way to go to catch up to their competitor, but they are heading in the right direction. Their commitment to customer service and their hard work to try and keep their turn around times on time, make them an easy company to like. I'm looking forward to the day that they get their website up and running at 100%, but until then, I will patiently wait.

Sign up to CBCS here

Updated 6/13/2017
Due to a huge backlash over their redesigned "rivet" labels, CBCS once again came out with another new label. I haven't seen these labels in person yet, but the over consensus is positive. Check out these new labels in the video below.


  1. CBCS in terms of value perception in the market mainly depends on the comic in question. I've noticed that a few command prices equal to CGC in terms of how hot the comic is and if the comic is scarce in the market. Concerning older scarce comics that are hot like Wonder Woman #98, CBCS or CGC really doesn't matter in terms of value.

    I think CBCS will catch up with CGC. May take some time though. They are a pretty new company after all. write up, Gerry!

    1. I agree, it does have to do with the comic in question. Many of the Golden and most Silver Age comics are pretty equal in value for both companies. Even a lot of super key issue Bronze Age comics are. Most of the disparity comes in the Copper and Modern Age comics. But I agree, CBCS values will probably catch up to CGC's fairly soon