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Descriptors used in determining condition of Book and Dustjacket


For many years, the grading system defined by AB Bookman was the standard in the antiquarian book trade. IOBA's standards, listed below, do not fundamentally differ from those standards though they have been expanded upon, and defined a bit more specifically.
(Condition normally shown as __/__, i.e., F/F, denoting first book & then dustjacket condition)

AS NEW (AN) or VERY FINE (VF): Without faults or defects, unread, in the same immaculate condition in which it was published
(Note: very few "new" books qualify for this grade, as many times there will be rubs/scuffs to the dustjackets from shipping, or bumped lower spine ends/corners from shelving).

(Note: Though some use has been made of the term “Mint” it is: “A term borrowed, via philately, from the numismatists (who now prefer 'fleur de coin'), meaning as good as new, and extended to such uses as 'mint copy', 'dust-jacket defective, otherwise mint'. Not to be encouraged.” [Carter, ABC For Book Collectors, 7th Ed., 1995, p. 142.].)

FINE (F): Approaches the above, but not crisp. May show signs of having been carefully read, but no real defects or faults.
(NOTE: From here on, there may be "+" and "-" in a grade, which will mean that it is above the grade noted but not quite to the next higher grade for "+", and that it is below the grade noted but not quite to the next lower grade for "-".

NEAR FINE: Also used, although not contained in Bookman's Weekly definitions, meaning a book or dustjacket approaching FINE but with a couple of very minor defects or faults, which should be noted.

VERY GOOD: A used book showing some small signs of wear on either binding or dustjacket. Any defects/faults must be noted.

GOOD: The average used and worn book that has all pages or leaves present. Any defects must be noted.

FAIR: A worn book that has complete text pages (including those with maps or plates) but may lack endpapers, half-title page, etc. (which must be noted). Binding, dustjacket, etc. may also be worn. All defects/faults must be noted.

POOR or READING COPY: A book that is sufficiently worn that its only merit is the complete text, which must be legible. Any missing maps or plates should still be noted. May be soiled, scuffed, stained, or spotted, and may have loose joints, hinges, pages, etc.

EX-LIBRARY: Must always be designated as such no matter what the condition of the book.

BOOK CLUB: Must always be noted as such no matter what the condition of the book.

BINDING COPY: A book in which the text block, including illustrations, is complete but the binding is lacking, or in such poor condition it is beyond realistic restoration efforts.

REMAINDER MARKS, BOOKPLATES, PREVIOUS OWNER'S NAME: Should be noted unless you explain in your general information that you do not note such.

ODORS/SOILING : It is the bookseller's responsibility to either describe such conditions in book descriptions or rectify them before listing, if possible to do so without harm to a book or its dustjacket. If either cannot be rectified before listing a book online, then it should be mentioned in the description of the book. This also applies to dustjacket protectors and packing materials; buyers should not have to be responsible for trying to rectify odors or soiling not mentioned by a bookseller.
Always, if issued with one, the lack of a dustjacket or slipcase should be noted

IOBA  the source of information and copyright owner

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