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What is the Best Action Figure Grading Service?
Who Are the AFA?
Many Action Figure grading services have been born from collectors frustration of all the different systems and scales that were being used in the market to grade action figures without any uniformity or standardization and it was out of this frustration that like The Action Figure Authority (AFA) was concieved.
Dealers, collectors and investors of action figures had no universal standard by which to judge a figures condition or value and as a result they generally used their own definitions and standards to grade them, even with the C-Scale one mint C-10 figure was rarely the same as another mint C-10 figure.
This resulted in the over grading and artificial inflation of many action figures and collectors became disillusioned and frustrated with the hobby, losing confidence in the secondary market and the grading of the figures and so values and demand began to drop.
The AFA was launched in order to change this and bring the hobby kicking and screaming into the 21st Century and return consumer and collectors confidence in the market.
Many dealers, investors and collectors were resistant to the idea at first, and still are, mainly due to the expense of having their figures professionally graded and a fear that they might lose some of their value.
Initially this may have been true, but the long term effect has been quite the opposite because collectors and investors confidence has returned to the market and it has gained more recognition and respectability now than the hobby ever has before.
This means that ultimately the overall demand, and market values will increase which will add to the confidence and respectability of the hobby and so the market will expand.
It is because of this upward trend that I am happy to see that the idea is becoming more widely accepted, particularly for rarer and more valuable action figures.
More collectors are beginning to demand that valuable figures are professionally graded before accepting them and more dealers seem to be accepting that a valuable action figure should be professionally authenticated and graded.
In fact, it has now proved to be beneficial to have your figures professional graded as it adds to its value.
In order to show their integrity and that they take their business seriously all AFA's employees are barred from ever buying, or selling AFA graded action figures.
So that there can be no alleged conflict of interested or artificial inflating of prices.
The AFA is committed to meet or exceed the action figure markets unique requirements while promoting a healthy and fun environment for all.
AFA state that their main goals and aims are to:
The AFA Grading Scale
The AFA Grading Scale consists of three levels, each with three sub-levels. These are there Gold, Silver and Bronze levels.
Once graded each action figure is sealed in a hard acrylic storage case in order to preserve its graded condition.
If the figure is at anytime removed from its AFA Case then the grading becomes null and void.
The Premium level is the AFA Gold level which consists of the grades 100, 95, and 90.
The select few figures that receive these grades are among the highest quality in existence. Only a very small percentage of the figures received by AFA receive a Gold grade.
AFA Silver level
The second level is the Silver level which consists of the grades 85, 80, and 75.
These are figures that are in excellent condition. A figure graded an 85 will often be referred to as 'case fresh' and should be very close to the Gold Level in condition.
The term 'case fresh' is used because the average action figure pulled straight from a sealed case will grade an 85, this is because even "case fresh" action figures usually have small flaws which occur when the figures are packaged or shipped in the case.
An 80 grade is generally a store shelve action figure which will have a few more minor flaws due to handling and shelve wear and tear. Also there is the risk of sun damage and damage by prying hands.
AFA Bronze Level
The Bronze Level action figure consists of the grades 70, 60, and below. Action Figures that receive these grades typically have damage ranging anywhere from simply noticeable at first glance to extremely significant.
It may be that the card has creases on the front and the blister may be crushed or cracked.
Bronze Level covers a large range of figure conditions and the scope of the flaws range considerably.
The level or grade of a Bronze Level figure varies depending on how many 'major' flaws are present on the card and how severe each flaw is.
Bronze level action figures may have major flaws such as a torn off POP or other large paper tears and probably would not be acceptable to condition sensitive or serious collectors.
AFA Sub grades
There are three sub grades for AFA Graded action figures which are assigned for the Card, Blister, and the Action Figure.
Once the grader has been established the overall grade for your action figure, they will assign individual grades for each of these three categories.
The overall grade is NOT an average of these three grade but is a way of show the collector what part of the action figure is in the best condition.
So, for example a card that received an overall grade of 85 with a 90 Card, an 80 Blister, and a 90 Figure will show collectors that the blister has the most damage. A card that received an overall grade of 85 with an 85 Card, an 80 Blister, and an 80 Figure will show collectors that this particular piece is a low end 85.
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