Buy Sell Discuss Appraise

Expandmenu Shrunk

A (Really!) General Guide to grading collectibles

A (REALLY) General Guide to grading collectibles

Collectible items ranging from baseball cards to bottle caps to coins to wrappers from toys can all be graded. A grade is a numerical grade helping to quantify the speculative value of any collectible item. To keep it simple we will use baseball cards as our example in this article. A baseball card graded at a 10 can get 20-100x the value of the same card with a 6. Unfortunately grading many items can quickly become too expensive and can be a losing proposition. This is why you need skills to help properly identify the condition of an item before you can decide a good asking price. Here we go here is my REALLY general guide to grading collectibles.

POOR- This one is pretty simple if an item is in bad, destroyed, ripped or any other conditional extreme it is in POOR condition.

FAIR- If an item is WHOLE but suffering from a lot of major flaws it is likely in fair condition. Items in FAIR condition might be severely defaced but have potential for repair or restoration.

GOOD- Item is WHOLE. Functional. Can have several major defects and a whole host of minor ones. I like to say if it looks good from 8 feet away but looks a little beat up close it is probably GOOD.

VERY GOOD-Item is WHOLE Functional. Can have a few major defects and a few minor ones. If it looks good up close until you really start scrutinizing it its probably VERY GOOD

EXCELLENT- An item in EX condition is WHOLE Functional. May have ONE major defect or a few minor ones. This is where mid/high condition really begins

NEAR MINT- An item in NM condition may not have any major defects but can have ONE or TWO minor ones. One flaw makes a doll a better candidate for NEAR MINT than MINT.


For many of us that sell online this is especially important since the customer cannot handle the item and chargebacks/returns are a little more common for badly described collectible items. Collectibles are ultimately speculative holdings and their liquidity is tied directly to their condition. Thanks for reading and feel free to leave a comment or feedback in the box below