I received this in a mailing the other day and thought it would be helpful to pass along. We are frequently asked about how you can determine the quality of an autograph. Here are some tips from Beckett:
Autograph Grading Scale
10- A beautiful, boldly signed autograph that appears nearly perfect to the naked eye. Under normal viewing, it looks like an aesthetically-pleasing autograph.
9- This is a signature that is also very pleasing, but has slight imperfections that barely detract from the autograph. Very light bubbling or micro scratching is allowable, but no yellowing, fading, or smearing. Positioning should be nearly perfect – with just the very tips of a letter or two cut off or hidden.
8- At this level, some flaws begin to stand out slightly. Signature is still solid and pleasing, but might be somewhat bubbled throughout, or have areas of minor scuffing/scratching that detracts from the aesthetic beauty of the signature. Only lightly visible yellowing or fading or smearing is allowed. A cut signature may only have 10% of the signature hidden (or missing, when referring to a sticker autograph). Only a very small tip of the signature may run off or bleed onto the edge.
7- Flaws are evident, including heavy bubbling throughout, noticeable scratching, minor but noticeable yellowing or fading, small but obvious portions of smeared ink. Up to 20% of a cut autograph may be hidden, or 20% of a sticker auto may be missing. A portion of the signature may run off the card or may bleed onto the edge.
6- Heavy flaws are easily visible and highly distracting, including bubbling to the point of portions of the autograph being essentially invisible, extremely distracting scratching, yellowing or fading, or significantly smeared ink on multiple areas of the autograph. Up to 35% of a cut autograph/sticker may be hidden/missing. Several letters of the signature may run off the card, bleeding onto the edge or opposite side of the card.
5- Very heavy flaws that highly distract from the autograph, including portions of the autograph being completely removed or invisible, catastrophic scratching throughout the entire autograph, extremely heavy yellowing, massive fading of the entire signature, smeared ink throughout the entire autograph. Over 50% of a cut autograph/sticker may be hidden/missing.