VINTAGE METAL LUNCHBOX GRADING SCALE
When grading vintage lunchboxes I use my own three-step grading process which I find to be very accurate.
Here's how it works - I grade each lunchbox with three seperate grades - one for the front, one for the back,
and one for the (sides) band. I then add up the three scores and divide by three to get an overall average of
the lunchbox's condition.
Example - If the front of a box is a 9.9, the back is a 9.5 and the sides (band) is a 9.0. Then I add the three
grades and divide by three so:
9.9 + 9.5 + 9.0 = 28.4 . I then divide the total of 28.4 by 3 = 9.46. This is how I arrived at an overall grade
of 9.46 which I then averaged out to the nearest tenth which is C9.5 for the yankee doodles lunchbox.
Pristine - From a factory case, never in a store. A box of this type has no flaws or shelf wear-- absolutely pristine.
Very few boxes exhibit this condition, even from a factory box. Boxes in this shape are few and far. A true pristine
box has about a 300% guide value in most cases. Some debate whether or not this condition box even exists.
Mint+ (condition 10+ or C10+) - Almost pristine with one very, very minor scratch about one milimeter or less.
The rest is perfection.
Mint (condition 10 or C10) - Yea baby, mint boxes in this condition are beautiful to look at even if you never
watched the show or know the charcter that's displayed on them. BEWARE: Some sellers list boxes in this shape
or mention the word "unused" and it's more like a condition 8. Always ask for more pics. Store stock new with or
without original price tags/papers. The box has no blemishes from a distance but upon close inspection you might
find at most one or two very minor scratches.
Near Mint + (condition 9.5 or C9.5) - I listed this condition because the difference ebetween a 9 and 10 is very
apparent and I do not collect and this is the lowest condition box I look for when adding to my collection. Lunch kits
in this shape are getting harder to find. The box shows at most three or four very minor blemishes. Absolutely no rust,
dents or dings.The surface of the box has a wet look and feels slick to the touch.
Near Mint (condition 9 or C9) - Now we're talkin'. lunch kits in this shape are collectible and very displayable. The box
shows very little wear. If there is no wear then a slight ding might be acceptable. The surface of the box has a wet look
and feels slick to the touch. Collectors who are picky typically do not like to collect this condition or will accept it until a
better one comes along.
Excellent (condition 8 or C8) - This should be the worst condition you want to collect if you're an investor, unless it's
super rare like "240 Robert", "Toppie", "Jetsons"... you get the point. The box has minor high edge wear, spot wear,
light scratches, and rust stains.
Fine (condition 7 or C7) - Don't let the high number 7 fool ya, boxes in this shape hold about 25% of the guide value.
The box has normal rim and spot wear-- small dents, light rust, and may have a "dry," aged feel.
Very Good (condition 6 or C6) - You might see plenty of these at a flea market. The box shows more than normal spot
and rim wear-- large dents, and the metal next to the latch may be broken.
Good (condition 5 or C5) - Great item for a garage sale. The box has heavy wear on both sides, dents, and light
Fair (condition 4 or C4) - You can practice rust removal techniques on the other side. Only one side of the box is
suitable for display.
Poor (condition 3 or C3) - Boxes in this condition make a great coin holder tin. Neither side of the box is suitable for
Bad (condition 2 or C2) - In this condition your only shot is to salvage any spare parts from the box and use them
on a more worthy lunch box. The box shows heavy rust, fading, dents, no handle, and bad rusting inside.
Terrible (condition 1 or C1) - If it gets to this point, the lunchbox should be tossed in the garbage. The box is rusted
or painted beyond recognition.