We take care when grading our items to give you an accurate description of what you're buying. This includes the level of wear, damage to covers and packaging, and any extra items that may be included. We follow a standardized system that most people are familiar with utilizing 7 basic grades:
SS : Still Sealed. The item has never been opened, taken out of the original packaging, or used. There is a bit of risk involved with sealed records, because we can't grade the vinyl. It is possible that they could have defects from the manufacturer or storage damage (warping, melting) that we can't possibly know about. Because most of the value of a sealed item comes directly from its being sealed, we will not accept returns on them once they are opened. At that point, they are no longer the same commodity.
NM : Near Mint and almost perfect. This is the highest grade we'll give an item. It allows for a couple of very light surface marks that don't affect play or the overall appearance. The cover may have a tiny bit of wear in 1 or 2 places, but no ringwear, splits, or tears. Sometimes we have items that actually are Mint, but we'll still grade them as NM since we feel it's better to err on the side of caution.
EX (VG++) : Excellent. A great copy that may have a few very light marks and just misses being NM. Should still play with no real noise or skips. When an EX record is turned in the light, most of the marks will disappear as they are not deep cuts across the grooves. The cover or packaging may have a couple of imperfections such as sticker residue, a bit more wear than NM, a very small notch, very small writing, or very light surface wear in one place. Many of our international customers are more familiar with EX than VG++, so we use it to reflect the grade between VG+ and NM.
VG+ : Very Good Plus. More obvious wear, but still a nice copy that will play with very little to no noise. The marks are light, but may be longer, more numerous and obvious. Covers may have a few accumulated defects such as stickers/residue, edgewear, light ringwear, corner wear, a name written, and small surface tears or creasing. We consider these to be worth owning, especially if you're going to listen to it, and not treat it as a hands-off investment.
VG : Very Good. A well-used item with average wear. May have some noise when played and visually could have many light marks and scuffs. These will not result in a scratchy, crackly playback, but the occasional pop or hiss. Covers may have a number of flaws, including ringwear, edgewear, partial seam splits, more noticeable surface wear, and writing.
VG- : Very Good Minus. Still more wear resulting in more noise, but no skips. We will list a few records in this condition if they are highly desirable as a collectible or rare listening treat. Covers may have a longer split or a little tape at the seams.
G : Good. This means that the record will play without skips, but will likely have more noise and a well-worn appearance. We won't knowingly list any record with skips, unless we've play-tested it and decide it's still worth having for some reason. Covers will have an accumulation of many of the flaws listed above. Unless an item is very collectible and desirable for some reason, we don't list many in this condition.
Sometimes it's possible that we mis-grade an item or overlook a flaw that you find unacceptable. We will allow you to return an item for a refund, but we don't refund shipping costs since that money was never ours to keep in the first place. Grading is somewhat subjective and differences in opinion may arise. Please read our page on returns for more information about what to do if you are unhappy with your purchase and want a refund.
Due to their fragility and age, 78 records are found less in higher grades than other types. Grading is typically a bit more allowing of light marks in NM and EX if there's still good gloss and the sound is clean. Figure that each grade is moved down by one level: a NM 78 would likely be graded EX (VG++) if it was an LP. 78s are less likely to warp than LPs and 45s, but easier to chip or break in pieces.