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HOW TO GRADE COMIC BOOKS? Options
Jim
Posted: Monday, June 08, 2009 11:33:23 PM

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I gotta agree. Just because a comic is on a comic shelf doesn't automatically preclude it from being in NM condition. It really depends on the condition of the comic. Chances are that the comic in front of the rest has been flipped through a few times so dig back a couple and grab the one that hasn't been manhandled! Be sure to scrutinize it and if it fits the criteria of a NM book then it might a NM book.

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comicnutz
Posted: Tuesday, June 09, 2009 2:41:52 AM

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ErrantEntertainment wrote:
I gotta agree. Just because a comic is on a comic shelf doesn't automatically preclude it from being in NM condition. It really depends on the condition of the comic. Chances are that the comic in front of the rest has been flipped through a few times so dig back a couple and grab the one that hasn't been manhandled! Be sure to scrutinize it and if it fits the criteria of a NM book then it might a NM book.


Jim is quite right here. What I usually do is pick up the group of a given issue (CAREFULLY) and fan them slightly to look at the spines - a very common location for problems. Then after picking a book or two with least/no spine defects, I check that book for other problems (corners, creases, etc.) You can find NM books, just gotta look carefully.
bovard
Posted: Tuesday, June 09, 2009 1:05:40 PM

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I definately agree as well. Just as you should not assume a comic is NM just because it is new, you should not assume it is not.

The term NM does not mean the same thing today, as it did ten years ago. imo there are four distinct grades that are all NM: NM-(9.2), NM(9.4), NM+(9.6), NM/M(9.8).

Another thing to check for when looking for the nicest copy, is fingerprints. These are usually hard to see, unless you hold the comic flat in your hand and turn it so you can that sort of reflection from the light, and often helps to reveal any fingerprints if present.


comicnutz
Posted: Tuesday, June 09, 2009 1:31:19 PM

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Another side to this discussion are claims of NM/MT, MT, or GEM books. In my experience these books are VERY VERY VERY VERY ... (you get the idea) RARE. Be extremely wary of any seller, either here or in a shop, who gives this grade in any kind of frequency. (Ok, I just unleashed a monster...) Personally, I would not buy a high dollar book of this grade from anyone unless I could examine it myself or had a personal relationship with the seller. And shipping a book like this would give me nightmares. Even the process of handling the book for packing could easily result in degradation! Buyer definitely beware of NM/M, M, or Gem grades.
thomas4d4
Posted: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 12:39:11 PM

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comicscastle wrote:
Fooks wrote:
Hey everyone,
Relatively new here, intermediate collector (5 longboxes of silverage and current)and first time post on the forums. I had a question regarding grading and I can't seem to find an answer online. What exactly is a color break? For example Overstreet says a VF book can have minor color break. Is this defined to be the white the appears vertically on the spine of virtually all books or is it the horizontal break in the color resulting from a crease. Hopefully it means the horizontal type or barely anything is going to rate VF for me, even comics new have that white line down the crease of the spine as soon as they are opened.

Any help would be appreciated
It is the break in color resulting from a crease. Some times a crease will hardly be noticeable because it won't break the color. Other times a smaller crease will break color and be much more obvious. The most obvious examples are along the spine from bending. I hope that helps.


This is interesting to me. I'm surprised that Overstreet would allow a minor color break on VF.
My own opinion on this subject (for what it's worth) is that VF should be just one step down from NM. So this book should be in Really nice condition i.e. very flat, sharp coners, and shiny cover. It should look like new (not news stand new, comic shop new) but have just a few minor flaws that brings it down from NM. For example maybe a few invisible creases in the spine. If the book is perfect with the exception of 1 small crease with color break (1/8th of an inch) I might put it in VF or VF-.

What is other peoples opinion on this.

What do you call it when the color rubs off from rubbing against other comics?


Come check out the new story line in
The BRILLIANT BELLA
as BELLA meets the legendary GOLEM and finds herself with
"FEET OF CLAY".
Written by Thomas Morrison and drawn by Tiina Birgitta Räisänen.
thomas4d4
Posted: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 1:06:42 PM

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bovard wrote:
I definately agree as well. Just as you should not assume a comic is NM just because it is new, you should not assume it is not.

The term NM does not mean the same thing today, as it did ten years ago. imo there are four distinct grades that are all NM: NM-(9.2), NM(9.4), NM+(9.6), NM/M(9.8).

Another thing to check for when looking for the nicest copy, is fingerprints. These are usually hard to see, unless you hold the comic flat in your hand and turn it so you can that sort of reflection from the light, and often helps to reveal any fingerprints if present.


How do you distinguish the difference between NM- and NM (and so on)?

Because of my lack of familiarity with printers defects I never grade anything MINT. If a book looks perfect to me, I just give it a NM grade. I'm not going to go through each page and make sure that it is white, white, with no small tears and cut perfectly square. I'm mostly concerned with the wear on the cover.
I may allow a book to be called NM- if it is in perfect condition (no noticeable wear or fading) with the exception of one invisible 1/8th of an inch crease.

It's true that it is very rare to find a book without some kind of wear. Most books have a few to many small, invisible creases in the spine.

As far as grading books goes. I am more hard on my books than on others because I want perfect books, ones with out those unsightly spine creases.


Come check out the new story line in
The BRILLIANT BELLA
as BELLA meets the legendary GOLEM and finds herself with
"FEET OF CLAY".
Written by Thomas Morrison and drawn by Tiina Birgitta Räisänen.
bovard
Posted: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 1:07:05 PM

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It does get into the area of subjectivity sometimes. But, imo, in an otherwise perfect comic, without any other flaws whatsoever, and there is a single 1/8" spine crease, to me that goes from NM/M(9.8) down to NM(9.4), skipping NM+(9.6).

That of course is assuming an absolutely pristine copy otherwise. Any other very minor flaw, or accumulation of flaws, and it gets donwgraded even more.

The rubbing I think you are talking about is shelfwear, and that's a little trickier to figure out exactly how much does it detract from a given book. It's of course baseed on the severity, but there is no way to quantify shelfwear, so it's subjective. I get books via ebay and ccl all the time that are listed as VF, VF/NM, or even higher, maybe they don't have any creases, corner bends, etc, but some shelfwear might be present. Imo, shelfwear is a pretty large detraction to any book and should downgrade it at least a full grade, or more, from whatever the grade would have been if the shelfwear was not there. The exception to this is once you get below FN or VG/FN, as these grades allow for a larger number of defects and usually already have so many problems, that a little shelfwear does not really matter that much. hope that helps. Happy


thomas4d4
Posted: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 1:14:12 PM

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Shelf wear is tricky because it might have been done at the printers in which case it is a printers defect, but I agree with you. It is very unsightly and should be down graded one grade (i.e. NM to VF on an otherwise perfect book)
I hate shelf wear!Phbbbbt


Come check out the new story line in
The BRILLIANT BELLA
as BELLA meets the legendary GOLEM and finds herself with
"FEET OF CLAY".
Written by Thomas Morrison and drawn by Tiina Birgitta Räisänen.
bovard
Posted: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 1:25:02 PM

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thomas4d4 wrote:
bovard wrote:
I definately agree as well. Just as you should not assume a comic is NM just because it is new, you should not assume it is not.

The term NM does not mean the same thing today, as it did ten years ago. imo there are four distinct grades that are all NM: NM-(9.2), NM(9.4), NM+(9.6), NM/M(9.8).

Another thing to check for when looking for the nicest copy, is fingerprints. These are usually hard to see, unless you hold the comic flat in your hand and turn it so you can that sort of reflection from the light, and often helps to reveal any fingerprints if present.


How do you distinguish the difference between NM- and NM (and so on)?

Because of my lack of familiarity with printers defects I never grade anything MINT. If a book looks perfect to me, I just give it a NM grade. I'm not going to go through each page and make sure that it is white, white, with no small tears and cut perfectly square. I'm mostly concerned with the wear on the cover.
I may allow a book to be called NM- if it is in perfect condition (no noticeable wear or fading) with the exception of one invisible 1/8th of an inch crease.

It's true that it is very rare to find a book without some kind of wear. Most books have a few to many small, invisible creases in the spine.

As far as grading books goes. I am more hard on my books than on others because I want perfect books, ones with out those unsightly spine creases.


To me it's the difference between tiny flaws, some of which could be printing bindery defects, (I'm slightly more lenient with those because the comic was produced that way, but I alo have to assume that there are some of those same books out there, without the given printing bindery defect, and thus would grade higher)

I never call a book Mint either. To me NM/Mint(9.8) is the highest I go. This is a book that has absolutely no flaws whatsoever. NM+(9.6) This is still a beautiful book, but maybe a very minor production flaw - tiny corner nick. NM(9.4) Again, still a preetyy nice book, maybe one 1/8" spine crease OR one tiny 1/16" to 1/8" corner bend without color break or wrinkling-it's very very minor, hardly noticeable. NM-(9.2) a book with say TWO of the previously mentioned flaws, but it gets tricky because from here any acumulation of defects really start to downgrade your book in a hurry.

These higher grades really are books that have not been handled, or, if so very carefully. You start adding a few fingerprints, and three or more 1/8" spine creases, or corner bends, etc, and the grade goes down pretty quickly.

bovard
Posted: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 1:31:34 PM

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thomas4d4 wrote:
Shelf wear is tricky because it might have been done at the printers in which case it is a printers defect, but I agree with you. It is very unsightly and should be down graded one grade (i.e. NM to VF on an otherwise perfect book)
I hate shelf wear!Phbbbbt


Me too, it's awful. For older books, that I can't afford in higher grade, it's not so bad, but on Modern Age books, I can' stand it.

That's a good point about shelfwear as a printers defect. It's definately possible as the books are sliding across each other in the production process, there can be that scratching or dragging. Sometimes you get some ink drag as well, which is a printing/bindery defect, and is hard to pin down as far as how much it detracts.


Jim
Posted: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 2:00:02 PM

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Thomas4d4 wrote:
This is interesting to me. I'm surprised that Overstreet would allow a minor color break on VF.
My own opinion on this subject (for what it's worth) is that VF should be just one step down from NM. So this book should be in Really nice condition i.e. very flat, sharp coners, and shiny cover. It should look like new (not news stand new, comic shop new) but have just a few minor flaws that brings it down from NM. For example maybe a few invisible creases in the spine. If the book is perfect with the exception of 1 small crease with color break (1/8th of an inch) I might put it in VF or VF-.

Because of my lack of familiarity with printers defects I never grade anything MINT. If a book looks perfect to me, I just give it a NM grade. I'm not going to go through each page and make sure that it is white, white, with no small tears and cut perfectly square. I'm mostly concerned with the wear on the cover.


Here is part of the issue and why so many retailers get nailed with negative feedback over condition. Collectors have been training themselves over the years to start believing that VF conditions comic books should be more like NM comic books and NM comic books should be more like Mint comic books and Mint comic books don't exist.

I mean sh1t, people, why don't we just get rid of the Mint grade value and make NM the highest grade possible?

a NM comic book is just that NEAR mint. It's not Mint but it's almost perfect (like your definition of a VF book).

VF books are NOT NEAR mint, they can have a (one or two) color breaks or a corner crease (small less than 1/8").

As much as I dislike CGC they did do one thing right. They instituted a point system. Points are not words that people can interpret differently which is precicely what is happening with the currently "raw" grading system. The problem though is that the point system has more and stringent criteria and is difficult for the average collector to master.

Anyway, I have only one book in my collection that I have graded as Mint because it's the only one I own that is mint.

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thomas4d4
Posted: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 2:37:00 PM

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ErrantEntertainment wrote:
Thomas4d4 wrote:
This is interesting to me. I'm surprised that Overstreet would allow a minor color break on VF.
My own opinion on this subject (for what it's worth) is that VF should be just one step down from NM. So this book should be in Really nice condition i.e. very flat, sharp coners, and shiny cover. It should look like new (not news stand new, comic shop new) but have just a few minor flaws that brings it down from NM. For example maybe a few invisible creases in the spine. If the book is perfect with the exception of 1 small crease with color break (1/8th of an inch) I might put it in VF or VF-.

Because of my lack of familiarity with printers defects I never grade anything MINT. If a book looks perfect to me, I just give it a NM grade. I'm not going to go through each page and make sure that it is white, white, with no small tears and cut perfectly square. I'm mostly concerned with the wear on the cover.


Here is part of the issue and why so many retailers get nailed with negative feedback over condition. Collectors have been training themselves over the years to start believing that VF conditions comic books should be more like NM comic books and NM comic books should be more like Mint comic books and Mint comic books don't exist.

I mean sh1t, people, why don't we just get rid of the Mint grade value and make NM the highest grade possible?

a NM comic book is just that NEAR mint. It's not Mint but it's almost perfect (like your definition of a VF book).

VF books are NOT NEAR mint, they can have a (one or two) color breaks or a corner crease (small less than 1/8").

As much as I dislike CGC they did do one thing right. They instituted a point system. Points are not words that people can interpret differently which is precicely what is happening with the currently "raw" grading system. The problem though is that the point system has more and stringent criteria and is difficult for the average collector to master.

Anyway, I have only one book in my collection that I have graded as Mint because it's the only one I own that is mint.


I agree to a point, that point being that I don't know about printers defects ( cover and interior pages being off center and such.) and don't really care to know. If the cover is shiny, flat and crease free, I'm a happy boy. I don't really care so much if the interior pages are off white, off center or if one of the pages was misfolded by the printer or what not (within reason of coarse.) I'll let the experts nit pick over it, and I'll just stick to good enough (NM).

It's nice to get some confirmation from other collectors that my thinking is not so far off from theirs.


Come check out the new story line in
The BRILLIANT BELLA
as BELLA meets the legendary GOLEM and finds herself with
"FEET OF CLAY".
Written by Thomas Morrison and drawn by Tiina Birgitta Räisänen.
thomas4d4
Posted: Sunday, June 14, 2009 8:36:58 PM

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From Comics Price guide.com -

"VERY FINE/NEAR MINT : 9.0
Slightly better condition than VERY FINE +:8.5, but in lesser conditions than the grade above.
VERY FINE+ : 8.5
VERY FINE : 8.0
VERY FINE - : 7.5
A very fine comic book appears to have been read a few times and has been handled with some care.
This one allows for some more defects.

* Some of the above defects along with a small fold or crease in the cover.
* Very few stress marks on spine.
* A few small chips on the cover
* The cover has some slight surface wear but still has its original gloss and there is nothing major wrong with it. Overall an exceptional, still very collectible."

What's chipping?


Come check out the new story line in
The BRILLIANT BELLA
as BELLA meets the legendary GOLEM and finds herself with
"FEET OF CLAY".
Written by Thomas Morrison and drawn by Tiina Birgitta Räisänen.
bovard
Posted: Sunday, June 14, 2009 8:46:37 PM

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I'm not sure what they are referring to as "chips." I don't think they mean "Marvel Chipping" The context in which they are using the term does not exactly make sense to me.


comicscastle
Posted: Sunday, June 14, 2009 9:16:38 PM

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thomas4d4 wrote:
From Comics Price guide.com -

"VERY FINE/NEAR MINT : 9.0
Slightly better condition than VERY FINE +:8.5, but in lesser conditions than the grade above.
VERY FINE+ : 8.5
VERY FINE : 8.0
VERY FINE - : 7.5
A very fine comic book appears to have been read a few times and has been handled with some care.
This one allows for some more defects.

* Some of the above defects along with a small fold or crease in the cover.
* Very few stress marks on spine.
* A few small chips on the cover
* The cover has some slight surface wear but still has its original gloss and there is nothing major wrong with it. Overall an exceptional, still very collectible."

What's chipping?
Best guess would be at the top or bottom of the spine where the edge is sometimes slightly torn in the cutting process. This is most common on thicker books and is a printing defect.



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Whitesun
Posted: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 12:27:46 AM
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I think chipping tends to occur only in the older books. New books tend not to have that defect. It's when small bits flake off, and tend to be nearer the edges or spine, especially with a more sever crease.

Overall, to me, the condition of the comic is pretty subjective, and I tend to go for VF... this way, I don't get too disappointed when I receive the comic. To be honest, the near mint criteria seems to have become more stringent as the years go by
4saken1
Posted: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 2:02:31 PM

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Here's something that I've seen on a few books, and I don't know how to qualify it: When lines are present on the cover as if it has been used as a writing board. I'm not talking excessively, maybe 2 or 3 lines. Are these considered 'scuff marks'? What would the highest allowable grade for this be?

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comicnutz
Posted: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 2:16:21 PM

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4saken1 wrote:
Here's something that I've seen on a few books, and I don't know how to qualify it: When lines are present on the cover as if it has been used as a writing board. I'm not talking excessively, maybe 2 or 3 lines. Are these considered 'scuff marks'? What would the highest allowable grade for this be?

Good question. Do these break color? Or are they more like an indentation in the cover?
Jim
Posted: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 2:20:05 PM

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Comicnutz and I were talking about this just the other day.

I think it really depends on how noticeable the lines are.

If they don't break the color but can be seen without tilting the book into a glare, and the book would be NM otherwise, I see it as no higher than a VF book.

If the indentation is barely noticeable and must be tilted into a glare to see, and the book is otherwise NM, then I see it as being no higher than NM-.

That said, you must also take into consideration other defects and grade accordingly.

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4saken1
Posted: Tuesday, June 16, 2009 3:29:07 PM

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Thanks, guys!

By 'break color', do you mean that they cause a loss of ink, or that they span from one color to the next?

I have an ASM #300, which otherwise would have been a VF/NM, were it not for a noticable indent. Upun tilting it, you can see a couple more. I gave it a VF-, just to be safe.

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For every comic you purchase from our 'Bargain Bin' (those priced $1 or less), another comic purchased over $1 will be $30% off (refunded via PayPal). eg. If you purchase 10 'Bargain Bin' books, then 10 books purchased that are each over $1 will recieve this refund, etc.

Free Shipping

Every domestic order of 25 or more comics gets FREE SHIPPING (Media Mail). Though I can't provide Free Shipping on foreign orders, we do offer a $5 refund on postage for purchases of 25 or more comics to foreign countries or a $10 refund if you buy 50 comics (again, foreign orders only).

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