Some AFA questions

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  1. #1
    Member Drunknmunky's Avatar
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    Some AFA questions

    I've been collecting Joes for years and just recently started checking out AFA graded figures. I know very little about the grading process itself and have a few questions.
    1. How do you know that you actuality get back the figure you seht in? I ask because I was a sports cards dealer and would only send in serial numbered cards to ensure I got mine back. How do you know for sure it wasn't switched? I realise its very unlikely to happen but I always worry it will.
    2. How does the grading work? By this I mean why when a MOC is graded 80/85/85 does it receive an overall 80? I know the card is important but I would figure the figure and bubble would be equally weighted. I recently came across a Snake Eyes on Ebay that was a 60/85/85 (60 because price tag peeled of some of backing). The overall was 60. I would have figured hire due to a great fig and bubble.
    3. Will different graders differ in grading? I mean if 10 graders all looked at the same MOC figure I'm sure the grades would vary slightly right?
    I need a big blue door from the Defiant! I have cash and plenty of trade!

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  3. #2
    Member Drunknmunky's Avatar
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    Thanks ahead of time for your help guys. Sorry if the questions are a little odd or far fetched. Its just that some of the items I'm looking at are very expensive and I want to make sure I know what I'm buying before I spend it.
    I need a big blue door from the Defiant! I have cash and plenty of trade!

  4. #3
    Giggity giggity goo...... Volleydan's Avatar
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    1. Wow. I've never thought of that. I would guess that the short answer would be that AFA doesn't have a large inventory of toys sitting around. Cloud City does and they have some connections to AFA, so I guess what you describe could happen. I don't think it's likely, though.

    2. AFA doesn't publish or disclose its actual grading criteria, so your guess is as good as the next guy's as to what they're looking for or what amount of damage is sufficient to lower the grade of a figure to the next level. I've seen ugly 85s and beautiful 75s. It does seem that most often, the overall grade ends up being equal to the lowest sub-grade. I guess their philosophy is that a figure is only as nice as its worst feature.

    3. Unfortunately, it happens. Apparently some people have "tested" the consistency of AFA grading by sending in an item, opening it when it came back, and re-sending it a second time. In some cases, the item comes back with a different grade the second time.
    MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.....

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  6. #4
    Sir Ban-A-Lot Da_Last_2_Walk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drunknmunky
    I've been collecting Joes for years and just recently started checking out AFA graded figures. I know very little about the grading process itself and have a few questions.
    1. How do you know that you actuality get back the figure you seht in? I ask because I was a sports cards dealer and would only send in serial numbered cards to ensure I got mine back. How do you know for sure it wasn't switched? I realise its very unlikely to happen but I always worry it will.
    2. How does the grading work? By this I mean why when a MOC is graded 80/85/85 does it receive an overall 80? I know the card is important but I would figure the figure and bubble would be equally weighted. I recently came across a Snake Eyes on Ebay that was a 60/85/85 (60 because price tag peeled of some of backing). The overall was 60. I would have figured hire due to a great fig and bubble.
    3. Will different graders differ in grading? I mean if 10 graders all looked at the same MOC figure I'm sure the grades would vary slightly right?
    1. I would think that AFA does everything possible to insure that the correct figure gets sent back to the customer. If the wrong figure was sent back by accident, I'm sure AFA would compensate you somehow. I would take detailed pictures of your figure before you sent it in, then you will have proof of your figure if you need it.

    2. The overall grade is NOT an average of the three sub-grades. Once the overall grade has been established, the grader will then assign individual sub-grades for the card/box, the blister/window, and the figure. The goal of sub-grades is to further define the condition of a particular figure.

    3. I'm sure different graders all grade their own way. I do know that all of the graders have the same grading criteria to go by. Also, every graded figure is sent to a "Master Grader", that approves the final grade.

  7. #5
    Sir Ban-A-Lot Da_Last_2_Walk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drunknmunky
    Thanks ahead of time for your help guys. Sorry if the questions are a little odd or far fetched. Its just that some of the items I'm looking at are very expensive and I want to make sure I know what I'm buying before I spend it.
    I been collecting AFA Joes for almost 4 years. My AFA Joe collection is protected in acrylic cases and guaranteed a higher resale value if I ever do decide to sell it. If I want any of the same Joes in a loose collection, that can easily be done.

    I recommend buying items already AFA graded if you are just beginning an AFA collection. The "trap" I always see is this: Collectors buy MOSC thinking the figure will grade an 80/85. Then when it comes back a 75, they are disappointed. The money & time spent trying to replace the 75 with an 80 could have been avoided by just buying the 80. I'm not saying to never buy MOSC, I'm just saying the figure should be in mint condition to insure a high AFA grade.

    Does AFA have problems and inconsistencies.....sure, but what business doesn't? Like I've told others, you always hear the one bad transaction a person has with AFA, but you never hear the 20 good transactions that also happened with the same person. Also, some people only repeat "horror" stories that they have heard from other people regarding an AFA transaction. Before you discredit AFA based on other peoples opinions, try them out for yourself.
    Last edited by Da_Last_2_Walk; 02-08-2009 at 11:58 AM.

  8. #6
    Giggity giggity goo...... Volleydan's Avatar
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    I agree with DL2W.....try it yourself and see what you think of their service. Try picking up a later (87-on) item on EBay because those don't sell at much of a premium when graded and that'll make it a less expensive experiment.

    When you get it, see if an 80 (or whatever grade you pick up) in your mind is an 80 in AFA's system. From there, you'll be off and running.
    MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.....

  9. #7
    Sir Ban-A-Lot Da_Last_2_Walk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Volleydan
    I agree with DL2W.....try it yourself and see what you think of their service. Try picking up a later (87-on) item on EBay because those don't sell at much of a premium when graded and that'll make it a less expensive experiment.

    When you get it, see if an 80 (or whatever grade you pick up) in your mind is an 80 in AFA's system. From there, you'll be off and running.
    *Slaps self....twice*

    Agreed, buy an AFA 80 & an AFA 85 of a later series Joe, and then compare the graded figures to the MOSC figures that you are thinking about sending in. Just remember, a single crease can be the difference between an AFA 80 & an AFA 85.

  10. #8
    Interested in knowing how a MOC figure still in a sealed bubble could receive anything less than a "99." Maybe they figure in aging on joints (o-rings)... we aren't alone in being susceptible to aging...

  11. #9
    Sir Ban-A-Lot Da_Last_2_Walk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cageyJG
    Interested in knowing how a MOC figure still in a sealed bubble could receive anything less than a "99." Maybe they figure in aging on joints (o-rings)... we aren't alone in being susceptible to aging...
    I.....must.....resist.

    AFA gives an overall grade for the card, bubble and figure. A figure can receive a low grade for many different reasons(broken elbows & broken O-rings). If the figure grade is low, it will most likely make the overall grade low.

  12. #10
    Don't forget bad paint affects the figure score too. I know I've passed up figures on the pegs because of bad paint. MOC figures can have any number of problems either from age or the factory they came from.

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