Atomic Avenue does not arbitrate condition disputes. Sellers should grade their books accurately, and accept returns for condition disputes. If an item is graded accurately, If you are getting repeated returns for condition disputes, you are grading incorrectly. Our grading guide is below. We do not use numeric grades except for certified items which should include the certification service.
We repeat and highlight two grades in particular for buyers and sellers.
Mint is an exceptional condition. It means the items are in flawless condition, and furthermore will arrive in such condition. It is rare, as most items will have at least minor flaws in production, transit, and shipping. Be very careful and exacting if you post any items in this conditon.
VF-NM is not VF/NM. It is a category for comics that fall anywhere between the near mint and very fine grades. Buyers will use this to quickly grade a large collection that they don't have time to verify each issue. You may expect books in near mint or close to near mint condition; you may also receive items in very fine, and no better than very fine condition. If you would like an item in near mint condition, buy items that are listed in near mint condition.
Sellers can regrade misgraded items before shipping. These items cannot ship until the buyer accepts them in the regraded condition or either the buyer or seller cancels them off the order.
Official List of Grades Used by ComicBase and Atomic Avenue
Perfect in every way. ’Nuff said.
Near Mint (NM)
Nearly perfect copy of a comic. The cover is flat and glossy without any surface wear, the spine is tight, and the corners are square. The interior pages are generally well-centered and firmly secured with original staples and no staple tears or stress lines. Only has barely perceptible flaws—e.g. subtle printing defects. No creases, staining, soiling or other discoloration. Comic looks as if it were just purchased from the store.
Very Fine to Near Mint (VF–NM)
Excellent condition but not guaranteed to be near mint. This is not a true grade, but a category for comics that fall anywhere between the Very Fine and Near Mint grades.
When selling your comics from ComicBase, you have the option of automatically marking all VF or NM comics in your collection as "VF-NM", giving you an easy way to signify to buyers that the comics in question will be basically in "fresh off the newsstand" condition, without requiring you to painstakingly examine each comic for miniscule defects.
Minimum requirements: Comic is in excellent condition but has been read. Cover is clean and flat, but may be slightly less glossy and cannot be rolled or torn. Spine is tight and flat. Corners are square but with slight blunting permitted. Tiny, hard to see staple tears and small bends up to 1/4" long on the cover are acceptable only if color is not broken. Stamped or inked arrival dates may be present on older comics. Interior pages are firmly attached and staples are original. Paper may be cream to tan in color without acidic odor. No creases, staining, soiling or other discoloration except for minor foxing. Comic may be new from the store or gently read.
Very Fine (VF)
Comic is in excellent condition but has been read. Cover is clean but may be slightly less glossy; cover cannot be rolled or torn. Spine is tight and flat, although tiny, hard to see staple tears and small bends up to 1/4" long on the cover are acceptable if the color is not broken. Corners are still square but may have slight blunting. Stamped or inked arrival dates may be present on older comics. Interior pages are firmly attached and all staples are original. Paper may be cream to tan in color without acidic odor. No creases, staining, soiling or other discoloration except for minor foxing. Comic looks like it was purchased new from the store and gently read.
Comic is beginning to show minor wear. An accumulation of small defects is allowed, such as a few creases no more than 1/4" on the front cover or spine, blunted corners, tiny staple tears, and minor discoloration or stress lines. Only the slightest rolling on the spine is permitted. Older comics may have stamped or inked arrival dates. Original staples could be discolored or replaced. Interior pages are still attached and paper may be cream to tan in color but not brown. No obvious soiling or staining. Comic appears to have been read several times but very well-cared for.
Very Good (VG)
Well-used, but well-cared for comic. Cover surface shows moderate wear and may include: minor to moderate creases, dimples, loss of gloss, blunted corners, minor to moderate staining, discoloration, staple rust, and/or foxing. Spine may be split up to ½" and some mild spine rolling is allowed. Stamped or inked arrival dates may be present. Staples may be rusted or replaced. Interior pages may be loose but are still solidly attached. Paper is tan to brown and might have a slightly acidic odor as well as some minor tearing of 1" or less.
Not very good at all, frankly. A used comic with substantial wear. Comic still has all of its pages and interiors but significant pieces of the cover and interior pages (no more than 2" in size) may be missing. Creases, stress lines, rounded or chipped corners, dimples, foxing, and fading are all allowed. Stamped or inked arrival dates may also be present on the cover. Binding is loose, a staple may be detached, and spine may have a split of anywhere from 2" plus moderate rolling. Tape and other amateur repair are common in Silver Age and older books. Interior paper color is brown but not brittle and may have some soiling or discoloration in addition to odor and tears. Comic is basically used but still intact and readable.
A comic which shows heavy wear. Creases and folds are common and corners are rounded or missing entirely. Soiling, staining, foxing, fading, pencil or other marks and abrasions on the cover are prevalent as well. Cover and interior pages are generally intact but may have up to one-forth of the cover missing or the back cover missing (although not both). Staples are rusted and may be missing or replaced. Spine roll is expected and split spine may extend for up to two thirds of the book. The interior paper color is brown and brittle and chunks may be missing, and in particular there may be cut outs of coupons. Tape and other amateur repair are common in Silver Age and older books. Often the condition of a comic that has been used and read by children and later collected.
A comic that has been used and damaged to a point where it is often not even considered worth collecting. Severe stains, mildew, creases, folding, foxing, and pencil or other markings dominate the cover. Corners are extremely ragged or missing. Spine is rolled, discolored, and/or split. Staples are missing or badly rusted and the pages are falling apart. The interior pages are brown and very brittle with extensive tears and multiple pages or large parts that may be missing entirely. There is significant acidic decay and odor for the paper. Water damage, glue, paints, or indelible dyes may cover the interiors and/or cover as well. Tape and other amateur repair are common. This comic has been obviously used and abused.
A comic book whose grade is not guaranteed. This book may range anywhere from Poor to Near Mint and there is no obligation to clarify its condition. The comic is sold as-is. Useful for when you are unsure of the grade of a book or do not wish to grade the comic.
CGC Grading (CGC 0.5–CGC 10.0)
A CGC grade is for a comic that has been evaluated and certified by the Comics Guarantee Corporation. These books are sealed in a special case ("slabbed") and cannot have been unsealed. Only use these grades if you have an actual Comics Guarantee Corporation graded comic that is still sealed and includes its official CGC certification. Listing an unslabbed comic with a CGC grade is considered serious misrepresentation and will lead you to being banned from the system.