What is a Very Fine Comic?

What is the grading criteria?

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Chuck and Joanna Graham/Flickr

You may think your favorite comic is a very fine read but is it a very fine buy? There are two rating system that give buyers and sellers use to grade the condition of comic books. These ratings often affect the price that a comic book will sell for. The CGC uses a 1-10 numbering system which is pretty self-explanatory and easy to understand. The CGC is a company that offers impartial ratings of comic books.

The other less standardized rating system uses terms like “fair” and “very good”. These terms while descriptive can allow for personal bias, but that doesn’t mean the terms are completely subjective. There are rules and conditions for what constitutes each term. Whether buyer and seller agree on a term, however, isn’t a guarantee.

Why Do Ratings Matter

Comic books are a common collectors item. The rise in popularity of comics means that more titles are being put into print that ever before. This flood of product, however, doesn’t mean they all have value. Everyone’s heard stories of someone who bought a stack of old comics at a garage sale and ended up with a product worth millions of dollars. The scarcity of comics worth a significant amount means this scenario isn’t very likely to occur but that doesn’t mean comics aren’t still fun to collect. Asking for a rating before buying a comic is a good way to verify the legitimacy of the seller and the product.

For those thinking of selling their collections, having comics rated can help the seller know how much their library is worth.   

What Does The Very Fine Rating Mean?

Very Fine

(CGC: 9.0-7.0)
(Overstreet: 89-75)
(Abbreviated as VF)
Beware if any older comic book is graded above this mark. Due to the nature of paper, discoloration is expected over time.

This discoloration can be worsened by the storage condition of the comic. Comics kept in damp environments like basements often degrade faster. Even then, for an older comic to be in the “Very Fine” category it needs to be pretty exceptional. “Very Fine” is still a considered a rather high rating for a comic book to receive. Still, when it comes to buying older comics a “very fine” rating should come with a buyer beware.

Very Fine Criteria 

For a comic book to be considered, “Very Fine” it needs to meet the following criteria:

Outside:

The Cover
The cover should be mostly flat but may have some wear.
The colors of the cover may be slightly faded.
Corners may be slightly creased.

The Spine
May have slight wear.
The spine should be flat, but some lines may be visible.

Inside:

The Pages
May have minor printing and binding defects.
The pages may be yellowish in color.
There should be no stains or major discoloration.

Overall:

The comic should still look good with only minor imperfections.