Submission Instructions

In order to submit items for grading, you must completely fill out and sign a submission form which must be included with your items. The submission form is designed to help you calculate the appropriate tiers and grading costs for your items, as well as to provide a record of the items youve submitted and the respective insurance values for both your reference and CGAs.

CGAs standard submission form has been merged for all divisions, so it is now only necessary to fill out one form for all items sent to any of our grading divisions including AFA, CDA, DCA, and VGA.

When filling out our submission form, you have two choices.

  1. You can login to or register for a free on-line account in order to use our on-line submission form and process. Our on-line submission form will provide directions as you complete each step and will automatically calculate all grading, return shipping, and insurance costs. Once youve completed the process, a printed, easy-to-read submission form will be available to be printed, signed, and sent in with your submission. To access our online submission system, please click here.
  2. If you would prefer to fill out your submission form by hand, you can download and print our Submission Form PDF by clicking here.

Step-By-Step Instructions

(also available on the complete CGA Submission Form PDF)

Step 1 - Complete the contact information section with the required details.

 

It is important to include both your shipping address and billing address if you are using a credit card to pay for your submission and these addresses are different.

Step 2 - Determine which service tiers you wish to submit your items under.

Tiers are based on the item type, item value, and desired turnaround time. Please visit our category examples page to gain a better understanding of which tiers your item will be eligible for grading under. Certain items require a specific Minimum Declared Value. For additional information on acceptable values, please click here.

 

Step 3 - Divide your items into groups based on the item type and service tiers.

 

If you are submitting multiple items under different service tiers, please specify whether you would like to have them all shipped back together or separately. Please note that items submitted under different service tiers which are to be shipped back in multiple shipments must have return shipping and insurance calculated separately for each requested shipment.

 

Step 4 - Complete the Submission List Page(s).

Please carefully review the instructions below when filling out your submission list and refer to CGAs Complete Pricing & Tier Code Schedule for current pricing and additional information. 
In addition to helping you determine the fees due for grading, additional services, return shipping, and insurance costs, the submission list is meant to provide you and CGA with a record of all items to be included in this current submission, as well as their respective insurance values which are meant to protect your investment in rare cases of shipping damage.

I. Determine which grading division and grading scale apply to your items.

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 isnt 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 CGAs 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.

II. Enter detailed information for all items to be included on your submission and include the desired tier codes, along with fees associated with any optional services or upgrades. Directions can be found below and entry examples can be found on the sample SUBMISSION LIST with ITEM ENTRY EXAMPLES on our Complete Submission Form PDF. 

Item information should be entered to the best of your ability. We will often alter or correct the way items are listed on each label. The primary purpose of this section is to provide an inventory for both CGA and for your own reference which lists the items included in a given submission. To ensure consideration in labeling any applicable variation, please be sure to include desired variation information for each item you believe to be a rare, chase, or less common variant.

Item Specific Information:

Year refers to the year of production for packaged items, or in most cases, the year stamped into the toy for loose items.

Company refers to the manufacturer of each item.

Series or System refers to either the toy line or video game platform associated with each item.

Details refers to specific information associated with your item. For example, the card-back or specific release, whether loose or bagged, and any other relevant information youd like to include.

Name (& variation) refers to the specific name of your toy or game, and any applicable variation that youd like us to consider including on the label*. *While it is helpful to list a desired variation, we may not recognize every variation as valid by our standards.

Item Grading/Casing Specifics In some cases, you may want to include special instructions if applicable. Here are some words used to provide some of the more common types of casing specifics:

  • For loose items in factory sealed bags, the word loose orbagged should be used to specify how each item should be cased and graded. By writing loose, the plastic bag will be opened and the item removed for loose uncirculated grading.
  • For a limited number of modern items which have additional factory clamshell packaging in addition to standard retail packaging, such as Star Wars VOTC and certain Star Wars and GI Joe exclusives, the words in clamshell should only be written if you would like an item graded in the plastic clamshell, and understand that it will be billed under a more expensive custom tier level.
  • For action figures and dolls which have a flap designed to open and close, the word flap open or flap closed should be used to designate how an item should be cased. Different custom tier levels may apply depending on this option which can significantly change the size of the case required. The closed flap option cannot be used for dolls such as vintage Star Wars which are designed to be displayed with the flap open. This option should only be used for items which were exclusively shipped and sold at retail with the flap closed. If no option is chosen, we will grade and case your item with the flap open, as this is by far the more displayable option.

Fair Market Value refers to the estimated fair market value of your item and your maximum insurance coverage in case of damage. Certain items may be required to be declared with a minimum value as set forth on CGAs Minimum Declared Values web page.

Tier Level, Services, and Pricing Information:

Tier Code & Tier Cost Please refer to CGAs Complete Pricing & Tier Code Schedule to determine which service tiers apply to your items, as well as the correct tier codes and applicable pricing.

Optional Upgrades You can choose to add optional services to most grading tiers. Optional services should be noted as follows:

  • Clean To 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 write $3 (the cost for cleaning one item) in the Clean column. 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.
  • Reports We offer the following two types of reports:
    Grading Summary - A handwritten report that includes a diagram in order to assist you in locating specific flaws. All reports are stamped with our official seal of authenticity. An item is eligible to receive a Grading Summary only when it is sent to CGA for either grading or re-casing.
    Detailed Grade Report - A formal report printed on company letterhead which provides a written description of your collectible's overall condition. In some instances, additional information may be included to further inform the reader of the nature of the collectible being described as compared with other collectibles of a similar nature. All reports are stamped with our official seal of authenticity. An item is eligible to receive an Official Detailed Grade Report only when it is sent to CGA for either grading or re-casing.
  • UV To 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, please write the cost of the UV-upgrade in the UV column. Cost varies greatly based on the size and type of a given item. Current pricing can be found on CGAs Complete Pricing & Tier Code Schedule, and ranges from as low as $8 to as high as $110.
  • Photo 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 youd like to take advantage of this service, please write $3 in the Photo column to have photographs of the front and back of your item emailed to you, or write $4 in the Photo column to have photographs of the items front, back, and label emailed to you.

Total Cost Add the Price youve listed in the Tier Cost column for each item with the prices listed in the optional upgrade columns for each item, when applicable. If you havent added any of the optional upgrades, simply write the Tier Cost amount again in this column.

Quantity If a line item applies to only one specific item, please write 1 in the Quantity column.  If there are multiple examples of an identical item referenced by one submission list line, please write the total quantity of that specific item in this column.

Total Multiply the total cost of services for an item by the item quantity to determine the amount to be included in the Total column.

 

III. Total up item quantities, insurance values, and costs; choose your preferred label style and how an item should be treated in case of refusal for grading due to tampering, restoration, or questionable authenticity.

Calculate Total Insurance Value by adding the Insured / Fair Market Values youve assigned to each item together and writing the sum of those values in the space provided at the bottom of the Fair Market Value column.

 

Total Quantity of Items refers to the total number of individual items referenced on a particular submission list page. This number can be calculated by simply adding all numbers in the Quantity column together.

 

Total Grading Cost from this form refers to the total grading and optional service costs associated with items listed on a particular submission list page only. This amount can be calculated by simply adding all entries in the Total (Cost x Qty) column together

 

In Case or Refusal for Grading Please instruct CGA on how to handle items which are refused for grading due to tampering, restoration, or any other reason which makes the authenticity or original status questionable. Because CGA has already provided complete grading services at the point of refusal, applicable grading fees will not be refunded regardless of the option chosen. You can choose to either have a refused item cased and sealed without a grade label or to have an item returned uncased, as part of the original grading cost. You may also choose to have a sliding bottom acrylic case made for your item, instead of the standard sealed CGA case. However, an additional fee of between $5 and $50 will be assessed as outlined on the bottom of the submission list page.

 

Choose your label style Please select either classic style or clear view style labels for your graded items. A classic style label is a smaller label placed on the inner side of the case which is not directly visible from the front. A clear view style label is a larger label placed inside the case above a graded item which is directly visible from the front. If you wish to select different label styles for different items on your submission list, please write Classic or Clear View in the Item Grading / Casing Specifics column specific to each item.

 

Specify what CGA should do in case of double-tape or a questionable factory seal For boxed items submitted for grading under the Standard Grading Scale of AFA or VGA, an option to open the box and assign a grade under our Qualified Grading Scale is available. However, this option requires us to cut questionable or double-tape so that the contents can be verified as new. If this option is chosen and an item must be opened in order to receive a grade, an additional $25 re-grading fee will be assessed. In addition, your submission must include a signed extended Terms and Conditions section which can be found on page 10 of this submission form.

Step 5 Calculate the total amount due, note any special return shipping instructions, and provide a method of payment.

 

Complete this section of the submission form by confirming all details, checking your calculations, and providing all necessary payment information.

   

Step 6 Carefully read our Terms & Conditions and sign to acknowledge that you have both carefully read them and accept them in their entirety.

 

Step 7 If applicable, provide any special instructions related to your submission.

 

This step is not required and may not apply to the majority of submissions. You should include any special instructions such as specific casing instructions, specific billing or shipping instructions, or anything else youd like CGA to take into account when processing, grading, casing, or shipping your submission back to you.

 

Step 8 Package your items for shipment to CGA

Carefully package your items for shipment to CGA and include your submission form in the package. Recommendations on packaging ungraded items for shipment to CGA can be found on our Packaging Instructions Page. A brief summary of these recommendations can be found below.

  1. Carefully wrap each item in 1-2 layers of bubble wrap, or use protective cases designed specifically for your item(s) when available. For items with box flaps, a piece of cardboard or similar hard material should be placed behind the item box to support the flap before wrapping the item in bubble wrap.
  2. Place bubble-wrapped item(s) in a large enough box to allow for 3 of padding on every side of the item. Fill in all additional space with sufficient packaging material (packaging peanuts, etc.) to keep the item(s) stationary. Do not overfill the box with packaging material - this can damage the item by causing a plastic window to collapse, etc.

    NOTE: For all high value items, CGA recommends double-boxing (placing a box containing the item into a larger outer shipping box).

  3. Enclose your completed submission form and payment/payment information when applicable.
  4. Secure your box with packaging tape and send it fully insured to CGAs current address.