REQUEST FOR COMMENTS
My goal here is to establish a set of guidelines for grading your LEGOŽ set collection. A set of guidelines, much like coin collecting has, would be extremely beneficial to the continued success of LEGOŽ auctions.
Properly graded sets leave little or no room for assuming it's condition when bidding across the country or across the world. Additionally a grading system would better allow you to compare value (e.g. I saw the Coast Guard Station sell for around $115 at a recent auction with no box and torn instructions. I can therefore place a higher value on the same set that I own since mine has the box and fair quality instructions).
I hope that someday, we'll be able to get even more detailed information from the LEGOŽ Group including quantity of each set produced and the year it was removed from production. I believe these statistical numbers could also influence the value of sets sold at auction.
I have a couple ideas, but mainly want to open this up to outside comments. If you send me your comments by e-mail, I will do my best to post them here as they come in.
REQUEST FOR COMMENTS
If you look at my database output, generated by Access 97, saved in HTML format, you'll see what I am doing now. I list the type (classification) of the set, the US and European model number, the description, year introduced (the copyright listed on the box) and most importantly the quality of the box and quality of the instructions (doc). I created a grading system that includes: OU=Un-opened, EX=Excellent, G=Good, F=Fair, P=Poor, None=Missing. Another alternative would be alpha-numeric, where letters A-E represent box quality and 1-5 represent instruction quality (e.g. B3=Box Excellent, Instructions Good). The latter may be more confusing, but hey, it's another idea.
I like your first suggestion better than the latter, although there may be some confusion about the difference between fair and poor. Any rating system is better than none at all. Editor's note - glad you agree.
I saw your LEGO rating system and think it's really cool. That can be something that large auctions and small ones can use alike without any confusion into the quality of the sets/pieces. Editor's note - thanks!
Maybe you could do a more detailed explanation of each value. Poor= A set that is missing less than 15 pieces, has no box, and torn instructions. Verybad= A set that is missing more than 15 pieces, no box, copied instructions. Also, another problem could be for your rating system, is if a person has box and instructions in perfect condition, but is missing some or lots of pieces. Editor's note - great idea - I overlooked that since the vast majority of my sets are in excellent or unopened condition. Thank's for reminding me about the older "played-with/used" sets that need the quality of pieces and the completeness of the set graded as well. I will definitely add this to my LEGO database program.