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Thread: "AFA/3rd Party Professional Grading" Debate Thread

  1. #1

    \"AFA/3rd Party Professional Grading\" Debate Thread

    This thread exists as an outlet for collectors to engage in discussions pertaining to the merits or lackthereof of AFA and professional grading in general. Although collectors often maintain very different viewpoints on this topic, I ask that discussion/debate continue in a mature fashion and that participants always keep in mind that all people do not collect in the exact same fashion. AFA debate responses *must* be made in this stickied thread. Members that wish to derail existing or new threads from their main purpose will be dealt with accordingly.

    Thanks,
    Mike
    Buying vintage prototypes, snowtrooper rarities, & Kenner employee memorabilia

  2. #2

    Re: \"Official\" AFA Debate Thread

    Pros:

    1.) They authenticate items that are heavily counterfeited, such as 12-backs, DT figures, and VC Jawas.
    2.) They look nice.

    Cons:

    1.) They're expensive.
    2.) There's a question about the qualifications of those doing the grading/authenticating.
    3.) It makes it too convenient for sellers not to give detailed descriptions and for buyers not to ask questions, despite the fact that a grade of "80" is not universally applicable.
    4.) It drives up prices of higher-end items, both graded and ungraded, discouraging new collectors with limited budgets.
    5.) I've heard they don't actually authenticate the weapons of loose figures, though I don't know if this is actually true or not.
    6.) They don't look any nicer than Oscar's cases.
    7.) They don't always deliver on their turnaround times, despite charging significantly more for quick turnaround.
    8.) It makes it too easy for buyers not to do their homework and not to learn how to determine grading for themselves.
    9.) Are AFA graders allowed to actively participate in the hobby themselves? If so, doesn't that create a conflict of interest?
    10.) The existence of grading authorities HAS destroyed entire hobbies before. Just look at the sports card industry.

    These are the same point I've been bringing up for weeks now, most of which have gone completely unanswered.
    Wanted: Vintage POTF Gamorrean Guard MOC

  3. #3

    Re: \"Official\" AFA Debate Thread

    Pro:
    ----

    1) It's the best standard grading system that can be created (every person grades differently)
    2) Authentication
    3) Protection (not fully though)
    4) If tape on vehicles ever comes loose, the item still is 100% NRFB

    Negs:
    ----

    1) Only grading being done now is in the US. So dangerous travelingtime for foreign submitions.
    2) The making of the final grade is not realy transparant (but that's going to be explained more I've read on their site)
    3) The items are locked away, and can't be touched with your hands
    4) Too easy for sellers to just state the grade and not give full disclosure on the condition
    5) Prices are much higher for grades items then non-graded items

    Quote Originally Posted by blimpyboy
    These are the same point I've been bringing up for weeks now, most of which have gone completely unanswered.
    And some were made in threads that weren't created for that discussion... Fortunately Michael opened this thread!

    -Alex

  4. #4

    Re: \"Official\" AFA Debate Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by blimpyboy

    Cons:

    1.) They're expensive.
    Expensive in comparison to what?

    I think the price(s) charged by AFA for their non-custom work is fair in comparison to what I pay for CGC to grade my comics.


    Your friend, TSM-in-N.Y.

  5. #5

    Re: \"Official\" AFA Debate Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by blimpyboy
    9.) Are AFA graders allowed to actively participate in the hobby themselves? If so, doesn't that create a conflict of interest?

    My collection is 90% AFA so far, so i'm no AFA-basher, but thats an interesting point by Blimpyboy, that i've wondered about because of a situation that arose.

    A *major* Palitoy collection was sold off last year to a UK guy who fancies himself as a dealer (a forum member actually). I enquired about a certain Trilogo, to be told it was for sale, but was at AFA with a batch of Trilogos and therefore price would depend on the grade. When i chased it up, i was told that the particular Grader at AFA turned out to be a collector of European MOC, and had contacted the submitter (the forum member) directly and bought the entire lot and kept them.

    I dont know if they were bought before/during/after grading, but it made me raise an eyebrow about the anonymous grading procedure to be honest. Its a story thats always played on my mind.

    I've grumbled about the odd AFA issue in the past, but a few grumbles aside i do quite like AFA and do purchase AFA-cased MOCs and Proof Cards!

    My personal biggest gripe with any AFA cased products isnt with the company, its with sellers who hide behind the grade and refuse to answer direct questions about pieces! Thats stopped me buying many times!

    I guess my other gripe, is i'm jealous it wasnt my idea in the first place .

  6. #6

    Re: \"Official\" AFA Debate Thread

    I guess my biggest complaint is that there are people destroying pieces of toy history to get a silly 'U' grade. Bagged Blue Snaggletooth? Rip 'em open! Baggies in general? Rip 'em open! Some of these "collectors" probably don't even realize how rare some of the baggie figures are.

    Beater cards (VERY subjective BTW) are getting ripped open for a U grade. Playsets, mailaways. You name it. They are getting destroyed just so they get a silly little 'U'.

    It's pretty sad.
    After Monday and Tuesday, even calendars say "W T F"
    My feedback

  7. #7

    Re: \"Official\" AFA Debate Thread

    who cares.Let people do what they will with their toys. It's their property.

  8. #8

    Re: \"Official\" AFA Debate Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by tomstroncek
    who cares.Let people do what they will with their toys. It's their property.
    Then there's the ones who have this attitude. Yep, let's not TRY to understand anything about the item. Let's not TRY to see if there's some significance in it. Let's not TRY to learn about it.
    After Monday and Tuesday, even calendars say "W T F"
    My feedback

  9. #9

    Re: \"Official\" AFA Debate Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by steve_tomlinson
    I dont know if they were bought before/during/after grading, but it made me raise an eyebrow about the anonymous grading procedure to be honest. Its a story thats always played on my mind.
    I'd like to find out AFA's policy on this; if they don't have one, I think they should. What if the grader comes across a piece he/she is especially partial to, for reasons of nostalgia maybe, aren't they more likely to want to grade the item higher? Or, like in your story, they could purposely grade them lower in order to purchase them for a lower price.

    I know with the coin market, employees of certain grading authorities are forbidden from even owning collectible coins for these very reasons.
    Wanted: Vintage POTF Gamorrean Guard MOC

  10. #10

    Re: \"Official\" AFA Debate Thread

    Hello,

    Everyone certainly has a different opinion on the merit and need for a grading system, but I will address this question:


    blimpyboy wrote:
    9.) Are AFA graders allowed to actively participate in the hobby themselves? If so, doesn't that create a conflict of interest?

    No, they are not. There is not one AFA grader who collects toys. At most, they may keep a momento of a show exclusive as a souvenir or something to that extent. They cannot grade their own toys or sell any graded toys (nor do they ever sell ungraded toys to my knowledge). Not one existing grader has a background in collecting toys to any extent other than casually prior to being trained as a grader, nor do any graders seriously collect toys after being hired. However, with several graders now having over 5 years of experience in grading toys, they are truly experts, but not collectors.

    Steve, you have received false information. Ask the seller who he sold the figures to. I can absolutely GUARANTEE that they weren't purchased by a grader at AFA. If you would kindly send me the contact information of the seller privately, I would be happy to address the issue with him. Wherever he sold the figures, I am 100% certain it wasn't to someone at AFA. It may have been to me, especially if it was a Lumat and Paploo on the alternate picture Wicket cards, but it was certainly not to a grader. Only CIB can broker toys between buyers and sellers. No AFA grader is allowed to do that, and I am also completely certain that no AFA grader collects vintage Star Wars toys privately, nor do any collect any toys seriously. They may buy an occassional collectible toy because they like it or for their children, etc., but that's about it.

    I hope this helps.

    Thanks,

    Tom

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