Vinyl Record Grading
Record Grading Standards: We grade our records conservatively, using a strong light, if needed we play the record to get a more precise grade. When two grades appear, the first is the cover (jacket) and the second the disc (vinyl). For all grades, additional details are given to further explain features and flaws the record might have.
SS (Still Sealed) = Has Original Unopened factory seal. Disc is assumed to be undamaged and mint, but this can’t be proven until the album is actually opened and the disc examined. Any flaws on cover will be noted.
M (Mint) = perfection, no flaws, defects or marks indicating handling or playing. We rarely use this grade, and if when we do it is usually on the disc. Pristine! It looks as if you just got it home from a the record store and removed the shrink wrap. Rare Copy, can be worth much more than M- price.
M- / NM (Near Mint) = Has a very minor defect or two that disqualifies it as mint. Vinyl, Labels & Cover are virtually flawless, bright and shiny. Minor defects can be barely visible scuffs or hairline marks, label may have a small mark or be off center, cover might have a few small dents, or a tiny mark. Collector’s Copy, 100%.
VG++ = (Non-standard Goldmine grade, middle grade between M- and VG+.) Some visible surface wear, few very minor scratches and scuffs, with minimal impact on the sound quality. Vinyl will still have good luster; labels may have minor imperfections (small labels or initials, etc.) but otherwise clean. Cover has only slight wear and artwork is frameable. Collector’s copy, worth 75% of NM value.
VG+ = Record will have moderate surface wear and may have light record noise at times but still plays nicely. There will be no skips, and audio quality is quite enjoyable, scratches are light and can’t be felt with fingernail. There might be a slight warp that doesn’t affect sound quality. The cover will have some wear but it is still nice to look at, a small seam split might be present. Flaws are quite varied at this grade level, and can include any of them but not very many. In general the vinyl will sound good and the cover will look good. Excellent copy, worth 50% of NM value.
VG = Record will show heavier surface wear and surface noise from play, but still not overpower the music. Sporadic clicks/pops might be heard in spots on the record, and light surface noise between tracks. Yet, there are no skips or serious defects in the vinyl, a few scratches that can be felt. The cover starts to look worn or discolored, but the artwork is still attractive, it is common to have a seam split with this grade. Flaws are quite varied at this grade level and can include any of them within this range. Great Play copy, worth 25% of NM value.
VG- = Record is well-played, has some heavy scratches, heavy wear, dullness or distracting surface noise yet doesn’t overpower the listening experience and should play without skipping. Cover starts to be less attractive with large splits, wear on art, heavy ring wear or tape repairs. Good play copy, worth 15% of NM value.
P (Poor) – Record or Jacket will have significant damage, skips are likely, surface noise is distracting. Jackets get ugly. Mostly useful to fill a niche in a collection until something better can be found. It is rare to see this grade, and typically it is only on either the record or the jacket not both parts, or when the item is extremely rare. It’s good to keep the dust out, for playing Frisbee or making artwork… Worth 5% of NM Value.
N/A (Not Applicable) - either the cover (picture sleeve) or the vinyl is missing, or it’s a generic jacket and not graded.