About Me

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No Fixed Abode, Home Counties, United Kingdom
I’m a 58-year-old Aspergic gardening CAD-Monkey. Sardonic, cynical and with the political leanings of a social reformer, I’m also a toy and model figure collector, particularly interested in the history of plastics and plastic toys. Other interests are history, current affairs, modern art, and architecture, gardening and natural history. I love plain chocolate, fireworks and trees but I don’t hug them, I do hug kittens. I hate ignorance, when it can be avoided, so I hate the 'educational' establishment and pity the millions they’ve failed with teaching-to-test and rote 'learning' and I hate the short-sighted stupidity of the entire ruling/industrial elite, with their planet destroying fascism and added “buy-one-get-one-free”. I also have no time for fools and little time for the false crap we're all supposed to pretend we haven't noticed, or the games we're supposed to play. I will 'bite the hand that feeds' to remind it why it feeds.



Common Terms Used

To Describe The Condition Of Toys

On The Secondary Market

'Condition is Everything' and the most important term a collector is looking for, yet also the most subjective term, for both the seller and the buyer is;


Technically a mint toy should be absolutely flawless, complete with all the correct weapons, clothes, tools, furniture, parts & accessories, bits & bobs, it should have perfect paint, markings, transfers or stickers, with no dirt, dust or stains and having all its accompanying paperwork present; the whole within the original container, sealed if it left the maker so, in a plain liner or 'outer' if that was present at the point of sale or delivery. It should achieve 100% of full market value.

But the fact is a lot of things are listed as mint when they are anything but, while old or antique toys will have some signs of age no matter how 'perfect' they are, and if something is rare enough it may justify the mint tag, despite having some paint flaking, fading, shelf-damage to box or carton or whatever, a hundred year old money-box which is not quite as red as it was in 1914 or a plastic figure which started dropping paint flakes before it left the factory, but which is still as good as anyone's ever seen might well justify the moniker mint or 'Near Mint'.

Other terms are quite deliberately misused in online auction descriptions to increase interest, draw the mind away from the photographs or mislead the buyer. Then there are the various grading systems, some complicated, some not understood by the listers, all - again - subjective

So this page is intended to help with the lingo and terms used by sellers and to look at the various grading systems out there, primarily to help people new to the hobby, as those who have 'been around a bit' shouldn't need that much help...it is not a definitive guide, nor the last word on the subject . . . in all things - 'Caveat Emptor' - buyer beware!


Abbreviated to M, taken (coined!) from the world of coins and metalwork, where 'The Mint' was/still is the controlled source for the manufacture of the actual, physical: money, which originally was - in turn - tied to actual gold reserves or other forms of tangible wealth in the hands of the ruler, hence; 'freshly minted' for shiny clean coins.

Mints are now also responsible for the production of 'paper money' and postage stamps through licensed paper-mills and can be the source of the production of security papers for the manufacture of bonds, shares and legal documents.

Mint then came to refer to any shiny new thing, especially metal objects; a cooking pot, candle-stick or suit of armour, for instance. The term was adopted early-on by collectors for postage stamps as they came from the same mints which were also - by that point - producing paper-money, also an early collectable.

Motor traders talk today of 'minted' or 'a minter' for a newly deep-cleaned and/or well polished car, even an otherwise 'old banger'! A mint coin is one with an all over shine, no blemishes and no discolouration. A mint stamp is one which has no franking mark/post-mark, no mounting-hinge marks and - like paper-money deserving the same moniker - no folds, dog-eared corners or creases, thus a mint toy should be in perfect condition.

In the last twenty years the Internet and on-line auctions have lead to a plethora of descriptions with 'mint' in them somewhere, all of which have subsequently been abbreviated;

100% - Numerical Equivalent of Mint
M - Mint
MB - Mint [product], Bagged / Blistered / Boxed
MC - (1) Mint [product] Carded
MC - (2) Mint [product] Complete (but out of original packaging)
MIB - Mint [product] in [original] Bag / Blister / Box
MIC - Mint [product] in Carton / Cellophane
MIMB - Mint [product] in Mint Bag / Blister / Box
MIMP - Mint [product] in Mint Pack / Package / Packaging
MIP - Mint [product] in Pack / Package / Packaging
MIS - Mint [product] in Shrink-wrap
MISB - Mint [product] in Sealed [original] Bag / Blister / Box
MISMB - Mint [product] in Sealed Mint [original] Bag / Blister / Box
MISMP - Mint [product] in Sealed Mint Pack / Package / Packaging
MISP - Mint [product] in Sealed Pack / Package / Packaging
MNB - (See; Alarm Bells, below)
MOC - Mint [product] on Card
MOCC - Mint [product] on Cut Card (has been opened)
MOMC - Mint [product] on Mint Card
MOSC - Mint [product] on Sealed Card
MOSMC - Mint [product] on Sealed Mint Card
MP - Mint Pack / Package / Packaging / Product
MS - Mint State (specifically; coins)
MWB - Mint [product] with Bag / Blister / Box
MWC - Mint [product] with Card / Carton
MWP - Mint [product] with  / Package / Packaging
MWT - Mint [product] With Tags (soft toys)

Other terms sometimes used instead of mint are 'Complete', 'New' or 'Brand New' and 'Never Removed' and again the various terms are abbreviated to save space, 'Complete' refers specifically to a mint toy without its packaging, but with all/any separate weapons, clothes or parts and accessories. 'New' tends to indicate that the item is current production, while 'Brand New' can mean new production or mint. 'Never Removed' is a less clear term; i.e.; has it nevertheless been opened?

BNIB - Brand-new in Bag / Blister / Box
BNIC - Brand-new in Carton / Cellophane
BNIP - Brand-new in Pack / Package / Packaging
BNIS - Brand-new in Shrink-wrap
CNB - Complete, [with] no Bag / Blister / Box
CNC - Complete, [with] no Card / Carton / Cellophane
CNP - Complete, [with] no Pack/ Package / Packaging
CNS - Complete, [with] no Shrink-wrap
NIB - New in Bag / Blister / Box
NIC - New in Carton / Cellophane
NIP - New in Pack / Package / Packaging
NIS - New in Shrink-wrap
NOC - New on Card
NOMC - New on Mint Card
NRFB - Never Removed From Bag / Blister / Box
NRFC - Never Removed from Card / Carton
NRFP - Never Removed From Pack / Package / Packaging
NWOT - New Without Tags
NWT - New With Tags

While one or two are frankly misleading, and were probably designed to be so by less scrupulous yet clever dealers;

105%, 110% (&ect.) - Better than perfect?!!
EUC - Excellent Used Condition
GU - Gently Used
GW - Gently Worn
NM / N/M - Near / Non-Mint
NMIB - Near / Non-Mint In Bag / Blister / Box
NMIP - Near / Non-mint in Pack / Package / Packaging


Grading Systems

Because most terms are subjective and the acronym fad is disappearing up its own arse with slightly different meanings, there is the grading system, only; there are several and they too are subjective!

System 1


Even before the advent of the internet there were other scales for describing collectables, the easiest is the European system as it is the one with the least number of increments although that leaves it to the widest interpretation! The simplest is the four stage Excellent (mint), Good, Fair and Poor system, which has again been abbreviated in recent years;

E / Ex. - Excellent
G - Good
F - Fair (see also coin grading)
P - Poor

Although this system is increasingly being complicated by additional 'levels' of grading; now extending to at least eight discriminations;

Mint in Box/Packaging

Mint with no Box/Packaging


Very Good




Very Poor (gash)

System 2 (and 2.5+!)

C-code Grading

To try and get some order back onto the business of buying and selling online, the 'C-scale' (Condition Scale) or C-code or C-grading system has also been popularised, it is a grading system with a ten at the high-end descending to a zero; for potential land-fill!

This has been used for a long time by beer-mat, card, comic and smokerania collectors in one form or another, but is just as subjective, with major dealers and/or controlling bodies having different levels and definitions, with some refusing to go to a full '10' and others not liking a final '0'!

The Barbie Doll collectors have credited one A. Glenn Mandville as being the inventor of the C-code system (from C-10 being never removed from box to C-1; body-parts only), but I fear the system predates them and the organised phase of their hobby somewhat?

The following table gives an idea only;

C-Gradeing and their approximate properties

You can see that basically anything below a C-7 is a going to be at least a bit play-worn, and obviously so, while the toys rated below C-5 is the stuff in those fuzzy photographs on feeBay with a silly buy-it-now attached!

Toy Catacomb (now defunct) set out a nineteen-point scale with detailed descriptions for the resale of articulated action figures within their inventory, which bears a study as the points are transferable to any other collectable, it is notable they didn't recognise the full 10 - what did that mean for a mint-in-box Bo Derek doll?!!

" . . .
C9.5 - Figure is in mint condition, without any visible flaws or defects. Expect a high price because it’s very rare to find a figure like this.

C9.0 - Figure is in near mint condition with very few minor flaws (barely noticeable unless you search hard).

C8.5 - Figure has some very minor areas of wear and may have small flaws.

C8.0 - Figure has minor paint/sticker wear, may have minor stains, discoloration, and stress marks but no damage.

C7.5 - Figure has some play, paint/sticker wear and may have some stains, discoloration and stress marks.

C7.0 - Figure has play wear, moderate paint/sticker wear and may have moderate stains, discoloration, and stress marks. Figure is still collection worthy up to this point.

C6.5 - Figure has more play and paint/sticker wear, and may have stains, discoloration, and stress marks. Figure may have a broken part.

C6.0 - Figure has heavy play wear, paint/sticker wear and may have heavy stains, discoloration, and stress marks. Figure may have one or more broken/repaired parts.

C5.5 - Figure has heavy wear damage, repairs and stains/discoloration.

C5.0 - Figure has many flaws, wear, tears, stains/discoloration and may be broken.

C4.5 - Figure has major flaws, and play wear (tears, stains/discoloration) and may be broken.

C4.0 - Figure shows severe play wear, damage and may be used for parts.

C3.5 - Figure has many usable parts and major damage.

C3.0 - Figure that has some usable parts and major damage.

C2.5 - Figure that has few usable parts and major damage.

C2.0 - Figure has very few useable parts and severe damage.

C1.5 - Figure is in very poor condition.

C1.0 - Figure cannot be salvaged for parts. We throw these out.
. . . "

Comparison with different C-code scales, the red line

represents approximately 50% of book-value

But it gets worse - you can increase those increments with added 'plus' (+) signs to give you up to 36 increments, thus giving say; a C4.5+ (not quite a five, but better than a four-point-five!).

As if the human eye is even capable of discerning such finesse, let alone an arbitrary grading by one, amateur, seller on one side on the planet agreeing with the expectations of another (buyer) on the other side!

Not happy with that, others use decimal points so you might find a C-8.2 or a C-8.7, which is the same as System 3 below; 99 increments - meaningless! And the more increments in a system-version, the more likely action-figure collectors are involved, American Action Figure collectors at that - guys; your stuff is modern and you've all bought to collect, the intrinsic value is 'over-blown shite'.

This nonsense is driven by the Action Figure Authority (I kid you not, and they're abbreviated: AFA), who [for a fee!] will award you a certificate, like you've got shares in Buckingham Palace! One website actually said - and I quote: "It's comparable to certified diamonds versus non certified diamonds", err . . . no it's not, it's nothing like fucking diamonds, it's cheap plastic toys from a mile-long factory in China made out of planet-destroying polymers, you fucktards!

Therefore some hobbies are trying simpler systems with the Five Classes or 6-degrees systems, I think someone should try a 7-point system as I'd get another paragraph here! No, seriously, if you had crap / average / mint with nearer-mint and nearer-mint-average one side and nearer-crap and nearer-crap-average the other, even the ruin'ers could only get it to fourteen increments with their pluses! I got extra the paragraph anyway . . .

System 3

Percentages of Perfect!

To that end some people have tried a third system, the percentage, having 99 increments of %-perfect; you can see it's going to be bloody arbitrary before you start; but it too is open to evilBay idiots going OTT; with 100% being the best possible grading, you will find they list their piece of vinyl tat as a "110% mint" item. You can't make this stuff up; humans are fuckwits!

You get the same fuckwits back at the C-code with their C10+++'s! That means they consider their little toy is better than better than better than absolutely, factory-gate, mint!



For figure collectors and especially plastic toy soldier collectors (such as myself), the paint condition is everything and there are a couple of abbreviated terms to indicate that specific condition;

FP - Factory Paint [finish]
FF - Factory Finish
Gloss / Glossy - A Glossed Model or a Gloss Paint Finish
Matt / Matted - A Flat Matt Paint Finish
OF - Original Finish
OFF - Original Factory Finish
T/U - Touched-up
U/D - Undecorated
U/P - Unpainted


To all the above can be added abbreviations for other 'stand alone' terms, some of which pertain to condition others being more general or pertaining to the status rather than the condition per se, but all likely to be included in the condition 'area' of a sales-description and which normally or often appear in their abbreviated form, these are as follows;

A/O - All Original
BB - Blind Bag
CON-EX - Convention Exclusive
EX - Exclusive
HTF - Hard to Find
LE - Limited Edition
M/A - Mail Away
OAK - One [of] a Kind
OOAK - One of a Kind
OOP - Out of Print / Production
Pro. - Prototype
RR - Regular [production] Run
U/P - Un-punched
Var. - Variant / Variation
VHTF - Very Hard to Find


Alarm Bells

If you find any of the following in a listing, your caution should be aroused and the rest of the listing read carefully;





Looks Correct / Looks Right


Not Sure
Re-sculpted (Res. - Animal collector specific)




Seems Correct / Seems Right
Touched-up (T/U - Paint specific)

A mend or repair should attempt to use the damaged materials of the original (gluing a broken arm back together, straitening a bent wheel) while renovation/restoration can use new/alternative materials (soldering on a new mudguard, filling a dent)

As proof of the acronym fad disappearing up its own arse we come to MNB, which - depending on who you talk to or are buying from - can be taken to mean either:

MNB - Mint [product in] New Bag / Blister / Box
MNB - Mint [product], No Bag / Blister / Box

The two being complete opposites and effectively cancelling each other out; I urge people to use neither and always question their use!

The other alarm-bell phrases are;

I found this clearing my/the/an attic/garage/shed/den . . .

I don't know anything about this . . .

I bought this at an estate/yard/car-boot sale/flea market . . .

I've been told this is/was/could be . . .

I'm clearing an inheritance/relative's flat . . .

I'm listing this for a friend . . .

I think/believe it's [a] genuine . . .


Full Terms

Various other terms will be encountered; here are some of the more common terms you might encounter with my take on what they mean; this is not to say I'm right or that other people (or other hobbies) might not interpret them differently;

Almost Mint - See; Near Mint below
Almost Trash - Just call it trash then! A poor condition toy or collectable with few redeeming features, damage, missing parts, paint loss etc... (between 0 and 20% of full value)
As Found / As Is / As Seen - Almost certainly means the damage is worse that it looks or that the accompanying description admits to. In the case of catalogues for auction houses it means a viewing is an absolute 'must' if you are considering a bid. Really unethical sellers will use these terms to cover themselves against comeback, knowing full well there are hidden flaws, that the item/s are fake or come with other serious faults or problems; alternative for the more formal Caveat Emptor
Bare - The toy is being presented with no bits, parts or accessories. In the case of an action figure or doll; it may literally mean naked; no original clothes
Bag / Bagged - The toy is still in its bag, it's much harder to change bags than to change boxes, so usually it will be the original bag, but some will spend time carefully removing staples and then threading them back through after 'adjusting' the contents!
Blister / Blister Pack / Bubble-pack - Modern form of clear plastic packaging, where the whole product is visible through the 'window' created by the blister. The window might be heat-sealed (most now) or stapled (early) to a backing/header card and while the first blisters tended to be a basic tray, increasingly they are now shaped to hold the product and it's parts in place, sometimes with a second 'shelf', step, base or liner blister; sandwiching the product/s. See also; Clam below
Board Games - The box or carton of a board-game can suffer far more damage than the contents, or vise-versa and therefore the overall condition of both needs to be listed separately
Book Value - The value of your toy or collectable as published in a recognised (usually annual) or on-line catalogue or price-guide, but not necessarily the amount you can expect to get in an on-line sale, and definitely not what you will be offered from a dealer (see also Market Value - below)
Box / Boxed - The toy is in a box, usually presumed to be its original box, but read the rest of the description...if it is the original box the description really ought to go on to say so; "With original box", also if the box was factory sealed, that seal should still be present and undamaged
Carded / On Card - Similar to 'boxed', this means the toy is still attached to or contained within its card with the protective blister, bag or clam-shell still present, whether it's actually an original card, or what the subject's condition is will depend on the rest of the condition description, usually however; it means the original card and is another term for 'mint', usually these cards are designed for rack-hangers/hook displays and the hole/J-Hook (see below) should be undamaged or unworn.
Carton / Case - the larger box containing a multiple of smaller product packagings
Case Fresh / Shelf Fresh - Another term for 'Mint', straight from retailer's shelf, factory shipment outer,  or carton - never opened or played with
Caveat Emptor - (Buyer Beware - Latin) - the catch-all at auction, you view the item (or it's picture), you read any description and then you bid, if you are the successful bidder, you get what you get, and shouldn't have a comeback if you don't like it. eBay has muddied the water on this one with umpteen changes to the terms and conditions for both buyers and sellers over the years, and while the system seems biased toward buyers at the moment, it will doubtless swing-back at some point. The trick with evilBay is to kick-up, they usually give in if you make an issue of it, even sellers can win-through after a legally-worded eMail! Again with online auctions you should always insist on a traceable postal system, even at higher cost, it makes deliberate fraud harder to accomplish
Chipped - Refers to chipped-paint, the amount of chipping having a direct bearing on the grading and the value. A well-chipped model which is otherwise complete may - if considered 'rare' - be valued to as much as 30% of full value
Clam / Clamshell / Clamshell Blister - A type of Blister that can be resealed/reused as the store for the product between playing sessions
Code Three / Code 3 - A toy which has been modified in some way, this may be a single-unit restoration or repaint, or a more commercial venture; the adding of promotional transfers to a number of units, like a Model-T van say [thanks; Jah!].
'Collector Grade' - The condition desired by collectors, which is another very subjective term!
Complete - This term can be used to hint at absent 'mintness', it should mean the toy comes with all the accessories or clothing it was originally released with, read further to discover the true condition or status of the original packaging and study any photographs
Condition - The state of the thing!
Cracking / Crazing - Small cracks, or hairline fracturing on areas of a toy or collectable, this might be surface damage to paint, or deeper damage to magnesium/aluminium alloys, compositions or wood, with composition figures or wax dolls a certain level of crazing is accepted as being inevitable and a 'badge of age'
'Crumbler' - Older action figures, dolls &etc. The plastic or PVC has suffered from UV reaction (all polymers) or age (PVC) and is starting to break-up at the extremities; hands and feet, noses and ears and such-like
Damage - Broken components, dings, discoloration, creases, edge wear, fading (to material, paint or packaging), folds (or dog-ears), foxing, ink marks, missing parts, missing paperwork, punctures, soiling, scratches, stains (including water stains), taping/tape-marks, tears, or warping...there's a lot to take the shine off 'mint'
Dog Ears - Small folds on the corner of a piece of paper or card resembling dogs ears (slightly!), they may be on end-flaps or header cards, backing-cards or catalogues/other paperwork and reduce the value
Excellent - Another of these 'not quite mint' conditionals, should have an explanation in the listing of the one (or two, no more!) minor flaw, dink, stain, Dog Ear or fold preventing a full 'mint'
Factory Sealed - never been opened
Fair - Evidence of heavy use/play, but the item is still in reasonably good condition and has no major flaws or damage, if you're not buying for investment, 'fair' is the ideal condition to aim for as it's reasonably priced, see also; Fine
Fine - A specific term for coin condition, superior to fair, the other use of 'F'
Foxing - A specific kind of damage found on old paper and card products, including paintings and prints, but for toy collectors referring more to instruction sheets or packaging, and describing small blemishes or 'stains' caused by mould growing on the paper (or glued/sized areas) in damp conditions, it may clean off printed surfaces (with care or professional attention) but is much harder to get out of bare paper or painted surfaces
Good - Somewhere between fair and excellent - your guess is as good as mine! General level of play-wear but not wrecked, better than fair so not the cheapest examples (but neither will it carry the top premium), minor damage or dinks, a fold, stain or crease maybe
Grading - A system where a toy is graded as to its value and condition, see above for more on grading
Gently Used / Gently Worn - I mean; REALLY? What the fuck is that supposed to mean? The seller's child gently rode through the sandpit? Gently threw Action Man paratrooper out of the window? Gently fired his cap-gun? A 'tard term from a 'tard seller
Handling Wear - See; Shelf Ware below
Hanging Card - See; Header Card below
Hanging Chad - When the disc of material lost in the production of punched holes, hangs on 'by a thread' and is still with the card, can be eased back in to create an Un-punched Card.
Header Card  or plain 'Header' - The card at the top of a rack toy, usually folded in half with a duplicate, reversed artwork in each side, or an obvious obverse and reverse (with stock information usually on the reverse - in that case), it will be used to hold the polythene, PVC or cellulose bag between the halves with staples, and then usually Punched for hanging
Incomplete - I've seen this defined as "Toy comes with some accessories" the important thing to note here is that it also means it comes without some accessories! Important as it's usually the same parts that break or go missing every time

Who knew?

The little holes have names!

J-Hooks - Carded toys often have a self-adhesive hook attached for hanging on the peg-boards in retailers, others have a hook-shaped cut-out at the top of the card, both of these hanging systems can be easily damaged by handling in the store, therefore the condition of J-hooks or the card under them is important
Liner / Outer-liner / Liner-card - (1) A folded or stapled 'tube' of card protecting the glossy box or other packaging from damage during transport/shipping (2) A carton Liner might refer to a liner enclosing a multiple of product packs, say for sending 3 identical items to the retail outlet from the warehouse
Loose - Not necessarily as bad as incomplete, a loose toy or loose toys may well be otherwise complete and in good condition, just that the item is no longer with its original box, card, paperwork or packaging, read the rest of the listing - Loose but otherwise mint/near-mint will be valued from 60% to 80% of full value
Mail Away - Rarity signature, the toy was originally only available as a mail-away, usually as part of a promotion, either from the maker or from a third party, the Mailer is the plain card outer liner with the recipients address, frank-marks, stamps etc…
Market Value - The value you can expect for your item (see also Book Value - above), this is best researched by following similar items in on-line auctions
Married Parts - Parts from more than one original toy have been brought together to manufacture an example with a higher quality condition that any of the donor toys, never-the-less this reduces the desirability and therefore the value, particularly if rivets have been replaced with screws, or some other equally obvious variance in comparison with an un-doctored original has resulted from the surgery
'Mint' / Mint Perfect - supposedly as good as it gets, no faults, all working or moving parts operate well, motors are clean-running, everything present as originally sold with all sub-assemblies, accessories bits and parts, paperwork and packaging. The toy should also be shrunk-wrapped or heat-sealed as it was the day it left the factory. A 'minter', a peach, pristine, using the grading systems above it would/should be a 10, C-10++, excellent, a 69 or 70. Truly mint also means that the toy is as good as the factory could have intended, so no paint blemishes (where they were common in that toy/run), rough edges, crooked stickers &etc
Near Mint / Non-mint - Means it isn't mint! To be fair near-mint is a useful term for otherwise perfect toys with age, no pre-1950 toy can realistically be described as mint (unless discovered in a dust-free sealed vault, were it has lain since the day of purchase!), so near-mint give you an idea that the seller - at least - considers the toy very 'clean' - equates to Excellent. With more modern toys it may mean the game has been played with once or twice, the doll removed from the box or dressed/undressed etc...too much Shelf-ware to cardboard edges will downgrade a box or carton to near-mint. Non-mint is nonsense!
New - used as an interchangeable term with Mint or Excellent, but can also be a sign of modern/recent production as opposed to being a vintage toy
No Marks - (1) Seller is stating that there are no blemishes, dinks, scratches or stains (2) Seller is stating that there are no makers marks present, read listing further to establish which meaning the seller is using
One of a Kind - Toy status, generally; only one  was made, specifically; used by My Little Pony and collectors for decorated conversions but can refer to any customised, scratch-built or commissioned piece
On Your Own Knowledge - A more formal term for 'As is' or a less formal version of Caveat Emptor; see above
Opened - if it's been opened it's not really 'mint' is it?
Packaging - Everything except the actual toy, might be a box or blister, a bag (with or without header-card), an outer Liner of card, or Shrink-Wrap, or even an expanded-polystyrene moulded tray or foam etc...Some 'new metal' toy soldier makers are using blocks of soft, cushion-foam with a shaped cavity, which they then pack with more foam scraps, you will never know if all the correct scraps are present, as they seem to be random numbers of random off-cuts, stuffed into the figures nooks and crannies; randomly!
Paperwork - The ephemeral items that should be present in a mint-condition toy sale, these might include an instruction sheet, painting guide, warranty/guarantee, packer's slip, sticker sheet or transfers. It may also include a catalogue, mail-away offer sheet or promotional leaflet or certificates of/for limited edition / exclusivity, presentation booklet &etc.
Poor - the most honest of all condition terms, it means there's nothing to recommend, you're bidding on or buying a piece of shite so don't be disappointed
Played-with / Play-worn - as Poor (above), don't expect a bargain; this is a tatty toy
Pre-loved - Pass the puke bucket for this one! Adult humans write this shit?
Pre-owned - Idiotic term for second-hand or err…'used'!
Punched / Un-punched - (1) General; The hole used to hang carded toys on the racks in the retailer, some boxes also have a flap with a similar feature, the hole sometimes has the piece of card or 'Chad' still present and is said to be 'un-punched', if the chad has been knocked out the toy (or packaging) is said to be punched. This is becoming less common as the holes/chads are replaced by the modern developments of self-adhesive plastic hooks or cards with a hook-shaped cut-out (J-Hooks) (2) Games; A game is un-punched if the card elements of play have not been released from the sheets they arrive as in a mint set, or if plastic playing pieces are still attached to their runners or frames ('sprues'); Sprued
Shelf Fresh - See; Case Fresh above
Shelf Wear - This should only be slight scratching on the underside of outer packaging, faint scratches to surfaces of cellophane or polycarbonate windows, or slight whiting to edges or folds of printed card or paper artwork. Anything else is proper damage and needs to be listed as such
Short-packed - Rarity signature, this means that less of the toy was released than the other toys in the relative line / wave
Shrink Wrap / Shrinkwrap - An final/outer layer of thin, clear film, heat-shrunk onto the box/packaging to protect it from shelf-wear or transit dinks, it's absence reduces the 'mintness' of the product, but it's easy to replace/fake
Slight - Should be used with a qualifier; slight mark on door, slight bend to sword, slight flaking to wing-transfers &etc.
Slightly - Slightly chipped, slightly played with, slightly play-worn; stupid is as stupid does, and stupid uses terms like this, too subjective
Sprued / Still on Sprue - Term used by amateur hobbyists if plastic kit parts or a board game's playing pieces are still attached to their runners or frames ('sprues'). The sprue is actually a piece of waste plastic which rarely makes it to the consumer, however some early model-kit manufacturers left them on, and sometimes they were so long they damaged the box/artwork!
Stitching / Sewing - The condition of clothing for dolls and Action Figures can depend on the state of the stitching, have the cloths been forced or stretched, are the threads frayed or coming undone? Old books and some board-games also have stitching to be examined
Un-punched - See; Punched above



Most of the terms on this page can transfer from one type of collectable to another, or can be understood by different genres of toy collector, however, as the page is aiming to be as full a listing as possible, and coins have their own language, this section takes a quick look at that field and its jargon.

In the US coins have their own grading system with only eight grades, but then when collecting newly minted or proof coins you expect them to be pretty good to start with, or so rare the condition is not the first priority. However; it's backed up by a second numerical grading system with 70 increments!

However, unlike the toy grading systems, very few of the increments are ever used, the tendency being to us the top few in five-increment jumps with 69 as the odd-man. Poorer coins only being worth buying if they have some other rarity value beyond condition.

This is known as the 'proof system' and the ratings are abbreviated to PR or PF (no apparent preference as to use) to which a rating is then added such as PR60 or PR65 &etc. This is further complicated by a coin already in, or conforming to another grade, say 'Mint State' being described as MS65 instead!

This is policed by several bodies, some of which come with an abbreviation, which will be included in a sales blurb without the full term, so although they don't deal with condition (or status) and belong on the abbreviations page; we'd better quickly look at them:

American Numismatic Association is abbreviated to ANA while their (now independent) grading system becomes ANACS (the American Numismatic Association Certification Service). The other one you'll see online is NGC for the Numismatic Guarantee Corporation who run an independent (of both mints and coin-dealers) grading system with certificates issued for condition and legitimacy

The terms are all also abbreviated and from best to worst are;

PF / PR - Proof (PR1-PR70)
PR70  - Proof-grade 70 (perfect, uncirculated, double-stamped, mint, presentation state, coin)
MS - Mint State (no visible mark, MS65-70)
BU - Brilliant Uncirculated (Mint, MS60-MS70)
AU / A Unc. - About / Almost Uncirculated
EF - Extra / Extremely Fine
VF - Very Fine
F - Fine (circulated, medium wear)
VG - Very Good
G - Good
Circ. - Circulated / Circulating (in circulation)

To which you can probably add lower qualities/ages of Poor, Antique, and Medieval or Ancient. There are many other coin specific abbreviations and terms but they will appear (or have appeared) on the relevant pages, this page is primarily about condition.



Acronym 'signature' Words and Their Letters

Most of the main terms above are - as we've seen - abbreviated for use online and in other auction listings, sales lists and dealer's catalogues. The acronyms are mostly self-explanatory, but various branches of toy collecting have alternate meanings for the different letters used, while people make-up new ones all the time - the common uses are listed below;

A - About, Almost
B - Bag/Bagged/Baggie, Blister, Box/Boxed, Brand [new], Bubble
C - Card, Carton, Cello/Cellophane, Chipped, Complete
E - Early, Excellent
F - Factory, Fair, Fine
G - Gently, Good
I - In
L - Loose
M - Mint
N - Near/Nearly, Never, Non-, No
O - On, One-of, Out-of
P - Pack/Package, Play/Played-, Poor
R - Removed [from]
S - Sealed, Shrink/Shrink-wrap/Shrink wrapper, Slightly
T- Tag/Tagging/Tags, Trash
U - Un-, Used
V - Very
W - With, Worn

When written the diminutives are commonly given in full in lower case (in, on, of, with) whether or not the initial is capitalised in the abbreviation/Acronym (I, O, W)

Abbreviation Round-up

The following list gives - in alphabetical order - all the possible permutations/combinations I have found/encountered, along with those we've touched-on above, and a couple of more esoteric additions,  not all of them are in common use.

100% - [Numerical Equivalent of Mint]
105%, 110% (&ect.) - [Numerical equivalent of Better Than Perfect?!!]
AFA Cirt. - Action Figure Authority Certificate [Present]
AM - Almost Mint
A/O - All Original
AT - Almost Trash
AU - About / Almost Uncirculated (coin specific)
A/Unc. - About / Almost Uncirculated (coin specific)
BB - Blind Bag
BNIB - Brand-new in Bag / Blister / Box
BNIC - Brand-new in Carton / Cellophane
BNIP - Brand-new in Pack / Package / Packaging
BNIS - Brand-new in Shrink-wrap
BU - Brilliant Uncirculated (coin specific)
C - Chipped
C0 - C10 - Condition [Grading Scale Point]
C1+ - C9.5+ Condition [Grading Scale Point-Plus]
Circ. - Circulated / Circulating (coin specific)
CNB - Complete, no Bag / Blister / Box
CNC - Complete, no Card / Carton / Cellophane
CNP - Complete, no Pack / Package / Packaging
CNS - Complete, no Shrink-wrap
CON-EX - Convention Exclusive
E - Excellent
EF - Extra / Extremely Fine (coin specific)
EUC - Excellent Used Condition
Ex. - Excellent
EX - Exclusive
F - (1) Fair (general)
F - (2) Fine (coin specific)
FF - Factory Finish
FP - Factory Paint
FS - Factory Sealed
G - Good (usually coin specific)
GU - Gently Used
GW - Gently Worn
HTF - Hard to Find
LE - Limited Edition
LIB - Loose in Box
LIC - Loose in Carton
LOC - Loose on Card
LWC - Loose with Card / Carton
M - Mint
M/A - Mail Away
MB - Mint, Bagged / Blistered / Boxed
MC - (1) Mint, Carded
MC - (2) Mint, Complete (but lacking packaging)
M&C - Mint and Complete (double 'mint'!)
MIB - Mint in Bag / Blister / Box
MIC - Mint in Carton / Cellophane
MIMB - Mint in Mint Bag / Blister / Box
MIMP - Mint in Mint Pack / Package / Packaging
MIP - Mint in Package
MIS - Mint in Shrink-wrap
MISB - Mint in Sealed Bag / Blister / Box
MISMB - Mint in Sealed Mint Bag / Blister / Box
MISMP - Mint in Sealed Mint Pack / Package / Packaging
MISP - Mint in Sealed Pack / Package / Packaging
MNB - (1) Mint, New Bag / Blister / Box
MNB - (2) Mint, No Bag / Blister / Box
MOC - Mint on Card
MOCC - Mint on Cut Card (has been opened / blister lifted)
MOMC - Mint on Mint Card
MOSC - Mint on Sealed Card
MOSMC - Mint on Sealed Mint Card
MP - Mint Pack / Package
MS - Mint State (specifically; coins)
MWB - Mint with Bag / Blister / Box
MWC - Mint with Card / Carton
MWP - Mint with Pack / Package / Packaging
MWT - Mint with Tags
NIB - New in Bag / Blister / Box
NIC - New in Carton / Cellophane
NIP - New in Pack / Package
NIS - New in Shrink-wrap
NM - Near / Non-mint
NMIB - Near / Non-mint in Bag / Blister / Box
NMIP - Near / Non-mint in Pack / Package
NOC - New on Card
NOS - New Old Stock (US listings, means old/vintage stock which looks 'clean')
NOMC - New on Mint Card
NRFB - Never Removed from Bag / Blister / Box
NRFC - Never Removed from Card / Carton
NRFP - Never Removed from Pack / Package / Packaging
NWOT / N w/o T - New Without Tags
NWT / Nw/T - New With Tags
OAK - One [of] a Kind
OF - Original Finish
OFF - Original Factory Finish
OOAK - One of a Kind
OOB - [Item] Out of [the] Box
OOP / OoP - (1) Out of [the] Pack / Packaging (die-cast, action figures, less common usage)
OOP / OoP - (2) Out of Print (board games, publications, rules, least common usage)
OOP / OoP - (3) Out of Production (general toys / models, common usage)
OP - (1) Out of [the] Pack / Packaging (die-cast, action figures, less common usage)
OP(2) Out of Print (board games, publications, rules, least common usage)
OP - (3) Out of Production (general toys / models, common usage)
OS - Out [of] Stock / Supply
OVP - Originalverpackt / Originalverpackung (German) Original Pack / Packaging
P - Poor
PF - Proof (coin specific, also; PR)
PR - Proof (coin specific, also; PF)
Pro. - Prototype
PW - (1) Played-with
PW - (2) Play-worn
Res. - Re-sculpted
RR - Regular [production] Run
SC - Slightly Chipped
SPW - Slightly Played-with
SPW - Slightly Play-worn
SW - Slightly Worn
T - Trash
T/U - Touched-up (paint)
U/D - Undecorated
U/P - (1) Unpainted
U/P - (2) Un-punched (card)
Var. - Variant / Variation
VC - Very Chipped
VF - Very Fine (coin specific)
VG - Very Good (usually coin specific)
VGC - Very Good Condition
VHTF - Very Hard to Find
VSC - Very Slightly Chipped
VP - Very Poor
VW - Very Worn

In summery - an awful lot of shit is written about toys on the Internet, particularly on auction sites, mostly by people who shouldn't be trusted to own their own spoon without supervision.

All the grading systems are open to both interpretation and abuse, and all are rendered ever harder to follow by the introduction of ever smaller increments.

Very few of the abbreviations or the descriptions they're embedded in mean much more than 'check the photographs' and while this page will help you translate the jargon, the only thing you should take from it is . . . Caveat Emptor - It's your money.

Finally - only complete idiots think L@@K, LOOK! or "L@@K!" improves the look of their auction listing, or generates either extra traffic or higher FSP's (Final Sales Prices).


jah said...

What you missed Code Three which can mean Repainted, Restored or just something maybe a screw or rivet is original the rest is whatever.

Hugh Walter said...

Thanks Jah . . . I sort of didn't miss it, but I did! It is due to go in the full-word dictionary which is [slowly, very slowly] being prepared for the A-Z pages, as I felt it was different to the above, but you're right in that it is an auction clue/conditioner, so I should have included it! It's complicated by the fact that you can have a single Code 3, or a multiple-unit 'commercial' or 'after-market' one! By the time you read this it will have been added!