Glossary Term: Whiteness Level

Collection Connections is starting a new series of Glossary Terms. Each newsletter we will add a new word, ultimately building a glossary of Comic Terminology.

An OWL card (Overstreet Whiteness Level) has several different page colors and is used when assessing the interior page color of a book. The card is simple to use: place it beside the interior page(s) and select the color of page(s) that is closest to the value on the card. The colors go from white to brittle (brown) and several shades in between. The card is actually an insert in the Overstreet Grading Guide, which itself is a MUST for any collector.

  • Gemstone released the Overstreet OWL card in 1992 and still sells the exact same card today even though it is grossly outdated and depicts the old grading system which was abandoned.
  • Additionally Overstreet even mentions using the OWL card to measure page whiteness and the importance of whitness level (page color) in determining the grade in the grading guide. Yet nowhere in the entire guide is there a single chart shown for determining whitness level. Leaving one to have the only option to use an outdated card from 1992 which doesn’t even include Creme.
  • Comics can come already in an off-white color, negating the scale all together.  A comic can be “mint” but not align itself with the “whiteness scale” determining that this is a faulty guide.

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