Nothing is more important in determining the value of your records than their condition! While their relative rarity and demand is important, we will certainly pay more for a record in Near Mint (NM) condition than one in Very Good Minus (VG-) condition.
Since grading vinyl records can be subjective, there have been some effort to standardize a grading guide. Goldmine developed the guide below and it is now the most widely used guide for the buying and selling of vinyl albums. Most collectors swear by it.
"Use the grading scale below to
help grade your old vinyl records!"
Mint (M) Absolutely perfect in every way. The record has never been played and may still be sealed.
Near Mint (NM or M-) The record should show no obvious
signs of wear. The cover should have no creases, folds, seam
splits or other noticeable similar defects. The original sleeve
is usually present.
Very Good Plus (VG+) The record will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it. The surface of the record may show some signs of wear and may have slight scuffs or very light scratches that don't affect playback. The cover will show slight wear, lightly turned up corners, or slight seam splits.
Very Good (VG) The record will have more pronounced problems than those mentioned above in the VG+ category. Surface noise will be evident upon playing, especially in soft passages and during a song's intro and fade, but will not overpower the music otherwise. Groove wear will start to be noticeable, as with light scratches (deep enough to feel with a fingernail) that will affect the sound. The cover will have some of the same problems as with the VG+ cover, but will be more pronounced.
Good (G), Good Plus (G+) Good is not always Bad! A record of this condition will have significant surface noise, scratches and visible groove wear. A Good record can be played through with noise, but without skipping. The cover or sleeve will have seam splits, especially at the bottom or on the spine. Tape, writing, ring wear or other defects will be present.
Poor (P), Fair (F) The record is cracked, badly warped, and
won't play through without skipping or repeating. The cover
will have full seam split, crinkles, water damage or extensive
*** Whenever possible grade vinyl under a 100 watt bulb ***
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