Interview Series with David Basaldua - Owner of Underground Grading & Signature Services

     One of the great things about social media is that you can connect with so many great people in a community or niche.  And the comic book community has some of the nicest and most kind people of any I've been a part of.  In one of the groups I'm in I had the chance to meet David Basaldua who has bought books from me and vice versa.  He runs Undeground Grading & Signature Services and they are always doing signings, plus I've heard nothing but great things.  So this week we get a chance to learn from an experienced facilitaor!

What got you into comics?
  • I used to go to the comic store with my dad as a kid and he would buy me books. Fast forward years... he told me about Ultimate Fallout and how there was going to be a new Spider-Man.  So we went out and bought issues 1-4 which were the only ones available at the time, but I’ll get back to that. After he passed my brother and I split his collection, and just in awe of all the amazing books I started collecting and have been at the shop every week since. 
Favorite childhood memory about comics?
  • Definitely going to Garry's comics in San Gabriel, CA with my dad as a kid.
What got you into selling comics?
  • I like getting my comics signed and graded. Knowing the condition, chasing after that high grade and that missing signature was what I was doing for a while. People kept asking me to get their books done, but under the self witnessing program by CBCS, I wasn’t able to witness other people’s books. So, I contacted them and went through the process of becoming a facilitator. That’s how Underground came to be.
Biggest mistake you made when you started selling?
  • Over pricing. Was definitely a rookie mistake. My goal has always been to give affordable prices and get some of the biggest names in the industry for signings. But in the beginning I had no idea how to price but I can definitely say that was an early mistake.
What’s your favorite character or title to collect?
  • Venom has always been a favorite, anything Cates. But those who really know me I’m a huge ASM, TOS, and TTA fan!
Next big thing for your personal collection?  Your grail?
  • I have to say I have an amazing collection, but my next big book is going to be a Hulk 181!
Most unique or favorite thing in your collection?
  • I have very few blue labels, and those are ones that I have bought like that. But I have over 500 yellow labeled books.
Raw or Graded? Why? 
  • Gotta be graded! Chasing after that high grade, seeing how few are in circulation is definitely an addiction!
Best find or score?
  • That UF4 I mentioned earlier. Bought it for cover price and now it’s a 9.6 signed by Crain and Bagley. Definitely something that will stay with me forever.
 Advice to new sellers or collectors.
  • Collect what you love. Enjoy the stories. Ask others with more experience just for the sake of a 2nd pair of eyes before making a high dollar book.  When choosing a facilitator, ask friends what kind of experiences they’ve had with them. Message them and see how responsive they are. Do your due diligence before trusting someone with your books.  Happy collecting!  Check out his video on signature prepping here.

Check out Underground Grading for a great selection of variants and grading services!

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David Basaldua of Underground Grading with Jim Lee

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