are commonly graded using either a numeric scale running from 1 to 100 or on a verbal scale, using the terms Mint
, Near Mint
, Very Fine
, Very Good
. There are variations on both these scales.
COMIC BOOK GRADES
Mint - Nearly perfect in every way. No printing defects. No bindery defects. Cover is flat with no surface wear. Cover inks are bright with minimal fading. Comic has the original staples and they are centered, clean and without rust. Paper is supple and like new. Spine is tight and flat (no spine roll). No soiling, staining, or other discoloration. Looks "As if it was just purchased from the newsstand." Equivalent of a Numeric grade of 100 to 98.
Near Mint – Only the most minor imperfections are allowed. Including tiny corner creases or staple stress lines. Cover is flat with no surface wear. Cover inks are bright with the minimum of fading. Has the original staples and they are clean rust free, with no paper discoloration or staining. Paper is supple and like new. Spine is tight and flat. Numeric grade 97 to 90.
Very Fine - Slight wear on the cover, spine or corners allowed. Minor printing or bindery defects are allowed. Staples may have minor discoloration. No visible soiling, staining, or other discoloration on the paper allowed except around the staples. Only minor corner creasing. The interior pages can be yellowed or tanned, but not brown. Numeric grade 89 to 75.
Fine – Shows minor wear but is still flat and clean with no major creasing or other serious defects. Minor creasing and minor wear is allowed. Has only small defects on spine and edge. Blunted corners are allowed. Minor staining and discoloration is allowed. Staples may be discolored. Small tears, that do not extend past the margins, on the inside pages are allowed. Staple tears are allowed. The interior pages can be tan or brown but not brittle. The spine may have a minor roll. Numeric grade 74 to 55.
Very Good - The average used comic book. It may have creases, the spine may be rolled, and it may be discolored, faded and soiled. Staples may be discolored and rust may have migrated to paper. Paper may be brown but not brittle. May have minor tape repairs. Numeric grade 54 to 35.
Good – Comic has all pages and cover, but may have small pieces missing. May be creased, scuffed, abraded and soiled, but is completely readable. Staples may be missing, or replaced. Pages may be brown but not brittle. Numeric grade 34 to 15.
Fair – Comic must have all inside pages, however the centerfold can be missing if it does not affect the story. The cover can have up to one third the front cover missing or the back cover missing but not both. May be soiled, creased or folded. Staples may be missing. Spine may be rolled. Numeric grade 14 to 5.
Poor - Pages and part or all of the front cover missing. May have severe stains, mildew or heavy cover abrasion or have paint, indelible marker or other defacement. May be torn, folded or creased. Pages may be brittle. Numeric grade 4 to 1.
The most common variation on the above is the use of + or - after the grade. For example Near Mint+, used to indicate a comic in the upper range of the Near Mint grade.