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Having Lego ukg/afa graded

landolando Member Posts: 108
What's your thoughts on having Lego ukg or afa graded MIB or loose minifigures ? I'm not really on about the big boxes eg: SW Death Star etc.. But smaller ones which are your favourite set or favourite set of minifigures ? 


  • CCCCCC Member Posts: 20,526
    Waste of money in my view.
  • landolando Member Posts: 108
    Yep I can understand that. I guess it's mainly for figures eg: vintage Star Wars figures etc.. Even then people seem to ask so much money 
  • theLEGOmantheLEGOman Member Posts: 1,524
    Tiny figures in a massive, expensive plastic jail.

    Poor minifigs.
  • SuperTrampSuperTramp Member Posts: 1,021
    TT comes mind.

    I think their just has ridiculous
  • VorpalRyuVorpalRyu Member Posts: 2,318
    Personally, I've never seen the point, they are toys, they are meant to be touched & played with. Wrapped in plastic like that, its just a pointless flashy status symbol to attract pointless flashy people. I'd rather be able to use, play, touch, etc, my stuff. Cars, toys, books, etc, these things are meant to be used. But, if you feel the need... Do so.
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Administrator Posts: 6,754
    edited May 2015
    I have to agree with the sentiments above - even as a keen collector of LEGO myself I can't see the appeal of having LEGO graded.

    That having been said, each to his/her own - I can't condone the hostility of some AFOLs towards those who choose to treat their LEGO in this way, although I do sympathise with their bemusement....
  • monkey_roomonkey_roo Member Posts: 1,411
    Only an opinion but a total waste of time and money, even worse than that, AFA and UGrading, UKG etc. only serve to hyperinflate the after market and draws out a very mercenary side of collecting. That said each to their own, it's a free country, in a first past the post sort of way. But as someone who has seen the impact of grading on the Star Wars collecting market I would hate it to become widespread in the Lego world, it divides communities and prices a lot of people out of a hobby they love (try getting your hands on a Tri-Log YakFace for anything approaching sensible money due to almost all of them being sealed up by money grabbing nerf herders).

    If you are interested in maintaining and preserving the figures/sets for generations to come then fantastic, there are dozens of cases on the market you can by, some for only a few pounds and most look great. If you are looking to a £5 figures into a £500 pound figure and cash in personally I wouldn't like to see it, but if people are willing to pay that kind of cash good luck to them.

    a few years ago there was a fantastic thread on the forum on this topic, and a chap that runs a Lego grading eBay shop joined in to 'fight his corner', I recall it was a good debate, but can't find it now, it was a while back.
  • natro220natro220 Member Posts: 545
    (try getting your hands on a Tri-Log YakFace for anything approaching sensible money due to almost all of them being sealed up by money grabbing nerf herders).

    Is it sad that I actually understood this sentence?
  • piratemania7piratemania7 Member Posts: 2,146
    What I dont understand is the other side of the coin - the "graders" themselves.  Whats their baseline? Their story?  Have they been practicing this for years? Have they gone to College/University and become certified experts?  I find such a "profession" a far cry from say being a doctor or a lawyer...or heck even a banker!

    At any rate I digress, spending the money on HAVING one of these folks grade something does seem beyond me...
  • SuperTrampSuperTramp Member Posts: 1,021
    Who grades the graders?
  • epyon396epyon396 Member Posts: 268
    I collect retro games, and nothing drives me away from buying something on eBay/a forum/etc like it being graded.
    The "I spent $25 to have it graded, so I'll ask double" mentality is terribly off putting.

    I really hope it stays away from LEGO.
  • monkey_roomonkey_roo Member Posts: 1,411
    Who grades the graders indeed. Again back in Star Wars figure world (where I have been living for many years) this is another issue, gladly it is one I don't care about but for those that do send off for grading it can be painfull.

    grading isn't all that cheap, I think some items can cost up to £100 or more so there is an investment, and while the chaps who do the grading are very knollegble in their area they are not 'qualified' as such. They aren't like an art dealer that may have spent three years reading History of Art and University followed by a decade at Sotherbys yet these self taught non regulated individuals arbitrary set a grade against an item that mean the difference of hundreds of pounds in yet another arbitrary asking price, ultimately it is down to the grader and I have seen hundreds of figures graded at 80 or 85 that on another day or with another appraiser could have been a 90, and some very upset people who have invested in something hoping to make a mint now stuck with a humbug. Personally I find that funny, but if you are the one spending the money I doubt it is funny at all.

    And let's not forget, the more money people think they can make in a hobby the more people think they can make money in a hobby and along come the con artists and fakers and that is bad for everyone, we're not talking knock off brands, I am talking about people delibertly faking high value items (think cloud city) and selling them of as items ready for grading so grab a bargain, or just faking the grading itself, the latter is rare but has been seen.

    ulitmatly grading is bad news, Lego is a toy, it deserves to be built and enjoyed, sure it should be preserved, I can't wait to get some of my high value sets into display cases, but those have doors and sets can still be played with (under supervision :) ). And if something is worthy of sealing up, just get it framed or buy a case, it is cheaper, looks just as good and doesn't mess up the hobby for the rest of us.

    Sorry, I can go on a bit about this one.
  • nicoyagomeznicoyagomez Member Posts: 24
    edited May 2015
    Grading Lego is a horrible waste of money. I think there are very few buyers willing to pay a premium for graded Lego products. Moreover, there are so many cases of new boxes missing minifigures etc. How can one be certain that a graded box is even complete?
  • SumoLegoSumoLego Member Posts: 15,216
    Didn't we have this discussion before?

    Nonetheless, I have a Chrome C-3PO that's in a stupid plastic jail with a shinny hologram. I have it more as a curiosity.

    I have no idea if the grading entity is reliable, but I wouldn't presume to pay a premium for some third-party's guarantee.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 Member Posts: 11,454
    AFA graders go through 2 years of training before they even touch a toy by themselves and each toy is graded by at least 3 experts (4-8 years experience grading) and then needs to be approved by a master grader. My question is; who originally set up the grading guidelines?
  • SumoLegoSumoLego Member Posts: 15,216
    Some jackass attorney... probably.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego Member Posts: 15,216
    And who wants the title: "Master Grader"
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 Member Posts: 11,454
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 Member Posts: 11,454
    ^I hope most people understood the meme ;)
  • VorpalRyuVorpalRyu Member Posts: 2,318
    ^ Welcome to AFA-Dome? :wink: 
    Grading is, for want of a better word, a wank.  Personally seen an 80% AFA graded MISB ROTJ Speeder Bike that was (before being sent for grading) an opened box found at a garage sale, filled with cardboard then sealed and sent for grading.  Plenty of aftermarket extendable light sabers and even the odd VC Jawa get high gradings on loose figs (and the beauty of sealing a loose FAKE VC Jawa in Perspex is that those who actually DO know what they're dealing with can no longer feel the subtle texture differences that let you know it is fake!).  I can ALMOST understand it for loose items or cards that the ACTUAL item is in plain view. Anything in a 'sealed' box (particularly ones as easy to fake as sealed LEGO boxes) FORGET IT!
  • AdeelZubairAdeelZubair Member Posts: 2,703
    Your grading the box not the contents; imagine the box was graded 10/10 and the contents were damaged!
    ^ Or doesn't even exist!
  • pharmjodpharmjod Member Posts: 2,916
    But, but, but supposedly they use high powered tunneling electron microscopes to tell if seals have been broken or sides of boxes have been expertly unglued and reglued... (see previous discussion thread for this bit of sarcasm).
  • alldarkeralldarker Member Posts: 224
    Not had any personal experience with AFA, but from what I've seen and heard in the AFA Transformers collecting community, AFA are becoming increasingly haphazard with grading. 

    More damning is the fact that they are incorrectly identifying items. For example, in China in the '90's, quite a few 1984 / 1985 Transformers were (officially) re-released, in practically the same packaging as the originals. However, the market value of the re-releases is a lot lower than of the original series. AFA has mistakenly been labeling quite a few of these re-releases as original items, meaning scammers try to sell incorrectly labelled re-issues as the real deal. Also, AFA has been known to grade knock-off (fake) Transformers as the real thing. 
    And most damning of all is the fact that AFA graders are obviously handling (photographically documented, carefully packaged) sent-in items so carelessly that items have actually being damaged during the grading-process.
  • ShibShib Member Posts: 5,459
    I'd never knock someone having their stuff graded if that makes them happy, but personally any thing I see that's been graded/encased in any way all I see is

  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 Member Posts: 11,454
    SumoLego said:
    And who wants the title: "Master Grader"
    "Excuse me, I have to go master grade."

    *Grabs old an Toyfare from the rack and goes into the bathroom. 
  • pharmjodpharmjod Member Posts: 2,916
    Toyfare... man. That brings back memories. I loved that magazine for the first few years it was out. Twisted MEGO / Toyfare theater was great stuff. I still imagine Dr. Doom as a whiny accident prone super villian.
  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,362
    edited May 2015
    As a former coin collector, grading services are an important part of very rare coins.  One of the important features of coin grading services is that it provides a type of "rarity" feature... where the services would return an encapsulated coin with the "Mint State" rating where MS70 is a perfect blemish free coin.  MS60 is an uncirculated coin that may have "bag marks" from contact with other coins... and then there are grades MS61 to MS69 in between.  (There are also used grades.)

    The rarity feature that these coin grading services provide would be something like this "MS65 Grade.... 3 graded higher".   Well that helps somewhat in determining how rare some coins are... except there are several coin grading services... NCS, ANS, etc.   And some people with rare coins where (for example) a MS64 coin is worth $1000, but an MS65 is worth $10,000.... will sometimes break the encapsulated coin out of the holder, and ship it back to the services hoping for a higher grade (which sometimes happens).  This then skewers the rarity component of the grading service... since people don;t know if the "3 graded higher" function is talking about 3 coins, or 2 or even just 1?

    Now let's look at LEGO encapsulation.  I saw an Ebay auction of a Mint State (can't remember the grade) 704 Samsonite MASTER DISCOVERY SET (a USA FAO Schwarz exclusive set of 1966)... and on Ebay it got an encapsulation rating of "none rated higher".... Well since probably no other 704 Samsonite LEGO set was rated by this service... that statistic is rather meaningless.  And the seller had it for sale for $7200!!  Of course no one every bought it at that price (although as P.T. Barnum used to say "there's a fool born every minute").

    Encapsulating LEGO sets is just a waste of time and money, especially for less expensive items.  I highly doubt it will ever catch on.... even older vintage LEGO sets from the 1950s and 1960s are very rarely getting much encapsulation done.

    Spend your money elsewhere... where you're not wasting it....  Encapsulation on a grand scale for LEGO sets/items is not happening any time soon.....

  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 Member Posts: 11,454
    In a previous thread, I was contemplating getting some of my rarer minifigures graded; like Cloud City Boba Fett. The more I thought about it, the more I thought it wasn't for me.

    Grading Lego is relatively new. Maybe 20 years from now, we can revisit this discussion and see where it is at.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego Member Posts: 15,216

    ^ Only 20 years? 

    By that time, we'll have moved on to collecting holodiscs, flying cars, vintage Mr. Fusions...

    If we let 20 years pass, then @B0SSK will have the only 'rated' white rangefinder Boba Fett!

  • VorpalRyuVorpalRyu Member Posts: 2,318
    ^ Hopefully sometime in the next 20 years, the whole grading/encapsulation crazy will go back to being just coins & cards, so there will be no need to revisit this topic.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego Member Posts: 15,216
    ^  I hope so as well.  I find it perplexing to make the effort to grade a Transformer.  Unfortunately, atleast with minifigures, they are conducive to locking in little plastic jail cells. 
  • mr_bennmr_benn Member Posts: 941
    Grading is pretty meh in my opinion. I do get grading when you have a lovely, good condition, visible object (such as for example the coins mentioned above). Or if you're talking toys, a MOC (that's mint on card in this context) action figure where you can still see it in its bubble. What I don't get is AFA grading of potentially invisible objects. It's not hard to retape a box so it looks fine, and we've all read the stories about boxes being refilled with junk lego. It's like Shrodingers' cat - inside the box is both the real set and junk Lego at the same time until you open it up and find out! For those more interested in AFA grading (license to print money IMO) I think that the article being previously referred to relating to Transformers starts here:
  • VorpalRyuVorpalRyu Member Posts: 2,318
    ^ Really don't get why you would bother with this, still in its packaging? In vehicle mode? Might as well go down the the $2 shop & buy one of those cheapy plastic planes & throw that in the box. Most of the awesome factor with Transformers is their robot mode, all that awesome wasted, trapped in vehicle mode, in a plastic coffin. Sorry Fireflight, but worry not, your fellow Aerialbots will fight on in your name, they won't be able to combine, but they will fight on... :)
  • mr_bennmr_benn Member Posts: 941
    ^ Oh I still agree with you, but I just about get the thinking behind that in at least you know you have the object you think you have (albeit in a terrible plastic prison)
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