IMP stands for Incorrect Married Part. Married Parts and Incorrect Married Parts are different, but to fully understand what an Incorrect Married Part is, we must first begin by exploring what a married part is.
It may surprise you that the below examples happen, but at Wata, we are all about transparency and we want you to know what you are buying when you buy a Wata certified game. Let’s look at some specific collectibles and see how “married” parts are used and dealt with.
Say you have a Monopoly board game from 1940 and the contents of the box are in near perfect condition, but the box is in horrible condition. You have another 1940 Monopoly board game where the box is in perfect condition, but it is missing several pieces. Collectors and dealers “marry” these two together to make a higher-grade 1940 Monopoly game that will be more desirable to a collector. Sometimes the “leftovers” can be used to complete more than one incomplete game.
With Vinyl records, you could have a perfect specimen, but then the record itself gets damaged-dropped, chipped, or cracked. It happens. Collectors don’t just put a damaged record with a perfect sleeve back together. They will find a sleeve that is in worse condition, but the record is flawless, and switch them. The end result is a perfect specimen of what could have been bought at the record store at time of release.
With vintage cars, collectors don’t just junk the car if there is a part that needs to be replaced. They go out and find the exact same part to put in their classic car to make sure it has all original parts.
With comic books, there are comic books missing pages and people find a coverless copy and switch the pages to make it complete. Or they find a cover missing the interior and marry it to a coverless copy.
Vintage toys are just like the board games. They have multiple parts and any could be missing. Marrying or even upgrading missing parts is part of what many collectors and dealers do to improve the condition of their collectible vintage toys.
Not every collectible can have a married part. For example, coins, baseball cards and paper currency cannot have married parts as they are only one item.
In all of the above cases, except comic books, married parts cannot be identified by a layman, a dealer, or an expert if it is done with care. It is important to point out that no one is doing anything fraudulent by doing this. As long as the collectible is intact in the same way it could have been bought at the time of release, dealers and collectors look at them with the same desirability as any other complete collectible. They are indistinguishable.
In the case of comic books, there are ways experts can definitively detect marrying since the entire comic book is manufactured together at one time. Many dealers can tell and the certification companies disclose it on the label when it is detected. It does affect its value in the case of comic books. It is not detectable in other collectibles, since board games, for example, are not manufactured as one piece. The board game company makes thousands of the same part and then assembles them together resulting in each piece in the game being totally independent of any other piece. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule…but that’s the difference in a nutshell.
Now what is an Incorrect Married Part?
An IMP would be when a 1950 piece of the monopoly game is married into the 1940 monopoly game AND there is a discernable difference between the 1940 and 1950 version. It is when the original vinyl record is from 1966 and has a copyright date of 1966, but the record used to replace it states 1970, even though it is otherwise identical. It is when a part from a 1963 Ford is replaced with the exact same part, but the replacement part says Chrysler on it. Or the part is from a 1960 Ford and there is a difference between the two even though the functionality is the same. For vintage toys, it is when the married part of the toy has a discernable difference with the original part it was manufactured with. In comics, it can be a replaced back cover that is not for that comic book. All the back covers for Action Comics #1 are the same, but if someone replaces a missing back cover with the back cover for Action Comics #30, that is an incorrect married part.