Enamel Pin Grading System

Text reads "grading"

The grading system I use for my enamel pins consists of four grades:

  • Collector Grade
  • Jacket Grade
  • Seconds Grade
  • Salvage Grade

Collector Grade

Collector Grade pins are as close to perfect as they come. From a batch of 100, I might get 15 Collector Grade pins, but this will vary from order to order.

Example of a Collector Grade Jellyfish enamel pin from my Galactic Reef collection

Jacket Grade

Enamel pins are handmade, and very few pins come out of the production process without minor, hardly noticeable imperfections.

My Jacket Grade pins are very close to perfect, and any defects will be difficult to spot. Jacket Grade pins may also be referred to as “Standard Grade” pins.

Three enamel pins with one small spec of dust each embedded in their enamel.
Three examples of Jacket Grade pins from my Sleeping Beauties Collection. Each pin has a small spec of dust embedded in the paint, but apart from that, they’re pretty much perfect.

Jacket Grade pins might show minor signs of:

  • Tiny specs of dust in non-central parts of the design
  • Tiny imperfections in the metal plating
  • Light, hardly noticeable scratches
  • Teeny-tiny chips in the enamel
  • Minor underfilling in non-central parts of the design
  • Minor areas of missing filling

Jacket Grade pins will only have a small amount of the imperfections mentioned above. If a pin has a lot of Jacket Grade defects, I will classify it as a Seconds Grade pin.

Seconds Grade

My Seconds Grade pins have more noticeable flaws. Seconds pins don’t always look great for close-up photography, but they’re beautiful additions to backpacks, bags, and pinboards, and are a great choice if you like to wear your pins.

Minor defects are highlighted in one of my Clouded Leopard enamel pins.
Example of a Seconds Grade enamel pin, also from Sleeping Beauties. This pin has more prominent underfilling in its paw, plus four minor defects.

Defects in Second Grade pins might be, and are not limited to:

  • Underfilled areas.
  • Large specs of dust or paint.
  • Small paint smudges.
  • Small areas with the wrong color fill.
  • Scratches in screen-printed details.
  • Multiple imperfections in the metal, such as scratches, overfilling, tarnish and more.
  • One or more air bubbles in the enamel.

Salvage Grade / C Grade

My Salvage Grade pins have highly noticeable defects or in some cases peculiar differences from the original designs. This might include, but are not limited to:

  • Large areas of underfilled, overfilled or missing enamel.
  • Tarnished, dented or scratched metal.
  • Large areas of the wrong color enamel.
  • Large chips, scratches, holes or cracks in the enamel.
  • Glow-in-the-dark effect doesn’t work.
  • Large areas of missing glitter.
  • Large areas of dust, hair or spots in the enamel.
  • Loose back posts.
A "Salvage Grade" hard enamel pin depicting a tranquil snow mink. The pin has a smudge of white paint going over the metal plating and into the blue background area.
Here’s an example of a Salvage Grade pin from my Winter Collection. This pin has a severe paint smudge that covers a large area of the pin.