VINTAGE CARD GRADING STANDARDS
Our grading system is based on the guidelines published by Beckett. We have, however, made a few minor modifications, most notably in how we deal with off center cards. Grading is ultimately a subjective process, but we strive to be as consistent and strict in our gradings as is humanly possible.
Here is a brief synopsis of our grading criteria:
NMMT (nearmint-mint): Exceptionally high quality card. Sharp corners, original gloss, no wax stains or other imperfections.
NM (nearmint): A card with a minor flaw. For example, one or two corners with a slight touch of wear, slightly rough edges or a minor print spot.
EXMT (excellent mint): May have 2 or 3 slightly worn or fuzzy corners and/or a small amount of gloss loss.
EX (excellent): May have 4 corners showing slight wear or 1-2 corners showing moderate wear, but not rounding on the corners. May also have a slight surface wrinkle, though it can not be creased.
VGE (very good to excellent): Usually a card is VGE due to rounding or severe dings on the corners, may also have moderate wrinkling or light scuffing.
VG (very good): A worn card, usually with one or more light creases. May also have gloss loss or scuffing.
G (good): A well worn or abused card. Good cards often have multiple creases and/or a moderate or severe crease, and have other flaws like rounded corners.
F (fair) or P (poor): Worse than good cards -- sometimes ripped, slightly torn or with some paper loss. Some cards are graded F or P due to multiple severe creases. These are usually used as place fillers by set builders.
We also use several other abbreviations to further specify the condition and appearance of cards. Most of them are pretty self-explanatory. Here are the most common:
OC (off center): A card that is slightly to severely off-center. For example, in my system a card may be listed as NM/oc, meaning that it is in nearmint condition and is also off center.
Miscut: An extremely off-center card that has no border on at least one side due to an error in the printing and production process.
Ink: A card that has ink or writing on it. Cards with ink are no better than VG, and can be G if the ink is on the front of the card and/or particularly obtrusive.
Stain: A card with a stain.
Hole: A card with a hole, usually from a pin or occasionally a hole-punch. Cards with holes can be no better than Fair condition and are usually graded Poor.
All vintage baseball cards (1979 and earlier) on our site are graded according to these criteria. For cards from 1980 to the present, every card is in NMMT condition unless it is otherwise indicated on the site.