Grading Standards: Consistency is the Key
SUPERB: Never abbreviated and rarely used. Absolutely perfect in all respects. Perfectly centred, fresh original colour, an exceptional and UNIMPROVABLE stamp. The finest quality that exists.
EXTREMELY FINE (XF): An extremely well centered stamp, fresh as the day it was printed, and free of any detracting flaws (whether natural occurrence or not). A stamp that would rate SUPERB to almost any collector or dealer. A finer example MAY exist — but we doubt it.
VERY FINE (VF): Perforate and imperforate issues, well-centered between balanced margins. Unless otherwise noted, the gum will be as issued and the cancellation, if used, will be light and clear. Any defects and hidden faults will be noted in the description.
FINE-VERY FINE (F-VF): We use for a stamp that is very close to VF centering (many would call it VF), but we feel that although it is much nicer than just a fine, it is not quite a VF. A very nice stamp that will satisfy most collectors.
FINE (F): Perforations, or margins on imperforate issues, will be clear of the design on all sides. The gum will be as issued unless otherwise noted. If used, the cancellation will be light to medium. The description will list any defects or hidden faults.
VERY GOOD (VG): Perforations, or margins on imperforate issues, may cut the design on one side. The gum may be slightly disturbed, and the stamp may not have all of its original freshness. If used, the cancellation may be medium to heavy and indistinct. The description will list any defects or hidden faults.
Cancels do certainly affect the value of any stamp. Often a heavy cancel will reduce value considerably.
The freshness of colour will also affect the value. A bright, rich colour will enhance the value while a tired, slightly faded stamp is worth less... often MUCH less.
Gum & Hinges
MINT: Original gum, with or without hinge.
NH: Never hinged. Unused with original gum in "Post Office" state and unmounted.
LH: Lightly hinged, that is, unused with full original gum showing some evidence of a previous hinge.
OG: Unused with original gum somewhat disturbed by previous hinging which may still be present.
PART OG: Unused with some original gum.
UNGUMMED: Unused, issued without gum.
UNUSED: Not cancelled, no gum (N.G.).
|B/R||Block of 4, etc.|
|CDS||Circular Date Stamp|
|FD||First Day Cover|
|FFC||First Flight Cover|
|IP||Imperforate Plate Piece|
|L||Left or lower|
|M/S||Matched Set of Corner blocks of 4|
|P/6||Pane of 6, etc.|
|PG||Printed on Gum|
|PP||Pre-Printing paper fold|
|S/3||Strip of 3, etc.|