Reel Grading

In the early 1990s ORCA Director and Honorary Member, Steve Vernon developed the following system of grading fishing reels. This method has since become the standard for fishing reel collectors 

For reels, ratings should be provided for both “appearance” and Mechanical Condition” and the ratings should be used to supplement complete descriptions.

Grade Appearance   Grade Mechanical Condition
Mint Original factory condition. Never used      
A10 Looks mint, but no guarantees as to whether it was used   M10 All functions work perfectly, not wear
A9 Hard rubber still polished; edges sharp; markings sharp; machining marks crisp, plating intact, no corrosion, pitting, chips or scratches   M9 All functions work well, though some wear apparent. Spool fully adjustable strong click; strong brake; smooth level wind.
A8 Occasional light scratches; minor, normal plating wear; rubber edges may not be sharp; minor foot imperfections; clean; crank knobs tight   M8 All functions work well, though complete adjustment may not be possible. Slight spool dinging; some click wear; brake pressure may not be maximal.
A7 Small chips; some plating wear; screw slots obviously used; light cleaning required; if recently polished, some surface defects   M7 Normal use and wear; spool sloppy; click weakening; level wind slight wobble.
A6 Chips; small dents; scratches from normal use; light corrosion; foot filed heavily or bent severely; some screw heads buggered   M6 All functions work, but some may be fairly worn; some gear noise; click may slip or be very weak; needs new pawl.
A5 Larger chips and/or scratches; heavier corrosion, light pitting; slight bends in pillars, crank; knob pins bent or loose; may need small replacement part such as a screw, net or bearing cap   M5 Functions work, but with some difficulty; click or brake not functional; level wind jams, broken gear tooth or worn gears
A4 Has significant problem; heavy corrosion; buggered screws; cracked rubber plate; small broken part, missing major part(s) such as pillar, line guide, click button; foot seriously damaged   M4 Functional problems requiring replacement parts to make operable
A3 More serious problems. Broken foot or other frame part; bent or badly dented plates.   M3 Major functional problems, possibly due to missing or broken parts that are not easily replaced
A2 May be useful for parts   M2 Major problems
A1 No aesthetic value   M1 No mechanical value