~ Grading Information ~
Welcome to my grading page! This will give you more information on grading, what each individual grade means, and how I grade my pins.
Surmised, grading refers to the types and/or number of flaws an enamel pin may have.
Enamel Pins are hand-finished, and as such no pin can be completely perfect. However, mistakes and accidents can happen during the manufacturing process which results in the pins having flaws.
These flaws can vary quite dramatically in size and type, so most pin makers categorise the flaws into different grades, and will price each grade in accordance with the severity of the flaws. Each maker also will have different grading standards, so here I will list mine so you know what to expect.
My grades are:
Standard pins are the better quality pins, with the fewest flaws. Normally about 50-70% of pins in a batch will fit this grade.
As I mentioned before, pins are hand finished so standard pins may still have small flaws, but these flaws are normally small, and can only be noticed from very close, or at a certain angle.
Such small flaws include:
- Small bits of dust in screenprints
- Screenprint overlapping the metal
- Stray pieces of dark glitter in other areas of glitter
- Small marks on the sides of the pin (under 5mm)
- Small buff marks on the metal
- Small marks on the backs of the pin
- Tiny bits of dust that are right next to a metal line or in a corner
- Tiny air bubbles in translucent enamel fill
However - commonly a standard pin may show only few of the flaws mentioned above. If a pin displays a large number of these flaws, I may consider it a seconds, or I would save that pin for conventions where people can see the pin & its flaws in person before buying. This decision varies on each individual pin.
Seconds pins have more noticeable flaws which can be seen from one foot away. These pins are often preferred by buyers who are going to wear them out and about, and therefore the pins will be subject to wear & tear anyway, or for those who won't be looking at them too closely.
For this reason, these pins are commonly sold at a discounted rate compared to Standards.
Flaws commonly found on seconds pins include:
- Deep scratches in enamel & plating
- Small areas of discoloured enamel
- Larger areas of plating imperfection
- Larger areas of over polishing
- Large amounts of stray glitter
- Mildly wobbly pin backs
- Under-filled enamel
- Scratches in screen printing / screen printing errors
- Small smudge marks
- Small areas with the wrong colour fill which don't impact the design
- Multiple smaller imperfections
- Air bubbles / holes in the enamel
- Large dust marks in Pearlescent or Glitter pins
- Large areas of glitter overspill
C-grade pins have the most severe flaws, and are sold at a heavily discounted rate. They are the most uncommon grade, and usually I save these pins for selling in person. The only exception is if I have had a very badly flawed batch of pins, and have a large number of c-grade pins to sell.
Flaws commonly found on C-Grade pins include:
- Large areas of underfilled / overfilled enamel, covering over 50% of the pin.
- Missing areas of Enamel colour
- Large areas of Enamel which is the wrong colour
- Very wobbly back posts
- Large marks which can be seen instantly at arms length
- Marks which obstruct the core part of the pin design (as an example - a large mark on an animal's face)
The grading on each individual design can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the manufacturer I am using, as well as the batch of pins (some manufacturers often have common flaws in their pins compares to others, for example one will commonly have scratches on the metal and another will commonly have holes in the enamel).
I can be fairly harsh with my grading, but since each pin is hand finished it is impossible for me to ask my manufacturers to make perfect pins every single time. I hope this page has helped, but if you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me!