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Vinyl Record Condition Chart For Grading Vinyl Records and CDs

How To Grade The Condition Of A Vinyl Record - Grading Chart & Guide

Understanding the grading system is vitally important when collecting, buying and selling vinyl records.  It has become increasingly important when purchasing records online or by mail order.  There is an element of judgement when grading vinyl, but the grading chart can help you with this.

Our items are professionally graded to the following standards as shown below.  The sleeve is graded first and then the disc is graded second.  These are the known as the grading codes.

For example, an item in

EX/EX condition would mean:   Sleeve Excellent/Disc Excellent.

We are very experienced and sell many items, problem free. In the main, most of the items we stock are in Excellent Condition.  Please read through our in-depth guide detailing all elements and aspects involved in the grading of vinyl records.  It is best to grade records in daylight under a strong light, so that you can analyze the condition effectively.
Mint – M

Both record and cover are in perfect condition. There will be no scuffs, surface marks, wear or any imperfections on the vinyl. Any additional items such as a booklet, insert, lyric sheet or poster are in perfect mint condition.  The record itself will have never been played and may be still sealed.  It is normally brand new records that are identified by this grade.  This grade is not normally used by record dealers for older records unless are genuinely mint and still sealed from the day of purchase.

Excellent – EX

The record shows light or minor signs of play and the playing surface will still retain it's glossy sheen.  The signs of play will be less easy to spot.  The cover, packaging and additional items may have very slight degree of wear, but not very noticeable.  It will be clear that the previously owner of this record will have taken care of it and stored it properly.  The record will not have been played much and the sleeve will have minimal signs of handling.  If you are a record collector, you should be searching for records with a grade of Excellent condition or better.

Very Good Condition – VG

The record has been played regularly and has some visible surface marks, but no major deterioration in the quality of sound when played.  There may also be some evidence of regular playback in the form of spindle wear on the label.  Normal wear to cover, insert and additional items may be present, but there will be no major defects.  These may come in the form of light ring wear or discolouration, or some minor folds, creases and corner indentation.  This grade is fine for the casual music listener.  The record can be played and enjoyed, but is has clearly been used.

Good – G

The record has been played a lot and will have many mild surface scratches and groove wear.  It will play through with no skips or jumps, but there will be some noticeable deterioration to the sound quality and listening experience.  This may be surface noise or clicks and pops during playback.  The cover, insert and additional items may have some folding, ring wear, spine splits, tape repairs or scuffing to edges.  There may also be pen writing on the sleeve or record labels. We do not recommend buying records in Good condition or below this grade.

Fair – F

The record still plays through, but visually it will have lots of scratches and audibly, very noticeable surface noise such as crackling, distortion, clicks and pops.  The sound quality will have significantly deteriorated and listening experience will be poor.  The cover may damaged, torn or stained. A record in fair condition is normally regarded as a collection-filler.

Poor - P

A record in poor condition will be cracked, warped or badly damaged to such an extent that it won't play through properly.  The sleeve will be very badly damaged.  It may be defaced, faded, heavily soiled, have seam splits, be ripped or torn and might be water damaged.  In some cases it will be completely missing.  Records in poor condition should be avoided.  We do not sell any records that are in poor condition.

CDs and DVDs

All of our CDs and DVDs are checked to ensure that they play perfectly. Visually, they are graded in the same way as we grade our records.

* All of our CDs and DVDs come in Top Quality, Brand New, Scratch Free cases. The only exception to this is for ones that are in card cases or digipaks that are subject to the same wear as record covers.

Planet Earth Records recommends that where possible, you should aim to buy records in Very Good condition or better.  Vinyl records in Very Good condition are normally ok for the general or casual listener.  For record collectors, we suggest that you should aim to find records in Excellent Condition or better.  Remember that you can upgrade copies of the records that you find if you come across them in better condition in the future.

Records in Good condition or less should be avoided unless they are rare and you are unable to source them in better condition.  A record advertised in Good condition may seem like a good purchase, but will no doubt have many scratches and have poor audio playback.