Silver Surfer #4 is my personal holy grail in comics collecting. I can’t remember where or when I first saw the image of this iconic comic book cover, but I can remember always wanting a copy. In late 2013, towards the end of my first deployment to Afghanistan, I decided that I would finally purchase a copy for my collection when I returned. In less than three months of flipping extra copies from my collection, I was finally able to pick up a nice copy of Silver Surfer #4. All was right in the world, until I submitted my copy for grading a couple years later. The comic came back with an ugly label, a lower than expected grade, and it was restored.
Until I started following comic book speculation websites, I never really cared about graded comics. In fact, I was always against ever buying any graded comics. However, my opinion changed when I started paying attention to how much graded comics sold vs. non-graded comics. After acquiring a couple of CGC and CBCS slabs, I started thinking that I might want to send in some of my comics for grading. I didn’t know which company I would use, but I wasn’t terribly impressed with the 1st and 2nd generation CGC labels and holders. In my opinion, they look(ed) very unprofessional (I’m all in for the 3rd generation CGC slabs now). I also didn’t think that the CBCS labels looked all that great either, but the cases did appear to be sturdier. I finally decided to create and account with CBCS and send my comics to them.
Unfortunately, CBCS decided to change their labels while my comics were waiting to be graded. Not only did the comic come back with the universally hated “rivet” label, it came back half a point lower than my predicted grade. Although I am not a grading expert, I feel as though I have a tendency to actually under grade comics. Also, I’m of the opinion that CBCS tends to unnecessarily grade a lot harder than CGC. In fact, I’ve since crossed over two other comics from CBCS to CGC and they both came back with higher grades. Nevertheless, when my copy came back as an 8.0 I was disappointed. Even though there were obvious flaws to the cover, undoubtedly from handling and age, the comic cover still popped. The spine was not perfect, but there weren’t any large spine tics. I really felt that my copy should have been at least an 8.5.
My comics actually arrived before the CBCS website updated my account. I didn’t know what grades my comics had received until the unboxing. To my absolute horror, the dreaded “Restored” text was right above the grade on the label of my copy of Silver Surfer #4. The notes on the label stated that there was amateur restoration: “Small amount of color touch on cover.” I really don’t understand how this could be the case. There were/are some obvious spots on the cover that would benefit from color touch, but weren’t covered up. If the comic had color touch, why wouldn’t the person responsible try to cover up those flaws? It just didn’t seem right and it is something that has bothered me ever since my comic came back. In fact, a couple of months ago, I ordered a blue light from Amazon in order to find the color touch. I think this is where my inexperience with restored comics really shows. For the life of me, I can’t see anything through the case to show where the color touch is located.
Over the last few years, I’ve gone back and forth on getting another copy. However, prices for Silver Surfer keys have been rising since Disney purchased Fox and Silver Surfer #4 is no exception. Higher grades are reaching unaffordable levels for guys like me. I’m only a part time flipper, and finding comics and flipping them to fund a new copy is not possible right now. The only other alternative I can think of is sending my CBCS 8.0 to CGC and trying out their restoration removal service. A potential benefit is that I think CBCS under grades, and my copy might actually come back in at least 8.5. So, far two CBCS comics I’ve crossed over to CGC have come in at higher grades. I’m not concerned with it coming back with a lower grade. If I decide to send it in, I will make sure to record the entire process.
Thanks for reading!