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? Why are everyone's grades so different?!
? What is meant by the term MINT?
? OK, so if you don't have any MINT books, what do you have?
? How do you define your grades?
? What does all of this mean to me, the collector?
? I still don't understand! Is there more information?

Why are everyone's grades so different?

Probably the most misunderstood aspect of magazine collecting and the one that causes the most trouble and dissatisfaction is grading, or determining just how "nice" a magazine is. Most of this confusion can be attributed to the fact that there is no governing body supervising the activity, nor is there a clearly accepted set of guidelines on just what a certain term or grade means - unlike more established hobbies such as stamp or coin collecting. This has created a situation where each individual with a vested interest in selling what is in their possession can and often does create their own unique system. Very often this system will employ commonly-used terms, and nearly as often apply them incorrectly. All too often the system is nothing more elaborate than "I own it so it must be Mint", and therefore is. That of course brings up the question of just what is meant by the term "mint"...

What is meant by the term MINT?

Mint is many things - a small candy enjoyed after a meal, a seasoning to put on lamb, the building where coins are manufactured - the one thing it is NOT is a magazine. I have been in the mail-order business of selling back issue magazines for over 25 years and I currently have over 100,000 magazines in stock. I have never seen, owned or sold one that is "mint", and neither has anyone else (regardless of what they say). "Mint" is an unattainable concept of perfection. It is as mythical as the unicorn and you are just as likely to find one as the other. Most importantly, it is a figment of the imagination for everyone who's books are not.

Since virtually everyone else who is trying to part you from your hard-earned money seems to have an overabundance of these "mint" books, you ask "How can Ken be so unfortunate?" The answer quite simply is "I'm honest" - that's why I've been around for over 25 years and am a recognized authority on the subject.

OK, so if you don't have any MINT books, just what do you have?

Probably the largest and most diverse inventory of this material on the planet including tens of thousands of completely NEW, UNREAD magazines, many of which are still sealed in the original plastic bags in which they were sold or arrived in the mail, or still in boxes just as they came from the publisher or distributor. Not everything I stock is new, but an overwhelming majority of the material that you will find presented here in the SUPERSTORE is indeed new and unread. This does not mean "mint" or even its close cousin "near mint". Unfortunately, even new, unread books get packed and shipped from the printer to the distributor to the retailer and finally to the individual consumer. At each stage of this process there exists the chance for damage - not to mention such things as printing and binding errors that occur as the magazines are being produced. Here at KRC we go to great lengths to closely inspect each individual issue and take note of even the most minute defects, many of which are unrecognizable to or go unnoticed by the untrained eye.

How do you define your grades?

In most cases the highest grade that you will see listed is FINE++ and infrequently VF (Very Fine). There are several other commonly used terms or grades and each is explained below in simple, easy to understand language. The purpose of grading should be to INFORM - not to CONFUSE or HOODWINK the buyer.

FINE++ This is a new, unread copy with no visible signs of wear. It will have full cover gloss, tight staples, sharp corners, no marks from "thumbing" or reading. The very best of these have been listed on my auction site.

FINE+ This is one small step down the ladder and may mean very slight defects most likely acquired during shipping / handling. Such things as light "rubbing" from movement during shipping or almost imperceptibly rounded corners, small spine stresses or slightly odd impressions from being stacked improperly, or in some cases the very lightest of thumb marks.

FINE This grade allows yet a bit more leeway, but on average these should approximate the copy you would buy off a news stand or receive in your mailbox. What most others would refer to as "mint".

VG+ This is generally the lowest grade you will encounter at KRC, and usually as good as what you might obtain from another source's higher grade. These could be new magazines that suffered more than normal wear and tear during shipping, or in many cases these will be the only "non-new" items in stock - very nice, above-average used copies with minor signs of wear.

What does all of this mean to me, the individual collector?

It means that if you purchase an item in the highest grade that I normally assign to a book you will probably get the best book you've ever seen. It also means I can stand behind my product with a no-nonsense policy of 100% satisfaction guaranteed or your money back - see how much of the competition will offer that.

KRC stocks NO JUNK! Every magazine is complete - who would want anything that is not? Economics makes it impractical to stock $3.00 magazines - you will not find a bargain bin or cut-rate prices here. You will find the best selection of the highest quality merchandise that has been accurately graded and fairly priced along with unmatched customer service.

I've got the books - I don't have time for bull shit.

Thank you for your patience - I hope you see something of interest and I look forward to serving your needs as a collector.




Page updated January 29, 2002