Friday, 6 May 2016

Thoughts on Thursday [Late Edition] - VGA Grading/Sealed Collecting.

So this is a subject I've wanted to do for a while now, but other stuff usually distracts me from it, haha. As you all know, I'm not a sealed collector. Far from it. I understand the mentality behind a lot of sealed collecting: the want/need to keep items in pristine condition, in order to retain the value, and in most cases, cause the value to increase. I get that, I do.

But for people like us, who have been in and out of work, as well as juggling collecting with the vastly more important family side of things, sealed collecting just isn't something we want to do, regardless of if we could afford it or not.

Sure, we preorder things, so when they come, they're sealed. But we open them, and we can't afford to buy two copies, so we have one to open and play, nor do we want to buy a CE to keep sealed and a standard copy to play. We want to see and use the items inside the CEs we buy. And for the whole second-hand buying aspect of collecting, well, if we went for sealed only for all of the things we've ever bought, I can guarantee it would've cost us a hell of a lot more moolah to amass the collection we have now.

And not to offend sealed collectors, but it's so boring! There have been a few things I've bought sealed off of other collectors in the past, who have then been mildly horrified to discover I've then opened it. But if you're gonna spend the money on these things, then I say enjoy them. 

Enjoy the shit out of them.

VGA Grading (and other grading authorities) are something I don't quite understand either. I do like the acrylic cases to put stuff in, but you can buy those separately. And to send something off to these places to grade, to get back a score like 85? I mean, I know that 85 is a good score. But anything less than 90 just seems pointless in sending, yet most things I see somehow have a 85 rating. Plus, sometimes these collectors will send something, thinking it's in great condition, only to have not noticed something about it, and get it back with a score that will actually hurt its resale value.

At the end of the day, I collect because I enjoy looking through everything in our collection. I like seeing all the cool things, and I don't have the money or the space to have to double-buy everything, just for the sake of keeping a copy sealed.

It seems that a lot of those who get their games professionally graded, do so purely to potentially increase the value, and list for sale of eBay (or elsewhere) pretty quickly after grading. As a result of VGA Grading, a lot of games prices have been blown to extreme proportions. I don't think I'll ever buy a VGA Graded game, as it would kill me to not be able to open it, and I think I'd eventually just smash the damn thing open, hoping I don't wreck whatever is inside.

One benefit I can see to VGA Graded games on the aftermarket is that, you will undoubtedly get what you pay for. There's been a number of occasions where a particular edition has been on eBay or wherever, and I've bought it, and upon arrival, it has not been in the stated condition, or even looking to be the same copy shown in images, with dents, chips, broken parts, etc. This happened, most notably, with a copy of the 300 Collector's Edition waaaay back. I bought it, and when it arrived, the Spartan helmet statue was broken, the outer box was completely bashed in and the plastic window was pushed in. But the shipping box was perfect. Seller tried to say that it must've happened in transit, and when I posted the photos as proof that the shipping box was perfect, I was then accused of doing it myself. I couldn't quite understand that, as what would that gain me, other than my money back and a completely ruined edition, but hey. It didn't matter anyway, as I got my refund, and binned the damaged edition. Still have yet to rebuy it, as that situation just made me not bother anymore, haha.

I expect that this subject will be one which receives a fair bit of backlash, as I know a lot of sealed collectors out there, but most already know my viewpoint (same goes for the people who flip editions, in regards to my Scalping post a few weeks ago), but I'm genuinely not trying to offend those who do it for good reasons, just explaining my views :)

So what are your thoughts?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

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