AFA is a waste of time. For figures, for comics, for anything. If you are really THAT concerned to pay those obscene prices, you're not a collector, you're a lunatic.
Tell ya what. I've got a minty, minty, absolutely freaking minty copy of Spiderman 300. No creases, bends, fingerprints. Colours are great, bagged and boarded from the time it hit the comic store. What do you think I could sell it for if I dropped it on ebay? $25? Now, if I drop the cash to send it to get graded? Lessee, $25 (last I checked) to get it done, plus the insured shipping in extremely protective shipping case at least another $25. Let's say it's AFA 10, how much will it sell for? $100s of dollars. Why? Cuz somebody says so? Sure, ok, it's a consistent standard and takes the risk out, but what is the point? Why bother? The bottom falls out on collectibles all the time. Cards, comics, star wars figures (hey, anybody want to buy a mint orange US carded Ben Kenobi full body shot for $30 US?
It's pretty laughable watching the McFarlane crowd. These guys believe these things will only ever increase in value. That's not to say I haven't paid ebay like prices for a couple of things, but I am not under the illusion I can fund my kids education off these things either. I just wanted it bad enough to pay that much (hello, vintage collectors, can you relate?).
I still believe if you are collecting for future value, you're collecting for the wrong reason. No, I don't open everything I have, but it's just my opinion.