A question that I see come up from time to time is whether it is worth having prototypes sent to AFA or CAS for grading. What are your thoughts?
I'm not a fan of grading prototypes unless it's something very rare like Flocked Chewbacca or Grey Vader, etc. It can also makes sense, like Don said, to get special casing for hard to display pieces, but I don't think a grade is necessary in those instances. Much like David Quinn I'm frequently arranging and photographing different prototypes together. Creating Star Wars scenes with prototypes is fire and cases extinguish that fire. 😜🔥
Vintage makes sense especially if you decide to sell on Hakes as they only accept AFA graded pieces for authenticity purposes. I’ve never felt the need or urge to grade a modern piece though. I do like CAS for casing special pieces that are hard to display with the special casing. I guess it’s that simple in my mind. Cheers
I collect carded and loose figures from the Kenner line, and prototypes and preproduction pieces from the Hasbro lines. And while I like to grade all of the vintage production pieces, I have decided not to grade any prototypes.
I personally like to have my prototypes free from being sealed in acrylics, because I display and arrange them together, and photograph them with some frequency. I don't think collectors need to grade them, but I understand if they decide to send them to a company like AFA or CAS or UKG.
However, I believe AFA will not grade certain pieces. For the ones produced during the security tracking number era, I have heard AFA will not grade a piece without the original head (containing the tracking number). I do own some pieces that came from a Hasbro source that were never marked with a tracking number. And we've seen prototype photos released by Hasbro, most notably the one shown during the Celebration Chicago panel, in which the first shots did not have tracking numbers on their heads.
But I think AFA has taken a stance against grading figures that have had their heads replaced at the factory with unmarked ones. Whereas CAS' original approach was to case and grade a 6" Black Series figure and mark it as a prototype on the label, without any explanation as to what it truly is. The pieces are now marked as first shots, but the company should have a better grasp on what these pieces ultimately are, if they are going to accept them to be graded.