Due to the nature of pin manufacturing, flaws can be present in the pin. Enamel pins are graded to ensure quality and consistency. The grading system is based on a set of criteria that evaluate factors such as the appearance, color accuracy, and consistency of the enamel, as well as the metal finish, and plating.
A-grade enamel pins are considered “Acceptable” with no immediately visible flaws or imperfections from a reasonable distance. A-grade pins are perfect for collectors or for display purposes. It's worth noting that for A-Grade pins, some small errors may be allowed, but they are not easily noticeable and do not compromise the overall quality of the pin.
B-grade or “Seconds” enamel pins will have more readily noticeable imperfections. These pins are sold at a lower price point and are suitable for everyday wear and tear.
When evaluating enamel pins, the following are some of the key criteria used to determine their grade:
A-Grade Pin Qualifiers:
- Accurate color: The colors are consistent with no noticeable variations or fading.
- Smooth and consistent enamel finish: The enamel is applied evenly and smoothly, with no obvious visible bubbles, cracks, or chipping.
- Sharp screen printing: The screen printing is clear and defined, with no smudging or blurring. It may overlap metal as part of the design.
- Clean metal finish: The metal finish is shiny and free of defects, such as tarnishing, texture, or peeling.
B-Grade Pin Qualifiers:
- Discoloration: There may be slight differences in color from the original design, or some fading of the enamel.
- Minor enamel imperfections: There may be small bubbles or chips in the enamel, or slight variations in its fill consistency.
- Screen printing errors: There may be smudging, blurring, or misalignment in the screen printing.
- Metal finish imperfections: There may be scratches, tarnishing, or texture in the metal finish.
- Multiple flaws: The pin may have multiple imperfections.