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|The following are excerpts from the Train Collectors Association Board
Policy Book from the Standards Committee section. If there
are any discrepancies, the official Board Policy Book supercedes this
Item 3: TCA Description/Grading Standards
MINT - Brand New, absolutely unmarred, all original and unused.
LIKE NEW - Free of blemishes, nicks or scratches; original condition throughout; very little sign of use.
EXCELLENT - Minute nicks or scratches; no dents or rust.
VERY GOOD - Few scratches, exceptionally clean, no dents or rust.
GOOD - Scratches, small dents, dirty.
FAIR - Scratches, chipped, dented, rusted or warped condition.
POOR - Beat up, junk condition, some usable parts.
All description standards are mainly in regard to condition of finish. This should be kept constantly in mind.
In all categories except MINT or LIKE NEW, parts can and may be missing. Any such missing parts must be noted when describing the piece. Also any replacement parts must be noted, or exceptions to the stated category.
All restored or refinished items are to be so stated. Note that the standards apply to ORIGINAL ITEMS. No grade above EXCELLENT can apply to a refinished piece.
All restored or refinished items are to be marked as such. For this marking, the Association furnishes pressure-sensitive labels to members free of charge, to affix to restored and refinished equipment. These labels are available through the Business Office. DNL Oct 1966.
Item 3A: TCA Description/Paper Grading StandardsMINT - Human hands have touched item since leaving original factory. Individual pages are assumed to have been never opened. All edges are crisp and paper is free of all flaws. Original paper folds are crisp with no signs of damage. No rusty staples, tears, or wear marks are present.
NEW - Item has been touched by human hands since leaving original factory. Individual pages have been opened. All edges are crisp and paper is free of all flaws. Original paper folds are crisp with no signs of damage if folded by factory, not unfolded. No rusty staples, creases, tears, or wear marks are present. ITEM MAY HAVE STORE OR DEALER STAMP APPROPRIATELY APPLIED.
LIKE NEW - Human hands have touched item since leaving original factory. Individual pages have been opened. All edges are crisp and paper is free of all flaws. Original paper folds are crisp with no signs of damage. No rusty staples, creases, tears, or wear marks are present. NOTATIONS FROM AN AUCTION DEALER, CLUB MEMBER ON THE COVER OR INTERIOR PAGE MAY BE PRESENT.
EXCELLENT - Item shows signs of moderate usage and is 100% intact. All edges are crisp and paper is free of all flaws. Original paper folds show minute signs of damage. There might be some evidence of bending and folding or unfolding if originally factory folded. No creases, tears, or wear marks are present. ITEM MAY HAVE RUSTY STAPLES WHICH HAVE NOT AFFECTED THE PAPER. Item may have store or dealer stamp appropriately applied.
VERY GOOD - Item shows signs of usage and is 100% intact. Edges are minutely damaged. Original paper folds show signs of damage. Item may show additional (unoriginal) fold or "dog-eared" page/s. Page/s have tears. Such tears greater than two inches may be closed with transparent tape. All printed material is legible, however, PAPER MAY HAVE WEAR MARKS. (WEATHERING, UNORIGINAL PENCIL OR INK MARKS, OR A FOREIGN SUBSTANCE ON THE PAPER SUCH AS RUST, GREASE, OIL, ETC.) WHICH MINUTELY EXTENDS INTO THE PRINTED MATERIAL OR IS CONFINED TO THE UNPRINTED AREAS OF THE PAPER.
GOOD - Item shows high signs of usage. Page/s may be missing or loose and shall be noted. Edges may be damages. Original paper folds are heavily damaged. Item may show an additional (unoriginal) fold or "dog-eared" page/s. Page/s have tears, all existing printed material is legible, however, paper is heavily worn with wear marks (weathering, unoriginal pencil or ink marks, or a foreign substance on the paper such as rust, grease, oil, etc.) extending well onto the original printed material.
FAIR - Page/s may be missing or loose and shall be so noted. Edges may be damaged. Original paper folds are heavily damaged. Item may show additional (unoriginal) folds or "dog-eared" page/s. Page/s have tears. SOME OR ALL OF THE EXISTING PRINTED MATERIAL IS ILLEGIBLE. Paper is heavily worn with severe wear marks (weathering, unoriginal pencil or ink extending well onto the original printed material).
* It is the nature of a market for the seller to see an item in a very positive light and to assign the most favorable description. In contrast, a buyer may see the same item in a less favorable light and will attempt to purchase the item accordingly. It is up to the buyer and seller to negotiate price based on their individual set of values. ANY GRADING SYSTEM IS UP TO INTERPRETATION. When in doubt, the wisest purchase just may be the reproduction for reference only. Regardless, we strongly recommend that novices do not make major purchases without the assistance of friends who have experience in buying and selling paper items.
** Items that have printing that is offset, smeared, double images, odd cut pages, etc. are considered errors and should be noted as such. BOD June 1997.