How To Grade Your Comics

Self  Grading Tutorial. Raw Grading Labels shown below  with grading descriptions. Labels shown are smaller than actual size of 6.75" wide  x .25" deep.

10.0 GEM MINT (GM) Raw Grade Label 10.0 GEM MINT (GM) Raw Grade Label

10.0 GEM MINT (GM):

- An exceptional example of a given book - the best ever seen.

- Only the slightest bindery or printing defects are allowed.

- Cover is flat with no surface wear. Inks are bright with high reflectivity.

- Corners are cut square and sharp.

- Spine is tight and flat.

- Staples must be original, centered and clean with no rust.

- Paper is white, supple and fresh.

- No interior autographs or owner signatures.

9.9 MINT (MT)  Raw Grade Label 9.9 MINT (MT) Raw Grade Label

9.8 NEAR MINT/MINT (NM/MT):

- Nearly perfect in every way with only minor imperfections that keep it from the

     next higher grade.

- Only subtle bindery or printing defects are allowed. Cover is flat with no surface

     wear.

- Inks are bright with high reflectivity and minimal fading.

- Corners are cut square and sharp.

- Small, inconspicuous, lightly penciled, stamped or inked arrival dates are

     acceptable as long as they are in an unobtrusive location.

- Spine is tight and flat.

- Staples must be original, generally centered and clean with no rust.

- Paper is white, supple and fresh.

- Only the slightest interior tears are allowed.

9.8 NEAR MINT/MINT (NM/MT) Raw Grade Label 9.8 NEAR MINT/MINT (NM/MT) Raw Grade Label

9.8 NEAR MINT/MINT (NM/MT):

- Nearly perfect in every way with only minor imperfections that keep it from the next higher grade.
- Only subtle bindery or printing defects are allowed.
- Cover is flat with no surface wear.
- Inks are bright with high reflectivity and minimal fading.
- Corners are cut square and sharp.
- Small, inconspicuous, lightly penciled, stamped or inked arrival dates are acceptable as long as they are in an
    unobtrusive location.
- Spine is tight and flat.
- Staples must be original, generally centered and clean with no rust.
- Paper is white, supple and fresh.
- Only the slightest interior tears are allowed

9.6 NEAR MINT+ (NM+) Raw Grade Label 9.6 NEAR MINT+ (NM+) Raw Grade Label

9.6 NEAR MINT+ (NM+)

- Nearly perfect with a minor additional virtue or virtues that raise it from Near Mint.

- Only subtle bindery or printing defects are allowed.

- No bindery tears are allowed, although on Golden Age books bindery tears of up to 1/8” have been noted.

- Cover is flat with no surface wear.

- Inks are bright with high reflectivity and a minimum of fading.

- One corner may be almost imperceptibly blunted, but still almost sharp and cut square.

- Almost imperceptible indentations are permissible, but no creases, bends, or color break.

- Small, inconspicuous, lightly penciled, stamped or inked arrival dates are acceptable as long as they are in an
    unobtrusive location.

- Spine is tight and flat. Staples must be original, generally centered, with only the slightest discoloration.

- Paper is off-white, supple and fresh.

- Only the slightest interior tears are allowed.

9.4 NEAR MINT (NM): Raw Grade Label 9.4 NEAR MINT (NM): Raw Grade Label

9.4 NEAR MINT (NM):

- Nearly perfect with only minor imperfections that keep it from the next higher grade.

- Subtle bindery/printing defects are allowed.

- Bindery tears must be less than 1/16” on Silver Age and later books, although on Golden Age books bindery
   tears of up to 1/4” have been noted.

- Cover is flat with no surface wear.

- Inks are bright with high reflectivity and a minimum of fading.

- Corners are cut square and sharp with ever-so-slight blunting permitted.

- A 1/16” bend is permitted with no color break.

- Small, inconspicuous, lightly penciled, stamped or inked arrival dates are acceptable as long as they are in an
    unobtrusive location.

- Slight foxing.

- Spine is tight and flat.

- Staples are generally centered; may have slight discoloration.

- Almost no stress lines.

- Paper is off-white to cream, supple and fresh.

- Slight interior tears are allowed.

9.2 NEAR MINT- (NM-): Raw Grade Label 9.2 NEAR MINT- (NM-): Raw Grade Label

9.2 NEAR MINT- (NM-):

- Nearly perfect with only a minor additional defect or defects that keep it from Near Mint.

- A limited number of minor bindery/printing defects are allowed.

- Cover is flat with no surface wear.

- Inks are bright with only the slightest dimming of reflectivity.

- Corners are cut square and sharp with ever-so-slight blunting permitted.

- A 1/16-1/8” bend is permitted with no color break.

- Small, inconspicuous, lightly penciled, stamped or inked arrival dates are acceptable as long as they are in an
     unobtrusive location.

- Slight foxing.

- Spine is tight and flat.  

- Staples may show some discoloration.

- Almost no stress lines.

- Paper is off-white to cream, supple and fresh.

- Slight interior tears are allowed.

9.0 VERY FINE/NEAR MINT (VF/NM): Raw Grade Label 9.0 VERY FINE/NEAR MINT (VF/NM): Raw Grade Label

9.0 VERY FINE/NEAR MINT (VF/NM):

- Nearly perfect with outstanding eye appeal.

- A limited number of bindery/printing defects are allowed.

- Cover is almost flat with almost imperceptible wear.

- Inks are bright with slightly diminished reflectivity.

- An 1/8” bend is allowed if color is not broken.

- Corners are cut square and sharp with ever-so-slight blunting permitted but no creases.

- Several lightly penciled, stamped or inked arrival dates are acceptable.

- Very minor foxing.

- Spine is tight and flat. Staples may show some discoloration.

- Only the slightest staple tears are allowed

- A very minor accumulation of stress lines may be present if they are nearly imperceptible.

- Paper is off-white to cream and supple.

- Very minor interior tears may be present.

8.5 VERY FINE+ (VF+): Raw Grade Label 8.5 VERY FINE+ (VF+): Raw Grade Label

8.5 VERY FINE+ (VF+):

Fits the criteria for Very Fine but with an additional virtue or small accumulation of virtues that improves the
   book’s appearance by a perceptible amount.

8.0 VERY FINE (VF): Raw Grade Label 8.0 VERY FINE (VF): Raw Grade Label

8.0 VERY FINE (VF):

- An excellent copy with outstanding eye appeal.

- A limited accumulation of minor bindery/printing defects is allowed.

- Cover is relatively flat with minimal surface wear beginning to show, possibly including some minute wear at
    corners.

- Inks are generally bright with moderate to high reflectivity.

- An unnoticeable 1/4” crease is acceptable if color is not broken.

- Stamped or inked arrival dates may be present.

- Minor foxing.

- Spine is almost completely flat with a possible minor color break.

- Staples may show some discoloration.

- Very slight staple tears and a few almost insignificant stress lines may be present.

- Paper is cream to tan and supple.

- Centerfold is mostly secure.

- Minor interior tears at the margin may be present.

7.5 VERY FINE- (VF-): Raw Grade Label 7.5 VERY FINE- (VF-): Raw Grade Label

7.5 VERY FINE- (VF-):

- Fits the criteria for Very Fine but with an additional defect or small accumulation of defects that
   detracts from the book's appearance by a perceptible amount.

7.0 FINE/VERY FINE (FN/VF): Raw Grade Label 7.0 FINE/VERY FINE (FN/VF): Raw Grade Label

7.0 FINE/VERY FINE (FN/VF):
- An above-average copy that shows minor wear but is still relatively flat and clean with outstanding
    eye appeal.

- A small accumulation of minor bindery/printing defects is allowed.

- Minor cover wear beginning to show, possibly including minor creases.

- Corners may be blunted.

- Inks are generally bright with a moderate reduction in reflectivity.

- Stamped or inked arrival dates may be present.

- Minor foxing.

- The slightest spine roll may be present, as well as a possible moderate color break.

- Staples may show some discoloration.

- Slight staple tears and a small accumulation of light stress lines may be present.

- Slight rust migration.

- Paper is cream to tan.

- Centerfold is mostly secure.

- Minor interior tears at the margin may be present.

6.5 FINE+ (FN+): Raw Grade Label 6.5 FINE+ (FN+): Raw Grade Label

6.5 FINE+ (FN+):
- Fits the criteria for Fine but with an additional virtue or small accumulation of virtues that improves the
   book's appearance by a perceptible amount.

6.0 FINE (FN): Raw Grade Label 6.0 FINE (FN): Raw Grade Label

6.0 FINE (FN):
- An above-average copy that shows minor wear but is still relatively flat and clean with no significant
   creasing or other serious defects.

- Some accumulation of minor bindery/printing defects is allowed.

- Minor cover wear apparent, with minor to moderate creases.

- Inks show a significant reduction in reflectivity.

- Blunted corners are more common, as is minor staining, soiling, discoloration, and/or foxing.

- Stamped or inked arrival dates may be present.

- A minor spine roll is allowed.

- There can also be a 1/4" spine split or severe color break.

- Staples may show minor discoloration.

- Minor staple tears and a few slight stress lines may be present, as well as minor rust migration.

- Paper is tan to brown and fairly supple with no signs of brittleness.

- Minor interior tears at the margin may be present.

- Centerfold may be loose.

5.5 FINE- (FN-):
- Fits the criteria for Fine but with an additional defect or small accumulation of defects that detracts from the book's appearance by a

   perceptible amount.

5.0 VERY GOOD/FINE (VG/FN): Raw Grade Labels 5.0 VERY GOOD/FINE (VG/FN): Raw Grade Labels

5.0 VERY GOOD/FINE (VG/FN):
- An above-average but well used comic book.

- An accumulation of bindery/printing defects is allowed.

- Minor to moderate cover wear apparent, with minor to moderate creases

     and/or dimples.

- Inks have moderate to low reflectivity.

- Blunted corners are increasingly common, as is minor to moderate

     staining, discoloration, and/or foxing.

- Stamped or inked arrival dates may be present.

- A minor to moderate spine roll is allowed.

- A spine split of up to 1/2" may be present.

- Staples may show minor discoloration.

- Minor staple tears and minor stress lines may also be present, as well

    as minor rust migration.

- Paper is tan to brown with no signs of brittleness.

- Centerfold may be loose.

- Minor interior tears may also be present.

4.5 VERY GOOD+ (VG+) Raw Grade Label 4.5 VERY GOOD+ (VG+) Raw Grade Label

4.5 VERY GOOD+ (VG+)
- Fits the criteria for Very Good but with an additional virtue or small accumulation of virtues that improves the book's appearance by a

   perceptible amount.

4.0 VERY GOOD (VG): Raw Grade Label 4.0 VERY GOOD (VG): Raw Grade Label

4.0 VERY GOOD (VG):

- The average used comic book.

- Cover shows moderate to significant wear, and may be loose but not completely detached.

- Cover reflectivity is low.

- Cover can have moderate creases or dimples.

- Corners may be blunted.

- Store stamps, name stamps, arrival dates, initials, etc. have no effect on this grade.

- Some discoloration, fading, foxing, and even minor soiling is allowed.

- As much as a 1/4" triangle can be missing out of the corner or edge; a missing 1/8" square is also
   acceptable.

- Only minor unobtrusive tape and other amateur repair allowed on otherwise high grade copies.

- Moderate spine roll may be present and/or a 1" spine split.

- Staples may be discolored.

- Minor to moderate staple tears and stress lines may be present, as well as some rust migration.

- Paper is brown but not brittle.

- Minor to moderate interior tears may be present.

- Centerfold may be loose or detached at one staple.

3.5 VERY GOOD- (VG-): Raw Grade Label 3.5 VERY GOOD- (VG-): Raw Grade Label

3.5 VERY GOOD- (VG-):
- Fits the criteria for Very Good but with an additional defect or small accumulation of defects that
   detracts from the book's appearance by a perceptible amount.

3.0 GOOD/VERY GOOD (GD/VG): Raw Grade Label 3.0 GOOD/VERY GOOD (GD/VG): Raw Grade Label

3.0 GOOD/VERY GOOD (GD/VG):

- A used comic book showing some substantial wear.

- Cover shows significant wear, and may be loose or even detached at one staple.

- Cover reflectivity is very low.

- Can have a book-length crease and/or dimples.

- Corners may be blunted or even rounded.

- Discoloration, fading, foxing, and even minor to moderate soiling is allowed.

- A triangle from 1/4" to 1/2" can be missing out of the corner or edge; a missing 1/8" to 1/4" square is
    also acceptable.

- Tape and other amateur repair may be present. Moderate spine roll likely.

- May have a spine split of anywhere from 1" to 1-1/2".

- Staples may be rusted or replaced.

- Minor to moderate staple tears and moderate stress lines may be present, as well as some rust
    migration.

- Paper is brown but not brittle.

- Centerfold may be loose or detached at one staple.

- Minor to moderate interior tears may be present.

2.5 GOOD+ (GD+): Raw Grade Label 2.5 GOOD+ (GD+): Raw Grade Label

2.5 GOOD+ (GD+):
- Fits the criteria for Good but with an additional virtue or small accumulation of virtues that improves
   the book's appearance by a perceptible amount.

2.0 GOOD (GD): Raw Grade Label 2.0 GOOD (GD): Raw Grade Label

2.0 GOOD (GD):
- Shows substantial wear; often considered a "reading copy."

- Cover shows significant wear and may even be detached.

- Cover reflectivity is low and in some cases completely absent.

- Book-length creases and dimples may be present.

- Rounded corners are more common.

- Moderate soiling, staining, discoloration and foxing may be present.

- The largest piece allowed missing from the front or back cover is usually a 1/2" triangle or a 1/4"
   square, although some Silver Age books such as 1960s Marvels have had the price corner box
   clipped from the top left front cover and may be considered Good if they would otherwise have
   graded higher.

- Tape and other forms of amateur repair are common in Silver Age and older books.

- Spine roll is likely.

- May have up to a 2" spine split.

- Staples may be degraded, replaced or missing.

- Moderate staple tears and stress lines may be present, as well as rust migration.

- Paper is brown but not brittle.

- Centerfold may be loose or detached.

- Moderate interior tears may be present.

1.8 GOOD- (GD-): Raw Grade Label 1.8 GOOD- (GD-): Raw Grade Label

1.8 GOOD- (GD-):
- Fits the criteria for Good but with an additional defect or small accumulation of defects that detracts
   from the book's appearance by a perceptible amount.

1.5 FAIR/GOOD (FR/GD): Raw Grade Label 1.5 FAIR/GOOD (FR/GD): Raw Grade Label

1.5 FAIR/GOOD (FR/GD):
- Shows substantial to heavy wear.

- Books in this grade are commonly creased, scuffed, abraded, soiled, and possibly unattractive, but
   still generally readable.

- Cover shows considerable wear and may be detached.

- Almost no cover reflectivity remaining.

- Book-length creases, tears and folds may be present.

- Rounded corners are increasingly common.

- Soiling, staining, discoloration and foxing is generally present.

- Up to 1/10 of the back cover may be missing.

- Tape and other forms of amateur repair are increasingly common in Silver Age and older books.

- Spine roll is common.

- May have a spine split between 2" and 2/3 the length of the book.

- Staples may be degraded, replaced or missing.

- Staple tears and stress lines are common, as well as rust migration.

- Paper is brown and may show brittleness around the edges.

- Acidic odor may be present.

- Centerfold may be loose or detached.

- Interior tears are common.

1.0 FAIR (FR): Raw Grade Label 1.0 FAIR (FR): Raw Grade Label

1.0 FAIR (FR):
- Shows heavy wear.

- Some collectors consider this the lowest collectible grade because comic books in lesser condition are
   usually incomplete and/or brittle.

- Cover may be detached, and inks have lost all reflectivity.

- Creases, tears and/or folds are prevalent.

- Corners are commonly rounded or absent.

- Soiling and staining is present.

- Books in this condition generally have all pages and most of the covers, although there may be up to
   1/4 of the front cover missing or no back cover, but not both.

- Tape and other forms of amateur repair are more common.

- Spine roll is more common; spine split can extend up to 2/3 the length of the book.

- Staples may be missing or show rust and discoloration.

- An accumulation of staple tears and stress lines may be present, as well as rust migration.

- Paper is brown and may show brittleness around the edges but not in the central portion of the pages. - Acidic odor may be present.

- Accumulation of interior tears.

- Chunks may be missing.

- The centerfold may be missing if readability is generally preserved.

- Coupons may be cut.

0.5 POOR (PR): Raw Grade Label 0.5 POOR (PR): Raw Grade Label

0.5 POOR (PR):
- Sufficiently degraded to the point where there is little or no collector value; easily identified by a
   complete absence of eye appeal.

- Brittle almost to the point of turning to dust with a touch, and usually incomplete.

- Extreme fading may render the cover almost indiscernible.

- May have extremely severe stains, mildew or heavy cover abrasion to the point that some cover inks
   are indistinct/absent.

- Covers may be detached with large chunks missing.

- Can have extremely ragged edges and extensive creasing.

- Corners are rounded or virtually absent.

- Covers may have been defaced with paints, varnishes, glues, oil, indelible markers or dyes, and may
   have suffered heavy water damage.

- Can also have extensive amateur repairs such as laminated covers.

- Extreme spine roll present; can have extremely ragged spines or a complete, book-length split.

- Staples can be missing or show extreme rust and discoloration.

- Extensive staple tears and stress lines may be present, as well as extreme rust migration.

- Paper exhibits moderate to severe brittleness (where the comic book literally falls apart when
    examined).

- Extreme acidic odor may be present.

- Extensive interior tears.

- Multiple pages, including the centerfold, may be missing that affect readability.

- Coupons may be cut.

0.3- INCOMPLETE/COVERLESS: Raw Grade Label 0.3- INCOMPLETE/COVERLESS: Raw Grade Label

0.3- INCOMPLETE /COVERLESS:
- The exception to the "not collectible in Poor" rule.

- Many collectors want clean, readable, coverless comics that are priced fairly.

- Coverless copies of key and/or rare comics are often in demand by collectors.

- These enthusiasts also seek coverless comics to retrieve centerfolds, first wraparounds, coupons and
   even staples in order to restore other copies of the same or a similar incomplete comic.

0.1 INCOMPLETE/UNCOLLECTIBLE: Raw Grade Label 0.1 INCOMPLETE/UNCOLLECTIBLE: Raw Grade Label

0.1 INCOMPLETE/UNCOLLECTIBLE:
- At the very bottom of the range, comics with the absolute maximum number of defects, heavy
   degradation, and significant portions of the book missing might not even be considered Poor any
   longer, but may be termed "incomplete."

- These books are so ruined as to be rendered unreadable and virtually uncollectible.

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