Comic Book Grading
Records Geek uses the Overstreet Guide Standard for grading the condition of items listed in the Marketplace.
Near Mint (NM) condition
A nearly perfect copy that looks brand new with only a few very minor defects. Acceptable minor defects on a NM copy include: a very small amount of spine stresses, very minor instances of denting (two or three at most), slight corner blunting, and minor (less than 1/8") bends without color breaks.
On the ten-point grading scale, a lower grade like 9.2 will allow these defects in a greater quantity and degree than a higher grade like 9.8, which sometimes may have no discernible defects at all. We do not assign the grades 9.9 and 10.0 to any unslabbed "raw" comics. You will only see these ultra-high grades on comics slabbed by one of the grading services. There is such a small degree of separation between the grades 9.8, 9.9, and 10.0 that even the most experienced comic graders may disagree on which of these three grades to assign to an apparently flawless comic, so the highest grade we will assign to a comic is 9.8.
In some cases it is possible for a comic shipped brand new from the publisher, or purchased new from a comic store's shelves, to already be in less than near mint condition due to the way the comic was produced, shipped, stored, or handled prior to purchase.
Very Fine (VF) condition
|Very Fine/Near Mint||VF/NM||9.0|
A VF copy has minor defects, but is in overall excellent condition. Most well-kept modern comics (especially if they have been read) fall into this grade. Acceptable defects on a VF are minor and include: Minor corner wear, a light accumulation of spine stress that may include color-break, a light accumulation of dents, and bends or folds less than 1/4" (note that on a VF copy, some color-break is allowed in a bend/fold).
Fine (FN) condition
A comic in FN condition is considered "above average" but still displays some wear. In general, the eye appeal is somewhat reduced due to either an accumulation of minor defects or one or two moderate defects. Acceptable defects on a FN copy include: Slight spine roll, a moderate accumulation of spine stresses that may break color, a spine split of less than 1/2", minor water spotting or residue (less than the size of a dime), an impacted corner, and moderate foxing.
Very Good (VG) condition
A comic in VG condition shows some significant wear, but has not accumulated enough total defects to reduce eye appeal to the point that it is not a desirable copy. A VG copy may have an accumulation of minor defects or one or two major ones. Acceptable defects on a VG copy include: Spine roll, 1/2" to 1" spine splits or other tears, a cover or centerfold that is detached at one staple, discoloration due to oxidation, and a moderate accumulation of water damage or staining.
Good (GD) condition
A GD copy has major defects, but is still complete and readable. A GD copy will have a significant amount of damage, usually an accumulation of smaller defects punctuated with some major defects. Acceptable defects on a GD copy include: A vertical book-length crease, 1.5"-2" spine split, cover or centerfold completely detached, major tears, heavy discoloration/brittleness due to oxidation, heavy amounts of staining, residue, and water damage.
Fair (FR) condition
A FR copy will have virtually no eye appeal and will display major damage. A comic book in FR condition may have non-story elements such as coupons, portions of ad pages, or Marvel Value Stamps cut or torn out of the book, but all story and art will be complete. If an entire ad page is missing that would drop the grade to Poor. Types of damage that place a comic in FR range include: A spine split of up to 2/3 the length of the book, a missing back cover provided the front cover is still attached, severe water damage or residue damage, mold, and paper deterioration due to oxidation.
Poor (PR) condition
Comic books in PR condition may be missing up to 4 pages (two spreads) of story or ad pages, or have a completely split spine, or display severe damage that affects the readability of the book.