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EP Grading System?

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#1 stevenwav

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 04:20 PM

Hi - I have a bunch of ep's that I am considering putting up for sale and was wondering if there is any resource that defines a grading standard we can all use to categorize condition and thus value. It seems like the Wild West out there when buying and selling ep's. Any thoughts as to how I can evaluate my ep's and then of course "valuate" them would be appreciated. I am aware of the ability to look at past sales on A-mart as well as CN classifieds but am hoping to find an accepted "standard" from which to provide honest descriptions of each ep. Thoughts?

#2 BillP

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 04:29 PM

My personal one is:

1 - NIB (New in Box). It is new and never used.

2- LNIB (Like new in Box). Essentially looks unused even though it was lightly used or very carelfully used for some short term.

3 - EXCELLENT - Used for a long term, but no marrs, dents, dings, or missing graphics. Coatings and lenses perfect. Some very light scratches on the barrel ok, but no deeper scratches and no set screw marks.

4. VERY GOOD - Optics essentially perfect with maybe some very small issue in the off-axis or internal dust (should still disclose why not given an excellent rating). OK to have some very small or light issues on the barrel or housing - disclose them.

5. GOOD - Has multiple issues, point them all out. None of them should be performance impacting. Small coating bright spot on lens makes me classify it as a maximum rating of Good.

6. FAIR - Has performance impacting or some gross cosmetic issue on the optic or barrel or housing). Again, say what all the issues are. Examples would be a scratch or medium coating defect on the lens, even if off-axis

#3 stevenwav

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 04:40 PM

Bill - This is excellent! It will be interesting to see if others agree/disagree with this but it looks to me a very, very reasonable breakdown. I wonder offhand how each grade would impact value. Would "Excellent" equate to a value of 85% of a LNIB example? I know this is not an exact science but it serves to help frame a sense of fair-value.

#4 Starman81

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 04:43 PM

My personal one is:

1 - NIB (New in Box). It is new and never used.

2- LNIB (Like new in Box). Essentially looks unused even though it was lightly used or very carelfully used for some short term.

3 - EXCELLENT - Used for a long term, but no marrs, dents, dings, or missing graphics. Coatings and lenses perfect. Some very light scratches on the barrel ok, but no deeper scratches and no set screw marks.

4. VERY GOOD - Optics essentially perfect with maybe some very small issue in the off-axis or internal dust (should still disclose why not given an excellent rating). OK to have some very small or light issues on the barrel or housing - disclose them.

5. GOOD - Has multiple issues, point them all out. None of them should be performance impacting. Small coating bright spot on lens makes me classify it as a maximum rating of Good.

6. FAIR - Has performance impacting or some gross cosmetic issue on the optic or barrel or housing). Again, say what all the issues are. Examples would be a scratch or medium coating defect on the lens, even if off-axis


:waytogo:
I like this rating system and I have employed something similar while selling EPs, though not as well thought-out.

#5 Dave Ittner

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 05:03 PM

I think the big thing IMHO is to point out any and all potentially negative things.

Don't just list a bunch of positives. Or list that it has a box, bottom cap, clear optics, no nicks, small scratch on barrel. And purposely leave out the top cap (Which by the way can not be ordered or found anywhere except with new eyepieces). Yeah if I sound sore and *BLEEP* off I am - but at myself for not thinking it through and looking at the ad closely.

Grading systems are subjective from one person to the next. Being upfront and honest is the best. Pointing out potential deal killers is being a standup person.

#6 Mariner@sg

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 12:49 AM

I think the big thing IMHO is to point out any and all potentially negative things.

Don't just list a bunch of positives. Or list that it has a box, bottom cap, clear optics, no nicks, small scratch on barrel. And purposely leave out the top cap (Which by the way can not be ordered or found anywhere except with new eyepieces). Yeah if I sound sore and *BLEEP* off I am - but at myself for not thinking it through and looking at the ad closely.

Grading systems are subjective from one person to the next. Being upfront and honest is the best. Pointing out potential deal killers is being a standup person.


Totally agree.

#7 mark8888

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 02:28 AM

I wonder offhand how each grade would impact value. Would "Excellent" equate to a value of 85% of a LNIB example? I know this is not an exact science but it serves to help frame a sense of fair-value.


This seems to vary a lot by brand, with some brands maintaining a significantly higher % of their value in the resale market.

#8 Mike W

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:11 AM

You can get Pentax and Televue caps from the manufacturer.

#9 Dave Ittner

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:25 AM

AstroTech Paradigms

#10 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:47 AM

I think the big thing IMHO is to point out any and all potentially negative things.

Don't just list a bunch of positives. Or list that it has a box, bottom cap, clear optics, no nicks, small scratch on barrel. And purposely leave out the top cap (Which by the way can not be ordered or found anywhere except with new eyepieces). Yeah if I sound sore and *BLEEP* off I am - but at myself for not thinking it through and looking at the ad closely.

Grading systems are subjective from one person to the next. Being upfront and honest is the best. Pointing out potential deal killers is being a standup person.


I agree 100%. While Bill's system is similar to my own, I very prefer a detailed description. If really is BNIB, then a description of the exact history is required..

Too often, an eyepiece described in superlatives turns to have significant issues. On the other hand, eyepieces that seemingly have had every defect carefully noted are general much better than one would expect...

My suggestion to Steven is to just take the time and carefully describe each eyepiece, each defect, etc. If you carefully describe small defects in a 16 mm Nagler, then when you say the 4 mm Tasco Super Ramsden is bnib, people will believe you.

Jon

#11 stevenwav

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:08 AM

Yup, this all makes sense. I guess the bottom line is just as Jon says, be as descriptive as possible and have a sense of an overall criteria for grading like Bill's and be sure to define that criteria. This, when seen in the context of past sale prices is probably the most honest approach to pricing and condition ranking.

#12 Dave Ittner

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:23 AM

I hold those who post eyepieces for sale here and the other site to a higher standard than that which I see on Craigs List (or Ebay). Why? I suppose it is because this site is targeted to us astronuts.

But the bottom line the responsibility still falls right back on me to ask all of the proper questions no matter how small and insignificant they may seem at the time.

Yesterday I picked up a 9T1 smoothside Nagler for $60 off someone on Craigs List. I got home and was admiring how clean the eyepiece looked and how well preserved the original box was. But then while tipping it over I heard a rattle and my heart sank...

#13 csrlice12

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:43 AM

Was the barrel tight? I've found on the 13mm, the barrel can come loose very easily. How are the views?

#14 Dave Ittner

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:59 AM

Barrel was tight. I removed it and the retaining ring (for lack of a better term) was loose so I did my best to tighten it and it still has a minor rattle now. Far better than before.

But it requires a special tool. There are two small holes at 180 deg from each other. I was using a small nail to insert on one side to apply the pressure to tighten (spin) the ring.

I have not had the opportunity to view through it outdoors yet. And it is clouded over for the next few nights. Last night I was tied up and wasn't able to get any viewing in (of course it was super clear).

There are so many little things to check when buying eyepieces (or anything for that matter).

It will be up for sale one of these days and if rattle still exists it will be mentioned.

#15 Aleko

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 09:58 PM

One term thrown around a lot but not mentioned by BillP is "mint". My expectation for that term is no less than NIB, never been used, but a lot of folks seem to use the term for something that is better described as very good or excellent. Just one of my pet peeves, so I'll get off my soapbox now.

Alex

#16 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 09:09 AM

There are so many little things to check when buying eyepieces (or anything for that matter).

It will be up for sale one of these days and if rattle still exists it will be mentioned



When one pays $60 for a type 1, Nagler there is not much to check except your wallet... At that price, problems are to be expected. Not long ago, I purchased a Meade Series 4000 14 mm UWA. I paid $80.

It was described in the Astromart ad as being in "mint" condition. Upon close inspection, it appears to have never been used. The only problem is that it's too perfect to use and yet too pretty to sell... So it just sits and I use my 16 mm type 2 that has Tom Clark's ID engraved on it.

Oh well...

Jon

#17 Dave Ittner

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 12:22 PM

that's a good problem to have :-)

#18 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:08 PM

that's a good problem to have :-)


The other problem was that the 8.8 UWA was already sold... It went for $70...

Jon

#19 Svezda

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:32 AM

One term thrown around a lot but not mentioned by BillP is "mint". My expectation for that term is no less than NIB, never been used, but a lot of folks seem to use the term for something that is better described as very good or excellent. Just one of my pet peeves, so I'll get off my soapbox now.

Alex

I really agree with this and it bothers me too, as I've bought any number of eyepieces that were described as 'mint' (or nearly like new) that here on CN or on the other site should be described as 'good' or maybe 'very good' - eps having significant cosmetic issues will (or should) never make it to 'nearly like new' or 'excellent'.

I saw some Naglers listed on eBay yesterday that were described as 'like new or hardly used' that had obvious minor cosmetic blemishes. Like someone else mentioned, I don't expect the average eBay seller to know that we amateurs don't have such a loose grading system, although they may know and are just not that honest - one never really knows unless the photos are so clear that one can see that the seller obviously isn't someone who knows astro epqt well or never actually examined the eyepieces himself - maybe they are selling for someone else, are reselling after picking them up in an estate sale but aren't familiar with astro gear, etc.

#20 Dave Ittner

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 02:34 AM

I have a feeling that it's all of the above. Some know better, others don't and are just trying to unload the items.

That makes buying a lot tougher for us.

#21 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 07:30 AM

I have a feeling that it's all of the above. Some know better, others don't and are just trying to unload the items.

That makes buying a lot tougher for us.


Not really... I buy based on the actual description, not on the sales pitch. I am happy to buy eyepieces with cosmetic flaws, it means someone loved that eyepiece and used it. And, eyepieces that get frequent use, just the handling them wears the paint, swapping them in and out of the focuser takes the gleam off the barrel. Swap an eyepiece 10-30 times a night a 100+ nights a year, it will show signs of use. I figure that if someone takes the time to careful describe the flaws, it means they are more concerned about the buyer being pleased than getting a few extra bucks.

Jon

#22 csrlice12

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:08 AM

While I like to take care of my equipment, (and yes, I silently curse whenever I put a scratch or ding on anything I own) the bottom line is, what shape are the optics in? While I do have a couple of "collector item" eyepieces, I do use them occasionally as not using them would defeat the purpose of why they were built.....

#23 Scanning4Comets

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:32 AM

When one pays $60 for a type 1, Nagler there is not much to check except your wallet... At that price, problems are to be expected. Not long ago, I purchased a Meade Series 4000 14 mm UWA. I paid $80.

It was described in the Astromart ad as being in "mint" condition. Upon close inspection, it appears to have never been used. The only problem is that it's too perfect to use and yet too pretty to sell... So it just sits and I use my 16 mm type 2 that has Tom Clark's ID engraved on it.

Oh well...

Jon


:rofl2: :slap: :poke:

#24 Dave Ittner

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:42 AM

I am happy to report that a friend had the tool to tighten down the retaining ring. It's snug as a bug.

I will still note that it might come loose again when I go to sell it.

#25 johnnyha

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 01:27 PM

My pet peeve is on auction at the other site right now. A 31T5 with no description of condition, and two pictures of the same exact view that show an average eyepiece - and no picture of the lenses. And yet it is already at $5 over what I sold my mint 31T5 for, $425. But this one is a complete gamble... :confused:

This could be a fine eyepiece but I think, especially when putting something up for auction, you should write at the very least a short explanation of the condition of the eyepiece. Maybe mention if the optics are clean, and if it includes a box? With no description I am very, very skeptical of the condition.






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