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Between yours and the web, I believe that I found 39.
The price is really arbitrary on these.
I think people overlook that a grade is only as authentic as the entity doing the grading. I'm sure a few of us here could buy some fancy hologram stickers, come up with a snappy name and start putting 'graded' product out there for oversale on eBay.
I remember a number of years ago watching infomercial hucksters selling "Gem Mint 10 - Rated" baseball cards for well above any reasonable value. I think those go in the pile with Danbury Collection Disney Plates, Precious Moments Figurines and my 1995 Tickle-Me-Elmo.
There's a big difference between a signature/old baseball memorabilia and LEGO. First off, I would want a signature verified. That's easier to forge. Anyone with a pen could at least give it a shot. It may be slightly off, but I won't really notice. Thus, I want it authenticated by people that look at these signatures for a living. However, for figures, there's still a number of tell tale signs that an item is fake versus the real deal. The gap is closing, but for now, it's open.
A good example is a SDCC 2013 Spiderman I had signed by Stan Lee. I've sold multiple SDCC 2013 Spiderman without the signature on eBay no problem (un-graded/authenticated). However, with this one, I had Stan Lee's signature authenticated by PSA, with a letter and stamp of authenticity. I did this for the reasons I stated above. I had no problem selling it within a week to someone overseas.
i have occasional questions from buyers about whether items are authentic or not. It has picked up quite a bit in recent years, for good reason. This is with items worth $500 and items worth $30. I always say I don't sell customs. The buyers take a chance, buy the item, and I receive positive feedback because the item is (of course) not a custom and they are satisfied.
For now, I do not see any reason to authenticate any of my items. I say it's authentic and I know it's authentic. That's good enough for me, and usually good enough for all my customers. I don't have a single item in my collection graded, even my items worth the big "boohoos" of money. Will that change in a few years? Maybe. But for now, I'm fine with the items I have, in their current state. Don't go all Lord Business on them and cage them up ;o)
"This minifigure is in uncirculated condition, meaning it has never been out of its original packaging, played with or displayed prior to being graded."
Wasn't he in a polybag? That means he has been removed from the original packaging.
Will never "grade" my lego. It's definitely a huge part of what killed the sports card hobby and I hope it never takes off.
Either way, he's probably worth less for being opened. Unless being sold to someone that puts value in someone else's opinion and sealed case more than an original lego sealed package.
Jadeirene is correct that their statement is correct. Brickenvy ships the sealed polybag to AFA and then AFA opens the polybag and grades it. Thus, "prior to being graded" the item was never opened (and thus played with, etc.) by Brickenvy or any previous owner.
Authenticating the authenticator. There's a niche market!
The other thing that I would point out though is what type of education or background do these grading agencies have? What MAKES them who they are? Those would be big questions for me.
Lastly I am no where near the reselling business so I don't even think about it but if I was and had a mini figure I knew I could get X dollars for but could get XX dollars for if I had it graded and was still able to clear a profit then I would.
When I had my house inspected, we used a company that had a good BBB rating. He found that the house was infested with carpenter ants. It was winter, so they were not out and about, but when he turned on the oven and let it run for awhile, they poured out from underneath. Had I bought the house without having it inspected, who knows how much damage I would have to pay for.
Your example above is another example of them trying to associate their product with other rare items, such as graded comic books. "This comic book went for 57k more than the other one"... they are trying to infer that same ideology with graded LEGO. However, LEGO just isn't there right now, and it probably will never be. If it is, we're looking at several years down the line.
I'm not buying into graded LEGO right now.
Versus one out of the shipping box that placed in a vault... versus one that may have sat on a shelf in a store (however unlikely)...
And I doubt any of us need a grading system to ascertain the difference between a Spiderman #1 comic that my kids got ahold of and "customized" versus the one that was taken off of the press and put into a sealed container and has never seen the light of day.
I agree with @samiam391 - this just a different version of marketing in the secondary market.
(Am I the only one enamored with the idea of buying some holograms and doing some arbitrary grading of our own?)
I'm sure we can come up with a separate grading system for in-pack polybag minifigures and out-of-the-pack polybag minifigures. Ah... the limitless possibilities!
And sometimes handwriting experts have a fake signature fool them.
I don't even know what the equivalent would be for a Lego grader...
I'll try to make sure my next post concerning such matters is done when my 4 week old is NOT screaming in my ear. :smile:
There is of course a big difference between art and minifigs. Art is something that is relatively easy to copy and still fool someone that thinks they know quite a lot about art. It is looking at and being able to understand the style of brush strokes, etc. For minifigs, it is more looking at the manufacturing process. Is the parts printed using the right types of inks, and the right colours. Yet I bet even well known lego authenticators could be fooled into thinking some faked parts are real, and some real ones are faked.