Toy Condition Guide

As you are cruising through your favorite auction sites or want ads, seeking out that "gotta have" Tonka truck, you have probably stumbled across what is referred to as a condition guide or code. The guide may be presented in simple alpha numeric terms or as an acronym.

I have researched many websites and reference books to determine just how to define what the condition guide really means to the Tonka truck enthusiast. Interestingly, it appears that many sellers use their own interpretation of the condition guide in an effort to woo a potential buyer and that's where the trouble can begin. One person's rose may be another person's thorn. In the long run, if pictures of the toy are featured with the seller's text, the pictures will speak volumes about the real condition, enabling the potential buyer to make a more informative decision as to the condition of the item. Does "A picture is worth a thousand words" sound vaguely familiar?

The tables I've shown below, I feel best represent how to define a condition code for your Tonka or any other pressed steel truck. Please note, that the condition guides can be found at your local bookstore in the books referenced. So, what condition code would you use to describe the condition of a never been played with, still in its original box, has a few scuff marks (probably from sitting on the shelf for 30 years), Tonka Deluxe Fisherman? Good luck potential sellers and buyers!

Alpha Numeric Condition Guide

C10 Just like new, in the original packaging.
C10 Just like new, but 'loose', not in the original packaging.
C9 Appears like new in overall appearance but exhibits very minor wear.
C8 Complete but has been played with. Signs of minor wear may be evident, but very clean and well cared for.
C7 Obviously been played with and shows general wear overall. Paint chipping is readily apparent. Minor rust may be evident.
C6 Evidence of heavy play; dents, chips and possibly moderate rust. May be missing replaceable components. May be in need of repair.
Do you really need to know? Let's just define as donors, parts only to pure junk. *

The above information can be found in Toys & Prices, 7th Edition, © 1999, Krause Publications, Inc.

* Not referenced in Toys & Prices. The webmaster's two cents worth.

Acronym Type Condition Guide

M Mint Unplayed with, brand new, flawless.
NM Near Mint Appears brand new except upon VERY close inspection.
EX Excellent Has minimal wear, very minor chips and rubs, a few light scratches.
VG Very Good Definitely played with, loss of gloss, noticeable problems, several scratches.
G Good Some rust, considerable wear and paint loss, well used.
P Poor Generally unacceptable except for a filler.

The above information can be found in Schroeder's Collectible Toys Price Guide, 6th Edition, © 2000, Schroeder Publishing Co. Inc.

There does appear to be some correlation between the two methods presented. The choice is really up to the seller when presenting the condition of the toy. The chances, however, of all sellers adopting a singular condition guide, is probably slim to no way. The buyer may therefore resort to my method of evaluating a potential purchase. "No pictures, no interest."