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Reference Library

Card Set Classifications,   Card Grading Guidelines,   HOFers by Induction Year,  
HOFers (Alphabetical),   World Series Champs

Card Grading Guidelines

Despite trends toward the use of professional grading companies and the good intentions of most hobbyists, the grading of sportscards remains a subjective exercise. The goal, of course, is to find a method that is widely understood and accepted for accruately describing the condition of a card. While there is no universally accepted grading system, the guidelines shown below are representative of those used by many collectors and grading companies to aid in describing a card's condition.

NMNear MintWith very few exceptions, the highest grade assigned to pre-1950 cards. May appear like-new at first glance, but minor flaws are visible upon closer examination. Printing should be centered (top-bottom AND side-side) so that the two opposing borders are balanced to a ratio of not more than 70/30 (perfect balance is a ratio of 50/50).
EXExcellentGenerally sharp corners can show slight rounding or signs of wear. A very light surface scratch or crease may be present as long is it does not detract from the overall appearance of the card. Borders should be centered to a ratio of not more that 80/20.
VGVery GoodAn attractive specimen, but can show clear signs of wear. Can have soft or slightly rounded corners or slight creases (especially around corners) but no major creases or paper loss. Slight imperfections may be visible such as surface wear, light staining or discoloration. Borders should be centered to a ratio of not more that 90/10.
GGoodCards graded "good" can have very noticeable creasing, pinholes and other imperfections in color, surface scuffing or tear and significantly rounded corners. Some ink or pencil markings may also exist. The card might be printed off-center but all borders must be clearly visible.
FFairMay exhibit many of the imperfections of a card graded "good" in addition to missing pieces or significant paper loss.
PPoorCards with major flaws such as missing parts and major paper loss. The ugly duckling of baseball cards.

It should be emphasized that the above are only guidelines. It is always best to view the card (or a good quality high-resolution scan) yourself to form your own opinion about its overall grade and appeal.

On this website, the value of cards from each set is estimated for cards in Very Good (VG) condition. For pre-1950 baseball card sets, this condition is often considered to be "average" or "typical." Viewed another way, the value estimated for a VG card of a common player might be considered the ballpark price that a type collector may expect to pay for a very presentable example (one with no major defects) from that set.

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