How can I tell what condition a card is in?

TCGplayer aims to increase customer satisfaction by defining standards that reduce ambiguity, and ensure customer expectations are met.

TCGplayer card conditions are a point of reference for both Buyers and Sellers. TCGplayer has collected feedback from players, retailers, and the community, and we've used their input to develop guidelines that address their most common concerns about card conditions. By providing clear criteria of what a card should look like at each condition, we make sure everyone knows what to expect when buying and selling cards on TCGplayer.com.

This visual guide has been developed to simplify our Card Condition Standards, which outline the criteria for our conditioning scale.

 

OUR CARD CONDITION GUIDE

The condition of a card is determined by the number and extent of imperfections that a card exhibits.  Imperfections are any atypical printing or manufacturing defects, and any wear or damage to the card after that printing process. Imperfections are characterized by both a Type (ex: scratch) and a Severity (ex: slight). 

Near Mint /// Near Mint Foil

An example card in near mint condition.

Cards in Near Mint (NM) condition show minimal wear from shuffling, play or handling and can have a nearly unmarked surface, crisp corners and unblemished edges outside of a few slight flaws. A Near Mint card may have slight edge wear or a scratch or three, but overall look nearly unplayed with no major defects.

The acceptable range of cards within the Near Mint condition includes both cards with no imperfections and cards with a few slight imperfections.

Lightly Played /// Lightly Played Foil

An example card in lightly played condition.

Cards in Lightly Played (LP) condition may have minor border or corner wear, scuffs or scratches. There are no major defects such as grime, bends or issues with the structural integrity of the card. Noticeable imperfections are okay, but none should be too severe or at too high a volume.

The acceptable range of cards within the Lightly Played condition includes both cards with few or a handful of minor imperfections.

Moderately Played /// Moderately Played Foil

An example card in moderately played condition.

Cards in Moderately Played (MP) condition can have border wear, corner wear, scratching or scuffing, creases or whitening or any combination of moderate examples of these flaws.

A Moderately Played card may have some form of imperfection impacting a small area of the card from mishandling or poor storage, such as creasing that doesnʼt affect card integrity, in combination with other issues such as scratches, scuffs or border/edge wear.

Heavily Played /// Heavily Played Foil

An example card in heavily played condition.

Cards in Heavily Played (HP) condition show a major amount of wear. Cards can show a variety of moderate imperfections along with creasing, whitening and bends. Heavily Played cards can also have flaws that impact the integrity of the card, but the card can still be sleeve playable.

Damaged /// Damaged Foil

An example card in damaged condition.

Damaged cards show wear or imperfections beyond the standards for other conditions. Cards in Damaged condition can also exhibit an imperfection that may make the card illegal for tournament play, even in a sleeve. Cards in Damaged condition may have major border wear, corner wear, scratching or scuffing, as well as folds, creases, tears or other damage that impacts the structural integrity of the card.

(Note: No one likes to receive a card that is covered in a foreign substance, such as food, liquid or other material. Cards like these are not accepted through TCGplayer.)

Foils and Foiling

Foil versions of cards are evaluated by the same criteria we use for their non-Foil counterparts. This provides a consistent set of rules for conditioning.

  • Things to look for with foil cards:
    • Imperfections are often more noticeable on cards with foiling. Cards that are borderline between conditions should be downgraded more often than their non-foil counterparts.
    • Foil cards are products that are most prone to curling and should be reviewed to ensure they are under 5mm of flex. 

Oversized Cards

Our Conditioning Guide outlines measurements based on standard card imperfections. Given that oversized cards are 1.4x larger than a standard card, we allow 1.4x the size of any imperfection for the different severities.

A consistent experience for TCGplayer.com

Any distinguishing stamp, inking or signature on a card is considered an alteration, and since each alteration is unique, they do not fit within our standardized conditions. Cards marked in this way should only be sold as Listings with Photos. 

Also, if you have a card that has sharpie or paint on it in order to cover damage to the card, it should be added as a Listings with Photo.

Please see our Card Condition Standards for full details about our standards for conditioning. 

 

Change Log

  • 5/19/2022 - Added information about the integrity of cards to Card Condition Standards PDF.
  • 3/28/2022 - Added Oversized Cards section
  • 2/25/2022 - Updated to new Card Condition Standards.

 

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