Grades: what do they mean?

Comix and books are graded by our version of the standardized system for comics. The grades we used in cataloging our collector items are:

Good: Small tears, torn spine, loose or rusty staples, some writing, cellophane tape, fingerprints, water stains, browning, folds, spine rolls, and off-register print all OK.

Very Good: Minor tearing, slight bends, OK. Staples should be good, Rubber stamps for price OK, tape not OK. Browning OK but not brittleness, some cover folds OK. Slight spine roll OK. Cover scuffing OK.

Fine: One tear up to 1/2 inch OK. Some spine stress OK. No rust or loose staples. Small neat writing if minor. No tape, no water stains, no spine roll. Slight off center print, scuffing, minor cover fold, fingerprint OK.

Very Fine: Very minor but noticeable flaws permitted. Very slight browning, very small corner folds, one or two fingerprints. Flaws not in combination.

Near Mint: Nearly perfect. Tiny tear, slight spine stress, no folds, little or no browning. Flaws must be hardly noticeable.

In addition, some items that we have in “regular” stock may be referred to by the phrase “as new.” This means they are in the condition we received them in from the supplier, however many years ago that was. They have never been read.

Posters & press sheets (basically all items that would usually be sent in a tube) are graded using the 10-point system developed for movie posters.

C10:  Item is "as new" or in the same condition as the day it was made. The item may or may not literally be in "perfect" condition, but it does exhibit an amazing state of preservation with virtually no perceptible flaws of any kind.

C9: Superb. Unused or very carefully used. One tiny pinhole in each corner from being displayed is allowable in this grade. Slightly offset color registration is allowable in this grade. Folds haven't damaged print.

C8: An above-average poster exhibiting minimal signs of use. Bright and clean. Poster has no major defects but could have an accumulation of several minor ones, such as a small (1/8" or less) border chip. Minor creases, a handful of small pinholes or border tears could be present. Aging on older pieces could be present. Paper could be slightly yellowed, but not brown.

C7: Typically, an item in this grade is almost a C8, but one or two unsightly flaws, or heavier than normal fold wear or pinholes, or one small piece of tape on a corner, cause the item to be assigned the C7 designation rather than C8. A minor damp stain on an unobtrusive part of the poster could be allowed.

C6: The typical used poster in average condition. The poster can have slight browning of paper but not brittleness or flaking; it may also have a small amount of writing in some unobtrusive portion of the poster. Minor border repair, edge tears, stains, or other signs of average use could be present. Minor soiling could be present. Larger posters could have normal folds, creases, minor fold tears.

C5: A heavily-worn item, showing significant signs of use such as multiple pinholes or staple holes, tape, tears, soiling, pieces missing, small markings or pen/pencil marks.

C4: Below average but still suitable for display. Heavily used, with significant signs of use that affect the overall eye appeal of the piece. Small pieces may be missing from the borders (should be described). Image area will usually have minor defects that may impinge upon the graphics. Could have tape, writing, or tears. Numerous pinholes and resulting tears could be present. Complete, but graphics are face-worn.

C3: Heavily worn, but yet still complete

C2: An extremely worn, possibly even incomplete item.

C1:The lowest grade, representing items in the lowest possible condition. Heavily damaged, possibly missing large pieces, possibly brittle and crumbling. Except for valuable rarities, items in this grade have little or no value.