Updated: August 30, 2010
All "GRADES" are convenient, time-saving, and SUBJECTIVE LABELS used by SELLERS…..INSTEAD of a longer, more DETAILED description of the overall CONDITION of the book.
All “GRADES” have traditional, commonly understood “meanings” that have evolved [slowly] since their beginning in 1970.
All “GRADES” become necessary, during the process of EVALUATING and PRICING, for the purpose of SELLING a book [when the book is NOT available for personal inspection by the potential BUYER….BEFORE the purchase].
All “GRADES” are MEANINGLESS…..until, and UNLESS they are used for the purpose of SELLING a book, and are validated…ONLY when the BUYER and SELLER finally agree on the overall CONDITION of the book.
A “QUALIFIED GRADE” is a way of accurately describing the OVERALL condition of a book while noting a “DEFECT” that is apparent that cannot be present in the “TRADITIONAL” understanding and definition of an “UNQUALIFIED GRADE”.
CONSERVATION: Usually “sealed tear(s)” that are done using “archival” techniques and materials[like “rice paper” OR “archival tape”], and that are reversible without further damage to the book.
REPAIR: Usually “sealed tears” using invasive and NON-REVERSABLE materials ----- like non- archival tape, glue and extra staples.
RESTORATION: Usually chips, or pieces of the paper that are MISSING, and that are RESTORED by filling with archival “rice’ paper and then adding COLOR [usually acrylic paint] to cover the blank white paper fill.
The following is a list of the most significant defects that COULD be present in each of the letter grades.
PR=POOR: Brown paper, large pieces out, heavy stains, many large creases, tape, many large tears.
FR =FAIR: Tan/brown paper, pieces out, many stains, heavy tape, many tears, many large creases.
GD =GOOD: cream/tan paper, small piece out, tears, creases, tape, stains, large creases.
VG =VERY GOOD: cream paper, small chips, small tears, creases, stains.
FN =FINE: cream/off-white paper, very small chip, very small tear, small creases.
VF =VERY FINE: off-white paper, very tiny tear, small creases.
VF/NM =VERY FINE/NEAR MINT: off-white paper, tiny creases.
NM- = NEAR MINT-: very tiny crease.