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Grading Standards
As of January 01, 2006

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 supersedes this page. Click here to view Grading Standards prior to January 01, 2006.

Item 3: TCA Condition/Grading Standards

C-10 Mint-brand new: all original, unused and unblemished.

C-9 Factory New-brand new: all original, unused, may evidence factory rubs and the slightest evidence of handling, shipping and having been test run at the factory.

C-8 Like New-complete all original: no rust, no missing parts, may show effects of being on display and/or age, may have been run.

C-7 Excellent-all original: minute scratches and paint nicks, minor spots of surface rust, no missing parts, no distortion of component parts.

C-6 Very Good: minor scratches and paint nicks, minor spots of surface rust, free of dents, may have minor parts replaced.

C-5 Good-sign of play wear:  with scratches and minor paint loss, small dents, minor surface rust, evidence of heavy use.

C-4 Fair-scratched: moderate, paint loss, dented, missing parts, surface rust, evidence of heavy use.

C-3 Poor-requires major body repair: heavily scratched, major just, missing parts, restoration candidate.

C-2 Restoration Required

C-1 Junk-parts value only

Condition and Grading Standards apply to all toy train and related accessory items. The items that are being evaluated may or may not include the original box. Boxes and other paper are subject to a separate set of grading and condition standards. Standards for toy train and related accessory items apply to the visual appearance of the item and do not consider the operating functionality of the equipment.

Restored/refinished items must continue to be marked as such using the pressure sensitive labels available from the TCA. The Association provides these labels to members through members of the Standards Committee or the National Business Office.

Condition and Grading Standards are subjective, at best, and are intended to act as a guide. It is important and logical that wishful thinking not be allowed to influence the choice of grade.

Item 3A: TCA Paper/Box Grading Standards

Grades for grading paper (such as catalogs or instruction sheets) and boxes:

P-10 - Individual pages/box flaps appear to have been never opened. All edges are drisp and the item is free of all flaws. Original folds are crisp with no signs of damage. No rusty staples, creases, tears, fading and/or wear marks are present. The item is totally and absolutely "unflawed"! Note: Items that have printing that is offset, smeared, has double images, odd cut pages and/or etc. are considered errors and shall be noted as such.

Paper: Item pay have been touched by human hands since leaving original factory.
Boxes: Original contents are contained within and, if applicable, sealed box. All applicable sealing tape, plastic wrap, and/or staples are present and undisturbed.

P-9 - Same as P-10 with the following exceptions and/or additions. Item may have store or dealer stamp appropriately applied.

Paper: Item has been touched by human hands since leaving original factory. Individual pages have been opened. Original paper folds are crisp with no signs of damage if folded by the factory, i.e., still unfolded.
Boxes: Box may have a handwritten or affixed price tag indicating the "original price" of the box's contents.

P-8 - Same as P-9 with the following exceptions and/or additions.

Paper: Notations from an auction, dealer or club member on the cover or interior page may be present.
Boxes: Original contents of box may be missing, i.e., box has been opened. The "This Side Up" part of the box has the original sealing tape carefully and neatly cut and/or staples may have been carefully removed to expose the contents. Box is complete with all inner liners and/or flaps.

P-7 - Same as P-8 with the following exceptions and/or additions. Item shows signs of moderate usage and is 100% intact. Original paper folds show minute signs of damage. Item may have rusty staples which have not affected the paper.

Paper: There may be some evidence of bending and folding or unfolding, if original factory folded. All pages must be present.
Boxes: Box shows moderate signs of being opened and closed.

P-6 - Same as P-7 with the following exceptions and/or additions. Item shows signs of usage and is 100% intact. Edges are minutely damaged. Original paper folds show signs of damage. All printing material is legible, however, the item may have some wear marks such as weathering, slight fading, unoriginal pencil or ink marks and/or a foreign substance on the item such as rust, grease, oil and/or etc. which minutely extends onto the printed material or is confined to the unprinted areas of the item.

Paper: Page(s) may show additional (unoriginal) fold(s) or "dog eared" page(s). Page(s) may have tears. Such tears greater than two inches may be closed with archival tape.
Boxes: All liners and/or flaps are present and intact, however, inner flaps may require some strengthening with the use of archival tape. The box can still safely store its original contents.

Note: Any paper or box item repaired with a non-archival Scotch or equivalent tape can be graded no higher than P-5.

P-5 - Same as P-6 with the following exceptions and/or additions. Item shows high signs of usage. Edges may be damages. original folds are heavily damaged. All existing printed material is legible, however, the item is heavily worn with severe wear marks extending well onto the original printed material and may have extensive color fading. No water damage or signs of paper/cardboard deterioration is evident.

Paper: Same as P-6 with the following exceptions and/or additions. Item shows high signs of usage. Edges may be damaged. Original folds are heavily damaged. All existing printed material is legible, however, the is heavily worn with severe wear marks extending well onto the original printed material and may have extensive color fading. No water damage or signs of paper/cardboard deterioration is evident.
Boxes: All exterior flaps are present, however, they may require some mending or reattaching with transparent tape. Box liners and/or inner flaps may be completely and/or partially missing, however, inner flaps may be reattached with transparent tape. Exercising caution, the box can still store its original contents.

P-4 - Same as P-5 with the following exceptions and/or additions. Some or all of the existing printed material is illegible..

Paper: Item is so heavily damaged that it has little or no use as a reference material.
Boxes: One or both of the exterior flags is/are missing. Box will no longer safely store its original contents.

 


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