Author Topic: What do you think about grading loose figures?  (Read 1751 times)

Offline DarthFett

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What do you think about grading loose figures?
« on: December 14, 2004, 08:04 PM »
Do any companies grade loose figures? Does AFA? What are you thoughts on grading loose figures?

Please let me know your thoughts on this matter, any info you have will be great! Im thinking about adding this service to my new site and wanted to know the pros and cons! Please no bashing! I just want info positive or negitive. Any info you have will determine how I will go about setting this service up.

Thanks.

ps. Im not going into any details so please dont ask any questions about the new site, in time everyone will see. Im just looking for thoughts on grading loose figures and how as a collector would view this service IF it were provided.
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Offline Angry Ewok

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Re: What do you think about grading loose figures?
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2004, 08:37 PM »
Welcome to JD! I'm looking forward to chatting with you.

My problem with grading is that, from my experience, it is inconsistant. I rarely buy vintage figures online, and when I do, I don't aim for grade so long as the figure is complete and in 'decent condition'... As a student/starving artist, I simply cannot afford anything with an AFA grade (good or bad).

Offline DarthFett

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Re: What do you think about grading loose figures?
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2004, 01:00 AM »
Glad to meet you Angry Ewok! By the way your avatar is a shirt waiting to happen!

As for what you posted. My prices will be better then AFA! As for grading, it will have the same standard for every person and every figure. There will be 3 Tiers of grading, I dont want to give it all away yet but the lowest Tier will be like $5.99 or so for your figure sealed in a baggy with weapons if complete, label & hologram security sticker for fraud protection. You will also get a certificate with figure diagram outlining your figures grade, its almost like a figure otopsy! The cert will be signed by grader(s) and a hologram sticker will be placed on that as well, thats just the basic service...I will have it all laid out some time early 2005.

Thanks.
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Offline jokabofe

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Re: What do you think about grading loose figures?
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2004, 01:16 AM »
The only problem I can see is this:

What makes you the "authority" on grading loose figures? Places like CGC and AFA have employees with years of experience in collecting and grading the things they handle, like comic books and action figures. They also have the materials to preserve these items (in the case of the CGC, it goes beyond putting the item in a plastic case and slaping a sticker on it). What kind of experience do you have that would make someone want to pay you to tell you what condition their figure is in? Are you well known in the collecting communities?

And this is not intended as "bashing" - just the kind of questions you should expect from potential customers if you were to offer some kind of service such as this. Good luck :)

Offline DarthFett

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Re: What do you think about grading loose figures?
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2004, 03:04 AM »
Ive collected all kinds of action figures for 14+ years. I have no shop but sold toys at shows and swapmeats for many years. Since I have no real noterity, It will be hard to prove to some. But once I get going and prove to many people im serious, maby then I will gain some. But for now, Im just a underground action figure junkie who wants to get above ground! The same goes with most knowledgeble collectors, since there not in the lime light people are quick to judge there expeirence! Thanks for the post, I have many boards running this topic and im getting a better understanding on what I need to do to make this work!
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Offline CorranHorn

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Re: What do you think about grading loose figures?
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2004, 03:28 AM »
the idea of grading loose figures on the conceptual level of AFA is in my mind a really bad idea. loose figure grading has always been a bit subjective and doing so will only falsely inflate the values of certain loose figures.

case in point would be a loose klaatu, a figure you can easily pick up for $5 in a nice mint condition (C8+). suddenly a loose klaatu given a "certified" grading of 95 (using AFA's scale for comparison) is being bandied about for $50. yet the "certified" graded figure is in the exact same condition as the C8+ figure. with a likely drop in vintage collectors once Episode 3 comes and goes, the values on many loose items are going to drop as demand drops, this will be good for those collectors who have stuck around, but if a "certified" grading of loose figures starts, those prices are only likely to increase potentially causing dissatisfaction within the hobby.

when it was announced AFA was going to begin grading carded figures a few years back, I was vehemently against it. there was no evidence to indicate that their grading would be any better than the self-grading collectors had been using for years on their own. this isn't the case today as they have gained credibility on their own experience, but the proof is in the pudding that people are still paying out their ass just for the AFA grading label. that's something that has certainly hurt the carded figure market over the last 4 or so years and I would hate to see that happen to the loose figure market which overall is much smaller.

on the flipside, it was rumored about 2 years ago that AFA was getting into the loose figure grading, but I don't believe anything came of that. perhaps there wasn't a market for it, which I surely hope so. don't take this as any sort of bashing on your idea, I just don't believe their is much benefit to the hobby for "certified" grading of loose figures.

Offline Angry Ewok

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Re: What do you think about grading loose figures?
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2004, 11:41 AM »
I wouldn't think that grading loose figures would be a very lucrative business, as most loose figures aren't worth the cost to ship it to-and-from a grader, much less pay the grader to do his work.


Offline DarthFett

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Re: What do you think about grading loose figures?
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2004, 10:04 PM »
We will see if I could pull this off. As for the C8.0+ Grade, that would equal a Condition 80/100 for my grading scale which would be below mint. I dont see my service ruining the hobby, im just one man with a passion for mint figures. My goal will be for a equal grading system all away around! I see that 99% of the people hate this idea and I dont blame them, I want to do this for the savvy collector who wants something different in there collection. Also maby add some extra value to there investment (I know most collectors are tearing there eyeballs out reading this). Im working out all the kinks to make this work, I sure hope it does!

I want to thank everyone for there thoughts on this subject. Thanks.
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Offline CorranHorn

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Re: What do you think about grading loose figures?
« Reply #8 on: December 16, 2004, 12:58 AM »
I want to do this for the savvy collector who wants something different in there collection.

The thing is, a savvy collector will have no need for a "certified" graded loose figure because he/she will be able to determine the grade of the figure on their own. If you take a look at AFA's graded carded figures, most people who buy them aren't actually savvy enough to determine on their own what the condition of a card is and thus want someone else to tell them what the condition is. This isn't savvy, this really winds up being hand-holding for people who want to collect but aren't informed enough to make determinations on their own. So if you're looking for a specific demograph it would be those people, not the long term "savvy" collectors who have been in the hobby for as long as its existed.

Offline DarthFett

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Re: What do you think about grading loose figures?
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2004, 04:21 AM »
I would not say "holding there hand", they just have the money to burn that most people dont - plain and simple. They also just want something thats certified or something that is extra then just a lame star case. Grading will always be for the high end collector of figures, I want to have something in place for the average collector to get something graded at a fair price.

Im glad that mostly everyone thinks this idea sucks and thats because it has not been done yet. Its a very tricky thing grading loose figures, I will probely lose money doing it. But to me its fun and I will launch this in early 2005, I will see where it goes, it most likely will go nowhere! It will be fun trying  ;D

Thanks for the post. Please post more ideas, thoughts.
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Offline CorranHorn

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Re: What do you think about grading loose figures?
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2004, 05:07 AM »
ya know I thought something seemed familiar about you and this idea....

http://threads.rebelscum.com/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=993920&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=1#993920

Offline Jesse James

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Re: What do you think about grading loose figures?
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2004, 08:05 AM »
My thoughts on the subject:

-I feel if you can't grade things yourself, you're in the wrong hobby...  Just a personal gripe about what grading things has done to the "accessability" of the hobby to more people.

I feel it takes figures and inflates prices beyond necessity...  It changes dynamics of things, and it splits an already divided hobby up even further between collectors.

-Grading's very subjective...  I know "experts" on the hobby whose opinion differs from mine in terms of condition, and only clearly perfect items or destroyed ones are generally agreed on.  THat leaves basically the C2 to C9 range wide open to interpretation... 

In short, there's never going to be a "standard", even among friends who value each other's opinions greatly.

I mean, I may grade something slightly higher than say a guy like Tatoo Shane would, but that doesn't mean I don't value Shane's opinion (I sure as hell would!), it just means he and I have differing opinions when things get greyer...

(BTW, Shane's just a name drop I'm using to make a point)

-My collection's on my home's insurance policy already, and I graded it myself...  So for insurance purposes it's unnecessary, at least as far as I see.  To me it's irrelevant for this then.


So this is a few reasons I'm not in favor of it...  I'd never use the service myself, and I'd honestly be ashamed of myself as a vinty collector if I felt I "had" to entrust another's opinion when buying.

Also, if I don't trust an auction on Ebay 100%, then I'm not buying into it...  I tend to deal in vintage either from known trustworthy people, or from something I can inspect in person.
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Offline Angry Ewok

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Re: What do you think about grading loose figures?
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2004, 02:23 PM »
Also, if I don't trust an auction on Ebay 100%, then I'm not buying into it...  I tend to deal in vintage either from known trustworthy people, or from something I can inspect in person.

And no grading service could change that, because we all know how easily fakes can be passed off as genuine, right?

Offline DarthFett

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Re: What do you think about grading loose figures?
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2004, 09:39 PM »
First off, Im doing this because its my passion (collecting toys) also. Im not looking for customers here, I could care less if you are interested. I just want your idea's and thoughts which you have given. Thanks for all who posted.


Some stuff that I feel you might need to read from some other boards:

Originally Posted by mabudon

BTW, in the case of variants and such, what kind of material analysis would be done to determine if the whole thing is the "real deal" anyways???

I'd have half a mind to craft up a fake red-cape bib fortuna or something just to see if I could do it- would there be some kind of "insurance policy", in case a really good fake somehow got past the system???
Just curious


I have some star wars experts I would ref these kinds of items to. If they were undecided on it, it would be returned to the customer without shipping refunded. I will make note of the name of the person who submits this kind of thing and have a data base with photos of all questionable items submited and then returned. I will for the most part just return the item back to the customer, I have no problem with this. I might go as far as just send a item back to a person that I think is trying to pull some shate. The good ol' we have the right to refuse service to anyone! This I will take to the extreme! Not everyone will be able to submit stuff, blacklists will be up and running also.

Also:

Ok not being mean but asking this just as a normal question but what references do you have?

I have some ref's from hobby shops, a hot wheels designer and my friend from gentle giant studios, also my ebay name is westcoastdiecast. Thats just a few, but I will have all of that on the web site once the site is up.

Are you on ebay at all?

westcoastdiecast

How should i feel safe sending my figures to you when you are a new guy?

Send your item with a delivery confirmation with insurance via usps.

What form of reference do you have?

I have a 100pt system in place for loose figures. Example a C8.0 is my 80/100.

I think another thing is what all will you be grading or how would you be grading a figure?

The figure will have the 100pt system in place to judge such things as: Paint wear, loose joints, broken parts, discoloring, etc. I will have my "figure autopsy" Diagram which is pretty cool that details every point taken from the 100. I will out line in figure diagram where the paint loss is, broken pieces etc. I dont want to get into to much detail on this yet.

Thanks for all your questions.
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Offline DarthFett

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Re: What do you think about grading loose figures?
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2004, 09:28 PM »
Hi, I just wanted to say THANK YOU. For everyones thoughs and idea's on this subject. I will take into account everyones comments and try to work with all the information. I think that everyone here did a wonderful job explaining there views. I hope that some of you will check out the site when its complete some time in 2005. Once again Thanks for all your help! Happy Collecting!



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