How I Grade Marbles

I use the grading system that Alan Basinet (marblealan) has published and has graciously consented for me to reproduce here in itís entirety. This is not to imply that there is any affiliation in any way; I simply respect his proven integrity and judgment and have found his system to be a sound standard.

I utilize a strict grading system in which all marbles are inspected under 20-power magnification using a jeweler's loupe and strong lighting. To me, Mint means Mint, and if you ever receive a marble from me graded as such, and you find even the tiniest flake, it was an oversight on my part. My grading system is bivariate; that is, I use both numerical grades as well as a descriptive denotation. This system is described below

10.0 (Pristine): This describes a perfect marble, with a "wet," clean surface even under magnification. All contemporary marbles should have this grade, though very few antique or vintage marbles will ever be graded as such.

9.7-9.9 (Mint +): There is no damage present, even under magnification, though the marble is not quite a perfect "10."

9.3-9.6 (Mint): To the unaided eye, this describes a marble with no damage, though under magnification there may be one or two pinpricks, a hint of wear, or an abrasion or rub spot. Marbles in this range may have a small "as-made" such as a pinprick-sized blow-out pit or a touch spot.

9.0-9.2 (Mint -): Mint (-) marbles will have no missing glass, with the exception perhaps of some microscopic pinpricks. There may be minor wear, a sparkle or two, or a tiny subsurface reflection or moon.

NOTE: Any damage to a marble graded as MINT will have occured during the manufacturing process. if the damage is the result of box wear or anything that happened to the marble after it was packaged at the plant, then the marble will be graded as NEAR MINT.
In some cases a technically NEAR MINT(+) 8.9 is more desirable than a MINT(-) 9.0 because the 9.0 may have as-made annealing fractures, pop-outs, and/or blow-holes that occcupy the best views, whereas the 8.9 marble may have only one tiny unobtrusive scratch or flake that is not near as noticeable as the defects of the other

8.7-8.9 (Near Mint +): These marbles are almost in the Mint range, but may have a tiny flake or moon, or two, as well as a few sparkles, subsurface reflections/moons, minor "as-mades," and/or minor wear. Near Mint (+) marbles will have at least one angle from which they view Mint.

8.3-8.6 (Near Mint): This range describes marbles that have the same sort of description seen on Near Mint (+) marbles, only to a higher degree. One side should still be viewed Mint.

8.0-8.2 (Near Mint -): These marbles will have the same sort of damage seen on specimens in the upper Near Mint ranges but only more so. No side will be viewable as Mint, but the damage will not be deep or cover more than one quarter of the marble's surface, with the exception of overall wear.

7.7-7.9 (Good +): The difference between marbles in this range and those that are Near Mint (-) is highly subjective, though such marbles will have over one quarter of the surface covered with damage, but not more than 50%. A Good (+) marble should be able to be reconditioned (polished) without too much glass required to be removed.

7.3-7.6 (Good): Good marbles will have substantial damage, some of it deep enough so that polishing may not remove it all. Roughly half of the surface will have damage, and wear is generally heavy.

7.0-7.2 (Good -): More than 50% of the surface has damage, including substantial chips, and you would probably not want to collect such a marble unless it were extremely rare or if you planned on having it reconditioned. Polishing will probably not remove all the damage without substantially reducing the size of the marble.

6.7-6.9 (Poor +): Poor (+) marbles are so beat up that there has to be a really good reason it would still be desirable. You would be taking a risk to try to have such a marble polished.

6.3-6.6 (Poor): Marbles in Poor condition have so much damage you can barely tell what type it is. These are beyond repair.

6.0-6.2 (Poor -): A marble in this condition is so beat up that there would be no reason to want to own it, unless it happens to be a unique example.

5.9 and under (Non-Collectible): Throw it away!



Glass Co.