A guide by rainbowjam
When buying records over the internet, one of the most important things to be sure of is the condition of the vinyl and its accompanying packaging. We've been dealing and collecting records for over 20 years and know only too well how frustrating it can be to receive a record through the post that's been over-graded.
When we started selling, CDs were still relatively new, and our entire stock was vinyl. Now we still have a huge stock of vinyl and are selling more and more in our second ebay shop at http://stores.ebay.co.uk/rainbowtrax. We'd love to be able to grade every record we list as Mint but real life isn't like that! We aim to describe every record's condition as accurately as we would want when buying. If we grade a record as Mint then that's what you can expect but if it's not Mint then we'll say so and it'll also be priced accordingly.
In the UK, the accepted record grading system is the Record Collector magazine guide which can be found at the back of every issue of the mag (which is on sale monthly). This is the guide we use when selling vinyl and is reproduced below; from this you can see that EX and VG should still be totally acceptable to listen to and even Good shouldn't mean completely Bad! If Mint is what you want then a record described as Mint should be indistinguishable from brand new; the older the record, the harder it'll be to find. There are a lot less Mint records than many people would have you believe, and terms like 'minty' and 'awesome' or a string of exclamation marks don't really mean anything in terms of condition.
Record Collector Magazine's Grading Guide:
"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, discolouration, 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.
BAD: The record is unplayable or might even be broken, and is only of use as a collection filler."
As well as the above grades, Near Mint is often used as well; this is really for a record that appears new but is known to have been played because the label has light spindle marks or because it has come from a previous owner and is assumed to have been played by them. For records which appear to fall between the accepted grades, + and - are also often added to the grading.
In addition to the basic grading, any individual faults should be noted separately such as if an otherwise Excellent cover has a name written on it, or a 7" single is missing its original centre etc.
Well, thanks for taking the time to read my guide - hope it's been of some interest and use; if so then please register a vote and take a look at my other guides. (I hope the user mamavintageshop gave me a vote as they certainly found it useful; they've slightly reworded large chunks of my text to write their own guide! Still, they do say that copying is a form of flattery so I should be flattered! ;) ) Don't forget to visit our eBay shops - rainbowtrax for strictly-graded vinyl, audio books, music DVDs, toys etc and rainbowjam for thousands of 100% official Buy-It-Now CDs, starting at just £1.99. If you're looking for a particular item, then please send us an eBay message as we have hundreds more items to list. We offer speedy delivery and reasonable postage rates and have over twenty years trading experience; check out our feedback before you buy. If you like our items, please add us to your favourites list.
Best regards, rainbowjam
Guide created 2006, updated October 2014