Coca-Cola cardboards — a visual guide to condition.

Condition is the most important factor in determining value –

 

Two condition grading methods have evolved over the years, the 1 to 10 scale and the Mint to Poor scale. Shown below are examples of the 1936 Fiftieth Anniversary Coca-Cola cardboard in each of the conditions. Under each poster the corresponding condition and description is presented. Please keep in mind that interpreting these guidelines is objective, and everyone's viewpoint is different. For instance a "minor scratch" might mean one thing to one person, and something slightly different to another person.  Also keep in mind,  that when in doubt, it is always better to "under-grade" and item than it is to "over-grade" and item.

Mint / Grade 10

Absolutely perfect original unused condition. No visible flaws at all. Please note that many items contained flaws when they were manufactured and so they cannot be considered mint.

 

Few items possess this condition, and in most instances, the demand for mint items far exceeds the number of items available in the marketplace. The rarity of this condition increases it's value considerably. Mint items have the highest investment potential for future increase.

Near Mint Plus / Grade 9.5

Almost, but not quite, perfect condition with only minor usage or age flaws. This is about as good as it gets. This item looks perfect from arms length, but shows a flaw or two under closer review.  Minor flaws can include: a slight scratch or tiny chip or a small size dot or two in the lithograph. Nothing that detracts from the beauty of the item. This is the original condition that most items possessed when they were originally manufactured.

 

This condition is highly desirable and difficult to obtain on older items. Investment value is high, and the potential for a future increase in value is very strong.

Near Mint / Grade 9

Again this is almost – but not quite – perfect condition with only minor flaws from usage or age. This item looks perfect from arms length, but shows just a few more minor flaws under closer review.  Minor flaws can include: a slight scratch or small edge ding or a spot or two in the lithography.

 

A very desirable condition for all collectors. Investment value is high, and the potential for future increase in value is strong.

 

 

Excellent Plus / Grade 8.5

Excellent Plus and Excellent condition are the categories that most collectible items fall into. Shows only minor flaws such as staining, scratches, small nicks, small tears and tiny nail holes that do not detract from the overall appearance.

 

A very presentable and desirable condition for collectors. Investment value is still present, but the potential for future increase is somewhat less than the first three grades. Older and rare items are an exception.

 

Excellent / Grade 8

Excellent Plus and Excellent are the categories that most collectible items fall into. A few more scratches and small dings than on the Excellent Plus. Larger and more noticeable edge tears, nail holes or stains are evident.

 

Still a very presentable and desirable condition for most collectors. But, this is the point where investment value begins to level off. Future return on investment is less predictable.

 

 

Very Good Plus / Grade 7.5

Flaws begin to become more numerous and more apparent. Surface disruption is more apparent. Scratches and rubs are numerous and more obvious. There might be minor flaking of paper and minor staining or light spots.

 

This condition is considered less desirable for most collectors, and presentability starts to lessen. Items begin to loose value more quickly, and investment potential is minimal. Future return on investment (especially for common items) is questionable. Older and rare items are an exception.

 

Very Good / Grade 7

Flaws are more numerous and more apparent. Paper and color disruption are obvious to the observer, as are scratches and staining or light spots. Minor edge tears or edge separation are common.

 

Like Grade 7.5, this condition is considered less presentable and less desirable. Items begin to loose value more quickly, and investment potential is minimal. Future return on investment for common items is questionable. Older and rare items continue to be an exception.

Good / Grade 5

Major flaws are numerous. Paper and color disruption are obvious to the observer, and scratches and staining is common. Edge tears, paper separation and and holes are more obvious. Fading and soiling will often be seen.

 

Collector desirability is minimal as is presentbility. Future return on investment for common items is unlikely.

Fair / Grades 3-4

Major flaws are numerous and very obvious. Paper and color disruption are obvious to the observer, and scratches and staining is common. Edge tears, paper separation and and holes are very obvious. Fading and soiling is common.

 

Collector desirability is minimal if any, as is presentability. Future return on investment is very unlikely.

Poor / Grades 1-2

Major flaws are numerous and very obvious. Paper and color disruption are obvious to the observer. Scratches, bends and staining are present. Edge tears, paper separation and and holes are very obvious. Fading and soiling is common.

 

Collector desirability and presentability is non-existent. Future return on investment is non-existent.

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