I use the following grades for all of my listed items except Playboy magazines which I grade to PCA (Playboy Club of America) standards—those are stricter. I have been buying and occasionally selling for over 60 years as a reader—collector, not a dealer.  Everyone’s grading is subjective and varies from person to person, but I try my best to be accurate across the wide spectrum of items offered.  Note: none of my comic items are CGC graded (their typical charge $20 per item, so not practical).

I use the following traditional grading classifications: Poor, Fair, Good, Very Good, Fine, Very Fine, Near Mint, as noted below:


Poor: major damage to the item but still o.k. for its intended purpose of a reading copy (rc). Poor Brittle is the lowest subgrade, but still readable with extreme care   (generally only applicable on a frequent basis to pulp paper magazines whose paper is chipping).


++Fair: Heavy handling…often significant number of major defects such as major spine roll, loose pages, uneven signature sets, page edge tears, interior page and front cover markings, major creases, multiple wrinkles, dog-eared pages, loose binding, water stains and/or moisture intrusion, clipped corner, store stamps, pin holes, sticker removal marks, old stickers, ad page or coupon missing, story or article text missing, insect/rodent damage, etc.  Looks like a collector or serious reader/collector has not been an owner, if at all, until too late in item’s life cycle. Some of these are close to a reading copy.


++Good: “Average” usage:  Several significant defects such as quite a loss of cover gloss, several medium wrinkles and or minor creases on covers, occasional dog-eared page, slight spine roll (lean), reader’s crease (hinge) at spine, loss of some enamel/coating at spine (especially silverish type on Pocket Books), minor ink or pencil marks on front cover/front end page/table of contents, etc..


++Very Good: some degree of care, often considerable, has been taken in reading/ storing the item for possible re-use. Several moderate examples of several above defects, but a copy I consider o.k. for extensive reading and low-end collecting.


++Fine: A nice copy for general reader/collector.  Definite attention has been paid to the care of the item, although it will still probably possess several minor defects.


++Very Fine: A desirable items with most or all cover gloss showing…with no major defects and only fairly insignificant number of minor defects.  From a standpoint of condition quite collectible.


++Near Mint: Close to “like new” condition.  Superficially appears to just have arrived at newsstand/book store.  Should have all cover gloss and only insignificant minor signs of not being newly arrived at newsstand (without binder stress marks often on magazines bound by printer for shipment to newsstand or newsstand damage).  For all practical purposes the same as “Mint-” or “As New” or “Like New”.  On my books graded “NM-“ often the dj will have some slight rubs/scuffs while the book itself is in NM or better condition.  Some NM minus hardcover books will have a remainder (or other) mark on rear dj barcode or edges of pages visible only book stood on end.  For practical purposes a grade of New or Mint for an item of any significant age usually indicates lack of attention to item by grader unless the item had only one owner who carefully stored it away under ideal storage conditions.


Notes on Conditions used on individual items on my lists:


++1:  Age should be considered by a buyer when noting a books grade….a 1952 book graded as “Fine” will not be in the same condition as a 2010 book graded as “Fine”…simply because of the aging of the paper.  Only substantial (not normal) examples of aging (browning) are specifically called out on my lists.


+++2:  Quite a few books on my mystery, etc.  lists are ex-lib(ex-library) books….often with USA ones in excellent shape with plastic exterior portion of Brodart cover and attached stickers carefully removed.  Externally they are not identifiable as ex-lib; they will, however, still have a few internal page stamps (normal) and Brodart liner as well as card envelopes (very, very few).  These books are graded in same way as non-ex-library items; in other words an item showing an * and word…”ex-lib” and, for example, noted as VG* means the book is in “Very Good condition FOR an ex-library book”.  ALL ex-library books are identified as such.  UK ex-library books I have are on average lesser condition compared to “nice” US ex-library listed by me….But..the UK books have sewn-in signature page sections, not glued—one of the notable defects in often-read US books.


++++3:  Many items are condition-described as “*except for”.  This allows prospective buyer to know specific condition and decide whether book/magazine is of interest.  I prefer this method to giving an overall grade to a book in excellent condition except for 1 defect that would otherwise mislead most collectors to desirability of item.


++++4:  I have tried to be very detailed in noting all noticeable defects, many of which may not be noted by other sellers—especially on internet vendors.  Every page of every item I sell has been read or in case of a few titles/issues eye-scanned in leaf-thru viewing (R. Digest, and list”A” items—read by wife).