Pin grading: Your guide to the standards of Haus of Gaunt and how we grade our pins.

Pin grading: Your guide to the standards of Haus of Gaunt and how we grade our pins.

Pin grading: Your guide to the standards of Haus of Gaunt and how we grade our pins.


Every pin maker has their own standards for how they grade the pins they sell. These may vary across styles or material, hard enamel vs soft enamel or even for limited edition pins. But you can rest assured that each pin maker has created their standards, not just through checking and appraising the final product, but by building and curating a relationship with their manufacturer to make sure you can be confident in the quality of each pin you buy. This guide will serve as a reference point for what you can expect from this Haus and the pins we stock.

Generally speaking, pins can be placed into three categories but we are only using 2 (I will explain more shortly). These are: A grade, B grade and C grade - Or A grade and Seconds (B grade). For limited edition or collectible pins sometimes a higher grade is created for completely flawless pins but the rate of these within an order is very low.

In simple terms A grade is the highest grade and a near perfect pin, B grade is still stunning and wearable but may have more noticeable defects and C grade is one where the defects draw away from the artwork of the pin and are often sold heavily discounted compared to their A and B counterparts. We currently do not have C grade pins but as we move towards more complex designs you may see them listed (the more complex the design, the more opportunity for mishaps). 

As enamel pins are hand made, there is always a possibility for error and some minor flaws can be expected but these are the standards we are confident with and adhere to.

A Grade: Pins that are high quality and look great worn or on display boards. These are the minor imperfections you can expect from an A grade pin:

  • Small plating imperfections on the side of the pin.
  • Light scratches, often only visible in certain lighting or on high contrasting designs - such as dark black or mirrored surfaces.
  • Light tarnish, often only visible in certain lighting or on high contrasting designs - such as dark black or mirrored surfaces.
  • Minor offset screen printing.
  • Very slight underfill.
  • Other small but visible imperfections that are only visible on close inspection and aren’t in the center of the design.

B Grade (seconds). Pins that still look great and are suitable for wearing or display but have slightly more noticeable flaws including:

  • Small bubbles in the enamel.
  • Screen printing that is far off or missing details.
  • Obvious underfill.
  • Scratching or tarnished surface that is obvious from a far distance as well as close inspection.
  • Small area of missing colour. 
  • Slightly bent posts on the back of the pin
  • Noticeable imperfections on the sides of the pin.
  • Dust or debris in the design
  • Slight colour bleed into other areas that aren't detrimental to the focus of the design.

C grade pins (flawed): These are highly flawed and therefore offered at a heavy discount but can still make great additions to a collection for a bargain price. 

C grade pins have all the above but on a higher scale for example:

  • Excessive dust, debris or spotting in the design.
  • Deep air bubbles.
  • Large area's of missing colour, colour smudging.
  • Back post that are loose, severely bent.
  • Heavy scratching and marks on the enamel and metal plating.
  • Rough edges on the sides that are scratchy or damaged.
  • Screen printing that is scratched/missing.
  • Heavy under/over fill.

This isn't a definitive list and sometimes when trialing new materials or finishes other area's may be listed. There may also be other unlisted defects but hopefully this makes it clearer on what to expect when ordering pin variations and give you an idea of where any imperfections may fall on the scale. 

We still think pins are pretty great and hope you love the ones we have to offer! 

The Gaunts x

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