Grading Definitions

& FAQ

Like many sellers, we use the official 'Record Collectors' grading system.

You can find the definitions below, or in the tabs to the right of every listing.

See below for the definitions and for our Grading FAQ - if we're missing an answer to your question, please just get in touch!

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.

 

Excellent

The record shows some signs of having been played, but there is very little lessening of sound quality.

The cover and packaging might have slight wear and/or creasing.

 

Very Good Plus

This record has clearly been played before, but has only a moderate reduction in sound quality, despite a possible slight loss of shine and some surface marks.

The cover shows signs of typical wear and tear, such as small stickers or light ring marks.

 

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 scratches.


The cover and contents suffer from issues like folding, scuffing of edges, spine splits and discolouration.

 

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 badly damaged or partly missing.

Grading & Record FAQ

Grading

How do I know if the grading is for the record or the sleeve?

The sleeve is always first. An item with a 'Very Good' sleeve and 'Excellent' record would be written as: VG/Ex.

If the record comes in a plain sleeve, there will only be one grading (for the record) and there will be nothing before the slash. For example: /Ex.

I'm looking at buying a Double or Triple LP, why is there only one record grading?

We've simplified our system a little bit when it comes to grading releases that come with more than one record. Rather than grading both discs individually, we'll take the lowest of the two and apply it to both.

Why do you have an 'Excellent' category?

This is the biggest difference between the 'Record Collectors' system that we use and others like 'Goldmine' which you will find being used on sites like Discogs.

It fits between NM and VG+, and allows us a little more nuance when grading. You can see the condition description in the section above this FAQ.

You've described 'Good' & 'Fair' above, but I can't see any records with those gradings?

These records aren't going to be the best for playback and people often only buy them as collection fillers.

For this reason, we try to only list 'Good' or 'Fair' records when they are of particular interest or popularity.

Photos & Listings

Can you send me extra information or pictures of one of your listings?

We would be happy to help you with any extra details about a record you are interested in buying. Just get in touch with us and we'll get back to you within 24 hours.

How do I find information like matrix numbers?

Usually, if it is a notable release we will list the matrix numbers/run-out info in the tabs on the right of the product page.

If the record you are interested in is missing any information, please just get in touch and we'll be able to help.

Is the picture on the listing of the actual record I'm buying?

Unless the photo has a 'stock' logo on it, we always use pictures of the actual record and anything that comes with it.

If there's a part of it that you'd like to see in more detail, or if you think there is something we've missed, just send us a message and we'll be able to help.

The listing says that the record comes with a 'plain paper' inner but I can't see it in the pictures?

Even though we always add a brand new audiophile-grade inner sleeve when appropriate, we want to make sure that we pass on every part of the original record to you, including the plain inner it came with.

When a record comes to us with an original (and intact) but plain inner sleeve, we put it inside the main outer sleeve so that it is out of the way for picturing and storage, but stays safely with the record.

'Plain' inners include inner sleeves that are printed with adverts or promo for the label.

What about other inner sleeves?

If the record came to us with a non-plain inner (such as one with text or lyrics on it), it will always be graded and shown in the pictures by us.

The record I'm interested in is missing a detail like the release year - how can I find out the missing information?

We use some automation to complete our listings, and this means categories like the release year or country of press are not always defined.

Don't worry though, we can almost always find out this information so just send us a message and we would be happy to look into it and find out for you.

Record Care

Do you clean the records?

All of our stock (including the sleeves) has been cleaned by our experts before being placed into anti-static inners and then stored in a resealable outer sleeve.

This should prevent dust or damage during its time on our shelves or during shipping.

If you're interested in exactly how we clean our records, please see our record cleaning guide or get in touch.

How do you play-test the records?

Firstly, we clean and visually grade the records. They are then visually graded a second time (often by a different person) before a sample of the record is play-tested. This is all completed with the aid of a bright light to show up any imperfections on the playing surface.

When a record shows a particular imperfection like a visible scratch, we make sure to test that part of the record in addition to our usual play-test. If it is below our grading standard at this stage, we will never allow it through for sale.

You've described a record as Mint... has it still been play-tested?

No, these are the only records we don't play-test. If a record is sealed, we will always keep it that way. If we were to open it, it would no longer be Mint!

There are very rare occasions where we would need to open a sealed record - for example, when it is described as coloured vinyl but we don't know what colour. In these situations, we will always state on the listing that it has been opened, and the reason for opening.

Stock Products

I can see the 'stock' logo on the image - what does this mean?

Some of the records we put on our shelves most often are 'stock' products. This means that we have one set of pictures that we'll use for all of the options we have available.

This allows us to offer these records to you at a more affordable price, and also means that we don't clutter up your searches with lots of near-identical listings.

The record I want to buy is a 'stock' product. Can you send me photos of the actual record?

Unfortunately, we can't send photos of the actual record. Because we might have multiple copies in stock in the same grading, the website doesn't decide exactly which one you'll get until the order is being picked.

If you are looking to avoid receiving a sleeve or labels with larger stickers or untidy damage, we would recommend only ordering records with Ex or higher gradings.

Your photos on a 'stock' listing I am interested in show a lot of wear on the sleeve. Will my one also be damaged?

Not necessarily! The stock photo is just the first copy of that record we came across.

The one you receive will be consistent with the gradings you choose - it should only have higher amounts of wear or larger stickers if it has been graded VG+ or lower.

Other

You haven't answered my question. How can I contact you?

If you're not sure about something, it's possible we've answered it in our General FAQ. Otherwise, please use our contact page to get in touch.

Do you have another question?