A Guide to Comic Book Grades

One of the most challenging aspects of collecting un-graded, raw books is estimating a grade. Whether you want to get the book slabbed or just want a high grade book for your collection, the price difference, investment opportunity,  and overall collectibility can hinge on the grade.

Here's a quick guide to understanding the grades you see in our comic listings. Please keep in mind: books graded by a major service (such as CGC) are not as subjective as someone self-grading the book they want to sell. The grading services typically have a set of stringent guidelines to follow when grading books, leading to a standard that can be counted on across all books graded by the service. When browsing listings, consider "owner estimated" books at your own risk. The subjective nature of self-graded books can lead to high risk, high reward opportunities, however!

Descriptive Text Numeric Grade Standards
Gem Mint (GM) 10.0 Flawless.
Mint (M) 9.9 Virtually flawless.
Near Mint/Mint (NM/M) 9.8 A very small number of minor defects, such as spine stresses without breaks, dents, corner dings, and very small bends without breaks. The number of these defects will impact where on the Near Mint scale the book will be graded, with more defects leading to a lower grade.
Near Mint+ (NM+) 9.6
Near Mint (NM) 9.4
Near Mint- (NM-) 9.2
Very Fine/Near Mint (VF/NM) 9.0 Most modern comics will fall in this range. While in great condition, the number and severity of defects is greater than the Near Mint scale, defects such as minor corner wear, spine stress including color breaks, light denting, and bends. The number of these defects will impact where on the Very Fine scale the book will be graded, with more defects leading to a lower grade.
Very Fine+ (VF+) 8.5
Very Fine (VF) 8.0
Very Fine- (VF-) 7.5
Fine/Very Fine (F/VF) 7.0 Considered the Above Average grade range. Books that fall in this range will either have a good number of minor defects or a couple moderate defects. Defects such as slight spine roll, moderate spine stresses including color breaks, a small spine split, minor water spotting or residue, and a moderately dinged corner. The number of these defects will impact where on the Fine scale the book will be graded, with more defects leading to a lower grade.
Fine+ (FN+) 6.5
Fine (FN) 6.0
Fine- (FN-) 5.5
Very Good/Fine (VG/FN) 5.0 Very Good books have significant wear, but not to the point of reducing appeal. Books that fall in this range will have a significant accumulation of minor defects or a small number of major defects, such as spine roll, spine splits, slightly detached cover, discoloration, moderate water damage, and small tears. The number of these defects will impact where on the Very Good scale the book will be graded, with more defects leading to a lower grade.
Very Good+ (VG+) 4.5
Very Good (VG) 4.0
Very Good- (VG-) 3.5
Good/Very Good (GD/VG) 3.0 Good books have major defects, but maintain readability. Books that fall in this range will have significant damage, including defects like creases, larger spine splits, cover detachment, large tears, significant discoloration and water damage. The number of these defects will impact where on the Good scale the book will be graded, with more defects leading to a lower grade.
Good+ (GD+) 2.5
Good (GD) 2.0
Good- (GD-) 1.8
Fair/Good (FR/GD) 1.5 Fair books are complete, but lack any appeal due to major damage. Poor books can miss up to 4 pages or have damage that impacts readability. Books in these grades lack most collectability and are better served as reading copies.
Fair (FR) 1.0
Poor (PR) 0.5