The AFA Gold level consists of the grades 100, 95, and 90. When an items condition warrants classification within this level, the smallest of flaws are judged and taken into account to determine the exact grade received. The select few items which receive these grades are among the highest quality in existence. A very small percentage of items submitted to AFA receive a Gold level grade. An items flaws must be very minor, subtle, and can often be difficult to identify with the naked eye. A collector who is extremely condition sensitive should be satisfied with the condition of a Gold level item in the vast majority of instances.
The AFA Silver level consists of the grades 85, 80, and 75. Items which receive
grades within this level range from having small flaws to having relatively significant flaws. Silver level grades represent a much larger range of condition than Gold level grades. The highest grade within this level, an 85, could most often be described as being near case fresh, with the lowest grade within this level, a 75, being somewhat shelf worn but still relatively nice. As a general rule, an item which receives the grade of 85 is a fantastic display piece and can often be right on the edge of Gold level condition. The term 'case fresh' is certainly justifiable, as the average item pulled from a sealed case would grade an 85 due to small flaws which occur when items are packaged or shipped from the factory. An item which receives the grade of 80 represents a nice example with minor to moderate flaws apparent upon close inspection. As a generalization, the average item which has spent time on a store shelf being moved around prior to purchase, but has otherwise been handled with relative care over the years may score an 80. The lowest Silver level grade is a 75 which represents an item with significant flaws which are much more evident than flaws visible on items which receive higher Silver level grades. An item which receives the grade of 75 will most often have significant wear, an inner blister crack, or other moderate to significant wear, but should be free of major flaws which would immediately draw the eye to them at first glance. For most high grade collectors, an 85 will be satisfactory. For most discriminating collectors, an 80 will be satisfactory. A 75 will most often be satisfactory to those who are not overly concerned with light stresses, blister imperfections, and other flaws which do not likely jump out at first glance like the flaws displayed by Bronze level items.
The AFA Bronze level consists of the grades 70 and below. Items which receive these grades typically have damage ranging from simply noticeable upon first glance to extremely significant. Packaging may have significant stressing or creasing and a blister or window may be crushed or cracked. The Bronze level covers the largest range of conditions and the scope of flaws will range considerably. Condition for Bronze level items is determined by how many 'major flaws are present and how severe each flaw is. Bronze level items may have major flaws such as a torn off or cut-out POP or other large paper tears. Bronze level items may not be satisfactory to condition sensitive collectors.