Sellers of ephemera and used books generally use standard terms to describe condition. Here is the set of
terms we use to describe the condition of the ephemera we sell:
* Mint: A perfect card just as it comes from the printing press. No marks, or creases, and no writing or
postmarks. A clean and fresh card. Cards of this grade are seldom seen.
* Near Mint: Like Mint but with very light aging or very slight discoloration from being in an album for
many years. Not as sharp or crisp.
* Excellent: Like mint in appearance with no bends or creases, or rounded or blunt corners. May be
postally used or unused, and may have writing and postmark only on the address side. A clean, fresh card
on the picture side.
* Very Good: Corners may be just a bit blunt or rounded. Almost undetectable crease or bend that does
not detract from overall appearance of the picture side. May have writing or postal use on address side. A
very collectible card.
* Good: Corners may be lightly blunt/rounded with noticeable bends or creases. May be postally used or
have writing on the address side. Less than Very Good.
* Fair: Card is intact. Excess soil, stains, creases, writing, or cancellation may affect picture. Could be a
scarce card that is difficult to find in any condition.
* Poor: Incomplete, image seriously affected, a gap-filler only.
And here is the set of terms we use to describe the used books we sell:
For many years, the grading system defined by AB Bookman (now sadly defunct) was the standard in the antiquarian book trade. IOBA's standards, listed below, do not fundamentally differ from those standards though they have been expanded upon, and defined a bit more specifically.
(Condition normally shown as __/__, i.e., F/F, denoting first book & then dustjacket condition)
AS NEW (AN) or VERY FINE (VF) or MINT (M): Without faults or defects, unread, in the same immaculate condition in which it was published (Note: very few "new" books qualify for this grade, as many times there will be rubs/scuffs to the dustjackets from shipping, or bumped lower spine ends/corners from shelving).
FINE (F): Approaches the above, but not crisp. May have been carefully read and dustjacket may have been slightly rubbed or spine ends slightly bumped from shelving/shipping, but no real defects or faults.
(NOTE: From here on, there may be "+" and "-" in a grade, which will mean that it is above the grade noted but not quite to the next higher grade for "+", and that it is below the grade noted but not quite to the next lower grade for "-".
NEAR FINE: Also used, although not contained in Bookman's Weekly definitions, meaning a book or dustjacket approaching FINE but with a couple of very minor defects or faults.
VERY GOOD: A used book showing some small signs of wear on either binding or dustjacket. Any defects/faults must be noted.
GOOD: The average used and worn book that has all pages or leaves present. Any defects must be noted.
FAIR: A worn book that has complete text pages (including those with maps or plates) but may lack endpapers, half-title page, etc. (which must be noted). Binding, dustjacket, etc. may also be worn. All defects/faults must be noted.
POOR or READING COPY: A book that is sufficiently worn that its only merit is the complete text, which must be legible. Any missing maps or plates should still be noted. May be soiled, scuffed, stained, or spotted, and may have loose joints, hinges, pages, etc.
EX-LIBRARY: Must always be designated as such no matter what the condition of the book.
BOOK CLUB: Must always be noted as such no matter what the condition of the book.
BINDING COPY: A book in which the pages or leaves are perfect but the binding is very bad, loose, off, or non-existent.
Always, if issued with one, the lack of a dustjacket or slipcase should be noted.
Copyright 2000 by Independent Online Booksellers Association
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