Very Fine (VF)
The highest grade given to any copy. A crisp, fresh copy with NO flaws. Even a minor blemish must not be graded Very Fine – there will be NO “Very Fine except….” Some sellers describe these books as “Mint” or “AS NEW”. Very Fine books have never been read, or at least appear to have never been read.
Copy is without visible flaws, but not as crisp as a Very Fine copy. A Fine book has had great loving care. Any minor blemish in the book or dust jacket must be noted in description.
Very Good (VG)
The most common grade given to a collectable copy, very good means exactly what it says. A Very Good copy is no longer fresh; it has been handled and shows some signs of wear, but it is still sound and appealing. Flaws such as ownership signatures, bookplates, and remainder marks must be noted in the description, along with rubbing, chips and tears, and price-clipping in dust jackets, where applicable.
Good is the lowest grade given to a collectable copy. The book has been used and abused, but is whole. There may be one major flaw, like dampstaining or a cracked hinge, that keeps it from a higher grade, or there may be an accumulation of minor problems. A dust jacket may have some design elements lost, but it must not be fragmentary. It can also be known as “Fair” if it’s on the brink of “Good”.
Uncollected Conditions (UC)
This describes a copy that is not whole either in binding or text, or abused to the point of not being sound or attractive. Ex-library copies with pockets glued to – or torn off – the endpapers, abundant rubber stamping and pasted-down lending sheets. An ex-library copy may be acceptable reading copy, but not collectible copy.