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Star Wars Vintage Figures Grading & Values
This section will hopefully help take out some of the confusion and misunderstanding when it comes to grading and valuing Star Wars Vintage Figures.

 

Here are some thoughts regarding grading, condition and values that you should take into account.  These little toy figures were not intended to be collectible they were meant to be toys.  Grading is subjective and everyone has a different way of grading whether they choose a number system, like 1-10 or the poor/good/excellent/near mint/mint rating system.  Each rating system is flawed by the fact that no two people usually look at something the same way and therefore grading is skewed.  But one thing everyone does agree on is that condition is everything.  When it comes to placing a value, the better condition items command more value while those in lesser condition are valued far less.  Some collectors are not concerned with the condition of the figures they collect while there are those that strive to have the very best. Neither is right or wrong, it just comes to personal preference, and in some cases, budget.  Another subjective matter is value.  How do you come up with a value for which you would purchase a particular figure and at what value would you sell a figure?  Unfortunately, there is no formula or precise method and because of changes in the market, what is hot and commands high dollars today may not be tomorrow and the price will decline.  Therefore, you are forced to use your best judgment, research recent sales of like items in similar condition and determine what is right for you.  Some items will sell for less and others may be purchased at a higher price then what is suggested on this site.  But, keep in mind that this information is simply that, another tool to assist you in making an informed determination in grading condition and value and not intended to set a particular price. 

How do you determine value?  First you need a benchmark or better, a starting point for which to grade from and that usually means to start with the best of the best.  Most collectors refer to a casting that is the best of the best as mint and therefore giving that example the highest dollar value.  By definition, mint means in perfect condition as when first made.  If you look closely at almost every figure, you will find some minute flaw such as a micro chip, slight paint wear, a scuff, slightly bent saber tip, miss-matched painted eyes or even a factory casting flaw that would result in a less then mint rating.  Packaging is yet another factor and a bent or soft corner, discolored blister, cracked blister, vein or crease on the card, discoloration to the card, staple holes and punched or un-punched blister packs are just some examples of what would equate to less then mint packaging.  As you can see, exceedingly few figures loose or packaged would meet the true mint criteria.  With that said, a more precise term that is a little more forgiving would be best suited for providing values on this site.  By definition, pristine means immaculate so clean and neat as to look as good as new.  Pristine is the right term to give a near flawless casting, loose or packaged, that is as close to perfection one could expect.  

Using the term pristine, we now must give it a value.  Here lies a speculative matter similar to grading and that is the setting of one specific number to represent top dollar.  Again lays the possibility of no two people agreeing on the same top dollar value just as they might not view something the same way.  Therefore, a value range would be better suited when supplying a value to a pristine figure.  This way, you get a better feel for what to expect in a low versus high market. 

Now, how do you determine what is pristine and what is not.  Pristine would fall right in between mint and near mint.  Mint of course being perfect without any flaws, pristine being immaculate where there might be one or two very insignificant flaws, then near mint being close to mint with only several minor flaws and so on.  Below will hopefully give a better representation on how to grade.  When determining condition of a packaged item, you must consider both the condition of the figure itself and the packaging.  There are times when one would be in better condition then the other therefore; you are forced to classify the item at the lesser condition.  For example, you may have a near mint figure with a very small paint rub on a hand but the card has a large crease running through the center and a crack along the seam of the blister this would rate overall at very good even though the figure is near mint. 

Mint Perfect, no flaws. 

Pristine Immaculate, only one to two minor flaws. 

Examples regarding loose; an almost undetectable minute paint rub, a slightly bent saber tip, tight joints.

Examples regarding packaged; a very slight vein on the card, very slight shelf wear on the box,  very clear blister without dents or cracks, un-punched card, un-opened box.   

Near Mint Close to mint, with only several minor flaws. 

Examples regarding loose; a small paint rub, a very small amount of wear along a sharp edge, one slightly loose joint.

Examples regarding packaged; a slight crease on the card, a soft bend on one corner of the card, a slight ding on the box, opened box but un-played with set  with all contents intact.

Excellent   Very high quality with a few flaws. 

Examples regarding loose; a few small paint rubs, a slight scuff on an arm or leg, small area of paint loss, slightly loose joints.

Examples regarding packaged; several veins on the card, a feathered corner or two, slight crease to the blister, slight crush to the box, slight discoloration to the box, possibly played with set or just the contents removed from the box but put back with all contents intact. 

Very Good Some signs of possible play wear or poor storage. 

Examples regarding loose; medium sized paint rubs, several scuffs on the figure, noticeable paint loss.

Examples regarding packaged; a small crack to the blister, noticeable creases on the card, a slight wave to the card, minor tears to the box, definite signs of play time but still displayable, complete contents with slight wear. 

Good Definite signs of play wear. 

Examples regarding loose; fair amount of scuffs or scratches, very bent saber tip, loose joints.

Examples regarding packaged; blister may be slightly separated from the card, a very wavy or bend to the card,  slight discoloration to the blister, weak or worn box, considerable playtime to the contents, missing pieces making an incomplete set.  

Fair Very well used. 

Examples regarding loose; many scuffs or scratches, very loose joints, very noticeable paint loss, missing weapon.

Examples regarding packaged; card is weak and frayed, has many creases or a slight tear, the blister has pulled away from the card or has many dents and or cracks, the box has torn or missing flaps or shows damage to the sides, badly damaged corners and several pieces missing from the contents. 

Poor Deplorable. 

Examples regarding loose; majority of paint missing, sloppy joints, missing weapons and/or accessories, very worn looking.

Examples regarding packaged; the card is badly torn or a large piece is missing, many cracks and crushing to the blister, extremely worn or severely damaged box, many missing or damaged pieces.

 


 
Copyright 2010 ChevyMuscle Toys (Ed Wershbale)