How To Grade Comic Books? Best Full Guide [2022]

How To Grade Comic Books

Certification provides many advantages for comic book collectors, traders, and retailers. As an independent grader, impartial to some celebration, CGC provides this certificate with precision and enthusiasm. In regards to comic book grating. A lot of individuals still wonder how to grade comic books. Finding the answer by studying on.

What is Comic Book Grading?

Book grading, also known as book condition grading, is a system used to evaluate the physical condition of a book. Book grading is used by booksellers, collectors, and other book enthusiasts to describe the condition of a book for buying and selling purposes.

Book grading is typically based on a set of standardized criteria that evaluate the book’s physical attributes such as its cover, spine, pages, and binding.

The most commonly used grading system is the one created by the Independent Online Booksellers Association (IOBA), which uses a 10-point scale ranging from “Poor” to “As New” to describe the book’s condition.

Other grading systems may use different criteria or terminology, but they all aim to provide an accurate and consistent description of the book’s physical condition.

Book grading is important because it helps buyers and sellers to determine the fair value of a book, as the condition of the book can greatly affect its worth.

A book in good condition may be more valuable than the same book in poor condition, and buyers and sellers need to be able to accurately describe and evaluate the book’s condition to ensure a fair transaction.

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Comic Book Grading Scale

Comic Book Grading Scale

There are eight main ranges in the comic book grading scale. In descending order:

  • Mint (MT)
  • Near Mint (NM)
  • Very Fine (VF)
  • Fine (FN)
  • Very Good (VG)
  • Good (GD)
  • Fair (FA)
  • Poor (PO)

This comic book grading scale was used for many decades, during which time that the plate was enlarged to more correctly describe a book’s condition. The first is using a forward slash (/) to denote a book as being between ranges. By way of instance, Fine / Very Fine (or abbreviated FN/VF) means that the book is rated between Fine and Very Fine.

Next is using the plus (+) and without (-) to denote a book that is marginally below or above a tier. Thus the comic book grading scale is somewhat much more refined now, to ensure a Fine+ is much far better than the usual Fine, that a Fine / Very Fine is much far better than the usual Fine+, a Very Fine – is far better than the usual Fine / Very Fine, a Very Fine is much better than this and so on.

Ultimately, a 10-point scale has been implemented to provide us the latest method of comic book grading:

  • 10.0 Gem Mint
  • 9.9 Mint
  • 9.8 Near Mint / Mint
  • 9.6 Near Mint+
  • 9.4 Near Mint
  • 9.2 Near Mint-
  • 9.0 Very Fine / Near Mint
  • 8.5 Very Fine+
  • 8.0 Very Fine
  • 7.5 Very Fine-
  • 7.0 Fine / Very Fine
  • 6.5 Fine+
  • 6.0 Fine
  • 5.5 Fine-
  • 5.0 Very Good / Fine
  • 4.5 Very Good+
  • 4.0 Very Good
  • 3.5 Very Good-
  • 3.0 Good / Very Good
  • 2.5 Good+
  • 2.0 Good
  • 1.8 Good-
  • 1.5 Fair / Good
  • 1.0 Fair
  • 0.5 Poor

This 10-point comic book grading scale is commonly used today, and you’ll frequently see people’s quality simply by placing the amount value on the book with all the traditional descriptive grades. It’s not the clinic, but to use numbers besides those within this scale so that you would not find a book rated 6.3. It’s 6.0 or 6.5.

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Grade Comic Books Yourself

How To Grade Comic Books Yourself

To assist with this particular approach, here is my take on what every tier appears like, first using a general description then a few examples of the number of characteristics to every story.

Remember that this is by no means complete, and in addition, you will need to learn how to weigh each of the features with each other to arrive at the final grade.


As the title of this suggests, this is a perfect or near perfect book. It’s like it had been published yesterday and can be complete without harm. It’ll possess high gloss with really refreshing looking (and smelling) ink.

It’s, in fact, relatively rare to explain some other book from the Silver Age or sooner within this particular grade, simply on account of the expected degradation of paper and ink.

Near Mint

A book in this grade must also check near flawless at a glimpse but may have quite subtle flaws such as corners that aren’t perfectly printed or square that’s a little misaligned or relatively minor off white pages. It could require a seasoned practitioner to discern the difference between a Near Mint and Mint book.

Books that are Near Mint will only don’t have any issues which are so noticeable you will find them straight away. It will have a detailed examination, and some other flaws present will be pretty minor and hard to detect.

  • The cover will be shiny and fresh.
  • The web pages will probably be white or almost white and certainly will feel supple and like new.
  • The backbone will be flat and firm; Any strain marks will be pretty minor and hard to see.
  • Date stamps and composed dates are acceptable in that they aren’t obtrusive.
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Very Fine

  • Very Fine / Near Mint 9.0
  • Comic Book Grading – Very Fine 8.0
  • Very Fine 8.0

A book in this grade might not seem like it was printed but will be a somewhat attractive and well cared for book. It ought to only shout for you, “I am a good looking book.”

The cover will probably have slight wear but may still have a great deal of gloss and should be free of grime.

The pages may be off-white to slightly yellowish but should nonetheless be appealing and should still feel fine.

The backbone might have some pressure marks but may continue to be business and mostly flat.

A little fold or crease (1/4″), tiny indentations, or even a slight bend is okay but shouldn’t be objectionable.

The level of any tiny flaws will often make the difference between a VF or a VF+, for instance. If upon analyzing the book, you’ve got the opinion it is excellent, and near some NM, then you’re probably thinking of a variety of grades from VF+ to NM-.

Judging the severity of all minor flaws should help you determine whether it’s 8.5, 9.0, or 9.2. Similarly, if Fine crosses your mind but you believe it’s near Very Fine, then you’re probably from the 6.5 to 7.5 range.


  • Fine / Very Fine 7.0
  • Comic Book Grading – Fine 6.5
  • Fine+ 6.5

A book in this grade ought to be appealing and very desirable to some collectors. It might have some flaws, but the reader still needs to have good eye appeal. This usually means the marks should be few, not quite intense, and inconspicuous. It may have one big flaw that does not negatively affect eye attraction.

As an instance, it might have a little tear supplied. It’s hard to see. If the tear is straightforward and involves the design and allure of this cover, by way of instance, it has to be downgraded. In general, a Fine book will seem attractive.

The cover may reveal some wear but should nevertheless have a good gloss and small enough grime to be somewhat attractive. It might have minor tears or creases/folds but should not have so many as to detract from its beauty.

The webpages can no longer be off white they’re yellow or light tan but still not revealing too much age.

The backbone might have some observable pressure lines, or maybe a light roll so long as it does not misalign the book too much. The cover could be loose from 1 essential but not equally.

Any significant flaws have to be limited and should not affect the book’s eye attraction. This may mean the difference between a surface tear at which a number of the inside paper of this cover is observable along with a clean one at which you can hardly tell there’s a tear before you start the book.

A book that would otherwise benchmark VF might have been downgraded because of a flaw such as a backbone break, tear, or relatively inconspicuous writing.

Very Good

  • Very Good / Fine 5.0
  • Comic Book Grading – Very Good 4.0
  • Very Good 4.0

A book in this grade will probably be prominent. It is well read as a result of numerous issues. But it will still be pretty good looking to some collector, particularly somebody that’s amassing a costly, old book that might be tough to find in this grade. The issues won’t be quite as intense to allow you to concentrate on them.

By way of instance, a spine roll should not make the entire book appear crooked. Water damage, if current, should hardly be noticeable. If a bit is missing from this cover, it should not be greater than 1/4″ in dimension and must be somewhat tender. In a nutshell, significant flaws are okay but have to be restricted rather than distracting.

The cover will reveal specific wear and will have very little, or no shine left. There might be a few stains or soil, but not overly thick. There might be multiple or possibly a few significant creases or a little bit missing, but complete, the cover should still look appealing and total.

The web pages could be yellow, tan, or perhaps light brown, but still feel acceptable to the signature. You shouldn’t feel fearful of causing additional damage by managing the pages. They should not have any significant writing or tears. Minor tears are acceptable but should be very few and just in the perimeter they shouldn’t extend in the web page’s framework.

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The backbone could be broken up somewhat or detached from one primary, but the cover should nevertheless be attached.

Significant flaws are acceptable since they don’t detract from your enjoyment of studying the book and studying it.


  • Good / Very Good 3.0
  • Comic Book Grading – Good+ 2.5
  • Good+ 2.5

A book in this grade may still be somewhat appealing and collectible but may have more intense or numerous issues than using a Very Good, to the point at which you’re at least partially distracted with them. It might only be that you will find far more wear and dirt on it. It might have numerous creases or wrinkles to where it’s distracting.

There can be a little less conspicuous writing onto it. Very Good is really where many picky collectors draw on the line unless it’s a costly book. The flaws will just be too numerous or too intense to allow them to look at. On the other hand, the reader will continue to be intact with its pages and entirely readable.

The cover will demonstrate a good deal of wear and might have some creases or a fair quantity of soil.

The web pages might have some tears or tiny bits missing; however, the book has to be readable. This usually means a bit missing should not disrupt the narrative; no pages could be overlooked, and the pages can’t be too delicate to turn.

The backbone might not be horizontal and maybe somewhat limp or possess a roster.


  • Fair / Good 1.5

A book in this grade today has issues that are more somewhat distracting. The problems will probably be attending, drawing your attention away from some of the great things about the book. Overall it’ll be very worn and ragged, though still all there.

The cover could have a lot of issues, including heavy springs and even a huge chunk missing. It could even be detached from the principles.

The webpages will probably be poor quality, while it’s poor paper quality or worn and obsolete with soiling, staining and chunks missing. A voucher clipped outside is acceptable, although not a weapon.

The backbone might be wholly split.


The title of the grade states everything. The issues with a book in this grade could be so acute that it might no longer have some collector value. A number of the payor, even a few of the pages, could be missing. There might be heavy spots, mold, or other issues that prevent you from enjoying the book to some degree.

Glossary of Grading Terms

Glossary of Grading Terms


When a portion of a comic is curved, interrupting the horizontal, smooth cover coating. Bends won’t show different lines (see also crease/fold).

Bindery Tear

A tiny horizontal rip at a comic cover may typically be viewed on both the front and the rear. These are always located along the backbone and need to be rated like backbone stress if they’re shorter than 1/4″.


Damage due to the gnawing of insects or rodents (generally). Outcomes in multi page paper reduction with jagged borders. Very visually different.


Bubbling on a cap’s surface (usually a printing flaw).


A fold leads to ink removal/color split, usually causing a white line (see bend/fold).


Indentations or dimpling (ordinarily in the cover) do not permeate the paper or eliminate any shine but disrupt the smooth, flat surface.

Dual Cover

Technically a printing flaw, double cover books had an additional copy of the cover stapled on through production. This extra protective cover may be a blessing because these books are rated by the affliction of the innermost body.

Dust Shadow

When a comedian has been saved in a pile at a particular stage in its lifetime, some portions of the cover which was not covered up from the adjoining books are subjected to the environmental atmosphere, mild, and settling dust particles, occasionally creating traces of discoloration along the borders.


When finger oils left behind by everyday handling stay on a funny face, they can start to eat away in ink, producing color-breaking fingerprints on the cover, which are sometimes different and occasionally smudged. Finger oils can typically be wiped off, but fingerprints are irreversible.


A way of analyzing a comic that utilizes its natural shine and light (warmth) allows you to see imperfections on the surface, such as dents.


Linear scratches from the newspaper have different outlines but DO NOT split color (see too bend/crease).


In the newspaper of some comics (generally the cover), fungi or bacterial growth presents in brown colored clusters or stains.


The polished surface end of a comic book.

Moisture/Water Damage

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The damage left behind when a comedian was subjected to moisture (straight or environmentally). Water damage frequently poses with discoloration or a rigid or tingling sense to the newspaper. Start looking for traces of demarcation.

Paper Loss

After the surface of a comic was compromised. This is sometimes the consequence of heavy scuffing/abrasion, accidental tape extract, or even chemical reactions due to some sort of corrosion damage.

Paper Quality

Paper quality denotes the coloration and structural integrity of a comic cover and inside pages. We provide some leeway on pre-1980s comics.

However, if ecological conditions have caused the newspaper to oxidize or deteriorated considerably, the drop in eye appeal and newspaper strength will deliver a book’s downgrade. Usually, paper quality won’t be an issue for many contemporary (post-1980) comics.

Printing Defect

A flaw caused by the printing procedure. Cases: paper wrinkling, mid-cut borders, misfolded or is wrapped spine, untrimmed pages/corners, off-registered color, color artifacts, off centered trimming, misfolded or unbound pages, overlooking staples.

Reading Crease

A vertical cover crease near the principles runs (generally) parallel to the backbone, resulting from bending the cover within the principles or simply too much to the left side. Square bound books get these quite readily.


Any effort (amateur or professional) to boost the look of an aging or damaged comic book. Dry pressing/cleaning, along with the easy inclusion of tape fixes, aren’t considered recovery.

However, the following techniques include recoloring/color touch, including missing paper, stain/ink/dirt/tape removal, whitening, compound pressing, essential replacement, trimming, re-glossing, married webpages, etc. Restored comics typically carry lower value than their unaltered counterparts.


A mild paper abrasion might or might not violate shade but interrupts this book’s surface shine. Its impact on grading is dependent on severity.


Compounds or residue on the surface of a comic. Most commonly seen in white spaces. The residue is a severe type of soiling.

Spine Break

Spine stress that’s devolved to a tear (typically through several wraps). Spine breaks significantly reduce the backbone’s structural integrity and are frequently located near the staples.

Spine Roll

A state where the left border of the comic curves toward front or rear, brought on by folding back every webpage as the comic has been read. Additionally usually leads to page fanning.

Spine Split

A sterile, even separation in the back fold, commonly over or beneath the basic principles, can happen anywhere along the spinal column length.

Spine Anxiety

A tiny crimp/fold vertical to the backbone, generally less than 1/4″ long.

Staple Detached

When a wrapping has come entirely loose by a staple and is no more jump to the comic at that area.

Staple Migration

When bare rust has proceeded onto the surrounding newspaper, resulting in discoloration.

Staple Popped

When one side of pay has ripped right beside the basic principles but remains attached with the slip of paper under the staple, a popped nail may cause a detached staple if not managed carefully.

Staple Rust

Rust onto the basic principles.

Subscription Crease

A perpendicular cover to cover fold brought on by the book being folded in half when delivered via the email straight from the publisher.


Just one sheet of paper folded to form four pages of a narrative. Most contemporary comics include eight wraps, in addition to the pay (but there are exceptions!).


Writing is available on/in comics in several types, and downgrades are based on severity. Frequent things you’ll notice:

  • Minor date or initial mark (don’t affect grade except at the Maximum range)
  • Names were written on covers or in gross margins.
  • Interior puzzles filled out.
  • Marker scribbles
  • Markings/coloring over inside artwork

Composing indentations, where no pencil or ink has touched on the comic strips, are used as a writing surface, which means it’s possible to observe rough regions in which the composing dented.


Is CGC grading worth it?

These days, CGC is a superb tool for both collectors and dealers alike. CGC is a fantastic third party judge of value and grade for comic book trades when tens of thousands of dollars are involved. By, almost $1 billion worth of CGC graded comics has exchanged hands since 2002!

Is the comic book industry dying?

Comics will not perish. Numerous publishers delivered founders’ pencils down messages. The weekly comic release program almost shut down. Diamond declared that a May 20th return to comic book dispatch, but the harm was already done.

What is the rarest comic book?

New Adventure Comics #26

According to the CGC database, you will find just nine registered copies of New Adventure Comics #26, making it the trendiest comic book on earth. New Adventure Comics #26 was published in 1938, during the first days of DC Comics.


Hopefully, the preceding article about how to get comic books graded can help you plenty in comic book grading.

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