Grading toys. AFA, UKG, IS THIS WORTH MY MONEY?

So, grading your precious toys….

Worth the money? Or absolute waste of it?

Most likely a matter of oppinions.  But like everything else, this has pro’s and con’s.

To many collectors it just looks cool, displays great and keeps the toy clean and protected. There is a uv protective case available as well.

That is about the only positive review i can give on grading toys.

But grading is mainly to get an expert to look at your toy, authenticate it and its accesories if they have any. Afterwards the expert will give it a grade (for instance 85%) and case the item.

What does this expert do with my toy?

A question asked a lot in the collector world.

But long story short, he looks at the figure how its casted (with or without flaws) if it is original and period correct, if the paintwork is in good conditiin or not (playwear, factory flaws etc.) and if the accesoiries such as blasters and capes are original and in what shape they are.

So, basically they do what a die hard collector also does? 

Well, yes! But to be honest i think a true and experienced collector has a way better view on this!

Just to have an example, how many star wars toy toni’s have been graded in the past? (Toy toni are original figures, original cards and bubbles but assembled later by a scamming prick who bought old leftover factory stock cards and bubbles and added some minty figures wich he bought online himself). Did the graders notice this? NO! Collectors discovered the scam by wrong bubbles on the cards they never came out on. Graders just graded these fakes. Because thats what they are. Fakes!

And then the cases where a repro weapon has been graded as original…..

Yes, its human work. Humans make mistakes… NO, NO, NO!!

If you provide a service like this, you should have a insanely low error margin. Wich is not the case! Far from it.

There is even talk of graders replacing the toy weapons with good looking reproductions, wich can obviously never be put through any tests because they are cased up! But this is a not confirmed rumour.

Anyway, lets look at some more facts….

What is the price for grading a toy like lets say a vintage star wars figure.

Startingprice is around €15 for the basics.

So how long does a grader have to grade a figure? Probably not that long. Because take in mind, this is a company with overhead (building to rent, cases to have produced, insurance, staff to pay etc etc). Do the math what those 15 euro’s will be after expense and taxes etc. Not much!

So the grader can never take half an hour to process this toy for grading. Otherwise it will cost money! And they are busy, like actually really busy! And its not vollunteer work, thats for sure!

Just read into forums, or catch up on facebook groups like echo base or the imperial commissary, just to see how long it takes sometime to authenticate a lightsaber for a luke farmboy.

A simple float or drop test does not suffice anymore. Thats is a basic way of telling if its worth further investigation or not. If a bespin blaster sinks and does not surface anymore its a definite repro. But a floater is not by definition original!

But they are telling me, a grading company can authenticate your items within minutes, still have time to closely examine the figure and paint, place a label in the case with all info about the figure type, case it up and archive it for only 15 euro after all expense mentioned before? Are you shitting me!?!?!

If you want to know how authentic your toy is, find experts! Real experts! 

And just buy a couple of those cases to put your figures in. Because any experienced collector can see how good a figure really is. Its not that a grading company has the time to have 3 people look at a toy and get to a unanimous aggreement what grade it is.

Therefore you are left to the personal oppinion of the person handling your toy! What he or she thinks is an 85 another can see it as an 80. How fair is that?

Then how come graded toys go for twice or more then a loose minty looking figure?

Because people got scared of repro and have put their faith in a higher power such as graders.

If you just like the casings and what casings do. I would say go buy a bunch of them and place your toys in there to display.

All the rest to me is a big case of deep fried air, with no extra value or meaning to it.

Furthermore, you are boss of your collection. You should find a figure that looks good to you, not to someone sticking it in a case with a label.

I have seen 85% grades with a big smudge on the crispy white cape. To me that is a definite no go! And far from what a collector should desire. 85 is about the main thing collectors are after (90 grades are better ofcourse but are mostly insanely priced. And still theres 90 grades not looking a tad better then the same figure in 85)

And my personal experience with graders….

Some years back i bought a graded sealed box darth vaders star destroyer. Very cool! Looked amazing and i needed to have it.

When i found out the cases items waa not my thing, i sold it locally to a collector. There was one major issue, the collector did not want the graded item case on it. Just the item.

He did not trust this cases up thing at all (grading was not a well known thing where i live back then) and he collected sealed box items to open them, believe it or not. He had a tick with being the first person to hold it after all those years being new in the box.

So, he put his money on the table to buy it. And wanted the case removed and the box opened. Saccriligeon to me but hey, its your cash and item now…

And since it was graded i had a lot of confidence it was a brand new item in that box.
Yeah…. guess again. It was a graded block of wood! Wood!

And ofcourse i ended up with just a nice empty box, not getting payed and firewood.

And ofcourse the graders did not want to hear this story and did not want to communicate about it.

Since then, grading? Never mind. I know tons of people who can authenticate things a lot better and actually take time to look at items.
So to conclude my story…

Great idea, but no thank you!

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