I bought a few books today in perfect to near perfect condition today at a local used bookstore for $1 a piece. After some research, their graded value is $100-400. Of course their "raw value" is like $8. So I have a few questions. First, why is there such a vast difference in the value of a graded comic and one that isn't? What value should a comic hold before it's worth the investment of grading? To get a book graded, is it something that is rare for someone to do? Will I probably have to do it by mail or is there a good chance someone reasonable close to me could do it? Any answers to these questions would be great and thanks in advance.
Just a guess: Because mint comics are extremely rare. You pick one off the shelf, read it once, bag an board it. Many would say that comic is "mint."..but it's probably not. In fact, probably wasn't when it came out of the box. Probably wasn't when it rolled off the presses. I know this is true for sports cards. A card to be "mint" has to be perfectly centered, perfectly colored, perfectly cut. Getting a fresh card out of a pack doesn't guarantee mint. Same with comics I bet. A collector saying his comic is "mint" means nothing. Finding one that has been put through a thorough examination and still being called "mint"..well, that's rare. As for how you go about the process..sorry. I have no idea.
To get a comic valued is somewhat expensive, but if your comics may be worth $100-$400, then it will be worth it. Check out the CGC website for information on their grading system and process. Basically, you mail the comic book to them, they take your money and a few to several weeks to grade, then they seal it in a nice hard plastic cover. The comics information and grading is displayed on the plastic cover. You may want to check through your books before you send them and grade them yourself using a common grading standard found on any internet search (this would give you a good idea what kind of condition the books are actually in before you send it for professional grading). Now, here's the kicker, your books are only worth what people are willing to pay for it. People may be asking for $100-$400 for well graded books, but if no one is buying, or if people are only willing to pay $50 for them, then your books are only worth $1-$50. This is the think about investing in comic books, you have to be prepared to hold on to them for as long as it takes to find a buyer at the price you want. General rule, sell the new comics fast and hold onto the old books.