Sports Illustrated Blog #75 – Big Changes at CGC – How Will They Affect The Hobby?

Welcome to my Sports Illustrated/TIME magazine blog – Your collector’s guide to the latest hobby updates and insight into what’s trending now.

How do we want to look at this – a pain in the butt or growing pains?  This blog will focus on the big changes trending at CGC, the grading service for our hobby, and how they will affect buying, selling, grading, not grading – going forward.

First of all – the CGC changes;

  1. Longer lead times – much longer.  Lead times on the most economical grading tiers have increased from 6-8 weeks to 20 weeks.  That doesn’t include the 4-8 weeks it takes for them to just receive your submission. 

Interesting phenomenon I noticed last week – in 7 days the lead-time for a Modern submission moved from 89 days to 96 days.  That tells you that your submission lost ground after it was submitted.  How does that happen?

CGC has promised solutions.  Unfortunately, we’re going to have to live with these longer lead times for a while.  It’s certainly better than the card market.

2. Price Increases – significant price increases.  CGC prices have increased 50%-80% across the board.  For $120 you still can grade walk thru which really means about 3 weeks when you include shipping both ways and receiving.

So now we have extended lead times and higher prices and no creditable grading alternative leaving us with these questions;

  1. Should I pay the extra money and wait the extra time to grade?
  2. Should I spend $120 each for faster service?
  3. Should I stop grading and sell only raw mags?
  4. Should I stop buying raw mags considering these new road blocks?
  5. How is the value of previously graded mags affected?

The first four questions require your own personal decision but #5 could actually be the benefit in all this negativity.  Let’s assume demand stays strong for graded product.  Barring a trickle of newly graded stuff, the only product available for sale in any quantity will be the previously graded items. 

And I predict there will be a reluctance to buy new raw mags when the grading process is so restrictive, further reducing the eventual inventory for sale.  The very tip of the pyramid probably won’t be affected as they will be walk thru graded and the extra cost will be absorbed in the selling price.

Interesting changes for sure.  I frequently talk of the next big thing.  I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the next year or so, another grading player emerged as competition for CGC.  That is the real solution.  CGC has way too much control over this hobby.  When there is competition in the grading of mags, watch this hobby take the next big step forward.

I hope you are enjoying the reads on the history of TIME and SI magazines as well as an insight into relevant magazine collecting.

Great collecting to you and best fortunes with Sports Illustrated/TIME!

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