FAQ

General AFA Questions

  1. How do I get in contact with AFA?
  2. What are AFA's office hours?
  3. Can I visit AFA's facilities?
  4. Does AFA attend toy conventions?
  5. Does AFA have a newsletter that I can sign up for?
  6. Why are the packages delivered to a holding facility and not the AFA facilities?
  7. If I will be in Georgia, can I arrange to have someone pick up my submission from me?

General Grading Questions

  1. What is over-grading?
  2. What are the benefits of buying a graded figure?
  3. What are the benefits of selling a graded figure?
  4. Do people really tamper with or counterfeit action figures?
  5. How do I figure out my grading cost?
  6. How do I figure out which tier my custom item goes under?

What We Grade Questions

  1. Do you grade foreign figures?
  2. Do you grade prototypes?
  3. Do you grade figures that are not on your list?
  4. Do you grade other toys?
  5. Do you grade loose figures?
  6. Do you grade figures in mail away boxes?
  7. Do you grade packaged toys that are not sealed?
  8. Do you grade 12" and 15" dolls?

AFA Case Questions

  1. Is the AFA Case UV-Resistant?
  2. Why is the AFA case sealed everywhere except the back?

Grading Scale Questions

  1. How does an autograph affect the grade?
  2. How do the subgrades effect an item's overall grade?
  3. Do price stickers lower the grade of an item?
  4. What percentage of figures receive each grade?

Grading Cost and Submission Questions

  1. What does it cost to get my figures graded?
  2. How do I safely ship my figures?
  3. Can I drop figures off directly at AFA’s facilities?
  4. What guarantees and rights do I have as an AFA customer?
  5. What If I need it back fast?
  6. Do you offer volume discounts?
  7. Can I use one invoice to submit figures in different service tiers?
  8. Can AFA determine the value of my figures?
  9. What methods of payments are accepted?
  10. If I purchase and item on eBay, may I have the item sent directly to your facilities?

Current Submissions Questions

  1. Will AFA send me an email when you receive my submission?
  2. What if my figures gets damaged on its way to AFA?
  3. How fast will I get my graded figures back?
  4. How will I know when my graded figures have shipped back to me?
  5. When does my turnaround time start?
  6. What happens to packages held by Customs Officials and Brokerage Companies?
  7. How do I know that my package is being held by Customs?
  8. How long will it take for Customs to release my package(s)?

Using the Online Submission Form Questions

  1. Do I need to print out the Online Submission packet?
  2. Can I use my Submission number to check the status of my items?
  3. What if the options I select on the submission form change while I am updating my information?
  4. What if I select the wrong tier?

Third Party Reference for eBay and PayPal Disputes

  1. Can I use AFA as a Third Party Reference in an eBay or PayPal dispute to verify the condition of an item that was purchased?
  2. What are the steps in the condition verification process?
  3. How long does this process take?
  4. How much does this service cost?
  5. Do I need to fill out a submission packet for this service?



Answers to General AFA Questions

How do I get in contact with AFA?
Visit our contact page. You will be able to send us an email, call us, or write to us.

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What are AFA's office hours?
AFA's hours are Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm eastern standard time.

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Can I visit AFA's facilities?
No, for security purposes AFA's location is kept secret and no customers may visit the facility.

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Does AFA attend toy conventions?
Yes, AFA attends many conventions each year and often offers convention specials or on-site grading. Visit our events page frequently for updates or sign up for our newsletter.

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Does AFA have a newsletter that I can sign up for?
Yes, AFA does have a free email newsletter. Your information is secure and you can unsubscribe at any time. When you sign up you also receive an account for the AFA site that will allow you to have access to the figure records. Click here to register.

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Why are the packages delivered to a holding facility and not the AFA facilities?
Because our facilities are not always open and our location is secret, we have all of the items sent a location that has extended hours. We pick up the shipments daily from this location. The holding facility is very safe and packages are only delivered when they are open.

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If I will be in Georgia, can I arrange to have someone pick up my submission from me?
Depending on the availability of our staff, we may be able to arrange to have someone meet with you. There will be an additional charge for this service. Things of this nature are handled on a case by case basis, so please contact us directly regarding your specific needs.

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Answers to General Grading Questions

What is over-grading?
When a figure is given a higher grade than it deserves. Either purposely or accidentally, overlooking certain flaws in a figure to misrepresent its true condition. E.g. a seller assigns a mint grade to a figure when in actuality it is in excellent condition. Over-grading occurs because:
  • sellers are uneducated to grade definitions.
  • flaws are missed or purposely overlooked.
  • to take advantage of the unsuspecting collector
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What are the benefits of buying a graded figure?
You gain the confidence that what you are buying has been properly graded by a professional.  You can have the peace of mind that a graded figure is tamper free and know what you are getting.  With AFA there are no surprises!

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What are the benefits of selling a graded figure?
Graded figures will normally sell for much higher prices than un-graded figures.  You will be able to sell graded figures faster and easier through the mail and internet.

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Do people really tamper with or counterfeit action figures?
Yes!  A lot of the expensive figures today have factory paint variations.  A professional counterfeiter can easily remove, repaint and reseal a figure without you knowing.  With the advancement of computer technology, they can even produce reproduction pieces and similar counterfeit items.  To the average collector it is impossible to identify these fakes.

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How do I figure out my grading cost?
The cost of grading depends heavily on the items fair market value, the turnaround time selected, as well as the method of grading selected (loose, boxed, and carded). Please visit the Pricing Tiers page for information on determining what tier best fits your needs.

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How do I figure out which tier my custom item goes under?
Custom pieces should be submitted based on their size (length + width + height). After calculating the sum measurements for all three sides, the proper custom category should be selected (1-6). Your cost is then dependent upon the value of your piece (value thresholds are listed under the tier names on the pricing pages) and the turnaround time you desire (turnarounds also listed under the tier names).

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Answers to What We Grade Questions

Do you grade foreign figures?
At this time we do grade Canadian figures and Tri-logo Star Wars.  We may be able to grade certain foreign figures but please contact us.

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Do you grade prototypes?
AFA does grade most prototypes and first shots, but they must go through our GAS (grading and authentication) tiers.

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Do you grade figures that are not on your list?
We grade almost all action figures. Most standard-size figures fall under our Modern and Vintage Categories depending on whether they were produced before or after 1990. Other non-standard-size figures fall under our Custom Categories.

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Do you grade other toys?
Currently we grade virtually all packaged toys and select loose action figures. We also grade diecast vehicles under our division Diecast Grader and collectible dolls under our division Doll Grader.

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Do you grade loose figures?
We grade loose figures from select toy lines. Please click here to view information on grading loose action figures.  In addition, if you have loose figures that are in factory sealed baggies, we can grade them in or out of the baggie.  If we remove a figure from a heat-sealed baggie to grade and case then it will be given the "Uncirculated" designation.  However, if we remove a figure from a tape-sealed baggie to grade and case then it will NOT be given the "Uncirculated" designation.  For figures graded in the baggie, the baggie condition is taken into account for the grade. 

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Do you grade figures in mail away boxes?
Yes, we do. We remove the figures from the mailer boxes and if the box is still factory sealed the figure would receive an "Uncirculated" designation. For the figure to have "Mail Away" on the grade label, you would have to have it graded and cased with the mailer box. You could have items of this type graded under our Custom Tier.


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Do you grade packaged toys that are not sealed?
AFA will grade certain items which never came factory sealed, provided the items are in new and unused condition. AFA can also grade boxed items that are no longer factory sealed (i.e. the tape has been broken or come loose) as long as the boxed item has an interior sealed bubble and all the contents (paperwork) are stilled sealed in their bags.  


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Do you grade 12" and 15" dolls?
AFA will grade 12" and 15" dolls, both loose and packaged. The category you should submit under depends on whether the doll is loose or packaged, when it was produced, and what toy line it is from.


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Answers to AFA Case Questions

Is the AFA Case UV-Resistant?
Standard AFA cases are slightly UV-resistant. They will also protect your items by sealing them in hard acrylic to keep them in the same condition as when they were graded. They will not be touched by human hands and the hard acrylic prevents it from sustaining any additional creases, bubble dings, or other damage.

In addition, 99% UV-Resistant acrylic cases are available for extra light protection. You can pay a fee to upgrade your case to the 99% UV Resistant acrylic or you can submit your items under the archival tier, which includes UV-resistant acrylic. For more information on UV-Resistant cases, click here.

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Why is the AFA case sealed everywhere except the back?
The acrylic case is sealed on all sides except for a slight opening at the back of the case at the bottom. We do not seal this edge to allow for air circulation inside the case. If we did not allow for this air circulation, the case would be subject to a "Terrarium" effect. In other words, depending on the temperature, the inside of the case could start to sweat.  The unsealed edge alleviates this possibility. The acrylic cases are still considered sealed and the contents cannot be tampered with without being broken open.

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Answers to Grading Scale Questions

How does an autograph affect the grade?
Because we can rarely verify authenticity, an autograph is considered a flaw and the grade is usually limited to a 70. For those who collect AFA figures and feel that the grade of 70 will somehow devalue the figure, we can case the figure without including the grade; the same rates will apply. The only exceptions to this rule are convention exclusives or items submitted to us directly by the manufacturer. In these cases autographs can be verified as authentic, and items will be marked as 'signed' in the variation field of the AFA label. When an item meets this criteria, an autograph will generally be overlooked when determining the grade.

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How do the subgrades effect an item's overall grade?
The overall grade is not really an average of the subgrades.  In actuality, the subgrades point to where the greatest flaws are, i.e. what has gone into determining the overall grade.  Sub-grades are used to better illustrate the overall grade an item receives. They are not averaged to determine the main grade. They are meant to further inform the buyer about the weakest and strongest points of the overall grade. (For example, an AFA 80 item can have sub-grades of C80, B85, F85 showing the card as the weakest point which caused the overall grade to be an 80. An AFA 85 can have the exact same sub-grades, but in this particular case, the card flaws which justify the 80 card grade do not justify an overall grade of 80. They do however show a buyer that the card is lower than average for an 85 and is the weakest of the 3 aspects of the item.)

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Do price stickers lower the grade of an item?
Price stickers are generally not considered major flaws, but only become a factor if curling, tearing, staining, picking, etc. of the sticker has occurred.  The location of the sticker is also a factor, though most are placed in an area such as a corner that does not detract from the overall appearance of the card.  Basically, the condition of the sticker factors into the card subgrade, and from there into the overall grade of the piece.

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Answers to Grading Cost and Submission Questions

What does it cost to get my figures graded?
That depends on the item(s) that you are having graded and how fast you need them to be returned to you. Please see our pricing tiers for all our services and prices.

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How do I safely ship my figures?
Please refer to our packing and shipping instructions.

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Can I drop figures off directly at AFA’s facilities?
No.  To insure security and confidentiality AFA's facilities are restricted. 

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What guarantees and rights do I have as an AFA customer?
Every customer is treated equally and courteously at all times regardless of the size of your business.  Your questions and comments are a priority with us.  For more detail contact us.

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What If I need it back fast?
Our Archival Tier has a turnaround time (received at AFA until shipped from AFA) of 1-3 business days. Our Premium Tier has a turnaround time of 3-4 business days.

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Do you offer volume discounts?
We do offer volume discounts if you submit 25 or more figures and even a larger discount if you submit 50 or more. Check out our Pricing Tiers page for exact prices. Also, we offer dealer rates to dealers who will submit at least 100 figures per month. If you are a dealer who can submit this many figures consistently each month, contact us at info@toygrader.com.

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Can I use one invoice to submit figures in different service tiers?
Yes. You just need to divide your figures into groups by turnaround time and list them on the Submission List pages of the Submission Form. You can make additional copies of these pages if you have many different groups to submit. Please be aware that you will have to pay shipping costs for each shipment that is returned to you. Click here to download the submission form.

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Can AFA determine the value of my figures?
No.  We are only issuing an opinion on the condition of your figure.  The actual market will determine the value of your figure. We recommend visiting eBay to research the market value of your figures.

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What methods of payments are accepted?
We accept payments in the form of Credit Card (American Express, Discover, Visa, and Master Card), Personal Check, Money Order and Cashier’s Check. (International customers may only pay via Credit Card.)

***If payment is made by check and it is found that your account has insufficient funds, a fee of $25 will be added to your overall total and you will be required to pay the remaining amount via Credit Card, Money Order or Cashier’s Check only.

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If I purchase and item on eBay, may I have the item sent directly to your facilities?
We only extend this offer to our International customers to assist in lowering shipping cost.

In order to have this done, you must first contact us letting us know that the item(s) are being directly sent to us in your name. The package(s) being sent must have a note stating that it is for you and you must send the submission packet in its entirety to us via fax before the item is set to arrive.

If continuous problems arise and our guidelines are not followed specifically, we will have to discontinue the service being extended.

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Answers to Current Submissions Questions

Will AFA send me an email when you receive my submission?
No, you will receive a confirmation email when you submission is processed.

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What if my figures gets damaged on its way to AFA?
You will only be contacted if the box that you send your items in appears damaged upon its arrival at AFA. If it is determined that an item was damaged during its shipping to AFA, you will be notified via email to discuss what your options are regarding the possibly damaged item.

Figures rarely get damaged on their way to AFA, especially if you package your submission with caution using correct materials. For more information on our suggested packaging techniques, click here.

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How fast will I get my graded figures back?
The turnaround time depends on what type of item you submitted and what tier you chose. For turnaround times visit our Pricing Tiers page. Please keep in mind that turnaround times are estimated and the grading period does not begin until your payment is processed.

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How will I know when my graded figures have shipped back to me?
Yes, you will receive a confirmation email when your graded figures are shipped back to you. Please be aware that the email may come from the FedEx software, not from info@toygrader.com.

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When does my turnaround time start?
Turnaround times start once your submission is processed for payment. Submissions are received at an off-site location that is staffed 7 days a week.  They arrive at our grading facility within 3 business days.   They are put into our receiving department where they are inspected.  Finally, your submission is processed in our front office and your invoice is created and a notification email sent to you.  We try to process all submissions within 5 business days of their arrival at our facility. 

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What happens to packages held by Customs Officials and Brokerage Companies?
In order to have any packages that are being retained by Customs/Brokerage Companies released, our company must agree to pay a fee that is specified by the company that is withholding the package(s). This fee will be passed on to you, our customers in addition to a $35 fee from AFA. This fee will be charged in full once your submission is received in our offices.

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How do I know that my package is being held by Customs?
Using the tracking or customs number that is assigned to your package, you may check to see if the package(s) have cleared US Customs.

AFA has no affiliation with the US Customs department and cannot control when package(s) are released.

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How long will it take for Customs to release my package(s)?
Though there is no specified length of time that items must stay within the Customs facilities, we have found that it may take up to 14 business days for the items to arrive once they are released.

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Using the Online Submission Form Questions



Do I need to print out the Online Submission packet?
Yes, as the data is not electronically submitted to our facilities.

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Can I use my Submission number to check the status of my items?
No. You may only check the status of your submission by using the AFA invoice number and/or your First and Last name.

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What if the options I select on the submission form change while I am updating my information?
Once you make a change, be sure to select Save Changes before moving on.

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What if I select the wrong tier?
Someone will contact you regarding the necessary changes only if you have under charged yourself more than $20. If you have overcharged yourself, then you will only be charged the correct amount.

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Third Party Reference for eBay and PayPal Disputes

Can I use AFA as a Third Party Reference in an eBay or PayPal dispute to verify the condition of an item that was purchased?
Yes, AFA offers condition verification as a third party source to assist buyers in eBay and Paypal disputes.

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What are the steps in the condition verification process?
The item will be reviewed by the Graders with all flaws and/or reasons for refusals noted. This information will be provided on AFA letter head and signed by the proper authorities. Once this is complete, the letter and item will then be shipped back to you.

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How long does this process take?
Because we understand that you will need this information back within a timely fashion, the process will only take 1-2 business days.

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How much does this service cost?
The price for all items submitted under this service is $25.00 plus return shipping and insurance.

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Do I need to fill out a submission packet for this service?
Yes, as we keep track of all items submitted by our customers.

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