GRADING
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COLLECTIBLE GAME CARD GRADING CRITERIA

GRADING CATEGORIES
(left to right)
MINT (M), NEAR MINT (NM), EXCELLENT (EX), GOOD (G), POOR (PR)



Mint (M) Criteria:

  • Looks perfect, like it has just been pulled out of a pack.

  • Has the look and feel of an unplayed card.

  • Has no major, nor minor defects.

  • Edges and corners are sharp.

  • Has no wear marks on corners, edges, or surface.

  • Close inspection reveals no minor defects, such as surface scratches, white dots, or edge marks.

  • Card is flat (not warped).

  • Colors are bright with no fading.

  • Manufacturing defects that are present on virtually every card do not disqualify a card from mint status. Note: manufacturing defects were very common in Alpha and Beta Magic cards because manufacturing standards were low when these cards were produced.

  • No other manufacturing defects are allowed.



  • Near Mint (NM) Criteria:

  • Has the look and feel of an unplayed card.

  • Edges and corners are sharp.

  • Should have no wear marks on corners, edges, or surface.

  • At first glance, some NM cards cannot be distinguished from mint cards.

  • Close inspection may reveal a few (probably less than 4) minor defects, such as a slight surface scratch, a few isolated white dots or black dots, or a few small edge marks.

  • Should be flat (not warped).

  • Colors are bright with no fading.

  • Manufacturing defects that are present on virtually every single card do not disqualify a card from NM status. Note: manufacturing defects were very common in Alpha and Beta Magic cards because manufacturing standards were low when these cards were produced.


  • Excellent (EX) Criteria:

  • A typical EX card usually has several (more than 3) minor defects.

  • A typical EX card may look NM except at the edges where there is some wear.

  • May have the look and feel of a card that has been slightly played (probably in protective sleeves).

  • Card may actually be unplayed but may have acquired some wear due to storage.

  • No part of the card has dense wear.

  • Edges and corners are usually sharp.

  • Edges and corners of black borders usually have white dots and/or slight
    whitening.

  • Edges and corners of black borders may even have slight uniform whitening all around.

  • Edges and corners of black borders may show signs of fading.

  • Edges and corners of white borders usually have slight dirt. The slight dirt may be only on one edge or corner or the slight dirt may be uniformly distributed over all four edges and corners.

  • Surface may have slight wear, such as a few very small scratches or indentations, but no whitening (snow).

  • May be slightly warped.

  • Colors may be slightly faded.


  • Good (G) Criteria:

  • Card looks like it has been moderately played.

  • Some edges or corners may be worn (softened/fuzzy).

  • Black borders usually have whitening all around.

  • White borders usually have dirt all around.

  • Card surface usually has wear and whitening (snow). Some surface wear may not
    be visible in a scan. This “hidden” surface wear may only be visible when the card surface is tilted and viewed at an angle by reflected light.

  • May have a small crease, fold, indentation, scratch, tear, rip, or missing part.

  • May be moderately warped.

  • Colors may be moderately faded.

  • Tournament playable in clear protective sleeves provided that the other cards in the deck are in the same condition. Otherwise, colored protective sleeves are
    recommended.


  • Poor (PR) Criteria:

  • Looks like it has either been heavily played, abused, or damaged.

  • Some edges or corners may be worn (softened/fuzzy).

  • Colors may be faded.

  • May have one or more major defects.

  • May have an accumulation of defects.

  • May have dense whitening all over the front and/or back of the card.

  • May be discolored and/or dirty.

  • Text may be difficult to read.

  • May have a large crease, fold, tear, indentation, scratch, rip, or missing part.

  • May have been damaged by liquid, oil, marker, ink, glue, dye, mold, or mildew.

  • May be severely warped.

  • May have been defaced (this does not include signatures or alterations by card’s artist or game’s creator).

  • Damage or abuse can make a poor card out of what would normally be a mint, near mint, excellent, or good card.

  • Card’s condition may disqualify it from tournament play--even in a colored protective sleeve!




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