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There exists a few grades of pins. Everyone's criteria for what makes an A Grade (Standard) versus a B Grade (Second) is different, but these are mine. I use this grading scale to determine which of my pins is considered a Standard Grade (A Grade) or a Seconds Grade (B Grade), and more.
I inspect my pins in either natural sunlight or a well-lit room and hold them at a little closer than arm's length.
Pins are handmade items and can vary from unit to unit. Very few pins are perfect, but these are close. These are pins that have some very minor faults to them. Some of these minor faults include...
I test and polish all A Grade pins to ensure that they conform to the artwork and specifications of my design. Most A Grades are eligible to be paired with a custom color rubber pin back or a metal locking pin back.
These pins are sold at full price and make nice gifts or additions to a collection. They are beautiful and are great for wear or display purposes. The vast majority of pins that I sell are A grade or Standard grade.
Pins in this category have multiple and massive defects that prevent them from being sold as standard or even seconds. Their defects are so severe that it would impact their wearability. Some of these defects include...
These pins are never put up for sale and are only sometimes offered for free during specials or sales. Pins without my back stamp or an incorrect back stamp are never given away or sold.
These pins have noticeable flaws, some more minor or major than others. Some of the flaws that would qualify a pin as a B grade include...
A seconds grade pin might not be as nice as a Standard Grade, but it is still highly wearable and can make a good additional to a collection if the imperfections noted above are not bothersome to a collector.
On occasion, I may sell "B2 Grade" pins, which are pins that I consider to be slightly more defective than a Seconds (B Grade) pin, but are not considered junk, for a deep discount.
These pins are perfect. I don't have many S Grade pins and will dig through the batches to find and keep an S Grade as a model for photography, for my portfolio of work or for display purposes. I do not sell S Grade or Collector Grade pins.
Oopsies pins are not a grade, I typically use this category to denote pins sold at a slight discount because the artwork may be incorrect among an entire batch. Incorrect artwork that qualifies pins as an Oopsies can include incorrect color fill, incorrect pin size, missing metal lines, or wrong plating. Oopsies aren't necessarily flawed and are sold like regular pins, except with a small discount.