The following sections contain useful reference information.
  • Book Grading
  • Comic Grading


The Independent Online Booksellers Association (IOBA) provides a list of descriptive terms to be used as a guideline to standardise the grading of books for sale.

These IOBA Book Condition Definitions are used to describe both the book and the dust jacket, if applicable. Thus the word “book” may be replaced by “dust jacket” in the following definitions.
[ As New / Fine ]
Without faults or defects.
    [ Near Fine ]
    a book approaching FINE (or AS NEW) but with a couple of very minor defects or faults, which must be noted.
    From here on, there may be a Plus (+) or Minus (-) in a grade, which will mean that it is...
    • above the grade noted but not quite to the next higher grade
    • below the grade noted but not quite to the next lower grade
    For example, a grading notation of Very Good + / Very Good - means the book is better than Very Good and the dust jacket grade is less than Very Good.
    [ Very Good ]
    A book showing some signs of wear.
    • Any defects or faults must be noted
    [ Good ]
    The average used book that is totally complete (as issued) and intact.
    • Any defects or faults must be noted
    [ Fair ]
    A worn book that has complete text pages (including those with maps or plates)
    • May lack endpapers, half-title page, etc
    • Any defects or faults must be noted
    [ Poor / Reading Copy ]
    A book that is sufficiently worn that its only merit is the complete text, which must be legible.
    • Any missing maps or plates must be noted
    • May be soiled, scuffed, stained, or spotted
    • May have loose joints, hinges, pages, etc
    [ Ex-Library ]
    Must always be designated as such no matter what the condition of the book
    • Any defects or faults must be noted
    [ Book Club ]
    Must always be designated as such no matter what the condition of the book
    • Any defects or faults must be noted
    [ Binding Copy ]
    A book in which the text block, including illustrations, is complete but the binding is lacking, or in such poor condition that it is beyond realistic restoration efforts
    • Any defects or faults must be noted
    These are Faults and must always be noted (if they apply)

    Comic GRADING

    M : (MINT)

    [ 10 to 9.9 ]
    This is the best possible existing condition of that comic book. It is an extremely exceptional comic.

    Only very minute printing and bindery defects or the most barely noticeable handling defects present. It is very rare, especially in older vintage comic books, to discover a comic in these grades as they are virtually non-existent.
    • Cover inks are exceptionally bright with high gloss
    • Interior pages must be white in colour and supple to the touch

    NM/M : (Near MINT / Mint)

    [ 9.8 ]
    This is close to mint with few minor defects.
    • Interior pages are almost always off-white/white or better

    NM : (Near MINT)

    [ 9.6+ ]
    This is close to mint with few minor defects. Even though some defects are allowed in 9.6, certain defects, such as tape, are never allowed in this grade range.
    • Slight stress on the spine
    • The staples themselves are generally centred and clean with no discernible rust
    • Maybe some minor colour has chipped or flaked off the cover
    • The cover is flat with no surface wear
    • Inks are bright with high reflectivity and very little fading
    • Square and sharp corners with ever so slight blunting permitted
    • You can tell that this comic has been stored properly and looks almost as new as the day it was printed
    • The smallest amount of creasing
    • All bindery tears are small
    • Only some binding and/or printing defects allowed
    • Cover is fairly well centred and firmly secured to interior pages
    • Paper is supple and like new
    • Spine is tight and flat
    • Unobtrusive date stamps or arrival dates in pencil or ink are acceptable
    • Many pedigree collection comics have a notation on the cover or the interior of the comic and are considered a bonus to collectors as they help prove the provenance of the comic

    NM/NM- : (Near MINT / Near Mint-)

    [ 9.4 to 9.2 ]
    This book is an excellent copy with great eye appeal.
    • It is vibrant with supple pages
    • The spine may have a couple of very small stress lines that break colour
    • Minor creasing
    • The spine is almost completely flat
    • The cover is relatively flat with almost minimal surface wear and the cover inks are generally bright with medium to high reflectivity
    • The staples may show some discoloration, but it's not too noticeable on first glance
    • The inside pages and covers usually will be off-white/white, but can be cream/off-white with the absence of other defects

    VF/NM- : (VERY FINE / Near Mint)

    [ 9.0 to 7.5 ]
    • (9.0) VERY FINE / NEARMINT+
    • (8.5) VERY FINE+
    • (8.0) VERY FINE
    • (7.5) VERY FINE-
    A VERY FINE comic book appears to have been read a few times and has been handled with care. These grades allow for some more defects than higher grades. Overall, this is an above average copy and still very collectible.
    • It can have some of the above defects along with a fold or crease in the cover that breaks colour
    • Some stress marks on spine
    • A few small chips on the cover
    • The cover has some slight surface wear but still has much of its original gloss and there is nothing major wrong with it
    • Sun shadows, dust shadows and tanning can be darker and have more of a visual impact than those in higher grades

    FN : (FINE)

    [ 7.0 to 5.5 ]
    • (7.0) FINE / VERY FINE
    • (6.5) FINE+
    • (6.0) FINE
    • (5.5) FINE-
    This comic is definitely a read copy with handling wear, but can still be a very desirable copy.
    • This could have one major defect like a larger piece out of the cover, a long tear or a detached centrefold
    • It has stress lines on the spine and creases from the opening and closing of the cover
    • This could have a light reading or subscription crease or a rolled spine, but is not damaged enough to reduce eye appeal dramatically
    • Some cover discoloration, fading in colours and writing/soiling is allowed
    • The cover and/or inside pages could have some tears and/or folds
    • With the absence of many other defects, the cover can be detached from one staple, but cover cannot be completely detached from interior
    • Books with slightly brittle pages cannot grade higher than 6.5 and generally are even lower in grade
    • Pages and inside covers could be brownish but not brittle
    • Depending on the look of the comic, very small amounts of tape could be acceptable in this grade

    VG : (Very Good)

    [ 5.0 to 3.5 ]
    • (5.0) VERY GOOD / FINE
    • (4.5) VERY GOOD+
    • (4.0) VERY GOOD
    • (3.5) VERY GOOD-
    These books are complete, but can have major creases and a spine roll.
    • Cover gloss can be very low or sometimes no gloss at all
    • The inside paper quality can be low and small pieces of the pages may be missing
    • Books with brittle pages cannot grade higher than 3.5 and generally are even lower in grade
    • Books in this grade are almost always creased, scuffed, abraded and soiled, but readable
    • A larger amount of tape is also allowed in this grade

    G : (Good)

    [ 3.0 to 1.8 ]
    • (3.0) GOOD / VERY GOOD
    • (2.5) GOOD+
    • (2.0) GOOD
    • (1.8) GOOD-
    Good is really a misnomer, but it identifies a comic that is still readable with numerous defects.
    • It includes all the defects of a VG comic with more significant wear
    • The inside paper quality might not be good and pieces of the pages may be missing
    • Books in this grade are almost always creased, scuffed, abraded and soiled, but readable
    • Large pieces can be missing from the cover
    • Long or many spine splits are possible
    • The cover and pages may be detached but not missing and it is still in a "collectible" grade
    • A significant amount of tape may have been applied to cover and pages
    • Book may be fragile

    FA : (FAIR)

    [ 1.5 to 1.0 ]
    • (1.5) FAIR / GOOD
    • (1.0) FAIR
    This book has seen much better days and tends to be heavily worn and tattered.
    • A copy of a comic in this grade has all pages and most of the covers
    • A book in this condition is worn, ragged and unattractive
    • Heavy creases and folds are prevalent
    • Paper quality can be very low
    • The spine and/or cover may be completely split
    • Staples may be missing
    • Coupons may be cut from cover and/or inside pages; Panels can be clipped out
    • Parts of the front cover may be missing
    • Soiling, staining, tears, markings or chunks missing will interfere with reading
    • Brittleness may be a factor
    • Extensive amounts of tape are acceptable on the comic in these grades

    P : (POOR)

    [ 0.5 ]
    It has major defects to the point that there is almost no collector value.
    • Copies in this grade typically will have missing pages and/or the front cover or back cover may be missing
    • They may have severe strains or heavy cover abrasions to the point where cover inks are gone
    • There may be heavy defacing with paints, varnishes, glues, oil, indelible markers or dyes, etc
    • The inside pages can have extreme brittleness

    I : (Incomplete)

    [ 0.3 to 0.1 ]
    • (0.3) COVERLESS (but complete) / COVERS (Back & Front without interiors)
    • (0.1) COVERLESS (incomplete interiors) / Back or Front Cover only (no interiors) / WRAPS (or Single Pages)
    These designations are only used for the purpose of authentication. Numerous collectors and comic fans will purchase coverless comics to either read or to obtain a filler copy of a book for their collection.
    • Books that are coverless, but are otherwise complete, will receive a grade of 0.3 - as will covers missing their interiors
    • Coverless copies that have incomplete interiors, wraps or single pages will receive a grade of 0.1 - as will just front covers or just back covers
    • Copies in this designation typically will in most cases be beyond collectability to the majority of the hobby
    • Rare key comics and incomplete pages i.e. centrefolds are considered to be valuable by the collecting community for either restoration purposes or for individuals who just wish to own a piece of comic history