GRADING DEFINITIONS for COMICS

 

Honestly, in our humble opion, we do not believe in such a grade as Gem Mint. Unless one has the opportunity to slot one into a vacuum sealed bag once the book is out of the printer. Otherwise, the book will somehow suffer some micro damage here and there through handling. The term "grading" is after all determined by man, thus there will be difference in opinions. Thus, it is best you set a grade that is acceptable by yourself and try not to succumb to the number game. It is the Beauty in the Eyes of each Beholder that counts. Really.

 

10.0

Gem Mint (GM)

 

This is an exceptional example of a given book - the best ever seen. The slightest bindery defects and/or printing flaws maybe seen only upon very close inspection. The overall look is "as if it has never been handled or released for purchase." Only the slightest bindery or printing defects are allowed, and these would be imperceptible on first viewing. No bindery tears. Cover is flat with no surface wear. Inks are bright with high reflectivity. Well centered and firmly secured to interior pages. Corners are cut square and sharp. No creases. No dates or stamped markkings allowed. No soiling, stain or other discoloration. Spine is tight & flat. No spine roll or split allowed. Staples must be original, centered and clean with no rust. No staple tears or stress lines. Paper is white, supple and fresh. No hint of acidity in the odor of the newsprint. No interior autograps or owner signatures. Centerfold is firmly secure. No interior tears.

9.9

Mint (MT)

 

Near perfect in every way. Only subtle bindery or printing defects are allowed. ("Subtle" as in nearly invisible, and CGC may not allow it for their 9.9 either.) Cover is flat with no surface wear. Inks are bright with high reflectivity and minimal fading. Corners are cut square and sharp. Small, inconspicuous, lightly penciled, stamped or inked arrival dates are acceptable as long as they are in an unobtrusive location.2 Spine is tight and flat. Staples must be original, generally centered and clean with no rust. Paper is white, supple and fresh.

9.8

Near Mint/ Mint (NM/MT)

 

Nearly perfect in every way with only minor imperfections that keep it from the next higher grade. Only subtle bindery or printing defects are allowed. Cover is flat with no surface wear. Inks are bright with high reflectivity and minimal fading. Corners are cut square and sharp. Small, inconspicuous, lightly penciled, stamped or inked arrival dates are acceptable as long as they are in an unobtrusive location. Spine is tight and flat. Staples must be original, generally centered and clean with no rust. Paper is white, supple and fresh. Only the slightest interior tears are allowed.

9.6

Near Mint+ (NM+)

 

Nearly perfect with a minor additional virtue or virtues that raise it from Near Mint. Only subtle bindery or printing defects are allowed. No bindery tears are allowed, although on Golden Age books bindery tears of up to 1/8" have been noted. Cover is flat with no surface wear. Inks are bright with high reflectivity and a minimum of fading. One corner may be almost imperceptibly blunted, but still almost sharp and cut square. Almost imperceptible indentations are permissible, but no creases, bends, or color breaks. Small, inconspicuous, lightly penciled, stamped or inked arrival dates are acceptable as long as they are in an unobtrusive location. Spine is tight and flat. Staples must be original, generally centered, with only the slightest discoloration. Paper is (no worse than) off-white, supple and fresh. Only the slightest interior tears are allowed

9.5

Near Mint (NM)

 

For a short time back around 2004, Wizard magazine teamed up with CGC to submit small numbers of new comics directly from the printer and delivered to CGC, and they had a special label, and Wizard came up with the 9.5 grade (their only other grades were 9.0 and 10.0). No one cared, and the backlash killed the idea pretty quickly. They should spell out - CGC "Wizard First" 9.5 Near Mint labels. In case you run into one, so now you know why. They are not pirated. :)

9.4

Near Mint (NM)

 

Nearly perfect with only minor imperfections that keep it from the next higher grade. Minor feathering that does not detract from the overall beauty of an otherwise higher grade copy is acceptable for this grade. The overall look is "as if it was just purchased and read once or twice." (If you're careful with handling, there's no way to tell how many times a comic has been read, or if unread, so don't always believe that 'unread' hype.) Subtle bindery/printing defects are allowed. Bindery tears must be less than 1/16" on Silver Age and later books, although on Golden Age books bindery tears of up to 1/4" have been noted. Cover is flat with (almost3) no surface wear. Inks are bright with high reflectivity and a minimum of fading. Generally well centered and firmly secured to interior pages. Corners are cut square and sharp with ever-so-slight blunting permitted. A 1/16" bend is permitted with no color break. No creases. Small, inconspicuous, lightly penciled, stamped or inked arrival dates are acceptable as long as they are in an unobtrusive location. No soiling, staining or other discoloration apart from some slight foxing. Spine is tight and flat. No spine roll or split allowed. Staples are generally centered; may have slight discoloration. No staple tears are allowed; almost no stress lines. No rust migration. In rare cases, a comic was not stapled at the bindery and therefore has a missing staple; this is not considered a defect. Any staple can be replaced on books up to Fine, but only vintage staples can be used on books from Very Fine to Near Mint. Mint books must have original staples. Paper is (no worse than) off-white to cream, supple and fresh. No hint of acidity in the odor of the newsprint. Centerfold is firmly secure. Slight interior tears are allowed.

9.2

Near Mint- (NM-)

 

Nearly perfect with only a minor additional defect or defects that keep it from Near Mint. A limited number of minor bindery/printing defects are allowed. A light, barely noticeable water stain or slight foxing that does not detract from the beauty of the book is acceptable for this grade. Cover is flat with (almost) no surface wear. Inks are bright with only the slightest dimming of reflectivity. Generally well centered and firmly secured to interior pages. Corners are cut square and sharp with ever-so-slight blunting permitted. A 1/16-1/8" bend is permitted with no color break. No creases. Small, inconspicuous, lightly penciled, stamped or inked arrival dates are acceptable as long as they are in an unobtrusive location. No soiling, staining or other discoloration apart from some slight foxing. Spine is tight and flat. No spine roll or split allowed. Staples may show some discoloration. No staple tears are allowed; almost no stress lines. No rust migration. In rare cases, a comic was not stapled at the bindery and therefore has a missing staple; this is not considered a defect. Any staple can be replaced on books up to Fine, but only vintage staples can be used on books from Very Fine to Near Mint. Mint books must have original staples. Paper is (no worse than) off-white to cream, supple and fresh. No hint of acidity in the odor of the newsprint.4 Centerfold is firmly secure. Slight interior tears are allowed.

9.0

Very Fine/ Near Mint (VF/NM)

 

Nearly perfect with outstanding eye appeal. A limited number of bindery/printing defects are allowed. Almost flat cover with almost imperceptible wear. Inks are bright with slightly diminished reflectivity. An 1/8" bend is allowed if color is not broken. Corners are cut square and sharp with ever-so-slight blunting permitted but no creases. Several lightly penciled, stamped or inked arrival dates are acceptable. No obvious soiling, staining or other discoloration except for very minor foxing. Spine is tight and flat. No spine roll or split allowed. Staples may show some discoloration. Only the slightest staple tears are allowed. A very minor accumulation of stress lines may be present if they are nearly imperceptible. No rust migration. In rare cases, a comic was not stapled at the bindery and therefore has a missing staple; this is not considered a defect. Any staple can be replaced on books up to Fine, but only vintage staples can be used on books from Very Fine to Near Mint. Mint books must have original staples. Paper is (no worse than) cream to off-white and supple. No hint of acidity in the odor of the newsprint. Centerfold is firmly secure. Very minor interior tears may be present.