Near Mint Condition

What does a near mint comic look like?

French comics
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So you think you might have a near mint comic book on your hands. Congratulations. Depending on the age of the comic, and the perceived value over time, you may have some decent value on your hands.

But how can you be sure if a comic is 'near mint,' 'very fine,' or any comic book grading term in between? Below we define the meaning of a 'near mint' comic book, so you can get a sense of the value you might have on your hands. This background should help you in your evaluations, and your ability to discuss a comic's value with a professional comic book grader.

Near Mint

(CGC: 9.8-9.0)
(Overstreet: 97-90)
(Abbreviated as NM)

Most new comic books will fall into this category. When buying new comics, be sure to take a careful look, and pick out the best one. That seemingly irrelevant crease will turn a Mint comic into a Near Mint.

For a comic book to be considered, “Near Mint” it needs to meet the following criteria:


The Cover

There should be no creases.

The cover should have no fading.

The comic should lie flat and not roll or have curves.

The cover may be slightly off center.

The Spine

The Spine should be straight with no rolling.

Staples should be like new and not rusted.

Minor bindery tears are acceptable no more than 1/16th of an inch.


The Pages

Only minor fading is allowed.

There should be no stains or marks.

There should be no tears or cuts.

Overall, the comic should look like new.

What's the Difference Between a Mint and a Near Mint Comic Book?

A Mint comic book is an extreme rarity, at least if the comic has been published for some amount of time. There are variations, but a mint condition comic essentially refers to a book fresh off the printing press. For Mint, you're looking for perfect colors, perfect cover, sharp corners, and, well, no flaws. Of any kind!

As a result, a number of comic book shops won't even label an issue in 'Mint' condition, as it can be considered an impossibly difficult standard.

Near Mint is a bit more achievable, albeit still a great score for your comic book. Whereas Mint is dependent on the absence of even the tiniest imperfection, a near mint condition comic allows for slight imperfections, such as a slight, barely perceptible curve in the spine, or a very small (less than 1/8 inch) page tear. The near mint rating is largely reliant on only one issue present - if a handful of small demerits are noticed during grading, the issue will likely slip to very fine or lower condition. 

A near mint condition comic would typically align with a 9 out of 10 on the comic grading scale, whereas a mint book would score a 10.

Note that 'near mint' is a comic book grading definition. Although you may look at your copy of Incredible Hulk #178 and think "this is a nearly perfect looking comic," that isn't quite the same as actually having that issue graded at near mint condition.