Postcard Condition Grading

As more dealers begin to trade on the internet a need for a standard 'condition grading' for old or antique postcards is apparent. Before internet trading became established there was, and still is a need to describe the condition of postcards in sales and auction listings, this has lead to a generally accepted standard in the postcard collecting hobby.

We fully accept that everybody, particularly internationally, will have their own opinion as to what the descriptions should mean. For this reason we invite comments and suggestions on the descriptions below. Views of both dealers and collectors alike are welcome. Please send all correspondence to:

PTA Members* are welcome to link this page to their own sales pages as a reference guide. Non-members may also do so after seeking permission and on the condition that any link to this page does not infer membership of the 'Postcard Traders Association'

Mint (M) As new, unposted, in a pristine state. Not normally applicable to vintage cards unless found in original packets.

Excellent ( Ex.) No obvious flaws. Sharp corners, clean and if postally used, writing does not detract from appearance.

Very Good
( VG ) Minor defects such as album marks, signs of age and handling acceptable that do not detract from a visually pleasing card.

(G) Noticeable defects, handling and wear apparent. Slight creasing and minor postal damage not detrimental to image acceptable in this category.

Fair (F) Obvious creasing, staining, small tears or damp damage evident. Significant edge or corner damage. Just about in a collectable state.

Poor (P) Incomplete, image seriously affected. A gap filler only!

Condition Grading on the Internet When selling postcards on the internet the image should be a true representation of the item. Images should show edge definition (this can easily be done by placing a piece of dark paper over the image when scanning or scanning with the lid up in subdued room lighting).

Descriptions should also be clear. It is insufficient to describe a card as 'Good - see scan.' All defects should ideally be clearly pointed out and measured if necessary (e.g. '1 cm tear') to avoid misunderstandings.

*Most dealers are eligible for membership of the Postcard Traders Association click for further details.