Grading records is one of the most controversial areas of collecting second-hand vinyl records, with differing opinion as to what constitutes Mint condition. Here at eil Towers we use the generally accepted Record Collector guide to condition reproduced below for both buying and selling. (All text copyright Parker Publishing)
Whilst there are seven broad grades here at eil.com we rarely sell anything below a VG grade, although with particularly rare LPs we do occasionally make an exception, see below for a breakdown of the grades…
Vinyl Records (7″, 12″ LPs etc)
MINT: The record itself is in brand new condition with no surface marks or deterioration in sound quality. The cover and any extra items such as the lyric sheet, booklet or poster are in perfect condition. Records advertised as ‘Sealed’ or ‘Unplayed’ should be Mint
EXCELLENT: The record shows some signs of having been played, but there is very little lessening in sound quality. The cover and packaging might have slight wear and/or creasing.
VERY GOOD: The record has obviously been played many times, but displays no major deterioration in sound quality, despite noticeable surface marks and the occasional light scratch. Normal wear and tear on the cover or extra items, without any major defects, is acceptable.
GOOD: The record has been played so much that the sound quality has noticeably deteriorated, perhaps with some distortion and mild scratches. The cover and contents suffer from folding, scuffing of edges, spine splits, discoloration, etc.
FAIR: The record is still just playable but has not been cared for properly and displays considerable surface noise; it may even jump. The cover and contents will be torn, stained and/or defaced.
POOR: The record will not play properly due to scratches, bad surface noise, etc. The cover and contents will be badly damaged or partly missing.
“This copy is in quite a state to say the least. There are two large tears in the corner of the sleeve including several other small tears at the opening and some edge scuffing although the print is perfectly legible on the back panel. The vinyl is scratched heavily across most of side 1 and will cause jumps, however it still plays nicely during the non-scratched areas. There are not many Elvis records we would consider adding in this condition but this is a legendary piece of rock n roll history, yours at a bargain price!”
BAD: The record is unplayable or might even be broken, and is only of use as a collection-filler.
Be sure to check eil.com for our extensive range of rare vinyl, reissues, imports and more, to see more click here