Grading Guide

Grading Guide

Grading Policies for LPs & 45s

Still Sealed (SS): The record has never been opened.

Near Mint (NM): A nearly perfect record. There may be one or two small inaudible defects. The record should show no obvious signs of wear. A 45 RPM or EP sleeve should have no more than the most minor defects, such as almost invisible ring wear or other signs of slight handling. An LP jacket should have no creases, folds, seam splits, or any other noticeable similar defect. No cut-out holes, either.

Near Mint Minus (NM-): A record that should play mint but has a few slight visible marks. The album will have as much luster as an NM, and there just may be some scuffs from the sleeve or very light scratches that shouldn't be audible. An NM- album cover subjectively fits somewhere in between VG+ and NM.

Very Good Plus (VG+): A Very Good Plus record will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it. Record surfaces may show some slight signs of wear and may have slight scuffs or very light scratches that don’t affect one’s listening experience. Slight warps that do not affect the sound are OK. The label may have some ring wear or discoloration, but it should be barely noticeable. The center hole will not have been misshapen by repeated play. Picture sleeves and LP inner sleeves will have some slight wear, lightly turned-up corners, or a slight seam-split. An LP jacket may have slight signs of wear also and may be marred by a cut-out hole, indentation, or corner, indicating it was taken out of print and sold at a discount.

Very Good (VG): Many of the defects found in a VG+ record will be more pronounced in a VG disc. 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 will light scratches (deep enough to feel with a fingernail) that will affect the sound. Labels may be marred by writing, or have tape or stickers (or their residue) attached. The same will be true of picture sleeves or LP covers. However, it will not have all of these problems at the same time, just two or three of them.

Good (G), Good Plus (G+): Good does not mean Bad! A record in Good or Good Plus condition can be put onto a turntable and will play through without skipping, but it will have significant surface noise and scratches and visible groove wear. A jacket or sleeve will have seam splits, especially at the bottom or on the spine. Tape, writing, ring wear, or other defects will start to overwhelm the subject.


brass plug: small brass plug in cover to indicate cut-out
cc: cut corner, slice of cover is missing to indicate cut-out
dh: drill-hole, small hole in cover
in shrink: in original shrink-wrap (but not sealed)
sl.jkt.rng: slight jacket ring
re: reissue, not the first pressing
saw: sawmark, small cut in cover to indicate cut-out
wlp: white label promo
stk.on.jkt.: sticker on cover
timing strip: the large sticker on cover for djs with track listings & suggested cuts
djstkr: small sticker saying DJ copy
prostkr: promo sticker on front cover
stkr.tear: small tear made by a price sticker or other sticker being torn off
woc: writing on cover
wol: writing on label
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