Grading Scale

AFA 3-Tier Grading Scale

(for items produced from 1960-Present)

AFA Modern Grading Scale

(for items produced from 1995-Present)
Description AFA Grade
Gem Mint 100
Mint 95
Near Mint/Mint 90
AFA Grade
10.0
9.75
9.5
9.25
9.0
The AFA Gold level consists of the grades 100, 95, and 90. The select few figures that receive these grades are among the highest quality in existence. A very small percentage of figures submitted to AFA receive a Gold grade. The flaws are very minor, very subtle, and are sometimes very hard to identify with the naked eye. The collector who is extremely condition sensitive will be satisfied with the condition of a Gold level figure. The AFA Gold level consists of the grades 10.0, 9.75, 9.5, 9.25, and 9.0. The figures that receive these grades are among the highest quality in existence. The flaws are very minor, very subtle, and are sometimes very hard to identify with the naked eye. A collector who is extremely condition sensitive should be satisfied with the condition of a Gold level figure.
Description AFA Grade
Near Mint Plus 85
Near Mint 80
Excellent Plus/Near Mint 75
AFA Grade
8.5
8.0
7.5
The AFA Silver level consists of the grades 85, 80, and 75. The figures that receive these grades are in excellent condition. A figure graded an 85 will often be referred to as 'case fresh' and should be very close to gold level condition. The term 'case fresh' is certainly justifiable as the average figure pulled from a sealed case will grade an 85 due to small flaws which occur when the figures are packaged or shipped in the case. The average figure pulled from a store shelf is usually an 80, which represents a nice specimen with minor flaws apparent upon close inspection. The final Silver level grade, a 75, represents an item with more minor flaws than the average Silver level piece. An item grading 75 does have significant wear but does not have major flaws which would draw the eye to them at first glance. For most high grade collectors, an 85 is satisfactory. For most discriminating collectors, an 80 is satisfactory. A 75 will be satisfactory to those who are not overly concerned with light stresses, small bubble imperfections, and other flaws which do not jump out at first glance. Therefore, the Silver level grades do represent a much larger range than the Gold level grades. The AFA Silver level consists of the grades 8.5, 8.0, and 7.5. The figures that receive these grades are in decent condition. A collector would be able to spot a few small flaws on an 8.5 and would see several moderate flaws on a 7.5.
Description AFA Grade
Excellent Plus 70
Excellent 60
Very Good 50
Good 40
Fair 30
Poor 20
Very Poor 10
AFA Grade
7.0
6.0
5.0
4.0
3.0
2.0
1.0
The AFA Bronze level consists of the grades 70, 60, and below. The figures that receive these grades typically have damage ranging from simply noticeable upon first glance to extremely significant. The card may have creases on the front and the blister may be crushed or cracked. The Bronze level covers a large range of figure conditions and the scope of the flaws range considerably. Condition for Bronze level figures is determined by how many 'major' flaws are present on the card and how severe each flaw is. Bronze level figures may have major flaws such as a torn off POP or other large paper tears. Bronze level figures may not be satisfactory to condition sensitive collectors. The AFA Bronze level consists of the grades 7.0 and below. The figures that receive these grades typically have damage ranging from simply noticeable upon first glance to extremely significant. Since modern items are typically in good condition, very few items will be low enough to receive these grades.

YELLOWING: Since yellowing of the blister occasionally occurs and can worsen over time AFA will designate a grade with a "Y" if any signs of yellowing exist. (Example: "85 Y-NM+")

UNCIRCULATED: Uncirculated is a toy item that has never been handled nor circulated within the market after final completion at the factory. The Uncirculated identifier on the AFA grading label assures the collector that the figure went from its original packaging within a factory sealed case (or even right off the factory line) to its museum quality AFA protective case. AFA wears protective gloves when handling your Uncirculated items to ensure that your figures remain untouched since they were packaged at the factory.The figure is graded on the same AFA scale as regular submissions except with the "U" designation before the grade.

If a loose figure figure is in a heat-sealed bag, and we remove it, it would receive an Uncirculated grade.  If the figure is in a tape-sealed bag, we would have to remove it from the baggie for grading and casing and the grade would not be Uncirculated.

Click here for more information about sending in factory sealed cases for Uncirculated grading and screening.

Regarding AFA-graded items which have 3 sub-grades

The sub-grades for AFA are Card, Blister, and Figure or Box, Window, and Figure. The goal of sub-grades is to further define the condition of a particular figure. Once the grade has been established, the grader will then assign individual grades for the card/box, the blister/window, and the figure. The overall grade is NOT an average of these three grades.

Furthermore, the new criteria will help define conditions within a particular grade. By using this additional information, a collector can determine whether or not a figure’s grade is borderline. Also, the new criteria will direct collectors to the part of the card that has the most damage. For example, a card that received an overall grade of 85 with a 90 Card, an 80 Blister, and a 90 Figure will show collectors that the blister has the most damage. A card that received an overall grade of 85 with an 85 Card, an 80 Blister, and an 80 Figure will show collectors that this particular piece is a low end 85.

Regarding the AFA Modern Grading Scale

AFA now recommends our Modern Grading Scale for all toys produced from 1995 to present.  This scale has been designed to better rate the miniscule flaws which can differentiate newer and case fresh toys from one another.  The AFA Modern Scale is a 10 point, single-tier scale developed to better gauge toys produced recently by offering additional high grade options for AFA’s expert graders to choose from. The grades of 8.5, 9.0, 9.25, 9.5, 9.75, and 10 will be the most common grades for figures straight from a factory case. Under this new scale, AFA will be able to further separate items with small production and packing flaws from one another. Decades down the road, it very well could be that by collecting only high quality graded toys, a collector could better ensure that his figures would still represent true rarities within the collectible toy market, thus maximizing the potential of these toys providing a great return on investment.

NOTE: Customers who would like modern items graded on the 3-tier scale can have this done for the same cost as the modern scale through 01/01/2009.  However, this Special Request must be noted on your submission form or your modern items will be graded using the newer modern scale by default.

Below is a list of defects which will reduce the overall grade in each sub-category.

Figure/Vehicle

The actual figure will be considered mint unless there exists a defect that detracts from its overall eye appeal. Defects include paint wear, discoloration, over-spray, fading or dismemberment. If the carded figure comes with a collector coin, trading card or other insert, they will also be rated against overall eye appeal.

Blister/Window

The blister will be judged against dents, scratches, fading, yellowing, clouding, sticker residue, tearing, cuts, lifting, soiling, rub marks, crushing, gluing , factory cut and foreign items (ink mark or staple etc.).

Cardback/Box

The backer card will be judged against creasing, bending, rolling, tearing, scuffing, scratching, lifting, print marks, loss of gloss, soiling, discoloring, edge wear, nicks, punctures, ink or foreign markings, peg hole punch, tape repair, focus, price sticker, sticker tear, sticker residue, water damage, bubbling and attached foreign objects.

Price Stickers

Price stickers are generally not considered major flaws, but only become a factor if curling, tearing, staining, picking, etc. of the sticker has occurred.  The location of the sticker is also a factor, though most are placed in an area such as a corner that does not detract from the overall appearance of the card.  Basically, the condition of the sticker factors into the card sub-grade, and from there into the overall grade of the piece.