This simplified grading guide gives basic categories for the condition of
game cards and applies to all of the collectible trading card games.
If you like you can save this page as a PDF and even convert
that PDF to excel if you would like.
Mint: A perfect card in every respect. This card will show no edge wear
or surface scratches.
Near Mint: Most cards right out of the pack will fit this description.
This card might have a few small white marks along the edges or a small amount
of surface wear from packaging but will show no wear from play or shuffling.
Card will show accumulated dirt on surface due to body oils from constant
Fine: This card has obviously been played, but not heavily. It lacks marks that would
make it easily identifiable. It definitely has some minor scratches and/or less
than perfect edges. It will show less than 1/16" depth of white along one or
two edges of one face of the card. It may have a minor crease that is only
Excellent: Most played cards will fall into this category. Cards in this
grade will show lots of even wear, mostly along the back edges of the card from
shuffling. This condition could also have moderate scratching on the surface.
Occasionally a NM card that has a small amount of ink on the edges will be
graded EX. Foil cards will qualify as EX if they show excessive scratches.
Good: This card has a played look to it. It will have white showing on three or four
edges on both faces. This card may also have more than 1/16" depth of white
showing on an edge on the back face of the card. It may also be a card that
looks like a Near Mint Card except that it has one distinguishing wear feature,
such as a slight tear, or an easily identifiable crease. It may also have
permanent black marks from dirt. These cards likely would need to be used in a
sleeve so as to not be considered marked for tournament use
Poor: This grade is reserved for cards that have obvious problems,
usually a bend mark or tear in the card.
Misprints & Errors
If a card is mangled by the factory by being irregularly cut or crunched by the
flow wrap machine, it often has no value. If a card has a text/icon/art error
that is later corrected, it may have premium value.
So Far, an autograph has not lowered a card's value; to some people, an
autograph increases the card's value. A card autographed by the game's designer
or the artist is definitely of more value to a collector. A card autographed and
augmented by the game's designer is even better!
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