This is why I take issue with AFA and grading in general

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Checking the daily listings of Emperor's Royal Guards on eBay, I looked further at an AFA 90 auction. I like to see how much they go for and compare the condition of what figures I have with what AFA says figure's grades are. I saw this ERG and was immediately thinking what the heck? The weapon clearly has a white stress mark below the tip, and a quite significant one. They do grade the weapon, too, do they not?

The ERGs pike is a tough one, in general though. They can come off the card, brand new, and be bent or have stress marks (not that I am an opener). They often have damage and can be one of the tougher weapons to find in nice shape. The Palace Blaster is another.

It seems if something is to get a 90, it should be darn near close to perfect. And that isn't even the case with the figure itself! The robe is quite fuzzy and there appears to a lose stitch/thread at the top of the robe. Sure, I do get it, it is graded by a human being and perhaps they were having an off day. Maybe they should not be allowed to grade if that is the case and they should just take a personal day or do general office work. :LOL:

I've had other images of examples of bad grading that I've saved throughout the years, with thoughts of posting about it, but just simply have not done so. Seeing this one gave me the nudge to post.


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Degradation that can happen after grading kinda makes AFA'S handiwork suspect in the long run.

Maybe it was originally a 90, then it got bent while encasing the figure/weapon in his case. Maybe they could put an update decal/grade on the outside when they do that.
 
I just don't understand how someone can get a figure, inspect it, and be really happy with the condition. Then they send it off to a grading company and are disappointed if the grade isn't as high as they thought they would get, then want to sell it and search for one with a higher grade.
To each their own, but that mentality is bizarre to me.
If you get a figure and think it looks great in your opinion, isn't that enough? Why would a figure become a pariah once a third party grader gives a different opinion on something you personally thought looked amazing?
 
Degradation that can happen after grading kinda makes AFA'S handiwork suspect in the long run.

Maybe it was originally a 90, then it got bent while encasing the figure/weapon in his case. Maybe they could put an update decal/grade on the outside when they do that.

Yes, degradation after grading is another topic/conversation on why grading, overall, has its issues. The plastics go bad, tape goes bad, bubbles can have issues, are items are not always secure inside that acrylic. AFA has taken steps to make things more secure, but it is still not perfect.

There would have had to have been substantial jarring or whacking to get the tip of the pike to bend like that. The tape seems to still be secure.

Things are also missed with grading. Heck, I see figures that look like 85s or 90s and are given 80s or 70s. I especially would like to know why they are so tough on Stormtroopers. I've seen several that look amazing, have no defects and they are a 75. Then there are other figures that may have issues with manufacturer deco, and it seems they take that into account, and give 85s, 90s, no problem.
 
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Grading is a scam. Welcome to my Ted Talk.

Especially when people pay 10x, 20x or more what a figure is worth loose, just to have someone else's opinion on a grade, in a plastic coffin.

As others are sure to point out, it does have its place with preservation of higher end items and authentication — when they get it right.
 
I always imagine toy grading involves a giant panel of international 'experts' watching the figure in question strut down a catwalk, throw a pose or two. Then they put up signs with numbers like with highdiving and the average becomes the official grade.

Alternatively, it involves monkeys, a keyboard and at least 2 clowns.
 
The accessories should be in the same condition as the figure to be graded as such.

I've always pictured the comic book guy from the Simpsons browsing figures over lunch and laughing all the way to the bank, as he charges people more for the grading process than the actual figure is worth, haha. He also gets mustard on the softgoods robe, before encasing it in its permanent tomb. It's such a waste of money in my opinion, and I don't like it as a means for display either. The only instance where I see it as a useful resource is for items that are ultra rare and need to be preserved from physical damage.

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Unless it's a DT or vinyl cape the condition of the accessory shouldn't really affect the grade too much where as in those cases the grade should mostly be the accessory and not the figure.
 
I bought a 1000 stocks for $10 each.
Price/value went up.
10 years ago it was worth $200/each.
Life happens
Today they are Worth $2 or less each.

Their value when accessed does not equal what they may be worth when selling.

Same with any other product or collectibles .
That’s just life.

The people willing to buy at high prices know what they want & understand the real value to them isn’t always going to equal $$$ later.
 
Has anyone ever gotten rich speculating with fluctuating toy values? It's such an unstable niche market and reducing it to mere profits and percentages takes all the fun out of it
 
I always imagine toy grading involves a giant panel of international 'experts' watching the figure in question strut down a catwalk, throw a pose or two. Then they put up signs with numbers like with highdiving and the average becomes the official grade.

Sounds like a Robot Chicken sketch! I mean, seriously, they haven't done that? It is a show for nerds, with a lot of 'insider' jokes, and most of the target audience would get it.
 
I don’t trust grading, generally. As a testament to that, I know a person who collects comics. He sends the books in and if they don’t come back over 80, he cracks open the slab and sends them back until they do…
 
I bought a 1000 stocks for $10 each.
Price/value went up.
10 years ago it was worth $200/each.
Life happens
Today they are Worth $2 or less each.

Their value when accessed does not equal what they may be worth when selling.

Same with any other product or collectibles .
That’s just life.

The people willing to buy at high prices know what they want & understand the real value to them isn’t always going to equal $$$ later.

Sure. Sure. Indeed.

Gold, silver, antiques, old toys — anything and everything is only worth what someone is willing to pay. It could be the rarest thing on Earth, but if no-one wants it and does not want to pay anything for it, it is worthless.

Take it a step further: money is completely worthless. It simply has an entire nation, system and world that believes in it, so therefore it has stability and worth.
 
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I for one also like having acrylic cases for protection. I'm mixed about grading overall but the protection they provide is nice so if I can find something graded at a reasonable cost I'll pick that over non-graded.
 
Have there ever been fake graders? A grade label seems to be really easy to reproduce and you can just plonk a 90 score on any old figure, maybe even a reproduction or Retro Collection figure. Sure, the knowledgable will know better, but others could be fooled by a fake high grade
 
Have there ever been fake graders? A grade label seems to be really easy to reproduce and you can just plonk a 90 score on any old figure, maybe even a reproduction or Retro Collection figure. Sure, the knowledgable will know better, but others could be fooled by a fake high grade
yes. There are people who will encase whatever you give them and give them a grade label. Most people know to stay away from those "grading" companies. There are also scammers who try to reproduce actual AFA graded figures even going as far as reproducing a valid serial number. Those fakes aren't perfect and there are tells but they are getting better and better.
 
Like art - if you pay enough you can get any grade that you want.

The people who grading is important to usually understand the red flags & avoid obvious scams.

But if you want graded generally you are paying more for it regardless of when the grading was done.
 
If you are selling items then it might make sense to grade some of the rarer moc. Loose admiral Ackbar probably doesn’t need to be graded…lol. That said I own a lot of graded and ungraded Sw items. I like the way they display 🤷‍♂️ I have only bought a few things graded most of my stuff I had graded. Makes sense for proof cards etc….K
 
Also I am fully aware that the grades usually don’t make sense to most collectors…..because they are graded by people who don’t collect Star Wars toys🤣🤣🤣
 
yes. There are people who will encase whatever you give them and give them a grade label. Most people know to stay away from those "grading" companies. There are also scammers who try to reproduce actual AFA graded figures even going as far as reproducing a valid serial number. Those fakes aren't perfect and there are tells but they are getting better and better.
Have they gotten to the point of recreating the hologram sticker? There really should be some sort further protection factor. But, of course, that would add cost.
 
Have they gotten to the point of recreating the hologram sticker? There really should be some sort further protection factor. But, of course, that would add cost.
The number one sign to spot a graded fake is if you see sliding bottom case that has been glued. Stickers are easy to replicate.
 
The number one sign to spot a graded fake is if you see sliding bottom case that has been glued. Stickers are easy to replicate.
Simple stickers? Yes. Very easy. Not sure about the holographic one, though. However, by the time you have it in your hand it will be too late to see to confirm it is a hologram, if not purchased in person.

I've seen fake AFA stickers, for descriptors and grade, and they looked really bad. Last I knew the hologram was an indicator. Did not know about the glue, so that is interesting.
 
I cannot stand grading. Only purchased one graded item, a MOC because it was a steal. I'll use my own judgment when purchasing an item.
 
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Sure. Sure. Indeed.

Gold, silver, antiques, old toys — anything and everything is only worth what someone is willing to pay. It could be the rarest thing on Earth, but if no-one wants it and does not want to pay anything for it, it is worthless.

Take it a step forward. If it's something not too many people know about It , and it's a true 1/1 one off, then it could be that nobody wants to pay anything for it ( and/or doesn't have any desire to want to own it .... out of sight , out of mind mentality ). However to most collectors, anything that's a true 1/1 is worth something ... it's just a matter of deciphering how much is it worth at a particular moment in time.

Worthless is a hard to define word , when relating that to material / non-living items
 
Take it a step forward. If it's something not too many people know about It , and it's a true 1/1 one off, then it could be that nobody wants to pay anything for it ( and/or doesn't have any desire to want to own it .... out of sight , out of mind mentality ). However to most collectors, anything that's a true 1/1 is worth something ... it's just a matter of deciphering how much is it worth at a particular moment in time.

Worthless is a hard to define word , when relating that to material / non-living items

I can think of plenty of things that are worthless because no wants them or have no interest. And there are times where a 1/1 hurts the value because you have no way of gauging it.

And even harder to define: life. What does it truly mean to be alive?
 
Life , what does it mean to be alive : breathing , eating , sleeping, laughing (see below), feelings of hate / anger ( some may say love) .
That's just the top cream of the life crust. I could write a 500-1000 word essay on it , but to be short and sweet can have more of an impact.

Ohhh, and a must is to watch funny stand-ups/ interviews of : Robin Williams , Sinbad, Richard Pryer, Dave Chappelle , Paul Mooney, and Andrew Dice Clay !!!
 
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try doing a YouTube search on : Johnny Carson with guests Robin Williams, Johnathan Winters and Park Overall , from October 19, 1991
Pure epic genius comedy !!!! Robin may very well have been on some foreign substance , still a comedic genius
 
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Life , what does it mean to be alive : breathing , eating , sleeping, laughing (see below), feelings of hate / anger ( some may say love) .
That's just the top cream of the life crust. I could write a 500-1000 word essay on it , but to be short and sweet can have more of an impact.

Ohhh, and a must is to watch funny stand-ups/ interviews of : Robin Williams , Sinbad, Richard Pryer, Dave Chappelle , Paul Mooney, and Andrew Dice Clay !!!

There are beings that have no brain, no heart, no conscious and yet are considered to be "alive." Your definition says they are not.
 
Simple stickers? Yes. Very easy. Not sure about the holographic one, though. However, by the time you have it in your hand it will be too late to see to confirm it is a hologram, if not purchased in person.

I've seen fake AFA stickers, for descriptors and grade, and they looked really bad. Last I knew the hologram was an indicator. Did not know about the glue, so that is interesting.

When looking for some stuff a few years back I read about how AFA hologram stickers could be faked, and like I said, this was a few years back, if not several years (how's that for specific?). So I can only imagine they've gotten much, much better, and by better I mean worse in terms of trying to distinguish between real and fake.
 
There are beings that have no brain, no heart, no conscious and yet are considered to be "alive." Your definition says they are not.

It's starting to get complicated !!

Do yourself a favor. Get onto youtube, and search " Andrew Dice Clay - The Evolution of Dirty Nursery Rhymes"
Also, most any Dave Chappelle , he's a great story teller. He doesn't take sides for race / ethnicity , he just clowns on everyone, as equally as he can.
 
LOL. "Toy Grading" means taking toy collecting way too seriously. No toy was designed to sell for 1000X it's retail price ~50 years later. Very few toys are "rare". Ascribing a false valuation to commonly found figure (or anything) is just an illusion that sellers are more than happy to hype up. If you can find it on Ebay, it ain't that scarce.
 
LOL. "Toy Grading" means taking toy collecting way too seriously. No toy was designed to sell for 1000X it's retail price ~50 years later. Very few toys are "rare". Ascribing a false valuation to commonly found figure (or anything) is just an illusion that sellers are more than happy to hype up. If you can find it on Ebay, it ain't that scarce.

Thank you! You are absolutely right on!!!
 
The big issue I have with them is because you are taking loose figures out of circulation because of their condition. Lots of us populate play sets and vehicles with figures and don’t want to have to settle for lesser condition figures. What happens when all the minty figures are graded? The lesser ones get snapped up too. These cease to be action figures and become blocks. They cease to serve their original function and therefore are no longer truly action figures. Grade carded stuff all you like, but leave loose figures alone. Someone let them breathe for a reason.
Plus grading is subjective 😉
 
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