Sunday, 26 August 2012

Grading Guide

Near Mint (NM):  There may be a few light stress lines on the spine, but otherwise the spine is strong and intact.  Corners are sharp, but can have a little bit of “bumping” or other very minor wear.  In general, no creases should be present, though a slight “bend” that does not create a noticeable stress crease may be allowed.  The edges may have a few very tiny “bumps” or “nicks”.  A few light stress lines are acceptable on the surface, but they should NOT break the color.  Surface colors should be bright with at most a few “color flecks” or some very minimal “color fading” (as usually occurs along the spine).  Any spots of discoloration or staining would be extremely minor (no more than a few pencil-tip sized dots).  In addition, the inside booklet should be complete with no marks, no rust on the staples and all inserts/maps still attached.  At most, a few very light marks may be allowed – such as a pencil note next to a creature’s stats or (possibly) and small price written in pencil on the inside flyleaf (as from a used book store).  Even though, the above flaws are acceptable in Near Mint condition, an item should not contain any more than a few such defects. An accumulation of several of the above will likely drop the item down another grade

Very Fine (VF):  A few light creases may be present at an edge/corner or on the inner surface of the cover (such as when a “thumb” presses down on a module cover and creates semi-circular stress lines).  There should be no folds or hard creases.  Corners can have other wear such as slight “rounding” or “abrasion”.  On modules or staple-bound items, the edge of the spine may have some slight abrasions to the outer surface layer, though the spine itself it still strong and intact (this is a sometimes common occurrence from the cover being opened repeatedly).  For perfect-bound accessories, light vertical stress lines are more prominent (though not extensive).  Staples may have the slightest hint of rust, but should still be at least 90% rust free with no rust stains on the pages.  Maps / inserts may be detached -- there can be a few marks written on the these, but they should still be minor and not extensive (no highlighting or marker).  Again, judgment must be used as each item is unique.  Perhaps two corners may have tiny 1/16” creases at the extreme tips or there could be one very light ½” crease

Fine (FN):  Many “high grade” items are actually in Fine condition.  At first glance, a Fine item may appear to be a higher grade, but on closer inspection flaws can be clearly seen.  There may be several smalls creases or even one slightly larger (1” or 2cm) crease.  The top/bottom of the spine may show some abrasion, perhaps even a small 1/8” (3mm) tear.  Other possible flaws include: several heavier spine stress lines (either vertical or horizontal), a “scuff” to the surface that removes some of the color, rust to the staples (though at least 75% should be rust free), a tiny tear or very small piece missing from a corner (no more than 1/16” or 1 ½ mm), or a few small stains.  Though inserts / maps may be detached and have some minor writing, they should still be intact (i.e. character sheets should not be “cut out”).  Often, Fine items simply have an greater accumulation of lesser flaws

Very Good (VG):  The “average wear” grade.  Spines show stress and may be slightly frayed or have minor tears.  Module covers can have “splits” as long as 2” (5cm).  Corners are often rounded, creased, or frayed, and edges may show similar wear.  Other common flaws are “color fading”, small stains, small tears, and writing on interior pages (perhaps even some highlighting).  A slight warping and/or faint “musty odor” (usually from storage in a basement) may also be allowed.  Tape may have been used to “repair” the item, but it should be (at most) one or two small pieces.  A Very Good item can simply be an accumulation of several minor and moderate flaws or it may have very few minor flaws and one major detractor (such as a fold that goes the entire length of the cover, heavy rust on the staples, a page separated that was not designed to be “detachable”, a large spine split, or writing on the outer cover

Good (GD):  Shows heavy wear, but is still solid.  A few large flaws plus several smaller flaws may be present.   Conversely, Good items may have one or two major flaws: spine splits up to half the length (typical of modules), several large and heavy creases, a small amount of water damage, heavy writing, multiple or large tears, a noticeable odor due to either “mustiness” or “smoke”, significant staple rust & staining, etc.  There may be several pieces of tape on the item.  On staple-bound books, the cover can be separated from the staples (staple pulls), and on perfect-bound books, some pages may be loose from the binding.  A Good item should be relatively solid and intact and still retain some basic appeal to a collector.

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