Condition updated 10/31/00

Condition [after rarity] is of paramount importance in determining value. A "90% mint" model may only bring a fraction of mint value (e.g. 50% or less), & a $100 mint toy might only sell for $10 in even "moderately" played with condition, EXCEPT, rare (hard to get) models may bring close to mint prices even in substantially less than mint condition.

rating Scale – 5-10 [or "mint", "very near mint", near mint", "excellent", "fair", "poor" & "VERY poor"]

"10" or "Mint" ("mint without box"), or MIB ("mint in box') or MIMB ("mint in mint box") is truly "perfect", never played with condition, with NO flaws or marks (including no tire wear, & any small parts originally included with the model are there). Such toys are difficult to obtain. Most toys are only "near mint" at best, having a small nick, chip or box rub, or other blemish etc. These are the only clear ratings. Any defect [except factory flaw, see above] calls for a lower number (or clear disclosure), & the farther from 10 a piece is, the more subjective & unreliable the rating becomes.

People incorrectly classify items or confusingly qualify their description [does "excellent condition for a played with piece" mean "even though" it was in fact played with it still is in fact "excellent", or that it is "excellent considering the fact that it was played with by a small child" ?]. The following item appeared on E-bay described as "Excellent condition except for some paint flecks". I rate this piece "obviously played with but paint mostly still there" or C6.

28a example of very chipped toy

I rate items with one to possibly a few (2-3 depending on size & effect [visibility and/or location]) very small flaws [e.g. a couple of nicks or pin point size chips, a box rub, very small scratch, some wear on high spots such as lines cast as door outlines, 10- or 9+ or 9, depending on the number, character, & overall effect of the defects [C10- (and maybe 9+) being "very near mint", & (maybe 9+ and) 9 being "near mint".

More/worse defects just lower the number to where 9-, 8+, & 8 show some obvious but not excessive marks or wear [the piece should still display nicely], & 5 to 6 is a VERY obviously played with piece ["poor"]. Pieces with severe wear, e.g., a substantial amount of paint is gone, decals missing, etc., call for a more specific description rather than a rating [except perhaps "VERY poor"]. That leaves "C7"ish pieces to be called "fair".

"Between" or "combination" grades such as "C6-7", are "wishy-washy" (more so than "C7-" or "C6.5", particularly in the "mid" grades C6-C8) – in other words, If I can not decide I often rate a piece as "between" two grades, I use "C6-7" rather than e.g., C7- or C6+ (or C6.5).

Decals & labels (often per centages or more specific description rather the "C9", e.g., "decals 90%", or "small tear out of 'M' in 'Matchbox"), as well as boxes or other packaging (often C10-5) are often given a separate condition number in additional to condition rating of the model itself.

rating Scale – 5-10


[restated from above – all assuming all pieces are there & missing or broken pieces & factory paint or casting flaws, etc. are identified]:

other's descriptions of condition rating:

The Reeded Edge's UNIVERSAL Guide to Grading Die Cast Toys

"Rob Lehmann's insightful article on grading scales for toys" [click on "grading scales for toys" on page link below] new 10/31/00 updated 11/29/01

Peter Seaman new 3/22/00

Great Finds Antiques & Collectibles: new 11/28/98

Dan Wells:

Two Crazy Collectors:

Vectis Auctions Ltd new 9/6/99

Phillip Bowdidge ["its difficult to describe less than mint"]:

John Ramsay "Specific Condition" used e.g., by mail order dealers:

John Ramsay "General Condition" used e.g., by auctioneers:


Alan Wank (Toy Boy):

Carter's Collectibles new 12/5/98