There is no standard grading scale among pen collectors. Please study the chart below, and note that we grade more conservatively than most others who use similar descriptive terms.

M = mint: perfect, factory new
NM = near mint: may have been used briefly, or may be slightly shopworn
exc = lightly used, minimal wear
fine = used but with care; imprints are strong, brassing (plating wear-through) is minimal
VG = very good: moderate wear, brassing is minor
G = good: wear is significant but even, metal may show light dings or appreciable brassing
F = fair: heavily worn, though fundamentally sound
* = flaws or damage aside from normal wear; specifics will be noted in detail in the description
NOS = new old stock: unused, unsold when new; not a complete description of condition since such items may show shop wear

Unless otherwise noted, all pens have 14K solid gold nibs (Esterbrooks excepted) and are made of plastic (usually celluloid, for pens predating the 1950s).  Any engraved names, monograms, etc will be specifically noted, as will any cracks, warpage, or other significant damage.  Restoration (as opposed to normal reconditioning) will also be described in detail, including reblackening (a procedure much misunderstood: read more about it here).  Note that our condition scale refers primarily to wear and not to discoloration; since the two do not always go together, color will generally be noted separately in the item's description.  Dating is necessarily approximate (except for Parkers c. 1934-52 and post-1978 with date codes: see Parker Date Codes for details).  All items are in good working order unless otherwise described, with the exception of ballpoints and rollerballs, which may need new refills).  We do not normally replace hardened or worn pencil erasers, but spares are easily found or adapted.  Unless specifically noted, original boxes, packaging material, instructions, and accessories are not included.  Please see our Terms of Sale for further information.

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