"AFA/3rd Party Professional Grading" Debate Thread

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Re: \"Official\" AFA Debate Thread

I don't think there is anything wrong with quoting the population report in an auction. However, as more items get graded, if the report is not updated, it might be necessary to say, at the last publication of the population report.....

No matter what the population report says, there will always be other examples that exist ungraded in other collections.

Adam
 
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Re: \"Official\" AFA Debate Thread

Haha. I just sent in a figure to afa to have it CIB'd and I got an email stating to please contact them. So immediately I panicked thinking something happened to the figure or just of the worse. I called them and it turns out they need history on the figure for derby and his crew. I know by the ever so updated population report there has yet to be one graded, but still, here I am paying for a authentication and I know more about the figure then them. It just seems kind of pointless after that email to me. I mean maybe I shouldn't think this way, but it is kind of funny that they are asking my help on this figure. It makes me feel important I guess though.
It just sucks cause it's like if they can not verify it cause they have yet to see one its pretty upsetting. I guess I have mixed feelings on this.
Thoughts please
Thanks
Blarc

PS I will share the figure when I get it
 
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My 2cents on u-loose grading

When I started collecting u-loose, it was before AFA announced that they were going to be grading loose, 6 weeks before. I had no problem finding cut cards and true beaters during this time. Now it is very hard to find a true beater, due to this reason. I have bought AFA loose none u-graded for my collection as well.



I do not need to have the highest graded loose set in the world, as AFA 85 or u85 is fine for me. The main reason I enjoy collecting u-loose figures is because u-loose are true factory variants, not sun faded, and not discolored. I also feel that there are many people out there that abuse the u-loose just to get the u90 or u95, and will destroy any moc they choose to do so, but you will always have bad apples in every hobby. If this was not u-loose, it would be something else that would cause a stir in the hobby.



I once new a guy that collected everything vintage, and he also had them graded, but did not care to put them in the correct conditions to keep them looking just like he bought them. He did not care and, this drove me crazy. 1 example is he had a clear bubble POTF Anakin graded AFA 85 and paid alot of money for it, but did not care to take care of it at all, and in 2 years time the bubble turned yellow as he did not care to preserve it, he just wanted to show everyone in person that he had it. He brought it into a friends comic to show him and I, and he brought it in with about 7 other rare mocs all graded in a Target plastic bag, and when he pulled them out th cases had cracks and scratches all over them, 1 case even was missing 1/2 the back of acrylic, 12 back luke AFA 85. It killed me to see that someone could spend that much money on something and not care about it, and put it somewhere where it could be kept in the same condition that it was bought in. I just had to get over it, as they were his toys, and just told myself, he can treat them anyway he would like.



Months later I found out that his wife had been scamming her company, for like 100,000.00 a year, and they would take it all, and buy star wars with it, so I understood why he did not care what he did with them, because he never had to work to get the money to pay for them, so it was like someone was just giving them to him. His wife finally got caught and they had to sell the whole collection, and I knew the guy that bought it, and met up with him to look at all of it when he sold it, and all of it had been trashed even 3-packs, and very rare items, I just about died.



Long story short, there will always be someone in every hobby that destroys items in it just to say they own it, or that they have the highest grade, I'm not one of those people, as I grew up with them, and love to collect them. I will never send a nice moc to be graded for loose, and I mean even if it is in c5 condition, it would need to be in worse shape for me to send in. I never send in sealed baggie figures, and I bought my 2 loose blue snaggletooth's already graded u-loose for my collection, because I would not send in baggies.



My analogy of u-loose in comparison to a person who buy a new car:



U-loose collectors like knowing that the item has never been played with or exposed to the elements.

Brand new vehicle buyers, like knowing the same thing.



I have never bought a new car because I feel it is a rip off, as the second you pull it off the lot, it degrades in value by thousands, but I will not bash anyone who want's to buy a new car, as it is just what they like.



I collect all this stuff because I love toys and everything that comes along with collecting them, including all of you guys and gals here on the scum.



I wish I would have had time to chime in on the Chive, as I would have been a perfect guy for the opposite side of the topic.By the way great job, and I will try to chime in, on the next few.



My 2cents



Thanks Jeff
 
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Re: My 2cents on u-loose grading

Ten points to Jeff!

Enjoyed reading that Jeff even if it was sad to hear about that guy who wrecked so many nice items
It goes to show that some people are just in this hobby for completely the wrong reasons, hopefully the damage done by these individuals isn't significant enough to ruin it for future generations.

One mans gold is another mans beater after all and I would settle for a C5 card over a U grade any day of the week !

Nice write up man
 
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Re: My 2cents on u-loose grading

Having been a collector of sports cards, coins, and Star Wars memorabilia, I am all for the AFA. I currently only own one graded item, due to budget constraints, but I would have my entire collection graded if I had the money. Grading services are pretty well accepted in other hobbies, so why not action figures?

Here's what I like about the AFA:
1: Display. They look great.
2. They provide at least some semblance of uniformity to the incredibly subjective area of condition.
3.It makes it much easier for people like me that live an a small town to purchase from far away sellers. Sure there are varying degrees of "AFA 80" but not nearly as varying as what Seller One thinks when describing an item to Buyer One.
4. Preservation.
5. It does help the novice collector like me get a sense of what is accepted as 80, or 85.

Cons:
Price.

Also, I read a previous post where there was concern over conflict of interests with the graders themselves. Is this true? I know that, for example, in coin grading the graders are simply given a coin with an anonymous number on it so they don't give any preference to the person that submitted it, and there are specific rules regarding their personal collecting as to what they can and can't buy after hours.

Lastly, I'm not sure that it does have a negative impact on the collecting community. If you don't care for AFA figures, you probably don't buy them. And if you like the AFA, buy them! I don't see how AFA graded prices effect non-AFA collectors, and vice versa. I don't think a spike in an AFA graded figure really impacts one that is not graded.

As far as "liberating" figures from their AFA cases goes, what's the point of that? I don't feel the need to "liberate" my figures from the bubble and card that I have spent so long trying to keep in top condition, so why would I break open a case to free the MOC figure inside. It's kind of splitting hairs.

I really see the AFA as this: two collectors disagree over an items condition, so they ask their impartial friend to settle the argument. That's the AFA. Except their friend probably doesn't charge them for it.
 
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Re:AFA Grading and all the Rules for Submission

I really like AFA grading especially for the high dollar Vintage stuff that professional counterfeiters are trying their best to fake. What drives me nuts is AFA's Tier this and Tier that and 6 page submission form and grading category this and that and on and on and on
. I have asked them, and a friend that knows the owner personally for years has hounded him over and over to please establish an easier way for a collector, not a business, to submit maybe 1 or 2 items a year, or maybe one a month club, and not have to go through all the hoops. Just box it up insure it and send it with payment...and in a few weeks you get it back graded and cased and done. I just looked at the website again contemplating sending in a Toy Fair Vader that should rate a 9, but I just get too irritated with all the rules and just said maybe next year.
 
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Re:AFA Grading and all the Rules for Submission

I have a question. First off forgive me if this isn't the right place to ask this but I didn't think it was worth starting a new thread.

I was looking at Ebay and just decided to look up Clone Wars AFA figures. From what i see at the AFA website it isn't exactly cheap to have a figure graded and you don't seem to save all that much by having a # of figures graded at the same time. So how do people on Ebay sell AFA graded figures with B.I.N prices of $25 to $35? I don't question the legitimacy of the figures I just don't understand how they can be sold at that price. Are sellers just taking a loss?
 
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Re:AFA Grading and all the Rules for Submission

justabigkid said:
I have a question. First off forgive me if this isn't the right place to ask this but I didn't think it was worth starting a new thread.

I was looking at Ebay and just decided to look up Clone Wars AFA figures. From what i see at the AFA website it isn't exactly cheap to have a figure graded and you don't seem to save all that much by having a # of figures graded at the same time. So how do people on Ebay sell AFA graded figures with B.I.N prices of $25 to $35? I don't question the legitimacy of the figures I just don't understand how they can be sold at that price. Are sellers just taking a loss?
I've heard Hasbro has sold AFA figures themselves at a lower price.
 
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Re:AFA Grading and all the Rules for Submission

FDOIRex said:
justabigkid said:
I have a question. First off forgive me if this isn't the right place to ask this but I didn't think it was worth starting a new thread.

I was looking at Ebay and just decided to look up Clone Wars AFA figures. From what i see at the AFA website it isn't exactly cheap to have a figure graded and you don't seem to save all that much by having a # of figures graded at the same time. So how do people on Ebay sell AFA graded figures with B.I.N prices of $25 to $35? I don't question the legitimacy of the figures I just don't understand how they can be sold at that price. Are sellers just taking a loss?
I've heard Hasbro has sold AFA figures themselves at a lower price.
Most of the time, you have a person who is buying cases at wholesale to get graded. Then they're sent in sealed for an "uncirculated" grade. Some score well and others not so much, but it should all balance out. For example, if you have a couple of U9.5s and some U8.5s, the difference in price that you get for them can balance out the price spent on that case.
 
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The problem is that the AFA population report is probably off. I know of many items that were graded, set free of their afa cases, and then sold and re-graded making afa's #'s higher then they should be. Then there is also UKG and all the ungraded items in peoples collections. They still are a good way to get an idea of what is out there, but I wouldn't take their #'s too seriously....
 
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With the TT scandal and the afa clones that are showing up on ebay, is it still worth your money to send your items in to be graded? Or do you see ungraded items becoming more desirable? Would love to hear your thoughts on this....
 
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With the TT scandal and the afa clones that are showing up on ebay, is it still worth your money to send your items in to be graded? Or do you see ungraded items becoming more desirable? Would love to hear your thoughts on this....
I think graded is still desirable:

1. You still get that 3rd party objective condition grade which makes it easier to sell online since the buyer is confident that the condition is accurately described. (The seller isn't inflating the condition for a higher price)
2. TT scandal aside, AFA and the like can still spot other kinds of fakes. I've seen a lot of fakes on ebay recently, mostly bad that would all get caught by AFA
3. They make nice cases that display really well

I think the fake AFA cases and TT scandal teach us that we can't blindly buy graded items anymore without verifying for ourselves that it is legitimate. I used to pick up a lot of...let's call it middle tier...graded items. I don't think I often verified the serial number, I just assumed it was legit. I can't afford to do that anymore.

Regarding your previous post, about people regraded items to inflate the population report. Did they get better or worse grades the second time around?
 
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I think the fake AFA cases and TT scandal teach us that we can't blindly buy graded items anymore without verifying for ourselves that it is legitimate. I used to pick up a lot of...let's call it middle tier...graded items. I don't think I often verified the serial number, I just assumed it was legit. I can't afford to do that anymore.
This is awesome. It really shows the ridiculousness of getting items AFA'd.

People submit figures to AFA to grade and authenticate them. Now, AFA cases are being faked. And now we have people saying they need to know what to look for to weed out fake cases. If you AFA collectors had learned to do the EXACT SAME THING with the vintage figures themselves, you wouldn't even need the damn AFA authentication service to begin with. :wtf:

Many of us have preached for years on the importance of learning how to spot fakes on your own. How ironic that those that don't do that, for whatever reason, now need to learn that skill to make sure your authenticated item is legitimately authenticated.....

Ian
 
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This is awesome. It really shows the ridiculousness of getting items AFA'd.

People submit figures to AFA to grade and authenticate them. Now, AFA cases are being faked. And now we have people saying they need to know what to look for to weed out fake cases. If you AFA collectors had learned to do the EXACT SAME THING with the vintage figures themselves, you wouldn't even need the damn AFA authentication service to begin with. :wtf:

Many of us have preached for years on the importance of learning how to spot fakes on your own. How ironic that those that don't do that, for whatever reason, now need to learn that skill to make sure your authenticated item is legitimately authenticated.....

Ian
I am ALL for education in any hobby, pursuit or interest and Star WArs is no diffrent. I agree with Ian and others its important to learn. I really really really really really really LIKE AFA. However, I have never said to myself that I can just buy whatever and collect. I am and have always been interested in learning whats going on.

AFA is more than just the authentication process tho. It is also about items being cataloged for future researchers, its the preservation. I think the AFA has its place in the hobby, its not perfect. But many organizations for various hobbies have had these sort of issues comes up; that does not mean that it makes them invalid. Many times they put in new safeguards and improvements and come out even better because of what has happened.

So, while its key and good for hobbyists to always educate themselves, AFA still has an important role to play in the SW collecting hobby.
 
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AFAs website states that they " verify authenticity" - To me this is no longer really the case?? With all the TTs that have been graded over time :wtf:
 
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AFAs website states that they " verify authenticity" - To me this is no longer really the case?? With all the TTs that have been graded over time :wtf:
I think Tom Derby stated on the original SWUK TT thread that if all original parts were used there's not a way to be able to tell when the bubble was sealed. most of the authenticating goes into checking if it's a vintage card and not a re-seal.
 
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I think some of the TTs Ive seen had twin stem bubbles where there should have been single stem ones used?? (according to known examples)..

And some of the hot iron marks from the "underwear ironing guy" (pic somewhere on here) were a bit obvious - maybe early attempts...

Gonks Snowtrooper was an example, If i recall correctly..
 
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I think Tom Derby stated on the original SWUK TT thread that if all original parts were used there's not a way to be able to tell when the bubble was sealed. most of the authenticating goes into checking if it's a vintage card and not a re-seal.
I can't remember if it is on here or TIG, but wbobafett found that there ARE ways to determine if you have a TT by the placement of the bubble. The fakes were not centered correctly.

And what good is an authentication service if they don't check for reseals?

Ian
 
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looks like BT's continues to sell these TT's appears I found another listing of theirs with a ROTJ Hoth stormtrooper, palitoy. Ima double check tonight but has someone reached out to BT and pressed them about why they are selling these items?
 
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I can't remember if it is on here or TIG, but wbobafett found that there ARE ways to determine if you have a TT by the placement of the bubble. The fakes were not centered correctly.

And what good is an authentication service if they don't check for reseals?

Ian
HI Ian,

It all comes back to the question of "verifying authenticity" ... To me "Authentic" means totally factory vintage original including sealed date -

NOT Somebodies backyard shed assembly line 20 - 30 years later - now - What happens if AFA cant tell the difference -???
 
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From the perspective of someone new to action figure collecting I can see both pros and cons...

I don't think I'd pay the premium to get my own collection graded, or buy pre-graded figures, but I can see the merit in protecting MOC figures. The AFA grade is also only really relevant if the contents of the case don't degrade over time, so I guess the archival/UV-protected cases may help with that?

Personally I'm happy to have started my collection with Vintage Saga Collection MOC figures. If only Hasbro had factory-sealed Vintage Collection figures in Star Cases too. The difference in price for factory-sealed Vintage Original Trilogy and Vintage Saga Collection figures vs AFA-graded Vintage Collection figures is huge.

I see there are actually eBay listings for U-graded Vintage Original Trilogy and Vintage Saga Collection figures where the factory-sealed Star Case has been removed and replaced with a standard AFA case. To me that's actually a negative, and certainly not a reason to demand many times the market value.
 
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I see there are actually eBay listings for U-graded Vintage Original Trilogy and Vintage Saga Collection figures where the factory-sealed Star Case has been removed and replaced with a standard AFA case. To me that's actually a negative, and certainly not a reason to demand many times the market value.
To clarify, I probably meant command, not demand. Sellers can of course put whatever price they like on listings, and who knows, perhaps U-grade collectors would pay that sort of premium?
 
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I would only AFA stuff like vinyl jawa's or other rare stuff that is counterfeited.
 
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I was thinking about a few of my last 17 figures. Stormtrooper luke, yak face, and the endor gun figures.
 
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Hello people. I am "Your_Scoundrel" but those who find me likable can call me Phil. The rest can dictate my name for the sake of creating a pointless agenda.

I might be new here, but I am not new to the world of grading and maintaining pieces that range from type of historical significance to just keeping it for sentimental reasons. And if I was here when the topic started, I would have been able to give others (like blimpboy) explanations that even he could not dispute. Things that happened later in time, such as Sotheby's "The Return of NIGO" collection. But doing so prior to my personal experiences using both AFA and VGA. Both being better experiences than buying graded comics on eBay, etc.

So starting with the cons, I can say the following are a factor that has me looking at both CAS and UKG for my re-casing needs:

1) The business still lacks transparency: AFA was founded on the basis of a former police officer wanting to officiate and preserve toys. The means of how things are graded have helped improved the way we see items graded. In the case of 'The Return of NIGO', the figures sold used a system similar to AFA's standard grading system. But what they do not offer is full-disclosed information on who their graders are, how they handle previously graded items, and how they would handle if a factory had to double tape a pre-shipped product. Things that would help the potential customer know what they are dealing with, and would not have any impact on their insurance-related policies.

2) The way they grade things without your knowledge: A few years ago I was planning to purchase another "Encore 23" Fortress Maximus. The problem is that the only store that had any decent (80%-85% mint) pieces only had the double taped ones in stock. I had contacted AFA and told them the situation prior to purchasing this, and knowing that one was already graded. I was informed that despite it being double-taped by the factory, it would have to receive a "Q" grade. My last contact with this was this year and it regarded a UKG graded piece that is being shipped to me. It took me 15(!) tries to ask about their policies on "U"/"Uncirculated" graded pieces not graded by them. The final answer was that it would lose that status because "They do not know how UKG uses that word." This makes me wonder how angry I would be if I submitted these items instead of asking first. And now wonder the same for those who might do either one.

3) The "I don't like this" types: I can bicker about their prices, what they do not add for select services, and other things that would make it a win-win for both them and their clients. But I will not because I had to deal with people who claimed to be 'pro-Funimation' for the sake of being anti-Aniplex. And none of them bothered to do any fact-checking. Which is why I am adding those who do something similar to this list of cons. If a person bought a mint figure that is on a beater for the sake of having a freshy-mint loose figure, they will remove it from that beater card and nobody would be any the wiser. If they wanted it done by AFA for the same reason, AFA is vilified because they respected that collector's need to have a loose/complete collection. If a collector chose AFA to have their collection preserved, nobody is the wiser. If a seller uses them to make a quick profit, AFA is vilified for a decision that the seller chose to do. That is pretty much it. And I will omit the stuff I heard outside this forum. It is that pathetic to me.

HM) Their 'sales chart': Making this a mixture of sorts, but they do not make it easy to decide what constitutes as a standard and a non-standard card (as an example). This is as annoying as VGA not noting that a Japanese game is a 'first press' piece on the label.

HM) The grey zone: There are still graded products out there that AFA failed to buy back. Sadly, nobody ever talks about them correcting that mistake.

And now for the pros:

1) They train new employees to take their positions: The one thing that AFA does is have a senior grader re-review what the first one had graded. This allows a steady transition from not knowing the difference between an 80 and an 85 to teaching those that difference. Their policies are similar to what you may hear from Sotheby's and they make the time to make sure their standards are often improved.

2) They buy back any grading mistakes they have made: When it comes to the Transformers fiasco, as an example, they made a direct effort to purchase those back so no other purchaser can be conned. There is a chance that this is ongoing, so saying otherwise without proof is no different than other debates people had here.

3) They started this and it is great for collectors like me: I am in the field like Rick Springfield. Namely that I am too old to play with my toys, but old enough to enjoy the way they look on display. So factoring that in, I respect the way collectors own their stuff. They bought it so it is their decision on how they collect it. The end. But for me, due to my Asperger's, I only feel comfortable owning graded items when it comes to a long-term/permanent collection. Both loose and carded look nice and I only have to worry about the acrylic more than the figure, bubble, and/or card.

That is what I have to say. And always remember: It is easier to win an argument with a droid than a wookiee. And it is better to understand Your_Scoundrel than to treat him as a scoundrel.
 
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LATE ENTRY EDIT: I should noted that in regards to 'grading', my mother was a teacher. And the basics I could say is that grading a collectible item is like grading a report; you'll not always have two teachers who have done this for years (or even decades) agree on the same grade. Such as use of a punctuation mark or how something is worded can turn a 100% into a 95%. So while it is subjective, it is also based on the grader's discretion. (I hope that makes me sound less 'egotistical' when it comes to my debut post.)
 
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man what a blast from the past!

Since I last commented in this thread several years ago, CAS has joined the scene. I've sent many things to CAS over AFA because they seemed to offer better custom case designs and when they came out displayed loose accessories better than AFA. This started a nice arms race with each company trying to one-up the other in better cases and finer grades with the + added. A win for everyone.

However in my recent batch, I was surprised at some of the grades. When I sent stuff to AFA it was often downgraded too harshly where as a few times at CAS I think they graded too lightly. I'm not really in it for profit so I don't really care too much about the grade. What I care more about is preservation and well displayed items. and these companies provide that for me. The grade is a nice bonus for insurance purposes.
 
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man what a blast from the past!

Since I last commented in this thread several years ago, CAS has joined the scene. I've sent many things to CAS over AFA because they seemed to offer better custom case designs and when they came out displayed loose accessories better than AFA. This started a nice arms race with each company trying to one-up the other in better cases and finer grades with the + added. A win for everyone.

However in my recent batch, I was surprised at some of the grades. When I sent stuff to AFA it was often downgraded too harshly where as a few times at CAS I think they graded too lightly. I'm not really in it for profit so I don't really care too much about the grade. What I care more about is preservation and well displayed items. and these companies provide that for me. The grade is a nice bonus for insurance purposes.
You and me both.

What hurts my reasons to give AFA my business is the fact they literally told me that my UKG graded "TVC123" Stormtrooper (Mimban) would not keep its "U" status if they regraded it. CAS will do this as long as it is still carded. But AFA will not because they "do not know how UKG defines 'uncirculated' when it comes to their grading system". That is pretty much it. The status is as important to me as the carded figure. And I personally feel that if I am going to pay an additional $100 (shipping costs included) to have it re-graded, they should respect my need to preserve the "U" portion of this figure's history.
 
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I recently sent a decent amount of MOC & loose figures to CAS, and was very happy with their customer service, especially with my OCD questions about protecting tri-logo bubbles. The timing couldn't have been better, since they recently hired more employees to speed up the turn around process. I'm very excited to see the finished products and grades, and I'll try to remember to leave feedback here when I get them back.
 
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