CGC Grading Scale

CGC uses a 10-point grading scale to evaluate comics. Below are CGC's grading standards for each numeric grade as well as the restoration grading scale.

Grading Scale

Gem Mint 10.0
The highest grade assigned. The collectible must have no evidence of any manufacturing or handling defects.
Mint 9.9
The collectible is nearly indistinguishable from a 10.0 but will have a very minor manufacturing defect. It will not have any evidence of handling defects.
NM/M 9.8
A nearly perfect collectible with negligible handling or manufacturing defects.
NM+ 9.6
A very well-preserved collectible with several minor manufacturing or handling defects.
NM 9.4
A very well-preserved collectible with minor wear and small manufacturing or handling defects.
NM- 9.2
A very well-preserved collectible with some wear and small manufacturing or handling defects.
VF/NM 9.0
A very well-preserved with good eye appeal. There will be a number of minor handling and/or manufacturing defects.
VF+ 8.5
An attractive collectible with a moderate defect or a number of small defects.
VF 8.0
An attractive collectible with a moderate defect or an accumulation of small defects.
VF- 7.5
An above-average collectible with a moderate defect or an accumulation of small defects.
FN/VF 7.0
An above-average collectible with a major defect or an accumulation of small defects.
FN+ 6.5
An above-average collectible with a major defect and some smaller defects, or a significant accumulation of small defects.
FN 6.0
An above-average collectible with a major defect and some smaller defects, or a significant accumulation of small defects.
FN- 5.5
A slightly above-average collectible with a major defect and some smaller defects, or a significant accumulation of small defects.
VG/FN 5.0
An average collectible with several moderate defects.
VG+ 4.5
A slightly below-average collectible with multiple moderate defects.
VG 4.0
A below-average collectible with multiple moderate defects.
VG- 3.5
A below-average collectible with several major defects or an accumulation of multiple moderate defects.
G/VG 3.0
A collectible that shows significant evidence of handling with several moderate-to-major defects.
G 2.5
A collectible that shows extensive evidence of handling with multiple moderate-to-major defects.
G 2.0
A collectible that shows extensive evidence of handling with numerous moderate-to-major defects.
G- 1.8
A collectible that shows extensive evidence of handling with numerous major defects.
Fa/G 1.5
A collectible that shows extensive evidence of handling with a heavy accumulation of major defects.
Fa 1.0
A very poorly handled collectible with a heavy accumulation of major defects.
Poor 0.5
A heavily defaced collectible with a number major defects. Some pieces will also be missing.

Page Quality Scale

White
Paper that appears the same or very near the same as the day it was printed. Only the slightest traces of aging are allowed to a small area, such as the corner. Most comic books printed after 1990 exhibit white pages due to the discontinued use of pulp paper in printing comic books at that time. Only a white page designation is allowed in the 10.0 grade.
Off-White to White
Paper that is still white, but exhibits very slight aging to the outer edges. A significant number of comic books from the mid ‘70s to late ‘80s exhibit this page quality. This designation is the lowest allowed in the 9.9 grade.
Off-White
Paper that exhibits very light aging through the middle of each page, or white pages that exhibit light aging to the outer edges. With rare exception, comic books considered for the grade of 9.8 or better must achieve at least an off-white page designation.
Cream to Off-White
Paper that appears white or off-white in the middle with aged outer edges, or exhibits an overall aged color that is more close to brown than white. This page quality is most prevalent in comic books from the ‘30s, 40’s and ‘50s, but also includes a significant number of Silver Age comic books as well.
Cream
Rarely given, this designation is for pages that are a uniform cream in color from the edges to the middle of each page. Early Silver Age DC’s tend to exhibit cream pages more often than other comics from the same time period.
Light Tan to Off-White
Paper that still appears off-white in the middle of each page, but the edges have developed a tanned appearance considerably darker than cream to off-white. This type of page quality is common among file copies, particularly from Dell and Harvey. A comic book cannot achieve a grade higher than 8.5 with this page quality.
Light Tan to Cream
Similar to light tan to off-white, but the center of each page exhibits a cream color, while the edges are darker.
Light Tan
Like cream pages, this category is for interior pages that exhibit a uniform color edges to middle, but are slightly darker than cream.
Tan to Off-White
Similar to light tan to off-white pages, but the edges of the pages are darker. The best grade a comic book can achieve with this page quality is 7.5.
Tan to Cream
The same as tan to off-white, but the center of the pages are darker.
Tan
Dark colored pages that exhibit a uniform tint from edges to middle.
Dark Tan to Off-White
Pages that are very dark on the edges, but still retain off-white color in the middle.
Dark Tan
Pages that exhibit a very dark, uniform tint from edges to middle, but show no signs of brittleness.
Brown to Off-White
Extremely dark pages that still exhibit off-white color in the middle, and yet do not show signs of brittleness.
Brown to Tan
Extremely dark pages with a slightly less dark tint to the middle of each page.
Brown
Pages that exhibit a uniform color of extreme darkness edges to middle, but do not show signs of brittleness.
Brown / Brittle
Pages that are uniformly extremely dark, but are beginning to show slight signs of brittleness, such as corner chipping or edge tears that have formed from handling.

Brittle Designation

Slightly Brittle
This grade refers more to the structural integrity of the interior paper than its color. Slightly brittle pages exhibit slight splitting to top and bottom spine of interior pages or minor chipping to the corners. Both slightly brittle and brittle pages may not necessarily appear brown or tan in color, particularly if the brittleness is relegated to only one edge or corner of a comic book. The highest grade achievable with a slightly brittle page designation is 6.5.
Brittle
This page designation refers strictly to the compromised structural integrity of the interior paper, which exhibits either heavy multiple spine splits, corner and edge chipping, or both. In some cases pages can appear off-white or white, but suffer from an isolated area of brittleness along the spine that has caused heavy splitting. Brittle pages are sometimes impossible to restore because of their fragile nature. The highest grade allowed for brittle interior pages is 3.5.

Pink and Blue Pages

Pink
This page designation is given to a small number of Golden Age comic books that were printed with pink tinted paper, particularly late ‘40s comics published by Fox. Pink is essentially equal to white in this instance.
Cream to Pink
These pages exhibit the same aging as cream to off-white, showing tanning along the edges with a clean pink tint in the middle. Ascertaining the page quality of pink pages is more difficult due to the lack of contrast between the color pink and brown, as compared to white and brown.
Tan to Pink
This designation is similar to cream to pink pages, but the edges are considerably darker.
Blue
Similar to pink pages, this grade is given in those rare instances when comic books were printed on blue tinted paper. Fox publications also occasionally used blue paper when printing their comic books in the late ‘40s.

Restoration Grading Scale

CGC’s Restoration Grading Scale is a transparent system that is much more descriptive and accurate than before. Every type of restoration found on each book will be individually graded for quantity and quality, with a cumulative score determining the final restoration grade assigned.

Quality (Aesthetic) Scale

Determined by materials used and visual quality of work

A (Excellent)
- Material used: rice paper, wheat paste, acrylic or water color, leafcasting
- Color match near perfect, no bleed through Read More...
- Piece fill seamless and correct thickness
- No fading, excessive whiteness, ripples, cockling, or ink smudges from cover or interior cleaning
- Book feels natural
- Near perfect staple alignment, or replaced exactly as they were
- Filled edges cut to look natural and even
- Cleaned staples or staples replaced with vintage staples
- Married cover/pages match in size and page quality. Professionally attached

Read Less...
B (Fine)
- Material used: pencil, crayon, chalk, re-glossing agent, piece fill from cadavers
- Piece fill obvious upon close inspection, obvious to the touch Read More...
- Color touch obvious upon close inspection, or done with materials listed above
- Cover cleaning resulting in slight color fading or excessively white
- Interior cleaning resulting in slight puffiness, cockling, excessively white
- Enlarged staple holes, obviously crooked staples, or backwards staple insertion
- Replaced staples not vintage
- Married cover/pages do not match in size and/or page quality. Professionally attached

Read Less...
C (Poor)
- Material used: glue, pen, marker, white out, white paper to fill missing pieces
- Piece fill obvious at arm’s length Read More...
- Bad color matching, use of pen or marker. Bleed through evident
- Cover cleaning resulting in washed out/speckled colors, moderate cockling and/or ripples
- New staple holes created upon reinsertion, or non-comic book staples used
- Married cover/pages poorly attached with non-professional materials

Read Less...

Quantity Scale

Determined primarily by extent of piece fill and color touch

1 (Slight)
All conservation work, re-glossing, interior lightening, piece fill no more than size of two bindery chips, light color touch in small areas like spine stress, corner crease or bindery chip fill. Married cover or interior pages/wraps (if other work is present)
2 (Slight/Moderate)
Piece fill up to the ½” x ½” and/or color touch covering up to 1” x 1”. Interior piece fill up to 1” x 1”
3 (Moderate)
Piece fill up to the size of 1” x 1” and/or color touch covering up to 2” x 2”. Interior piece fill up to 2” x 2”
4 (Moderate/Extensive)
Piece fill up to the size of 2” x 2” and/or color touch covering up to 4” x 4”. Interior piece fill up to 4” x 4”
5 (Extensive)
Any piece fill over 2” x 2” and/or color touch over 4” x 4”. Recreated interior pages or cover

Conservation Repairs

Conservation repairs are performed with the intent of preserving the structural or chemical integrity of a comic book using professional techniques and materials. It excludes aesthetic repairs such as color touch and piece fill. All conserved grades must satisfy the CGC quality scale of "A" and quantity scale of "1".

  • Tear seals
  • Spine split seals
  • Reinforcement
  • Piece reattachment
  • Some cover or interior cleaning (water or solvent)
  • Staples cleaned or replaced
  • Some leaf casting
  • De-acidification

Materials Used for Conservation Repairs:

  • Rice paper
  • Wheat glue
  • Vintage staples
  • Archival tape