Written specifically for comic books and magazines but the terms apply to all the items that we offer for sale.
An item that has no defects. In dealing with paper items we can almost always find some defect even if it is tiny so we almost never use this grade.
Near Mint/Mint (NM/MT)
A comic book or magazine that looks better than a NM but has some detracting qualities to keep it from being a MINT. Almost flawless.
Near Mint (NM)
Close to perfection with only minor defects noticeable. This grade should have no corner of impact creases, stress marks should be almost invisible, and bindery tears must be less than 1/16 inch. A couple of very tiny color flecks, or a combination of the above that keeps the book from being perfect, where the overall eye appeal is less than Mint drops the book into this grade. Only the smallest binging and/or printing defects allowed. Cover is flat with no surface wear. Cover inks are bright with high reflectivity and minimum of fading. Corners are cut square and sharp with only very slight blunting permitted. Staples are generally centered, clean with no rust. Cover is centered and tightly attached to interior pages. Paper is supple and like new. Spine is tight and flat, no spine roll is allowed.
Very Fine/Near Mint (VF/NM)
A comic book or magazine that has some qualities of a NM copy and some of a VF condition copy. Desirable and highly collectible.
Very Fine (VF)
A beautiful copy with outstanding eye appeal. Sharp, bright and clean with supple pages. Cover is relatively flat with almost no surface wear. Cover inks are generally bright and glossy with moderate to high reflectivity. Staples may show some discoloration. Spine may have a couple of almost insignificant transverse stress lines and is almost completely flat. A barely unnoticeable 1/4" inch crease is acceptable, if color is not broken. Pages and exterior covers can be yellowish/tanish (at the least, but no brown and will usually be off-white to white). Inside covers can be tanning to lite browning but not brittle.
Fine/Very Fine (FN/VF)
A comic book or magazine that has some qualities of a VF copy with some qualities of a Fine copy.
An above-average copy that shows minor wear but is still relatively flat and clean with no significant creasing, large pieces missing or other obvious imperfections. A magazine or comic in this grade looks really nice at arms length but on close examination a few defects become apparent. Appearance is lessened because of slight cover wear and possibly small defects such as a few lite creases or a very slight spine split (1/4"). A Fine condition comic book appears to have been read a few times and has been handled with moderate care. Compared to a VF, cover inks are beginning to show a loss in reflectivity and cover gloss, but it is still a highly collectible and desirable book. Pages and interior covers may be tan, but pages must still be fairly supple with no signs of brittleness. Could have store or distributor stamps on the cover. Many collectors seek items in this grade.
Very Good/Fine (VG/FN)
A magazine or comic book that has some qualities of a Fine condition copy and some of a VG condition copy.
Very Good (VG)
An average used magazine or comic book. Looks like it belonged to a family that had a couple of kids and was read many times. A comic in this grade shows some wear, can have a reading or center crease or a moderately rolled spine, but still has enough appeal to make it a desirable copy. Some discoloration, fading and even minor soiling is allowed. As much as a 1/4" triangle can be missing out of the corner or edge. A missing square piece (1/8" by 1/8") is also acceptable. Store stamps, name stamps, arrival dates, initials, etc. have no effect on this grade. Cover and interior pages can have some minor tears and folds and the centerfold may be detached at both staples. The cover may also be loose, but not completely detached. Common bindery and printing defects do not affect grade. Pages and inside covers may be brown but not brittle. Tape should never be used for comic book repair; however, many VG condition comics have minor tape repair.
Good/Very Good (G/VG)
A comic book that has some qualities of a VG copy and some of a Good condition copy. Still readable and collectible.
A copy in this grade has all pages and covers, although There may be small pieces missing inside; the largest piece allowed from front or back cover is a 1/2" triangle or square 1/4" by 1/4". Books in this grade are commonly creased, scuffed, abraded, soiled and may have as much as a long spine split, but are still completely readable. Often, paper quality is low but not brittle. Cover reflectivity is low, and in some cases, completely absent. This grade can have a moderate accumulation of defects, but still maintains its basic structural integrity.
A magazine or comic book that has some qualities of a Good condition copy and some of a Fair condition copy. Still readable.
A copy in this grade is usually soiled, ragged, and possibly unattractive. Creases, tears and/or folds are prevalent. Spine may be split up to 2/3rds its entire length. Staples may be gone. As much as 10% of the front cover may be missing. These books are readable, although soiling, staining, tears, markings or chunks missing may moderately interfere with reading the complete story. Some collectors consider this the lowest collectible grade because comic books in lesser condition are usually defaced and/or brittle. Very often paper quality is low and may have slight brittleness around the edges, but not in the central portions of the pages. Comic books in this grade may have a clipped coupon or page missing.
Most items in this grade have been sufficiently degraded to the point that copies may have extremely severe stains, missing staples, brittleness, mildew or moderate to heavy cover abrasion to the point that some cover inks are indistinct/absent. Comic books in this grade can have small chunks missing and pieces out of pages. They may have been defaced with paints, varnishes, glues, oil, indelible markers or dyes. Covers may be missing or split the entire length of the book. Pages may be missing and generally will be noted.