The physical condition of a postcard can have a huge impact on its value on the collector’s market. Below, you will find a commonly used chart for grading postcards, BUT it is very important to remember that each auction house, vendor and appraiser select their own grading system. Also, grading is more of an art than a science, and even with the same grading system, two appraisers can reach two different conclusions.
Also important: Some appraisers will automatically downgrade a postcard that has been sent by mail and/or written on. For other’s, such usage doesn’t lead to an automatic downgrading.
Example of commonly used grading system for postcards
Grade 1: Mint Condition
- No damage
- Perfect or nearly perfect corners and edges.
- Only very light yellowing from age or from being in an album is permitted, excessive yellowing will cause the postcard to be downgraded.
Grade 2: Near Mint Condition
- Very light signs of wear
- Corners and edges is one step below nearly perfect
- Light yellowing from age or from being in an album is permitted.
Grade 3: Excellent Condition
- More corner and/or edge wear than Grade 2.
- Corners may have become rounded from wear.
- Tips may have slight indentations from wear.
- A lot of yellowing from age or from being in an album is permitted.
- One or more creases in the card is not permitted.
Grade 4: Average Condition
- Similar to Grade 3, but one or more creases in the card is permitted. (Although many creases can get it downgraded to Grade 5.)
Grade 5: Poor Condition
- Grade 5 postcards have faults, such as:
- Heavy corner / edge wear
- Corner / edge tearing
- Missing corner
- Many creases