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Glossary Part C Condition Grading Terms

Page history last edited by Gwen Foss 13 years, 12 months ago


Glossary of Book and Ephemera Terms and Abbreviations


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Part C. Condition Grading Terms


Listed here from best to worst, these terms are commonly used to indicate the general condition of used books and paper ephemera.


Please note: A book description with two conditions separated by a slash indicates the condition of the book followed by the condition of the [dust jacket]; as in, VG/G, meaning a very good book with a good jacket. The presence of a dash after the slash indicates there is no jacket; as in, VG/--. Such books are [hardcovers] unless otherwise noted.


Further note: These terms are somewhat arbitrary, and not every dealer would grade the same item the same way, but in most cases the following definitions will give you a fairly accurate image of the condition of a given book. If you have any questions on a particular item listed for sale, it is best to contact the dealer and ask.



As New (AN). in the same immaculate condition in which it was published; perfect. Sometimes called [Mint], like new, or new.


Very Fine (VF). occasionally-used grade above [Fine] but below [As New]. Sometimes called Extra Fine.


Fine (F or FN). approaches the condition of [As New], but without being crisp; there are no defects of any

kind, no torn pages or any other flaws. Some dealers never grade above Fine.


Near Fine (NF or NFN). approaches the condition of [Fine]; may have a whisper of wear, but no defects of any kind.


Very Good Plus (VG+). occasionally-used grade above [Very Good] but below [Near Fine]; shows some,

but very little, signs of wear.


Very Good (VG). shows some small signs of wear, but no tears, on either binding or pages, unless noted.


Very Good Minus (VG-). occasionally-used grade above [Good Plus] but below [Very Good]; may be rubbed or have minor chips, but no serious flaws unless noted.


Near Very Good (NVG). rarely-used grade above [Good] but below [Very Good].


Good Plus (G+). occasionally-used grade above [Good] but below [Very Good]; may be worn or [yellowed], as noted, but still has some features in its favor.


Good (G). has normal wear; the average used book. A book rated "Good" is worn but intact, and has all its pages unless otherwise noted.


Good Minus (G-). occasionally-used grade above [Poor] but below [Good].


Fair (FR). occasionally-used grade below [Good] but above [Poor]. A book graded "Fair" is quite worn and has all its text pages, including those with maps or [plates], but may lack [endpapers], [half title], or other pages, as noted.


Poor (P). extremely worn and flawed but has the complete text; its only merit is as a [reading copy]. A book graded "Poor" may be soiled, scuffed, stained or spotted, may have loose boards or loose pages, and may be missing maps or [plates], or have other such flaws as noted, but the complete text is present and legible unless otherwise stated.



Paperback Grading / Letter Grading


A letter grade system is sometimes used for describing the condition of a [paperback]. Some dealers who

specialize in [paperbacks] use only A, B, and C and do not use + or - modifiers. Some dealers use the letter grading system for all books. See the condition terms above for descriptions of these grades.


A+ = [As New] or [Very Fine].


A = [Fine].


A- = [Near Fine].


B+ = [Very Good Plus].


B = [Very Good].


B- = [Very Good Minus] or [Near Very Good].


C+ = [Good Plus].


C = [Good].


C- = [Good Minus].


D = [Fair].


E = [Poor].



Periodical and Ephemera Grading


The following terms are sometimes used for describing the condition of [periodicals], paper [ephemera], toys, [LP] records and other [collectible] items. See the condition terms above for a more detailed discussion of these grades.


Mint (M or MT). perfect; immaculate; same as [As New].


Excellent (EX or Exc). almost like new, but shows just a little wear; same as [Fine].


Very Good (VG). shows some wear but no defects.


Good (G). shows average wear and may have some minor defects, as noted, but is intact.


Poor (P). extremely worn, damaged, or flawed, as noted.



A ~ B ~ C ~ D ~ E ~ F G ~ H ~ I ~ J ~ K ~ L ~ M


N ~ O ~ P Q ~ R ~ S ~ T ~ U ~ V W ~ XYZ


This glossary was written and compiled by Gwen Foss of Alan's Used Books with thanks to the many independent bookdealers of TomFolio.com.


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