How to rate the condition of your action figures

Now that I’m getting ready to start putting my old MOTU guys from childhood up on eBay, I’ve run into a pretty common stumbling block: is it sellable, or is it scrap?

I asked that question on the forums, and got a few responses about how & why people collect.

With Masters of the Universe action figures– and action figures in general– there are two rating scales widely used in the collector community.

  1. Cosgrove “C” Scale ratings
  2. Action Figure Authority “AFA” Scale ratings

So, what’s the difference?

I dug up a forum post by a Transformers collector (Cyberjet_#7) on the website that does a good job of explaining how they differ.  Here’s some excerpts:

AFA (Action Figure Authority) is usually the standard for graded figures. They are very thorough and can find the most specific details on a figure that can sometimes be missed at first glance (or even by the human eye). Their grading scale is commonly based on 1-100 in 5 point incremants; so for example 75, 80, 85, 90…

They have only offered a grade of 100 a few times early in their grading career, but it is commonly known that 100 grades are not offered now…

The “Cogsworth” grading scale or “C-grade” scale is what is used by the average toy collector and is not usually so discriminate as the AFA scale. This is the type most seen on eBay and is very speculative.

There are people on Ebay who present high, unrealistic grades for their figures, but in looking at their pictures you can see the grades are only offered to increase the profit they could make off of unsuspecting buyers.

This would be a good grading system I would use:

C-10: Does not exist. Never grade something C-10.
C-9: Better then “case fresh”. Should have one or no easily identified flaws. If it has one flaw, it should be very minor and not readily seen.
C-8: Usually what you find from a “case fresh” figure. This would be a good example of the best figure directly pulled from a case and may only have a couple small creases on the card border, but usually not alot of blister problems.
C-7: The lowest level a MISB/MOC “collector” would consider buying. Might have one or two noticeable flaws, but should still display well. Maybe one soft-corner, etc.
C-6 and below: Only good if the piece is a “vintage” level collectible

…To give the buyer an accurate description, you should be very subjective and include ALOT of pictures.

eBay also offers advice and provides some general rules for each rating scale:

Some childhood toys are just a little too worn to put up on eBay 100% complete.

But that doesn’t mean they’re scrap– it just means they have potential for custom figure builders & collectors who need to replace just one arm, one head, or one weapon on a figure they already own.

UPDATE: Found a more detailed C-Scale at Toy Catacom.  I put it in this post:
Action Figure Jargon 101: Collecting & Valuing

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One Response to How to rate the condition of your action figures

  1. Pingback: Action Figure Jargon 101: Collecting & Valuing Terms | Nostalgia-in-a-Box Blog

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