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First Checks and Assessments

These principles can apply to both American and British comics.

1. Open the comic carefully and grade from the inside out. Lay it on a flat surface or hold it in the cup of the hand. Do not bend back or flatten out the comic.

Check that there is a centrefold and that it is attached by both staples. Check for missing pages, panels or coupons that may have been cut out. Check for tears in pages, writing, scribbling or any kind of water or ink stains. Check outer edges of pages for any signs of browning or brittleness. One may check the smell of the comic for any hints of acidity or dampness.

2. Check inside front and back covers, particularly opening the cover page to see how it strains against the staples which may have resulted in a slight tear at the staple. Check that the cover hasn't become detached at the top or bottom staple.

Older UK comics tend not to use stainless steel staples so rust is more prevalent. Rust can be so bad that the staples are practically disintegrating. This is particularly prevalent with British comics from the 1950s and early/mid 1960s.

Check for any unusual whiteness compared with the page colour as this may indicate cover-bleaching or stain removal. Check for any staple re-inforcement.

3. Check back cover for any tears and/or pieces out. Check for any wear or soiling along the back cover spine.

4. Check the front cover. This is the most important part of the comic as it is most seen when displayed and liable to the most wear or defacement. The areas of most common wear are around the staples/spine area and at the corners. Check for any cracks or chipping along the right-hand edge (more applicable to American comics than British). Hold the comic up to the light and check the depth of colour, the amount of cover gloss (more American comics) and any indentations. Check dark blue and black areas for any signs of colour-touch (more applicable to American comics than British).

5. Finally, assess the overall appearance of the comic, checking for tightness and squareness of trim. Many comics were mis-cut or had off-centre staples as part of the initial production process. American comics in particular can suffer from cover wraparound where some of the back cover is visible from the front, sometimes called white line or 'white spine'.  On British comics look out for 'foxing'. These are orange/red spots that appear mostly on covers, sometimes quite light, other times quite heavy and very noticeable. These spots are spores in the paper, usually caused by storage in damp conditions. It can really spoil the 'eye-appeal' of a comic. Something else to watch out for - both US and UK comics can have 'dust shadows' across their covers. This is where a pile of comics has been exposed to some sunlight or accumulated a layer of dust. A line is left where one comic was lying across another one.


Grading information and pictures provided by  Duncan Mcalpine from www.comicpriceguide.co.uk

Other help in this category

Detailed 10 Point Grading System

Grading System - Definitions (Mint to Poor!)

Example of 10.0 (Gem Mint Issue)

Example of 9.9 (Mint Issue)

Example of 9.8 (Near Mint - Mint Issue)

Example of 9.6 (Near Mint +)

Example of 9.4 (Near Mint)

Example of 9.2 (Near Mint -)

Example of 9.0 (Very Fine - Near Mint)

Example of 8.5 (Very Fine +)

Example of 8.0 (Very Fine)

Example of 7.5 (Very Fine -)

Example of 7.0 (Fine - Very Fine)

Example of 6.5 (Fine +)

Example of 6.0 (Fine)

Example of 5.5 (Fine -)

Example of 5.0 (Very Good - Fine)

Example of 4.5 (Very Good +)

Example of 4.0 (Very Good)

Example of 3.5 (Very Good - )

Example of 3.0 (Good - Very Good)

Example of 2.5 (Good +)

Example of 2.0 (Good)

Example of 1.8 (Good -)

Example of 1.5 (Fair - Good)

Example of 1.0 (Fair)

Example of 0.5 (Poor)

Example of Rusty Staples

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