As everyone grades at a different level, we have attempted to explain how we see the face of the stamp. As grading is subjective at best we try to follow this prescribed set of rules when we attach a condition to an item we have in our inventory. You may see a better grade attached to an item that you feel is not as good as its grade. This maybe in relation to how many we have ever seen that are XF grade or above. If there is not XF grade by our characteristics, then the best we believe to be around, will receive the high grading. Hope this helps in letting you know how we determine our grading.
Good (G): Design touching two sides or more. Off center with no balance. Stamp is disproportionate in how it looks. Imperforates will have at least two side cut into. Dull colour and unclear images could be downgraded to Good.
Fine (F): Should be centered to two margins with average balance. Margins should be of normal size on at least two sides. Image could touch at least one side of perforations or cut into one side if imperforated. Items of faded colour can be graded down to fine. Used items graded better than Fine can be graded as Fine if the cancel is messy and totally obscuring the image.
Very Fine (VF): Very fine centering to three margins with good balance. Margins should be of normal sized for that issue. The design will never touch the perforations. Imperforates should have a clear border surrounding. Should be pleasing to the eye in respect to colour and sharpness of the image.
Extra Fine (XF): Excellent centering all around with an almost imperceptible amount of being off balanced. Should have normal sized or better margins. Imperforates will have large margins reasonably even all around. Very minor perforation flaws could be accepted in this grade, but limited to a select few. Colour should be crisp and image should be sharp. Stamp should look near perfect.
Superb: Extreme perfection in all areas. Perfect centering, balanced and precise. Large margins should surround the image. Crisp Clear Image with vivid colour. Perforations are clean and neat all around.
Unused (UNUSED): An item that has no gum left on the back. Removed by soaking or by other means. This can also include items that were issued without gum and therefore will be designated as : UNUSED with no gum as issued.
Mint Heavy Hinged (HH): A Hinge that especially heavy to the point of covering more than a normal typical hinge or a hinge mark that has been glued by other means.
Mint Hinged (MH): A Hinge that is still affixed or partially affixed to the item. May cover more space than a single typical hinge.
Mint Light Hinged (LH): Trace of a hinge that was removed that did not damage in any what the back of the stamp. Should be of a normal size of typical hinge.
Never Hinged (NH): Absolutely no trace of anything. Clean Clear Gum without any marks or blemishes