Each item in our catalog has been given a grade that indicates its physical condition based on the number and severity of defects it has. Like many booksellers, Unknown Trails has its own grading scale that is based upon accepted practice. We've tried to create a simple and logical scale that is easily comparable to that of other booksellers (some equivalents are given in the descriptions below). In general, our grading standards tend to be high and, when in doubt we tend to grade conservatively.

Below are descriptions of the grades (from highest to lowest) used by Unknown Trails. Collectors will likely be satisfied with items graded VG+ or above. All purchases are subject to our 30-day return policy. However, if you are especially concerned about the condition or description of any item(s), please feel free to contact us before you bid/order. We will make every effort to satisfy your inquiry.

Indicates a Fine book in nearly "as new" condition with no significant defects save normal aging (usually only a slight yellowing of the paper). A Fine book is somewhat rare, as we tend to grade conservatively toward the Near-Fine (NF) rating.

Indicates a Near-Fine book with only one or two minor defects. Otherwise this book would be considered Fine. This grading is equivalent to F- or AF (About Fine).

Indicates a book with only a few minor defects OR one major defect. This grading is equivalent to VGF (Very Good to Fine).

Indicates a Very Good book with one major defect and a few minor defects. This grading is equivalent to Solid VG.

Indicates a book with one or more major defects and several minor defects. This grading is equivalent to VG- or About VG.

Indicates a Good book with several major and minor defects. However, a Good book will have a cover and all its pages, though they may be loose or becoming detached. Such a book will usually only be offered for sale because it is an author, title, or edition not otherwise represented. This grading is equivalent to Reading Copy.

Some typical types of defects are listed below. Most types of defects can be considered minor or major depending on their location and severity. Defects on the front cover, for example, are often considered greater than the same defect elsewhere on the book. None of our books offered for sale have missing covers or pages.

  • very minor printing or binding errors
  • a slight spine crease or reading crease
  • a small cover crease, fold, or tear
  • slightly faded colors on cover
  • slightly chipped edges
  • superficial scuffing or general wear
  • slight fading or a very shallow indentation from removed sticker
  • light stains or foxing (yellow spots) on pages or inside covers
  • unobtrusive writing or stamp, or small book plate on inside of book
  • one or two pages with small tears or folds
  • slightly yellowed paper

  • any significant warping or spine roll
  • major printing or binding errors
  • an obvious spine crease or reading crease
  • a large cover crease, fold, or tear
  • heavily faded colors on cover
  • significantly chipped edges (large or numerous chips)
  • significant scuffing or general wear
  • heavy fading, a deep indentation, or a tear from removed sticker (a.k.a., a sticker pull)
  • significant stains or foxing (yellow spots) on pages or inside covers
  • obtrusive writing, stamp, or large book plate on inside of book or on cover
  • many pages with small tears or one or more pages with a large tear
  • heavily yellowed or browned paper


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