Grading of cards

A postcard collector needs to develop the ability to grade a postcard's condition. The ability to grade a card's condition needs to be developed early in the process of collecting and become a natural part of viewing postcards. At first, grading a card will take time but then it will become automatic. Here are the grades commonly used for all postcards.

Mint (M):  A perfect postcard or trade card, just like it was when first printed.  No creases or bends, writing (front or back), postmark, nor marks of any kind.  It is a clean postcard or trade card that's seldom seen.

 Excellent (E):  Similar to mint in appearance, with only minor corner bumps (wear).  No bends, creases, or soil.  The postcard may either be postmarked/stamped, or unused.  May have writing on address side only (no writing either side for trade cards).  It is a clean, fresh postcard or trade card (especially on the image side for postcards).


This card has been mounted in an album for almost 100 years and only shows discoloration in the corners due to the mounts.


Very Good (VG):  Corners may be slightly bumped (worn) or rounded.  May have an almost undetectable (very light, very small, and/or very short) crease or bend that doesn't detract from the overall appearance of the image side.  No soiling, or tears.  May have writing, or show postal use on address side only for postcards.

 Good (G):  Corners are more bumped/rounded than very good, with noticeable bends and/or creases.  May have a small amount of light soiling (this includes stains and foxing) that doesn't detract from the overall appearance of the image side.  May have a little bit of writing in small letters at edges on the front side of the postcard, that doesn't detract from main image (many times, however, writing on the front will detract from main image).  May have a small tear, no larger than 3/8 inch.


This card would be graded Very Good except for the small amount of light soiling.


Fair (F):  The postcard or trade card is intact (no corner chips).  Excess (significant) soil, stains, creases, writing, or postmark may affect picture.  It could be a scarce card that is difficult to find in any condition.

 Poor (P):  Incomplete card.  Image seriously affected.  A filler postcard or trade card only (until a better postcard or trade card comes along)!

© Richard Tripp 2012