Glossary of Collectible Terms

Added September 2012. This will be a growing, alphabetical list of collectible terms that are used on this website. I've begun the glossary with several grading related terms but will continue to update it with nomenclature from all areas of movie collectibles as the terms occur to me.


age toning - Not to be confused with foxing. Age toning is the yellowish to brown tone an item takes on simply due to the passing of time. Paper ages over time. Age toning is the yellowing that is that aging. Stark examples can be seen in items that are partially age toned: Think of that stack of papers in your attic that have a box sitting on one edge. Lift the box and that area is the same color as the day you set the papers in the attic. But where the box was not covering your item you see the toning to the paper over time.

centering - Most cards have four borders, often though not always white. Perfect centering is termed 50-50 because there is 50% of the border on either side of the main image (50 + 50 = 100%). A card with a slightly larger left border than right border may be termed 60-40, 70-30, 80-20 depending upon how much larger that border is. A card may be off center 75-25 top to bottom: This would mean the white border at the top is 3 times as thick as that showing at the bottom.

corner indents - Not creasing or wrinkling but more of a surface impression caused on the surface of the card. Typically caused by corner mounts in albums that hold various card sets. If the cards have been stored in the album for many decades the weight of the album (and the weight of time) causes slight diagonal impressions to be made near each of the four corners, ie: wherever the card is held in place.

crazing - You'll find crazing on photographs as well as cards with an especially glossy surface. Think of the glossy surface as a window or layer of ice. Crack it. The spider webbed phenomenon that results is crazing on the surface of a card or the photo emulsion. This isn't usually picked up by a scanner unless at the highest resolution and sometimes won't be noticed with the naked eye either, but tilt the item under light and there's your cracked windshield!

creasing vs. wrinkling - A card, postcard, photograph, etc. is printed in layers. A crease will be a bend which is visible through both sides of the item. It has essentially broken the integrity of the item, front and back. A wrinkle on the other hand will only show on one side of the item, front or back. A crease is worse than a wrinkle.

foxing - Not to be confused with age toning. Foxing is literally a rusting of the paper. Whereas age toning generally colors a surface evenly, foxing will typically show up as spots more from a reddish to brown color.

fuzzy (edges) - When trading cards are printed they are printed several cards to a sheet. The sheet is then cut into the single cards. Not every cut is perfect and what sometimes results is a fuzzy edge. It may run from the slightest of stray paper particles up to a semi-jagged edge. It's a printing imperfection, not a man-made imperfection.

print defect, also print line or print dot - This is a manufacturer's defect, not a defect from handling. An imperfection during the printing process which shows up as a stray line, dot or series of dots in the image. Under a magnifying lens it may look like a drip of paint. And you may need to use a loupe to tell some print defects from man-made defects such as ink or other writing.

trimmed - This is bad. A trimmed item is something that has been cut to a new size or shape. This can run from the nefarious: A trading card with a damaged edge that has an imperceptible amount trimmed off of it's edge to appear in better condition than it actually is. If well done you won't spot it without knowing the proper size of the card and measuring. To the blissfully ignorant: An 8x10 photograph trimmed down years ago by it's owner to fit inside a 7x9 album.