General Information

CGA grades different types of items under 4 different grading divisions:

AFA (Action Figure Authority) – for packaged, loose, and prototype action figures and related toys
  • Modern Grading Scale - recommended for sealed in package toys produced from 1995 – present
  • Standard Grading Scale - for sealed/new in package toys and new in mailer box toys from all years Loose Grading Scale – for loose, complete toys from all years
  • Qualified Grading Scale (items are accompanied by documentation) – for opened package toys with new contents, handmade prototype toys, incomplete rare and pre-production loose toys, and autographed toys
CDA (Collectible Doll Authority) – for packaged collectible dolls and related toys
  • Modern Grading Scale - recommended for sealed in package toys produced from 1995 – present
  • Standard Grading Scale – for sealed/new in package collectible dolls from all years
DCA (Die-Cast Authority) – for packaged die-cast vehicles and related toys
  • Modern Grading Scale - recommended for sealed in package toys produced from 1995 – present
  • Standard Grading Scale – for sealed/new in package die-cast collectibles from all years
VGA (Video Game Authority) – for packaged and prototype video games and related items
  • Standard Grading Scale – for sealed/new in package video games, systems, and accessories from all years
  • Qualified Grading Scale (items are accompanied by documentation) – for opened package with new contents video games, systems and accessories from all years
For Most Packaged Items:

To be eligible for grading under either our Standard Grading Scale or our Modern Grading Scale, items must be factory sealed if this is how they were available at retail. If items were originally available without a tape, sticker, or cellophane seal or if boxes have an internal blister seal in addition to the tape seal, we will need to verify the contents as new and unused in order to assign a grade. Factory sealed items are not typically eligible for standard grading if they are double-taped (one piece of tape cut and a second placed over the first). While double-taping can occur at the factory, it isn’t possible for us to verify the double-tape as factory applied in most cases. If your toy or video game-related item is double-taped and you wish to have it graded, it is recommended that you cut the double-taped side, verify the contents as new, and submit the item under our Qualified Grading Scale (available only for AFA & VGA).

For an action figure related toy or a video game to be eligible to receive a grade under our Qualified Grading Scale, packaged items must contain new or unused contents. Plastic bags inside the box should not be intentionally opened and there should be no evidence of prior assembly of any part of the item. If bags are torn open significantly, or other packaging inside the box is damaged, but all parts are still new and unused, (i.e. stickers unapplied and plastic parts still on plastic trees, etc.) CGA may, at its sole discretion, assign grades to items. These defects will be noted on the accompanying documentation CGA provides with all ‘qualified’ items. Unused, but tape-cut items which also have internal blister seals to house figures or other items must still retain all internal blister seals to qualify for grading under any scale.

For Catalog Mailers & Mail-Away Exclusives:

Many of these items were distributed in plain white, plain brown, or line-art boxes. While some mailer boxes may have stickers or item numbers which can display or list the contents, the outer box must be opened and contents inspected for a grade to be assigned. A sealed box is not required for mailers, but sealed boxes opened at CGA receive an uncirculated designation. To be eligible for grading under our Standard Grading Scale all contents must be included and in new condition. Sealed or taped bagged items should still be present in unopened bags. Dried tape is accepted at CGA’s sole discretion. All original catalogs and paperwork must also be present. In certain instances, the outer packaging used for mailing the item(s), such as large plain envelopes, may not be required or included with a graded mail-away item. In the majority of instances all contents in addition to the actual mailer box are required for an item to receive a grade.

For Loose Action Figures, G1 Transformers, & Star Wars Die-Cast:

To be eligible for our Loose Grading Scale, items must be complete with all original accessories. For items in original factory bags, the bag must be ‘heat sealed’ to be labeled and graded as a ‘bagged’ item. Provided an item is properly sealed, you may also instruct us to open the bag, remove the item(s), and grade them as loose with an uncirculated designation. Bags which are sealed with tape must be opened and the loose items removed to be graded as such. In the vast majority of instances, items from tape sealed bags are not eligible to receive an uncirculated designation.

Some prototype, pre-production, and extremely rare loose items which are authentic, but missing accessories, can undergo outside authentication by CIB, and become eligible for grading under our Qualified Grading Scale (available only for AFA & VGA). As with all items graded under this scale, CGA provides accompanying documentation in addition to the label sealed within an acrylic case. This documentation is meant to provide additional details, which in these particular cases would include information about the missing accessories required to complete the item, and allow for grading under our Standard Grading Scale.

For Autographed Action Figures & Video Games:

While autographs cannot be verified as authentic in most instances, items with autographs may be graded under our Qualified Grading Scale without the autograph labeled or treated as a major flaw. Accompanying documentation will verify that an item is authentic and has been graded, but that the autograph cannot be verified as authentic. Under any other CGA grading scale, autographs are treated as major flaws and will have a significant impact on the grade an item receives. The only exceptions to this policy in which items may receive a grade under our Standard Grading Scale and be labeled as autographed, are items submitted directly by the manufacturer or event promoter licensed to offer autographed products, items which can be verified as part of a planned limited autographed release, or items in which a CGA representative has witnessed or has other direct knowledge of the autograph in question.

For select Pre-Production, Prototype & Hand-made Action Figures & Video Games:

Provided items of this type can be verified as authentic via outside authentication by CIB, a grade can be assigned under our Qualified Grading Scale. Accompanying documentation will also be provided in order to provide details about the materials used and type of pre-production item. Items such as wax sculpts, certain types of hardcopies, and certain other fragile pre-production items may not be eligible for grading because they cannot be safely encased in acrylic for transit.

CGA also offers various additional services and upgrades:

Optional Upgrades – You can choose to add optional services to most grading tiers. Optional services offered are as follows:

  • Item Cleaning - $3 per item - Have your item(s) gently cleaned to remove dirt, dust, frost, and debris, and when applicable attempt to gently remove sticker residue left behind on packaging. Please be aware that we must consider the safety of your item over results. Therefore residue, dirt and debris will not always be removed. We will gently clean each item the best that we can, but results cannot be guaranteed. We strongly recommend cleaning all items prior to sending them in if you desire a more in-depth and extensive cleaning.

  • Detailed Grade Report - $5 per item - An item is eligible to receive an Official Detailed Grading Report only when it is sent to CGA for either grading or re-casing. While a grading summary may be purchased for any graded item at a cost of $5, an official report cannot be provided for items other than those which can be reviewed in person by a trained grader while the report is prepared. This report is meant to provide insight into the most significant flaws and reasons behind a particular grade or sub-grade. In special instances, this report may include additional information to identify a particular item as ‘higher than average’ or ‘lower than average’ when compared to similar items receiving the same grade. This additional information is primarily included to identify borderline grades. (i.e. grades which fall very close to the line which separates two different overall grades.)

  • Photos Emailed - $3-4 per item - High quality digital photographs of any graded item can be taken by CGA. Photographs will be sized for internet use and an email will be sent directly to your registered email address which either includes the photographs as attachments or provides a link at which the photographs can be directly downloaded. If you’d like to take advantage of this service, the cost is $3 to have photographs of the front and back of your item emailed to you, or $4 to have photographs of the item’s front, back, and label emailed to you.

  • Sliding-Bottom Acrylic Case Substitute - costs vary based on item size/tier - If your item is refused for grading due to tampering or questionable authenticity, you may have that item placed in a custom sliding bottom acrylic case instead of sealed without a label in a standard case.

  • Archival Material (UV) upgrade - costs vary based on item size/tier - Upgrade the acrylic material used to construct the display case for any graded item from standard high quality acrylic with some UV protection to UF-5 (or comparable) archival high quality acrylic with maximum UV protection. Cost varies greatly based on the size and type of a given item. Current pricing can be found on CGA’s Complete Pricing & Tier Code Schedule, and ranges from as low as $8 to as high as $110.

  • Third Party Dispute Letter - $25 per item - If you would like an official letter to assist in a dispute to get your money back after the purchase of a misrepresented, restored, or reproduction item, we can provide a letter to send your credit card company, PayPal, or any other party involved.

  • CIB Authentication - $50 per item - If you would like additional outside authentication for extremely rare, pre-production, and certain other items, prototype verification experts at CIB can provide a Certificate of Authenticity to accompany your graded item.