Hoyle's Vintage Grading System

Please note all board and card games are complete unless otherwise stated. 

The numeric system:

The categories are fourfold. Any less would not cover the wide range of condition merits and faults that are exhibited in the typical vintage board and card games. Any more and the difficulty would be in drawing meaningful, strong, differential boundaries between the grades! Game grading is far from easy as it remains a subjective area and there is no universally accepted scale on which to base a grading. However, we have over 25 years’ experience in buying and selling vintage and collectible games for resale in store and online. As such, we believe we’ve amassed the necessary experience to grade accurately and provide a basis for consistent and fair valuation. The grades are as follows:

Poor, grade 4:

The game exhibits all the signs of either many years of playing, poor storage or both. Board games will have many faults, such as broken corners, scratches that cut through the printed areas to the cardboard beneath, tea and coffee stains, board crack-through, handwritten additions to boards and rules, repairs to damage using inappropriate cellotape or glue, photocopied replacement rules and tiles, dents and crushing caused by careless storage etc. Card games will be missing tabs and have worn corners but the main box carcasse will be intact.

Fair, grade 3:

Minor marking and wear and tear may be present, but scratches and cuts through original surfaces are not. Good repairs may well have been made to corners using either Copydex and tissue paper, or Magic Scotch Tape for example. Replacement dice, counters and spinners may be present. Paper components like game money will all be present in original amounts - or with minor losses inconsequential to the game play - but may well be creased or dog-eared. Boxes, particularly those from before 1980 when very thin card was used, may well be dented. Scoring pads are not necessarily present. Graffiti inside of the box (showing ownership most commonly) may be present. The original rules may be present or photocopied from an original. 

Good, grade 2:

The game is intact with all components not only complete but original to the game. Paper components are in mint condition with no creases. Invisible repairs are acceptable as are minor blemishes. Boxes must be undamaged and structurally sound. No graffiti.

Excellent, grade 1:

The game is as at time of purchase, including all compartments, cardboard playing pieces are still unpunched from their original sheets.


A note on valuations:

All the valuations we give are based on what a good retailer or antiques shop should be selling at. Demand does vary over the years but a few things are worth bearing in mind: 
  • One person’s childhood memories may add value to a game for decades, but the price may then decline in the next generation as its sentimental value to collectors drops.
  • Language and illustrations that would have been entirely acceptable some 50 years ago may well be wholly unacceptable to current generations, inevitably impacting price. 
  • Wholesale prices should be in the range of 50 to 60% of a likely retail price. 
  • The obvious issue with comparing prices on sites like Ebay is the lack of opportunity to inspect condition and contents, as imagery can be carefully chosen to hide damage.