Grading Guidelines

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Grading Standards - Magazines

These are my grading standards and refer to any and all magazines being sold. These standards are modified, but basically, the same as the ones found in the Bramble guide for Playboy magazines. They refer to complete magazines. These are the standards I go by, but there are still going to be differing interpretations.

PLEASE NOTE: If a magazine has serious defects like pages missing, ads cut out, writing on pages or covers, they will be noted. I try to buy and sell the best possible quality magazines I can find, but sometimes a few that I buy have problems and I make every attempt to inspect and inform potential purchasers of problems.

1.1 - MINT - A magazine that is in "MINT" condition should be in about the same condition today as it was the day it went on sale. It must be new, with it's original gloss and lustre, with absolutely NO signs of ever having been read. A magazine straight off the newsstand will not always be in "mint" condition. I will almost never refer to any of my mags. being in this condition.
2.2 - NRMT (Near Mint)- An almost perfect copy. There is slight evidence of use and abuse on the newsstand or in the mail. Such a copy may or may not have been read, but carelessly handled initially. This could result in small nicks, corner dings, and other small defects, due to careless handling. This could also include some small thumbing dimples on the cover. This is the highest grade I will probably give to any magazine.
3.3 - VF (Very Fine) - Noticeable, though minor defects, such as loss of lustre, areas of rubbing, a single vertical crease from "fold back" of a portion of the cover, a chipped or peeled spot, a small tear on cover or an inside page, or minor chafing along the spine. This might include thumbing dimples on the covers. This could also include magazines with mailing labels.
4.4 - FINE - A copy which has been read over a period of time, but with care in an attempt to preserve it in excellent condition. The cover shows definite wear, but is still intact. Ther are the tell-tale signs of use but none greatly outstanding. There are no MAJOR tears or peels, no taping, and the copy is clean inside and out. This might include such things as: a few small thumbing dimples on the cover, a price sticker or evidence of one having been present at one time, small pen markings on the cover, and small surface scratches and dings.
5.5 - VG (Very Good) - An Ordinarily read copy with no consideration to collecting. It received normal handling resulting in considerable loss of lustre; faded covers or considerable rubbing; dog-eared edges on cover and some pages; a slight tear, creasing or chafing here and there, and especially along the spine; quite a few thumbing dimples on cover and other surface damages from handling, storage, etc..
6.6 - GOOD - These copies have been read extensively and handled carelessly, and they show all the signs of their treatment - Mutilated, heavy rubbing, faded covers, dirty covers, chafing, peeling, ripped and chafed along spine, heavy thumbing creases resulting in the white of the paper to show through, dirty or torn pages on the inside, water or moisture damage, heavy surface scuffing and scratching.

Grading Standards and Sizes For Books

Note: The following definitions reflect an idealized standard. Any particular bookseller may, in fact, have slightly different definitions of the terms below. These definitions are therefore offered as a general guide, rather than a definitive statement.


Condition of a book is usually in the form of VG/VG or VG/--, for example. The first part describes the condition of the book, the second indicates the condition of the dust jacket. A "/--" usually means that the dust jacket is not available.

    As New
    To be used only when the book is in the same immaculate condition in which it was published. There can be no defects, no missing pages, no library stamps, and so on, and the dust jacket (if it was issued with one) must be perfect, without any tears.

    Fine (F or FN)
    Approaches the condition of As New, but without being crisp. For the use of the term "Fine," there must also be no defects, and if the jacket has a small tear or other defect, or looks worn, this should be noted.

    Very Good (VG)
    Describes a book that does show some small signs of wear -- but no tears -- on either binding or paper. Any defects must be noted.

    Good (G)
    Describes the average used worn book that has all pages or leaves present. Any defects must be noted.

    Worn book that has complete text pages (including those with maps or plates) but may lack endpapers, half-title, et cetera (which must be noted). Binding, jacket (if any), et cetera may also be worn. All defects must be noted.

    Describes a book that is so worn that its only merit is as a reading copy, because it does have the complete text, which must be legible. Any missing maps or plates should still be noted. This copy may be soiled, scuffed, stained, or spotted and may have loose joints, hinges, pages, and so on. These terms may be arbitrary, but whatever terms are employed, they may be useless or misleading unless both buyer and seller agree on what they mean in actually describing the book.

    • 4to (Quarto): A book that is up to 12" tall.
    • 8vo (Octavo): A book that is up to 9 3/4" tall.
    • 12mo (Duodecimo): A book that is up to 7 3/4" tall.
    • 16mo (Sextodecimo): A book that is up to 6 3/4" tall.
    • 24mo: A book that is up to 5 3/4" tall.
    • 32mo: A book that is up to 5" tall.
    • 48mo: A book that is up to 4" tall.
    • 64mo: A book that is up to 3" tall.
    • Folio: A book that is up to 15" tall.
    • Elephant Folio: A book that is up to 23" tall.
    • Atlas Folio: A book that is up to 25" tall.
    • Double Elephant Folio: A book that is up to 50" tall.


    Near Mint (NM or M-): A nearly perfect record. Many dealers won't give a grade higher than this, implying (perhaps correctly) that no record is ever truly perfect. The record should show no obvious signs of wear. A 45 RPM or EP sleeve should have no more than the most minor defects, such as almost invisible ring wear or other signs of slight handling. An LP jacket should have no creases, folds, seam splits or any other noticeable similar defect. No cut-out holes, either. And of course, the same should be true of any other inserts, such as posters, lyric sleeves and the like. Basically, an LP in Near Mint condition looks as if you just got it home from a new record store and removed the shrink wrap.

    Very Good Plus (VG+): A Very Good Plus record will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it. Record surfaces may show some slight signs of wear and may have slight scuffs or very light scratches that don't affect one's listening experience. Slight warps that do not affect the sound are OK. The label may have some ring wear or discoloration, but it should be barely noticeable. The center hole will not have been misshapen by repeated play. Picture sleeves and LP inner sleeves will have some slight ring wear, lightly turned-up corners, or a slight seam split. An LP jacket may have slight signs of wear also and may be marred by a cut-out hole, indentation or corner indicating it was taken out of print and sold at a discount. In general, if not for a couple minor things wrong with it, this would be Near Mint. All but the most mint-crazy collectors will find a Very Good Plus record highly acceptable. A synonym used by some collectors and dealers for "Very Good Plus" is "Excellent."

    Very Good (VG): Many of the defects found in a VG+ record will be more pronounced in a VG disc. Surface noise will be evident upon playing, especially in soft passages and during a song's intro and fade, but will not overpower the music otherwise. Groove wear will start to be noticeable, as will light scratches (deep enough to feel with a fingernail) that will affect the sound. Labels may be marred by writing, or have tape or stickers (or their residue) attached. The same will be true of picture sleeves or LP covers. However, it will not have all these problems at the same time, only two or three of them.

    Good (G), Good Plus (G+): Good does not mean Bad! A record in Good or Good Plus condition can be put onto a turntable and will play through without skipping. But it will have significant surface noise and scratches and visible groove wear (on a styrene record, the groove will be starting to turn white). A jacket or sleeve will have seam splits, especially at the bottom or on the spine. Tape, writing, ring wear or other defects will start to overwhelm the object. If it's a common item, you'll probably find another copy in better shape eventually. Pass it up. but if it's something you have been seeking for years, and the price is right, get it... but keep looking to upgrade.