Choosing condition of eBay Items

In: Auctions

15 Mar 2009

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a “universal” grading system for all items; different types of collectibles have their own unique grading systems. For example, trading cards are graded from A1 to F1; stamps are graded from Poor to Superb.

Mint System Grading





MT, M, 10

An item in perfect condition, without any damage or imperfections.

Very Fine


Similar to mint.

Near Mint

NM, 9

An item with a very minor, hardly noticeable flaw. Sometimes described as “like new.”

Near Fine


Similar to near mint.


EX, 8

An item considered above average, but with pronounced signs of wear.



Similar to excellent.

Very Good

VG, 7

An item in average condition.


GD, G, 6

An item that has clear indications of age, wear, and use.



An item that is heavily worn.


P, 5

An item that is damaged or somehow incomplete.

Degrees between grade levels are indicated with a + or . (For example, an item between Fine and Very Fine would be designated as F+.) Naturally, the definition of a Mint or Fair item differs by item type.

If you’re not sure what grade an item is, you may want to utilize a professional grading and authentication service. These services will examine your item, authenticate it (confirm that it’s the real deal), and give it a professional grade. Some services will even encase your item in a sealed plastic container or bag.

Grading and Authentication Services






Beanie Babies

Peggy Gallagher Enterprises, Inc.




American Numismatic Association Certification Service

Numismatic Guaranty Corporation of America

Professional Coin Grading Service

Comic books

Comics Guaranty


International Gemological Institute

Sports cards

Professional Sports Authenticator

Sportscard Guaranty, LLC


American Philatelic Society

Professional Stamps Experts

The cost of these authentication services varies wildly, depending on what you’re authenticating, the age or value of the item, and the extent of the service itself. For example, Professional Sports Authenticator rates range from $5 to $100 per sports card; Professional Stamps Experts rates range from $15 to $500 per stamp. Make sure that the item you’re selling is worth it before you go to this expenseand that you can recoup this expense in your auction.

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