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  • Grading

Grading Definitions

Our grading standards are heavily influenced by the Overstreet standards, the most widely recognized grading standards in the comics industry.

Very few comics are returned to us due to grading, but should you receive a comic that you believe is not properly graded, please contact us at customerservice@mycomcshop.com or call us at (817) 860-7827 (Monday through Friday 9AM to 6PM Central Time). 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.

When reviewing the possible defects a comic may have for the purpose of grading, please keep in mind that while a single defect may not reduce a comic's grade, that defect if repeated and/or combined with other accumulated defects, may push the grade down by one or more grades.

MINT (MT, Overstreet 100-98)

Near perfect in every way. Only the most subtle 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 and clean with no rust. Cover is generally centered and firmly secured to interior pages. Paper is supple and fresh. Spine it tight and flat.

NEAR MINT (NM, Overstreet 97-90)

A nearly perfect copy with only minor imperfection allowed. A comic falls into this condition range if it meets all the following standards:

  • Browning of Paper: No browning is acceptable except for older comics--generally those with cover prices 20c or older. Even then, only a modest color change is acceptable.
  • Centerfold: Must be fully and properly attached to staples.
  • Corner Bends : Only if hardly noticeable.
  • Cover Detached at Top or Bottom Staple: Reduces an otherwise NM copy to FN.
  • Cover Scuff Marks: Must be very, very limited and hardly noticeable.
  • Distributor's Date Notation: A distributor's date stamp or a date written in pencil or ink, if it is unobtrusive and does not not significantly detract from the over all attractiveness of the comic, is acceptable and is in fact valued by many collectors (as do we) who view distributor date notations as an interesting part of the comic's history. Date stamps typically are found on pre-1980's comics.
  • Fingerprints: If they can be seen, condition drops to Fine or Very Good.
  • Off-Center Printing: Acceptable if only to a minor degree.
  • Pieces Missing: No pieces missing except for tips of pages nicked during the production process. Note that we include "Marvel chipping" under this definition, a phenomenon well known to the collectors of early 1960's Marvel comics.
  • Rolled Spine: None.
  • Rubber Stamp Imprints: None on cover or inside.
  • Spine Stress Marks: Only is very minor/hardly noticeable and very few.
  • Staples: Must be tight, clean, and centered with no rust.
  • Subscription Crease/Fold: None.
  • Tape: None of any type.
  • Tears: None.
  • Water Stains: None.
  • Writing: No writing except for autographs and distributor date notations.

VERY FINE (VF, Overstreet 89-75)

An exceptional copy with outstanding eye appeal. Sharp, bright and clean with supple pages. Pages and covers can be yellowish/tannish (at the most), but not brown, and will often be off white to white. Light spine wear is acceptable. A comic falls into this condition range if it meets all the following standards:

  • Browning of Paper: No browning is acceptable except for older comics--generally those with cover prices 20c or older. Even then, only a modest color change is acceptable.
  • Centerfold: Must be fully and properly attached to staples.
  • Corner Bends: Slightly noticeable allowed.
  • Cover Detached at Top or Bottom Staple: Reduces an otherwise VF copy to VG.
  • Distributor's Date Notation: A distributor's date stamp or a date written in pencil or ink, if it is unobtrusive and does not not significantly detract from the overall attractiveness of the comic, is acceptable and is in fact valued by many collectors (as do we) who view distributor date notations as an interesting part of the comic's history. NOTE: Date stamps typically are found on pre-1980's comics.
  • Cover Scuff Marks: Only allowed if very limited and hardly noticeable.
  • Fingerprints: If they can be seen, condition drops to Fine or Very Good.
  • Off-Center Printing: Acceptable if only to a minor degree.
  • Pieces Missing: No pieces missing except for tips of pages nicked during the production process. Note that we include "Marvel chipping" under this definition, a phenomenon well known to the collectors of early 1960's Marvel comics.
  • Rolled Spine: None.
  • Rubber Stamp Imprints: None on cover or inside.
  • Spine Stress Marks: Slightly noticeable allowed.
  • Staples: May be a bit loose, but must be clean, centered with no rust.
  • Subscription Crease/Fold: None.
  • Tape: None of any type.
  • Tears: None
  • Water Stains: None.
  • Writing: No writing except for autographs. Very minor pencil note on interior OK such as a seller's old pricing.

FINE (FN, Overstreet 74-55)

An exceptional, above average copy that show minor wear but still is relatively flat, clean and glossy with no subscription crease or brown margins. Typical defects include: light spine wear, minor surface wear, a light crease, minor yellowing/tanning to interior pages. Compared to a VF, cover inks are beginning to show a significant reduction in reflectivity, but the comic remains highly collectible and desirable. A comic falls into this condition range if it meets all the following standards:

  • Browning of Paper: Very slight browning is acceptable, but there can be no brittleness in paper.
  • Centerfold: May be loose or detached at one staple if comic is otherwise VF or better. An otherwise FN copy with a centerfold loose or detached at one staple drops to VG.
  • Corner Bends: Minor noticeable bends allowed.
  • Cover Detached at Top or Bottom Staple: Reduces an otherwise FN copy to VG.
  • Cover Scuff Marks: Light scuffing is allowed, but must be minor. You'll see this defect more often on comics with dark covers.
  • Distributor's Date Notation: A distributor's date stamp or a date written in pencil or ink, if it is unobtrusive and does not not significantly detract from the over all attractiveness of the comic, is acceptable and is in fact valued by many collectors (as do we) who view distributor date notations as an interesting part of the comic's history. NOTE: Date stamps typically are found on pre-1980's comics.
  • Fingerprints: There can be fingerprints, but if excessive or distracting (ugly), they drop the grade to Very Good.
  • Off-Center Printing: Slight deviance is acceptable.
  • Pieces Missing: No pieces missing except for tips of pages nicked during the production process. Note that we include "Marvel chipping" under this definition, a phenomenon well known to the collectors of early 1960's Marvel comics.
  • Rolled Spine: None.
  • Rubber Stamp Imprints: None on cover or inside.
  • Spine Stress Marks: Minor noticeable stress marks allowed.
  • Staples: May be a bit loose, but must be clean, centered with no rust.
  • Subscription Crease/Fold: A crease (color break) is not acceptable. A fold is acceptable if there is no color break, the fold has all but disappeared, and is otherwise VF-NM.
  • Tape: None of any type.
  • Tears: None
  • Water Stains: None.
  • Writing: No writing except for autographs on cover. Very minor pencil note on interior OK such as a seller's old pricing.

VERY GOOD (VG, Overstreet 54-35)

Generally, this condition represents the average used comic book, one that has not been taken care of. These comics show moderate wear but eye appeal has not been reduced to the point that the comic ceases to be collectible. One or two minor markings on the cover or minor spine roll are allowed. These comics may be lightly creased along the spine or other edges, or have a minor piece or pieces missing. A comic falls into this condition range if it meets all the following standards:

  • Browning of Paper: Browning is acceptable, but there can be no brittleness in paper.
  • Centerfold: May be loose or detached at one staple.
  • Corner Bends: Allowed if not excessive.
  • Cover Detached at Top or Bottom Staple: Reduces an otherwise VG copy to GD.
  • Cover Scuff Marks: Must be minor.
  • Distributor's Date Notation: Allowed.
  • Fingerprints: There can be fingerprints.
  • Folds: The cover may have some folds, but the comic must not have been bent in half.
  • Off-Center Printing: Allowed.
  • Pieces Missing: No pieces missing except for tips of pages nicked during the production process. Note that we include "Marvel chipping" under this definition, a phenomenon well known to the collectors of early 1960's Marvel comics.
  • Rolled Spine: Only if very minor.
  • Rubber Stamp Imprints: None on cover except distributor date stamps. Name and store stamp are allowed on back cover if done in reasonably neat way.
  • Spine Stress Marks: Always allowed and can be very evident.
  • Staples: Clean, centered with no rust, but may be loose, but still must be joined to all pages. No tearing at staples acceptable.
  • Subscription Crease/Fold: A fold or light crease is acceptable if the comic is flat and would otherwise grade FN or better.
  • Tape: None of any type.
  • Tears: Several minor tears or one major tear up to an inch in length.
  • Water Stains: Water stain allowed only if barely noticeable. Area affected must be as smooth and flat as rest of comic.
  • Writing: Minor marking on cover acceptable if copy is otherwise FN or better. No marker writing allowed.

GOOD (GD, Overstreet 34-15)

Comics in this condition have all pages and covers, although there may be small rips or tears. These still very readable copies are commonly creased, scuffed, abraded, and soiled. Paper quality is low, but not brittle. A comic falls into this condition range if it meets all the following standards:

  • Browning of Paper: Browning is allowed, but paper may be only slightly brittle.
  • Corner Bends: Allowed and fairly to very evident.
  • Centerfold: May be loose or detached at one or both staples.
  • Cover Detached at Top or Bottom Staple: Allowed.
  • Cover Scuff Marks: Allowed.
  • Distributor's Date Notation: Allowed.
  • Fingerprints: There can be fingerprints.
  • Folds: Allowed.
  • Off-Center Printing: Allowed.
  • Pieces Missing: May have a postage stamp-sized piece missing from cover and/or interior piece missing of same size. This does not apply to insert coupons (not a part of the regular comic) that were intended for the redemption of a free comic or other publisher offer. These may be missing altogether.
  • Rolled Spine: Allowed.
  • Rubber Stamp Imprints: Allowed on covers and interior if not excessive.
  • Spine Stress Marks: Spine can have some tears, usually occurring around the staples. These tears must be less than 1/4 inch.
  • Staples: Staples may be loose and may show some rust.
  • Subscription Crease/Fold: A fold or crease is acceptable.
  • Tape: Only if a very small piece or two. Must be clear tape.
  • Tears: Extensive tear acceptable, or several that together equal a major tear.
  • Water Stains: Acceptable if not excessive and comic remains smooth.
  • Writing: Most writing acceptable, even on cover, but not if excessive (Magic Marker, for example), or otherwise distracting from story readability.

FAIR (FR, Overstreet 14-5)

Comics in this condition are very heavily read and soiled, but still complete. Damaged beyond collectible for many collectors but not all, fair comics typically bring 30 to 50 percent of the good price, but can command more where better condition copies are not available at affordable prices. A comic falls into this condition range if it meets all the following standards:

  • Browning of Paper: May be both brown and brittle.
  • Centerfold: May be loose or detached at one or both staples.
  • Cover Detached at Top, Bottom or Both Staples: Allowed.
  • Cover Scuff Marks: Allowed
  • Corner Bends: Can be very obvious.
  • Distributor's Date Notation: Allowed.
  • Fingerprints: There can be fingerprints.
  • Folds: Allowed.
  • Off-Center Printing: Allowed.
  • Page Missing: All pages present although a coupon or small part of a page may be missing.
  • Pieces Missing: Pieces of cover and even interior, including a coupon, may be missing so long as story remains readable.
  • Rubber Stamp Imprints: Allowed on covers and interior if not excessive.
  • Spine Stress Marks: Spine can have some tears, usually occurring around the staples. These tears must be less than one inch.
  • Staples: Staples may be loose and may have rust.
  • Tears: Very extensive tear acceptable, or multiple tears that together equal one or two major tear.
  • Subscription Crease/Fold: A fold or crease is acceptable.
  • Tape: May be taped if not excessive or tape type inherently inappropriate such as masking tape or duct tape.
  • Water Stains: Acceptable and there may be some warping/wrinkling.
  • Writing: Most writing acceptable, even on cover, but not if excessive (Magic Marker, for example), or otherwise distracting from story readability.

POOR (PR, Overstreet 4-1)

Comics in this condition have an aggregate of defects so extensive as to render them all but uncollectible in most cases. Poor comics are often severely stained, abraded, defaced, or otherwise damaged, and may in rare cases have a page or centerfold missing. Even a poor copy, however, can be sought by readers and even collectors when better condition copies are not available at affordable prices. A comic falls into this condition range if it meets all the following standards:

  • Browning of Paper: May be both brown and/or brittle.
  • Centerfold: May be loose, detached at one or both staples, or missing altogether (missing centerfold occurs with less than 1 in 200 PR copies).
  • Corner Bends: Usually very evident.
  • Cover Detached at Top, Bottom or Both Staples: Allowed.
  • Cover Scuff Marks: Allowed.
  • Distributor's Date Notation: Allowed.
  • Fingerprints: There can be fingerprints.
  • Folds: Allowed.
  • Off-Center Printing: Allowed.
  • Pieces Missing: Pieces of cover and even interior may be missing so long as story remains readable. Coupons may be clipped out.
  • Page Missing: Allowed. One or two pages may be missing, interior or back cover. Your odds of getting a PR copy with a page or centerfold missing is about 1 in 200 as the vast majority of our PR copies, while in rough shape, are still complete and readable.
  • Rolled Spine: Allowed.
  • Rubber Stamp Imprints: Allowed on covers and interior if not excessive.
  • Spine Stress Marks: Spine can have some tears, usually occurring around the staples. These tears must be less than one inch.
  • Staples: Staples may be loose or disconnected from book to some degree and may have rust.
  • Subscription Crease/Fold: A fold or crease is acceptable.
  • Tape: May be taped if not excessive or tape type inherently inappropriate such as masking tape or (yuk!) duct tape!
  • Tears: Allowed, short of the comic being torn in half.
  • Water Stains: Acceptable and there may be moderate warping/wrinkling, but comic remains entirely readable.
  • Writing: Most writing acceptable, even on cover, but not if excessive or distracts from story readability.