So you want to know how to grade comic books? This Collectibles Shop page has the standard 10 point grading scale and definitions, as used in the Overstreet Guide. The 2 reputable third-party professional grading services (both begin with 'C') use the same scale, but not exactly the same criteria, but Overstreet has collaborated with them for their newest grading guide. So if you want to know your stuff even better, you can buy the Overstreet Guide to Grading Comics on the publisher's site at www.gemstonepub.com/comic-book-grading. It's full of pics that help a lot more than just reading text. The newest edition may have slightly different definitions than on this page, as these are from 2011-2014.

Some of this will conflict and with your or others taste, that's the way opinions go. With all the combinations of defects, there will be difficulty in deciding the condition on some books. You're supposed to consider the condition of the whole book too, not just the covers. "Page Quality" counts (color, suppleness, tears, stains etc.), but I think way too much is made of the 'off-white' vs. 'white' difference in prices, but that's me. Golden Age comics (1930s-1950s) get cut some slack usually, so you'll see pro-graded GA comics with more or worse defects than allowed for newer comics, but get the same grade.

After the grading scale section there's a Glossary list of common terms used for defects and other grading criteria you should know too.

See my What's New page for sales announcements and price reductions on this site. I have well below guide comics (including some pro-graded) and related collectibles, buy some!

Please folks, you can highlight and copy the grading text and save it on your computer/tablet/phone, instead of making multiple return visits to this page, which I notice some folks doing. Saves a bit of data transfer amounts for mobile devices.

Any text below in parentheses or marked as 'personal note' is my opinion or info, added to clarify some statements, and reflect my 27+ years of experience.

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Grading Scale & Definitions:

10.0 GEM MINT (GM): An exceptional example of a given book - the best ever seen. Only the slightest bindery or printing defects are allowed. (Not with most grading services though, perfect means perfect.) Cover is flat with no surface wear. Inks are bright with high reflectivity. Corners are cut square and sharp. Spine is tight and flat. Staples must be original, centered and clean with no rust. Paper is white supple and fresh. No interior autographs or owner signatures. Personal note: Many modern comics (1990s-up, and some earlier special issues) are printed edge-to-edge with color or images, so they aren't on white pages to begin with, and there's no white borders. So fading is about the only way to tell degradation. But they will still get a 'white pages' notation on the pro-graded labels.

9.9 MINT (MT): Near perfect in every way. Only subtle bindery or printing defects are allowed. ("Subtle" as in nearly invisible, and grading companies may not allow it for their 9.9 either.) Cover is flat with no surface wear. Inks are bright with high reflectivity and minimal fading. Corners are cut square and sharp. Small, inconspicuous, lightly penciled, stamped or inked arrival dates are acceptable as long as they are in an unobtrusive location. Spine is tight and flat. Staples must be original, generally centered and clean with no rust. Paper is white, supple and fresh. Personal note: Back cover stamps/writing is less 'offensive' to most collectors, but most collectors don't like them on the front, so comics with front cover stamps/writing usually fetch lower prices for the same grade, and many dealers will downgrade a bit for such stamps/writing. To me, this applies to most grades of 9.2 or above, others may consider a wider or smaller range.

9.8 NEAR MINT/MINT (NM/MT): Nearly perfect in every way with only minor imperfections that keep it from the next higher grade. Only subtle bindery or printing defects are allowed. Cover is flat with no surface wear. Inks are bright with high reflectivity and minimal fading. Corners are cut square and sharp. Small, inconspicuous, lightly penciled, stamped or inked arrival dates are acceptable as long as they are in an unobtrusive location. Spine is tight and flat. Staples must be original, generally centered and clean with no rust. Paper is white, supple and fresh. Only the slightest interior tears are allowed.

9.6 NEAR MINT+ (NM+): Nearly perfect with a minor additional virtue or virtues that raise it from Near Mint. Only subtle bindery or printing defects are allowed. No bindery tears are allowed, although on Golden Age books bindery tears of up to 1/8" have been noted. Cover is flat with no surface wear. Inks are bright with high reflectivity and a minimum of fading. One corner may be almost imperceptibly blunted, but still almost sharp and cut square. Almost imperceptible indentations are permissible, but no creases, bends, or color breaks. Small, inconspicuous, lightly penciled, stamped or inked arrival dates are acceptable as long as they are in an unobtrusive location. Spine is tight and flat. Staples must be original, generally centered, with only the slightest discoloration. Paper is (no worse than) off-white, supple and fresh. Only the slightest interior tears are allowed.

9.4 NEAR MINT (NM): Nearly perfect with only minor imperfections that keep it from the next higher grade. Minor feathering that does not detract from the overall beauty of an otherwise higher grade copy is acceptable for this grade. The overall look is "as if it was just purchased and read once or twice." (If you're careful with handling, there's no way to tell how many times a comic has been read, or if unread, so don't always believe that 'unread' hype.) Subtle bindery/printing defects are allowed. Bindery tears must be less than 1/16" on Silver Age and later books, although on Golden Age books bindery tears of up to 1/4" have been noted. Cover is flat with (almost) no surface wear. Inks are bright with high reflectivity and a minimum of fading. Generally well centered and firmly secured to interior pages. Corners are cut square and sharp with ever-so-slight blunting permitted. A 1/16" bend is permitted with no color break. No creases. Small, inconspicuous, lightly penciled, stamped or inked arrival dates are acceptable as long as they are in an unobtrusive location. No soiling, staining or other discoloration apart from some slight foxing. Spine is tight and flat. No spine roll or split allowed. Staples are generally centered; may have slight discoloration. No staple tears are allowed; almost no stress lines. No rust migration. In rare cases, a comic was not stapled at the bindery and therefore has a missing staple; this is not considered a defect. Any staple can be replaced on books up to Fine, but only vintage staples can be used on books from Very Fine to Near Mint. Mint books must have original staples. Paper is (no worse than) off-white to cream, supple and fresh. No hint of acidity in the odor of the newsprint. Centerfold is firmly secure. Slight interior tears are allowed. Personal note: Most people will allow very minor surface 'wear' in the form of little 'shelf-wear' scuffs, and there's plenty of 9.4 graded comics with very minor surface wear. Goes for 9.0-9.2 also. If slight foxing is allowed, then very light small scuffs/rubs should be too.

9.2 NEAR MINT– (NM–): Nearly perfect with only a minor additional defect or defects that keep it from Near Mint. A limited number of minor bindery/printing defects are allowed. A light, barely noticeable water stain or slight foxing that does not detract from the beauty of the book is acceptable for this grade. Cover is flat with (almost) no surface wear. Inks are bright with only the slightest dimming of reflectivity. Generally well centered and firmly secured to interior pages. Corners are cut square and sharp with ever-so-slight blunting permitted. A 1/16-1/8" bend is permitted with no color break. No creases. Small, inconspicuous, lightly penciled, stamped or inked arrival dates are acceptable as long as they are in an unobtrusive location. No soiling, staining or other discoloration apart from some slight foxing. Spine is tight and flat. No spine roll or split allowed. Staples may show some discoloration. No staple tears are allowed; almost no stress lines. No rust migration. In rare cases, a comic was not stapled at the bindery and therefore has a missing staple; this is not considered a defect. Any staple can be replaced on books up to Fine, but only vintage staples can be used on books from Very Fine to Near Mint. Mint books must have original staples. Paper is (no worse than) off-white to cream, supple and fresh. No hint of acidity in the odor of the newsprint. Centerfold is firmly secure. Slight interior tears are allowed. Personal note: Not sure when 'smell' became a thing for grading, and not sure what 'acidity' smells like vs. 'old comic smell'. The darker the pages the more likely they will smell, giving a clue to possible further, quicker deterioration. However, by the 1990s most comics were being made on nicer paper than the old newsprint. Glossy stock is common now, so 'modern age' comics probably will never have acid smell, so the smell test applies to older newsprint paper comics.

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9.0 VERY FINE/NEAR MINT (VF/NM): Nearly perfect with outstanding eye appeal. A limited number of bindery/printing defects are allowed. Almost flat cover with almost imperceptible wear. Inks are bright with slightly diminished reflectivity. An 1/8" bend is allowed if color is not broken. Corners are cut square and sharp with ever-so-slight blunting permitted but no creases. Several lightly penciled, stamped or inked arrival dates are acceptable. No obvious soiling, staining or other discoloration except for very minor foxing. Spine is tight and flat. No spine roll or split allowed. Staples may show some discoloration. Only the slightest staple tears are allowed. A very minor accumulation of stress lines may be present if they are nearly imperceptible. No rust migration. In rare cases, a comic was not stapled at the bindery and therefore has a missing staple; this is not considered a defect. Any staple can be replaced on books up to Fine, but only vintage staples can be used on books from Very Fine to Near Mint. Mint books must have original staples. Paper is (no worse than) cream to off-white and supple. No hint of acidity in the odor of the newsprint. Centerfold is firmly secure. Very minor interior tears may be present.

8.5 VERY FINE+ (VF+): Fits the criteria for Very Fine but with an additional virtue or small accumulation of virtues that improves the book’s appearance by a perceptible amount.

8.0 VERY FINE (VF): An excellent copy with outstanding eye appeal. Sharp, bright and clean with supple pages. A comic book is this grade has the appearance of having been carefully handled. A limited accumulation of minor bindery/printing defects is allowed. Cover is relatively flat with minimal surface wear beginning to show, possibly including some minute wear at corners. Inks are generally bright with moderate to high reflectivity. An unnoticeable 1/4" crease is acceptable if color is not broken. Stamped or inked arrival dates may be present. No obvious soiling, staining or other discoloration except for minor foxing. Spine is almost flat with no roll. Possible minor color break is allowed. Staples may show some discoloration. Very slight staple tears and a few almost very minor to minor stress lines may be present. No rust migration. In rare cases, a comic was not stapled at the bindery and therefore has a missing staple; this is not considered a defect. Any staple can be replaced on books up to Fine, but only vintage staples can be used on books from Very Fine to Near Mint. Mint books must have original staples. Paper is (no worse than) tan to cream and supple. No hint of acidity in the odor of the newsprint. Centerfold is mostly secure. Minor interior tears at the margin may be present.

7.5 VERY FINE– (VF–): Fits the criteria for Very Fine but with an additional defect or small accumulation of defects that detracts from the book’s appearance by a perceptible amount.

7.0 FINE/VERY FINE (FN/VF): An above-average copy that shows minor wear but is still relatively flat and clean with outstanding eye appeal. A small accumulation of minor bindery/printing defects is allowed. Minor cover wear beginning to show, with interior yellowing or tanning allowed, possibly including minor creases. Corners may be blunted or abraded. Inks are generally bright with a moderate reduction in reflectivity. Stamped or inked arrival dates may be present. No obvious soiling, staining or other discoloration except for minor foxing. The slightest spine roll may be present, as well as a possible moderate color break. Staples may show some discoloration. Slight staple tears and a slight accumulation of light stress lines may be present. Slight rust migration. In rare cases, a comic was not stapled at the bindery and therefore has a missing staple; this is not considered a defect. Any staple can be replaced on books up to Fine, but only vintage staples can be used on books from Very Fine to Near Mint. Mint books must have original staples. Paper is (no worse than) tan to cream, but not brown. No hint of acidity in the odor of the newsprint. Centerfold is mostly secure. Minor interior tears at the margin may be present.

6.5 FINE+ (FN+): Fits the criteria for Fine but with an additional virtue or small accumulation of virtues that improves the book’s appearance by a perceptible amount.

6.0 FINE (FN): An above-average copy that shows minor wear but is still relatively flat and clean with no significant creasing or other serious defects. Eye appeal is somewhat reduced because of slight surface wear and the accumulation of small defects, especially on the spine and edges. A FINE condition comic book appears to have been read a few times and has been handled with moderate care. Some accumulation of minor bindery defects is allowed. Minor cover wear apparent, with minor to moderate creases. Inks show a significant reduction in reflectivity. Blunted corners are more common, as is minor staining, soiling, discoloration, and/or foxing. Stamped or inked arrival dates may be present. A minor spine roll is allowed. There can also be a 1/4" spine split or severe color break. Staples may show minor discoloration. Minor staple tears and a few slight stress lines may be present, as well as minor rust migration. In rare cases, a comic was not stapled at the bindery and therefore has a missing staple; this is not considered a defect. Any staple can be replaced on books up to Fine, but only vintage staples can be used on books from Very Fine to Near Mint. Mint books must have original staples. Paper is (no worse than) brown to tan and fairly supple with no signs of brittleness. No hint of acidity in the odor of the newsprint. Minor interior tears at the margin may be present. Centerfold may be loose but not detached.

5.5 FINE– (FN–): Fits the criteria for Fine but with an additional defect or small accumulation of defects that detracts from the book’s appearance by a perceptible amount.

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5.0 VERY GOOD/FINE (VG/FN): An above-average but well-used comic book. A comic in this grade shows some moderate wear; eye appeal is somewhat reduced due to the accumulation of defects. Still a desirable copy that has been handled with some care. An accumulation of bindery defects is allowed. Minor to moderate cover wear apparent, with minor to moderate creases and/or dimples. Inks have major to extreme reduction in reflectivity. Blunted corners are increasingly common, as is minor to moderate staining, discoloration, and/or foxing. Stamped or inked arrival dates may be present. A minor to moderate spine roll is allowed. A spine split of up to 1/2" may be present. Staples may show minor discoloration. A slight accumulation of minor staple tears and an accumulation of minor stress lines may also be present, as well as minor rust migration. In rare cases, a comic was not stapled at the bindery and therefore has a missing staple; this is not considered a defect. Any staple can be replaced on books up to Fine, but only vintage staples can be used on books from Very Fine to Near Mint. Mint books must have original staples. Paper is (no worse than) brown to tan with no signs of brittleness. May have the faintest trace of an acidic odor. Centerfold may be loose but not detached. Minor tears may also be present.

4.5 VERY GOOD+ (VG): Fits the criteria for Very Good but with an additional virtue or small accumulation of virtues that improves the book’s appearance by a perceptible amount.

4.0 VERY GOOD (VG): The average used comic book. A comic in this condition shows some significant moderate wear, but still has not accumulated enough total defects to reduce eye appeal to the point that it is not a desirable copy. Cover shows moderate to significant wear, and may be loose but not completely detached. Moderate to extreme reduction in reflectivity. Can have an accumulation of creases or dimples. Corners may be blunted or abraded. Store stamps, name stamps, arrival dates, initials, etc. have no effect on this grade. Some discoloration, fading, foxing, and even minor soiling is allowed. As much as a 1/4" triangle can be missing out of the corner or edge; a missing 1/8" square is also acceptable. Only minor unobtrusive tape and other amateur repair allowed on otherwise high grade copies. Moderate spine roll may be present and/or a 1" spine split. Staples may be discolored. Minor to moderate staple tears and stress lines may be present, as well as some rust migration. Paper is (no worse than) brown but not brittle. A minor acidic odor can be detectable. Minor to moderate tears may be present. Centerfold may be loose or detached at one staple.

3.5 VERY GOOD– (VG–): Fits the criteria for Very Good but with an additional defect or small accumulation of defects that detracts from the book’s appearance by a perceptible amount.

3.0 GOOD/VERY GOOD (GD/VG): A used comic book showing some substantial wear. Cover shows significant wear, and may be loose or even detached at one staple. Cover reflectivity is very low. Can have a book-length crease and/or dimples. Corners may be blunted or even rounded. Discoloration, fading, foxing, and even minor to moderate soiling is allowed. A triangle from 1/4" to 1/2" can be missing out of the corner or edge; a missing 1/8" to 1/4" square is also acceptable. Tape and other amateur repair may be present. Moderate spine roll likely. May have a spine split of anywhere from 1" to 1-1/2". Staples may be rusted or replaced. Minor to moderate staple tears and moderate stress lines may be present, as well as some rust migration. Paper is (no worse than) brown but not brittle. Centerfold may be loose or detached at one staple. Minor to moderate interior tears may be present.

2.5 GOOD+ (GD+): Fits the criteria for Good but with an additional virtue or small accumulation of virtues that improves the book’s appearance by a perceptible amount.

2.0 GOOD (GD): Shows substantial wear; often considered a "reading copy." Cover shows significant wear and may even be detached. Cover reflectivity is low and in some cases completely absent. Book-length creases and dimples may be present. Rounded corners are more common. Moderate soiling, staining, discoloration and foxing may be present. The largest piece allowed missing from the front or back cover is usually a 1/2" triangle or a 1/4" square, although some Silver Age books such as 1960s Marvels have had the price corner box clipped from the top left front cover and may be considered Good if they would otherwise have graded higher. Tape and other forms of amateur repair are common in Silver Age and older books. Spine roll is likely. May have up to a 2" spine split. Staples may be degraded, replaced or missing. Moderate staple tears and stress lines may be present, as well as rust migration. Paper is (no worse than) brown but not brittle. Centerfold may be loose or detached. Moderate interior tears may be present.

1.8 GOOD– (GD–): Fits the criteria for Good but with an additional defect or small accumulation of defects that detracts from the book’s appearance by a perceptible amount.

1.5 FAIR/GOOD (FR/GD): A comic showing substantial to heavy wear. A copy in this grade still has all pages and covers, although there may be pieces missing. Books in this grade are commonly creased, scuffed, abraded, soiled, and possibly unattractive, but still generally readable. Cover shows considerable wear and may be detached. Nearly no to no reflectivity remaining. Store stamp, name stamp, arrival date and initials are permitted. Book-length creases, tears and folds may be present. Rounded corners are increasingly common. Soiling, staining, discoloration and foxing is generally present. Up to 1/10 of the back cover may be missing. Tape and other forms of amateur repair are increasingly common in Silver Age and older books. Spine roll is common. May have a spine split between 2" and 2/3 the length of the book. Staples may be degraded, replaced or missing. Staple tears and stress lines are common, as well as rust migration. Paper is (no worse than) brown and may show brittleness around the edges. Acidic odor may be present. Centerfold may be loose or detached. Interior tears are common.

1.0 FAIR (FR): A copy in this grade shows heavy wear. Some collectors consider this the lowest collectible grade because comic books in lesser condition are usually incomplete and/or brittle. Comics in this grade are usually soiled, faded, ragged and possibly unattractive. Cover may be detached, and inks have lost all reflectivity. Creases, tears and/or folds are prevalent. Corners are commonly rounded or absent. Soiling and staining is present. Books in this condition generally have all pages and most of the covers, although there may be up to 1/4 of the front cover missing or no back cover, but not both. Tape and other forms of amateur repair are more common. Spine roll is more common; spine split can extend up to 2/3 the length of the book. Staples may be missing or show rust and discoloration. An accumulation of staple tears and stress lines may be present, as well as rust migration. Paper is (no worse than) brown and may show brittleness around the edges but not in the central portion of the pages. Acidic odor may be present. Accumulation of interior tears. Chunks may be missing. The centerfold may be missing if readability is generally preserved. Coupons may be cut.

0.5 POOR (PR): Most comic books in this grade have been Sufficiently degraded to the point where there is little or no collector value; easily identified by a complete absence of eye appeal. Brittle almost to the point of turning to dust with a touch, and usually incomplete. Extreme fading may render the cover almost indiscernible. May have extremely severe stains, mildew or heavy cover abrasion to the point that some cover inks are indistinct/absent. Covers may be detached with large chunks missing. Can have extremely ragged edges and extensive creasing. Corners are rounded or virtually absent. Covers may have been defaced with paints, varnishes, glues, oil, indelible markers or dyes, and may have suffered heavy water damage. Can also have extensive amateur repairs such as laminated covers. Extreme spine roll present; can have extremely ragged spines or a complete, book-length split. Staples can be missing or show extreme rust and discoloration. Extensive staple tears and stress lines may be present, as well as extreme rust migration. Paper exhibits moderate to severe brittleness (where the comic book literally falls apart when examined). Extreme acidic odor may be present. Extensive interior tears. Multiple pages, including the centerfold, may be missing that affect readability. Coupons may be cut.

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Glossary of common grading terminology:

Abrasion: Scuff-type marks or areas due to rubbing from handling, shelf-wear, or production/shipping wear.

Arrival Date/Date Stamp: The date written (often in pencil) or stamped on the cover of comics by either the local wholesaler, newsstand owner, distributor, or owner, to denote when it arrived for sale, or when it was bought. Ones done with grease pencils are usually considered defects, others are up to the collector's taste, unless they really obscure some art or are very large.

Bindery Perforations: Small, evenly distributed holes on the page margins which sometimes occur as part of the manufacturing process. Not considered a defect.

Bindery/Printing Defects: Various defects done during manufacture. Includes mistrimming/cutting, miswrapping (cover overlaps front or back too much or at an angle), inaccurate stapling, paper wrinkling, off-registered or even missing color, misbound pages, etc.

Brittleness: A severe condition of paper deterioration where paper loses its flexibility and thus chips and/or flakes easily.

Browning/Tanning: Covers and pages can become darkened/discolored over the years, which can result in whites becoming tanned or browned typically by oxidation, smoke, moisture/humidity, or other soiling. Browning is worse than tanning. "Yellowing" is another term, and less 'bad' than tanning or browning.

Chipping/'Marvel Chipping': A bindery trimming/cutting defect that results in a series of chips and tears at the top, bottom, and right edges of the cover (and pages), caused when the cutting blade of an industrial paper trimmer becomes dull. It was dubbed Marvel Chipping because it can be found quite often on Marvel comics from the late '50s and early '60s, but can also occur with any company's comic books from the late 1940s through the middle 1960s.

Color Fleck/Flake: A fleck is a tiny piece of color that has flaked off a cover, making the white paper substrata visible. Flecks are typically smaller than about a millimeter. Flakes are a bit larger versions of flecks.

Color Touch/Touch-Up: A restoration process by which colored ink is used to hide color flecks/flakes, and larger areas of missing color. Often a permanent marker is used to cover/fill in broken black lines or spots, usually along the spine.

Comic Book Repair: When a tear, loose staple or centerfold has been mended without changing or adding to the original finish of the book. Repair may involve tape, glue or nylon gossamer, and is easily detected; it is considered a defect.

Corner Rounding/Blunting: Rounded corners generally occur over time as the corner of a book is damaged/worn.

Coupon Cut/Missing: A coupon has been neatly removed with scissors or razor blade from the interior or exterior of the comic, as opposed to having been ripped out. Generally considered a big defect.

Cover Gloss: The reflective quality of the cover inks. Dull covers are considered a defect unless, like many old comics, the cover had little gloss to begin with.

Crease/Creasing: Permanent folding, generally where color/structure is damaged resulting in a visible line. Most often on corners, but can be on edges due to thumbing or other bending.

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Dent: Damage that occurs to a book when sharp pressure is exerted. Generally causes structural damage or damage to ink. "Corner crunch" is another term for a common type of dent.

Distributor Ink/Stripes: Color brushed or sprayed on the edges of comic book stacks by the distributor/wholesaler to code them for expedient exchange at the sales racks. Typical colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Distributor stripes are not generally considered a defect (unless it's excessive with a good amount on the cover).

Fading/Faded Cover: Fading and other discoloration can occur when a book is exposed to outside factors such as sunlight or long exposure to artificial light.

Fold/Folding: Permanent fold in pages or cover which doesn't result in color/structural damage, i.e., not color breaking or torn.

Foxing: Small orange or brown discoloration spots/areas on/inside a cover or pages, caused by mold.

Migration: Staining that occurs when rust damage on staples moves onto the cover and/or pages.

Miswrap/Off-set/Off-center: A binding defect where the front or back cover rides around to the other side beyond the normal 'spine line'. Can be angled or straight, and often accompanied by misaligned staples.

Overhang/Hangover/Edge Overrun/Overlap/Over-cover: The cover extends beyond the interior pages by a 1/16th" or more, sometimes enough to cause bends/tears on the cover edge.

Printing Errors: Where some other forms of printing may yield valuable or collectable pieces when printing errors occur, errors in printing comic books generally are not collectable. This may include off-center stapling and printing, staples not going through all pages, folding errors, misprinted pages, covers or pages being stapled upside-down, cutting errors where cover or pages are not even, thin fold lines in the cover ("printing creases"), and other similar factory errors. Such errors may also yield a lower grade.

Reading Crease: Book-length, vertical front cover crease along the spine, caused by bending the cover over the staples. Squarebound comics often receive these creases just by opening the cover too far to the left.

Reading Kinks: Short little indentations on a cover, often curved, from kinking while handling/reading.

Repair/Restoration: Any attempt, whether professional or amateur, to enhance the appearance of an aging or damaged comic book. These procedures may include any or all of the following techniques: recoloring, adding missing paper, tear seals, stain/ink/dirt or tape removal, "repaired" with tape, whitening, pressing out wrinkles, staple replacement, trimming, re-glossing, etc. In all cases, except for some simple cleaning procedures, a restored book can never be worth the same as an unrestored book in the same condition. There is disagreement on what is considered restoration and what's now called 'preservation' (to prevent further damage) and whether preservation should be considered a defect.

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Rusted Staples: Staples (particularly in older comics) are prone to rust when exposed to too much moisture or humidity. This may also cause rust staining of the cover and pages around the staples.

Shadow: When a portion of a book is covered by other books or other items an exposed portion may become faded or discolored from being exposed to moisture, sun, dust, etc. that the rest of the book is not exposed to.

Smudge/Smudging, Soiling/Staining: Soiling generally caused by handling with dirty/wet/oily fingers, or by dirt, dust, liquids, or other contaminants. Can also be caused during manufacture from handling before the ink is dry.

Spine Roll: A condition where the left edge of the comic book curls toward the front or back, caused by folding back each page to the back as the comic was read, rolling it for carrying around, or sometimes by being stored flat and stacked with other comics.

Spine Split: A separation of the covers anywhere along the spine fold, usually at the top or bottom.

Spine Tick/Bindery Corner: A small flap or piece on a corner of the spine, usually done during production. Piece may be missing. Not usually considered a defect unless you're grading for a 'mint' comic.

Spine Wear: Creasing and other damage occurring on the spine (left side) of the comic.

Staple Wear/Pull/Pop: Area around the staple is creased or torn, and in extreme cases the staple is pulled through part or all of the book. Loose/detached covers are considered a major defect.

Stress Lines/Marks: Generally short, thin, straight horizontal lines on the spine, common around the staples, caused by stress to the cover from bending/handling. Usually white (color breaking), but can also not break color and just have a wrinkle line.

Subscription Fold/Subscription Crease: Fold or crease down the center of a book commonly caused by folding during postal delivery of a book. A subscription crease (breaks color) is worse than a subscription fold, but both are generally considered major defects.

Trimming/Trimmed: Cutting uneven/chipped edges of a book's pages and/or covers to even them up. Considered a defect.

Water/Moisture Stains: May be caused by exposure to water or other liquids, which stains the paper by altering its color (usually browns white paper), and/or making it warped, wavy, fuzzy etc., sometimes causing darker rings around the stain, and doing structural damage to the paper. Bad oil stains may cause paper to become translucent.

Whiteness: Obviously the amount of whiteness of cover and pages, going from white to off-white, cream, yellow, tan, brown and similar terms. Most modern comics don't have white borders on the pages any more, so this applies to mostly pre-1990's books, except for covers.

End of Glossary.

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