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Comic Book Grading & Values

Comics Etc's comic book grading standards are heavily influenced by the Overstreet standard ONE (Overstreet Numerical Equivalency) grading system, which is universally recognized by comic book dealers/retailers and other authorities for the grading process. Below are the Comics Etc grading standards used when grading the comic books that are listed on our site. We are confident that our grading system best serves the needs of the comic book readers and collectors who rely on us to determine the most appropriate values and prices of our comic books.

Rarely comic books are returned to us due to grading problems, but should you receive a comic book that you believe is not properly graded, please contact us and report the problem. We will gladly work out a solution that meets your needs and concerns. Please note that unauthorized returns are returned at the sender's own expense.


Condition

There are 14 basic conditions that a comic book could fall under: mint, near mint/mint, near mint, very fine/near mint, very fine, fine/very fine, fine, very good/fine, very good, good/very good, good, fair/good, fair, and poor.

Mint (MT) (9.9 to 10.0)

Nearly perfect in every way. Only the subtlest bindery or printing defects are allowed. Cover is flat with no surface wear. Cover inks are bright with high reflectivity and minimal fading. Corners are cut square and sharp. Staples are generally centered, clean with no rust. Cover is generally well centered and firmly secured to interior pages. Paper is supple and fresh. Spine is tight and flat.


Near Mint/Mint (NM/MT) (9.8)

A comic book that has enough positive qualities to make it better than a Near Mint+ comic book, but has enough detracting qualities to keep it from being a Mint 9.9 comic book. In most cases, the comic book has a better appearance than a copy that has earned a Near Mint+ grade.


Near Mint (NM) (9.2 to 9.7)

Nearly perfect with only minor imperfections allowed. A comic book with this grade should have no corner or impact creases, nearly invisible stress marks (if any), and no bindery tears larger than 1/16 of an inch. A couple of very tiny color flecks - or a combination of the above - keeps the comic book from being perfect, making its overall eye appeal less than Mint and dropping it into this grade. Only the most subtle binding and/or printing defects are allowed. Cover is flat with no surface wear. Cover inks are bright with high reflectivity and minimum of fading. Corners are cut square and sharp with ever-so-slight blunting permitted. Staples are generally centered, and are clean with no rust. Cover is centered and firmly secured to interior pages. Paper is supple and like new. Spine is tight and flat.


Very Fine/Near Mint (VF/NM) (9.0)

A comic book that has enough positive qualities to make it better than a Very Fine+ comic book, but has enough detracting qualities to keep it from being a Near Mint- comic book. In most cases, the comic book has a better appearance than a copy that has earned a Very Fine+ grade.


Very Fine (VF) (7.5 to 8.5)

A comic book graded Very Fine is an excellent copy with outstanding eye appeal. Sharp, bright, and clean with supple pages. Cover is relatively flat with almost no surface wear. Cover inks are generally bright with moderate to high reflectivity. Staples may show some discoloration. Spine may have a couple of almost insignificant transverse stress lines and is almost completely flat. A barely unnoticeable quarter of an inch crease is acceptable, if color is not broken. Pages and covers can be yellowish/tannish (but not brown), although most comic books of this grade have a paper color of off-white to white.


Fine/Very Fine (FN/VF) (7.0)

A comic book that has enough positive qualities to make it better than a Fine+ comic book, but has enough detracting qualities to keep it from being a Very Fine- comic book. In most cases, the comic book has a better appearance than a copy that has earned a Fine+ grade.


Fine (FN) (5.5 to 6.5)

A comic book in Fine condition is an above-average copy that shows minor wear but is still relatively flat and clean with no significant creasing or other serious defects. Eye appeal is somewhat reduced because of slight surface wear to the comic book. The comic book may have a small defect such as a few slight cross stress marks on its spine, or a very slight spine split (quarter of an inch). A comic book in Fine condition appears to have been read a few times, and has been handled with moderate care. Compared to a Very Fine copy, a Fine-graded comic book's cover inks are beginning to show a significant reduction in reflectivity, but it is still a highly collectible and desirable comic book. Its pages and interior covers may be tan, but they must still be fairly supple with no signs of brittleness.


Very Good/Fine (VG/FN) (5.0)

A comic book that has enough positive qualities to make it better than a Very Good+ comic book, but has enough detracting qualities to keep it from being a Fine- comic book. In most cases, the comic book has a better appearance than a copy that has earned a Very Good+ grade.


Very Good (VG) (3.5 to 4.5)

The average used comic book. A comic book in this grade shows some wear and can have a reading or center crease, as well as a moderately rolled spine, but has not accumulated enough total defects to reduce eye appeal to the point that it is no longer a desirable copy. Some discoloration, fading, and even minor soiling is allowed. As much as a quarter-inch triangle can be missing out of the corner or edge. A missing square piece (1/8" by 1/8") is also acceptable. Store stamps, name stamps, arrival dates, initials, etc. have no effect on this grade. Cover and interior pages can have some minor tears and folds, and the centerfold may be detached at one staple. The cover may also be loose, but not completely detached. Common bindery and printing defects do not affect the grade. Pages and inside covers may be brown but not brittle. Tape should never be used for comic book repair; however, many Very Good- condition comic books have minor tape repair.


Good/Very Good (GD/VG) (3.0)

A comic book that has enough positive qualities to make it better than a Good+ comic book, but has enough detracting qualities to keep it from being a Very Good- comic book. In most cases, the comic book has a better appearance than a copy that has earned a Good+ grade.


Good (GD) (1.8 to 2.5)

A comic book in this grade has all pages and covers, although there may be small pieces missing inside; the largest piece allowed from front or back cover is a half-inch triangle or a quarter-inch square. Comic books in this grade are commonly creased, scuffed, abraded, soiled, and may have as much as a two-inch split on the spine, but are still completely readable. Often, the paper quality for a Good-graded comic book is low but not brittle. Cover reflectivity is low, and in some cases, completely absent. This grade can have a moderate accumulation of defects but still maintains its basic structural integrity.


Fair/Good (FR/GD) (1.5)

A comic book that has enough positive qualities to make it better than a Fair+ comic book, but has enough detracting qualities to keep it from being a Good- comic book. In most cases, the comic book has a better appearance than a copy that has earned a Fair+ grade.


Fair (FR) (1.0)

A comic book in this grade is usually soiled, ragged, and possibly unattractive. Creases, tears and/or folds are prevalent in a comic book of this grade. Spine may be split up to two-thirds of its entire length. Staples may be gone. Up to one-tenth of the front cover may be missing. These comic books are readable, although soiling, staining, tears, markings, or chunks of pages missing may moderately interfere with a collector's ability to read the entire story. Some collectors consider this the lowest collectible grade because comic books in lesser condition are usually defaced and/or brittle. Very often, the paper quality of a Fair-graded comic book is low and may have slight brittleness around the edges but not in the central portions of the pages. Comic books in this grade may have a clipped coupon, so long as it is noted alongside of the nomenclature; i.e.: "Fair (1.0) Coupon Clipped." Valued at 50% to 70% of a Good-graded comic book.


Poor (PR) (0.5)

Most comic books in this grade have been sufficiently degraded to the point that copies may have extremely severe stains, missing staples, brittleness, mildew, and/or moderate to heavy cover abrasions to the point that some cover inks are indistinct, if not absent. Comic books in this grade can have small chunks missing and pieces out of pages. They may have been defaced with paints, varnishes, glues, oil, indelible markers or dyes. Covers may be split the entire length of the book, but both halves must be present with only some chunks of it missing. A page or pages may be missing as long as it is noted along side of the nomenclature; i.e.: "Poor (0.5) Second Page Missing." Value depends on extent of defects, but would average about one-third of a Good-graded comic book.



Other Factors

It's important to remember that the condition is just one contributing factor to the overall value of a comic book. There are others:

  • Rarity is how unusual or how easily replaced the comic book might be. You will be less inclined to part with a rare comic book easily, and rarity increases value.

  • Singularity is whether the seller has more than one copy. If it's your only copy of a particular comic book, you might be less inclined to part with it easily.

  • Contribution addresses how the comic book fits into a collection. For example, do you have a full run of the title, or is this a Donald Duck book in a sea of Avengers? A comic book that is part of a run of comics makes a bigger contribution to the whole collection.

  • Sentiment is that intangible quality that links you to your comic books and comes from your love of the artform. Sentiment is never an issue for comic book speculators, only for comic book collectors, or for people who have inherited comic books from a loved one.

  • Marketability looks at the potential buyers available for your comic books. The Internet has changed many of the rules that dictate your market. Online auctions, e-classifieds, and other potential sales sites mean that your comic books have a much better chance of finding a buyer today than ever before.