Good ideas. We definitely need sub-classification for as issued newer decks. They'll also work with many vintage. For antique, as issued decks are so scarce that collectors would likely value a Bicycle deck from 1890 the same, whether or not the seal or tax stamp was broken, the box was a bit banged up, etc. it likely doesn't matter.
You're right on that point! The older the deck, the less intact its packaging tends to be unless they were exceptionally well cared-for.
I propose that the Class system suggested by Lee be used, but with a few tweaks:
Eliminate class 5, instead making it a "rider" to the existing categories. For example, if a deck has perfect cello but also has a slight dent or other damage, that could be "Class 1x", and so on, adding an "x" to the class of a deck with a dented box.
I would call a class 4 that's "naked" a class 5, and a resealed naked deck as a class 4.
All of these classes assume that the deck's sticker seal (or stamp seal or tax stamp, if applied to older decks) is completely intact and untorn - the cards inside have never seen the light of day since being packed. Anything less would not be in "as issued" condition. For decks without seals - it was a popular trend until custom deck seals came about recently - the box must show no signs of use (no bent flaps, no damaged cards inside, no heavy creases in the fold lines for flaps indicating they were folded back as the deck was opened, etc.), or else it, too, is not in "as issued" condition.
In addition to the designator "x" for a dented box, we should use "c" for boxes that were made or sold without a cellophane wrapper (such as the Misc. Goods Deck, late-model Studs, Aviators, etc.), "s" for boxes that did not have a deck seal when filled with the cards at the factory, and "+" for decks with an autograph on the box and "#" for decks autographed on the unopened cellophane.
Finally, there should be one final class designator, "D", indicating the deck has a factory-made defect, such as two seals instead of one, improperly wrapped cellophane, off-centered cut of the tuckbox sheet, etc. Some people would pay a premium for such a deck, as long as it's also relatively intact. If the deck is in opened condition, it would also cover card defects, like a radically off-center cut, ink smears, what have you, so the "D" designator could be applied to other pack grades as well as "as issued".
So, to summarize, within the category of "as issued" we have the following classes:
1 - Perfect cellophane wrapping
2 - Slightly damaged but intact cellophane
3 - Broken cellophane, but still present
4 - "Naked" but rewrapped using a deck sealer
5 - Devoid of cellophane, "naked"
Of course, all of those categories assume the box is both intact and pristine, mint condition.
To these classes, we can add one or more of these designators as needed:
x - dented/damaged box
c - deck was manufactured without cellophane wrapper
s - deck was manufactured without a seal of any kind
+ - deck is autographed on box
# - deck is autographed on cellophane
D - deck has a manufacturing defect
For example, the Misc. Goods deck came without a cellophane wrapper or a deck seal, so a perfect example of this deck would be "as issued, class 5cs". A mint Aviator deck, sealed and without cello, that's been autographed would be "as issued, class 5c+". Using a resealer on that signed Aviator deck would change the grade to "as issued, class 4c+". If that pack of Misc. Goods Co. had a few cards with seriously off-center cuts, that class would become 5csD. If Joe Somebody, Magician or Jane Somebody, Designer or Jack Somebody, Celebrity signed my brand new, mint Bicycle Masters deck on the cellophane, it would be "as issued, class 1#". Take that same deck with the cellophane a little loose at the seams and it's "as issued, class 2#".
In essence, the class number refers to the condition of the cellophane cover, while the designators deal with box condition, manufacturing state, autographs, etc.
People will need to be careful in the categorization of their decks - for example, it's impossible to have a deck that's "as issued, class 1+" unless it was autographed at the factory, and even more impossible to have a deck that's "as issued, class 5c#" - signed on the cellophane it was never issued with!
What do you guys think of this idea?