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Thread: HOW TO: Grade the Condition of Your Books

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    Gunslinger Daghain is on a distinguished road Daghain's Avatar

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    Default HOW TO: Grade the Condition of Your Books

    Just wondering. What is the difference between conditions?

    Excellent-fine-good-poor.

    Are there any hard-and-fast rules? Or is it totally subjective?



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    Well... This sounds like it could be really interesting. Do you care to be any more specific? I'm not sure what your trying to get at.

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    I would say it's very subjective. It varies quite a lot between sellers.

    Here is one person's view. He says FINE "may have a small inscription from previous ownership". I my view, that would definately NOT be fine.

    http://www.booksmart.co.uk/gradings.htm

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    Some nice descriptions, but I completely agree with you that an inscription (except by the author) in a book automatically moves it down at least two or three grades. I don't care what the condition of the book itself is, the inscription degrades it seriously.

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daghain View Post
    Just wondering. What is the difference between conditions?

    Excellent-fine-good-poor.

    Are there any hard-and-fast rules? Or is it totally subjective?

    There ARE hard and fast rules. It's just that not everyone follows them and that is especially true on eBay where you have a very large number of uninformed sellers (and buyers).

    Here are the basics:

    http://www.firsts.com/Grading.html

    If you are really interested you might order the back issues from 1998 that had about 10 pages of text and pictures for each of the grades. Lots of illustrations, examples, discussions for each grade. Invaluable, especially for collectors of pre-1970 material.

    Edit: I just dug out my back issues of FIRSTS magazines from 1998 and each of the five issues on grading had 4 to 5 pages of text and illustrations (not the 10 pages my faulty mind remembered). Still the best discussion and reference I had ever seen.

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    Thanks for the links! Those were really helpful. I have to agree, though that if someone wrote in the book it would depreciate it in my eyes significantly.



    "People, especially children, aren't measured by their IQ. What's important about them is whether they're good or bad, and these children are bad." ~ Alan Bernard


    "You needn't die happy when your day comes, but you must die satisfied, for you have lived your life from beginning to end and ka is always served." ~ Roland Deschain

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    Bob, that's a GREAT link! Thanks a lot!

    John

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    Thanks for the link, Bob. That is the first time I can recall ever seeing grade descriptions that are stated so clearly and concisely.




    Side note: I changed the title of this thread to fit the theme of the subforum.
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    Catching up on a bazillion posts, but wanted to thank you for that link, too, Bob! Some other good info on the site as well, and I may even get a subscription!

    Gretchen

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    Bump.

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    Thanks for the bump. I recently discovered the "You Have __ Unred Posts" link on the top right of the page. So, I'm going through some pages I've never seen before. This was very interesting.

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    I have been poking around but been unable to find any videos (youtube or other) that provide any detailed images of the various descriptions used. I have read several sites that describe conditions, but most of them say things like "fine; almost perfect. Defects should be noted". What exactly falls under the heading of defects if it is almost perfect? I am hoping someone has a video that shows these finer points of the differrent grades.

    Thanks!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cwalker View Post
    I have been poking around but been unable to find any videos (youtube or other) that provide any detailed images of the various descriptions used. I have read several sites that describe conditions, but most of them say things like "fine; almost perfect. Defects should be noted". What exactly falls under the heading of defects if it is almost perfect? I am hoping someone has a video that shows these finer points of the differrent grades.

    Thanks!

    I'll second that. I'm terrible when it comes to categorizing book condition unless it's in my hands.
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    Here are the basics from "first magazines" http://www.firstsmagazine.com/Grading.html

    Within the general descriptions below there is latitude for individual differences in grading standards. Part of the process of becoming an informed collector is learning how various professional booksellers grade their offerings.

    Very Fine (VF)
    The highest grade given to any copy, very fine is a term that describes a crisp fresh copy and it admits no flaws. Any copy with even a minor blemish must not be graded very fine; therefore, there is no “else very fine” grade.
    Please note that some sellers use the terms “mint” or “as new” in place of “very fine.”
    While we feel that “very fine” is more precise, there is nothing improper in the use of those terms in description.

    Fine (F)
    A copy that is without visible flaws, but one that may lack the pristine crispness of a very fine copy. Many antiquarian dealers quite properly never give a book a grade higher than fine. A book that is graded “fine” has had excellent and loving care.
    Any minor blemish in the book or the dust wrapper must be noted in the description.

    Very Good (VG)
    The most common grade given to a collectable copy, very good means exactly what it says. A very good copy is no longer fresh; it has been handled and shows some signs of wear, but it is still sound and appealing. Flaws such as ownership signatures,
    bookplates and remainder marks must be noted in the description, along with rubbing, chips and tears, and price-clipping in dust wrappers, where applicable.

    Good (G)
    To quote one of our favorite booksellers, “Good ain’t good.” Good is the lowest grade given to a collectable copy. The book has been used and abused, but it is whole. There may be one major flaw, like dampstaining or a cracked hinge, that keeps it from a higher grade, or there may be an accumulation of minor problems. A dust wrapper may have some design elements lost, but it must not be fragmentary. A term used for a copy hovering on the brink of uncollectability is “fair” for a weak “good.”

    Uncollected Conditions
    A copy must not be given a collectable grade if it is not whole either in the binding or in the text, or if it has been abused to the point that it is no longer sound or attractive. A frequently seen example of an uncollectable book is an ex-library copy,
    with such common blemishes as pockets glued to—or torn off—the endpapers, abundant rubber-stamping and pasted-down lending sheets. An ex-library copy, while not collectable, may be an acceptable reading copy. However, when its aesthetic appeal or structural integrity is lost, a book is no longer collectable.


    Please note that except for the very fine condition, many booksellers use steps in between grades, such as “near fine,” “very good plus” or “very good minus.” Some dealers also grade the books and the dust wrappers separately; this, too, is acceptable practice.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Cook View Post
    Here are the basics from "first magazines" http://www.firstsmagazine.com/Grading.html

    Within the general descriptions below there is latitude for individual differences in grading standards. Part of the process of becoming an informed collector is learning how various professional booksellers grade their offerings.

    Very Fine (VF)
    The highest grade given to any copy, very fine is a term that describes a crisp fresh copy and it admits no flaws. Any copy with even a minor blemish must not be graded very fine; therefore, there is no “else very fine” grade.
    Please note that some sellers use the terms “mint” or “as new” in place of “very fine.”
    While we feel that “very fine” is more precise, there is nothing improper in the use of those terms in description.

    Fine (F)
    A copy that is without visible flaws, but one that may lack the pristine crispness of a very fine copy. Many antiquarian dealers quite properly never give a book a grade higher than fine. A book that is graded “fine” has had excellent and loving care.
    Any minor blemish in the book or the dust wrapper must be noted in the description.

    Very Good (VG)
    The most common grade given to a collectable copy, very good means exactly what it says. A very good copy is no longer fresh; it has been handled and shows some signs of wear, but it is still sound and appealing. Flaws such as ownership signatures,
    bookplates and remainder marks must be noted in the description, along with rubbing, chips and tears, and price-clipping in dust wrappers, where applicable.

    Good (G)
    To quote one of our favorite booksellers, “Good ain’t good.” Good is the lowest grade given to a collectable copy. The book has been used and abused, but it is whole. There may be one major flaw, like dampstaining or a cracked hinge, that keeps it from a higher grade, or there may be an accumulation of minor problems. A dust wrapper may have some design elements lost, but it must not be fragmentary. A term used for a copy hovering on the brink of uncollectability is “fair” for a weak “good.”

    Uncollected Conditions
    A copy must not be given a collectable grade if it is not whole either in the binding or in the text, or if it has been abused to the point that it is no longer sound or attractive. A frequently seen example of an uncollectable book is an ex-library copy,
    with such common blemishes as pockets glued to—or torn off—the endpapers, abundant rubber-stamping and pasted-down lending sheets. An ex-library copy, while not collectable, may be an acceptable reading copy. However, when its aesthetic appeal or structural integrity is lost, a book is no longer collectable.


    Please note that except for the very fine condition, many booksellers use steps in between grades, such as “near fine,” “very good plus” or “very good minus.” Some dealers also grade the books and the dust wrappers separately; this, too, is acceptable practice.
    So is “Near Fine” simply the grade between Very Good and Fine?
    Looking for Mister Slaughter S/L #78

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    Yes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Randall Flagg View Post
    Yes.
    Thanks. This thread is extremely helpful!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Looking for Mister Slaughter S/L #78

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