REDLINE GRADING SCALE
Grading redlines or anything for that matter is purely subjective. Collector's tastes and collecting habits vary from collector to collector. There are two accepted ways to judge the condition of redline cars.
One system is a 10 point system, rating a car on a scale from 1 to 10. Basically, the scale takes into account scratches, damaged wheels and glass, missing parts, and imperfections in the casting itself and assigns a deduction value to the flaw. The final grade is derived from a summation of all the imperfections and deducting them from the starting value of 10. (C10, C9, C8...)
The second accepted grading method is more general in nature, but again is still very subjective. The grades follow a simple system of describing a car as either mint (10) or poor (1), with excellent, good, fair covering the middle ground. This system can be expanded further by classifying cars as mint-, near mint+, very good, and so on.
Below is a grade scale combining both methods. This was compiled by collectors from Redlines Online (RLOL).
10 - Gem Mint: Car is virtually free of any physical defects, slightest tarnished base or engine is a possible allowance. Chrome on wheels is perfect.
9.5 - Mint: Appears to exhibit all attributes of Gem Mint. Upon close inspection may exhibit extreme minor imperfections. Any flaw is barely noticeable, pin chip, extreme slight tone or paint variation. Chrome on wheels nearly perfect.
9.0 - NM/Mint: The car appears mint at first glance. Upon close inspection shows slight imperfections, very minor limited chips. Slightly crooked tampos, a near perfect item. Slight chrome loss on wheels.
8.5 - NM: Slight wear is visible on close inspection. Decals, small light scratches, light toning, wheels show light wear, toning, tires slight bend, etc.
8.0 - EX/MT: Car has visible surface wear or small defects which do not affect overall appeal. Toning can be noticeable. This grade still a nice higher end rating.
7.0 - EX: Surface wear or defects more visible. Played with but not abused. Very noticeable toning, worn wheels, chipping, etc.
6.0 - VG/EX: Exhibits some of the better characteristics of EX, but not enough to earn the grade.
5.0 - VG: Defects evident. More than light chipping. Noticeable scratches and scuffs. Middle of the road grade.
4.0 - GD/VG: Heavy chipping, major defects, cracked tires or windows. Some deem filler grade.
3.0 - GD: Extreme wear, at least 1/2 the paint still exists. Abused condition.
2.0 - Fair: Extreme wear, scuffing, scratches, pitting. Little to no paint, a bit above poor.
1.0 - Poor: Extreme wear, scuffing scratches, pitting, missing parts, basically car exists.
When attempting to grade a redline, keep in mind some of these factors:
- Just because it is still in the package, does not automatically mean the car is mint.
- Toning, oxidation, or corrosion to the paint and body.
- Cracked windows or other plastic parts.
- Worn out or damaged wheels and axles.
- Missing parts or even reproduced parts not original to the car.
Remember grading is purely subjective. One collector's definition of mint may be another collector's excellent grade. Some collectors grade heavy on wear to a car while others grade heavy on toning. The best way to determine condition is through clear, accurate pictures or just seeing the car in person. Don't ever go on descriptions alone.
Sources: "The Ultimate Redline Guide", "Tomart's Price Guides", "Hot Wheels Cars"