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Record Collecting – How to Grade Old Vinyl

Grading Old Vinyl Records

punk records

While we all know that the analog audio found on vinyl LPs and 45s produces a superior sound to anything achievable by digital means, there is one aspect of vinyl that bears extra care and consideration: its condition. A well cared for vinyl recording will still play 100 years from now - well after the sound on a CD recording has degraded into inaudibility. But because any scratches or dirt present on a vinyl record can cause crackles and pops or skipping, the care and condition of old records album is essential.

Parker’s Records and Comics uses the following meticulous grading scale to assess the condition of each LP and 45 in our inventory, so customers can shop and purchase used records and old albums from us with confidence.

Record Grades

Sealed: This is a record that is still in its original shrinkwrap and has never been opened or played. It loks like it came right off of the store shelf yesterday, and is usually unblemished in any way.

Mint: This is a record that is in perfect condition, with no scratches on the vinyl and nothing missing from the album cover, sleeve, or contents. A mint record plays flawlessly.

Very Good++: This record is in perfect condition and plays flawlessly just like mint, but there may be some very minor wear in the cover or sleeve or slight visible scuffing of the record that will disappear with a good cleaning.

Very Good+: This record is in great condition and still plays like it was new. There may be some scuffing on the record that does not hinder play, and wear on the sleeve/cover, including pen marks.

Very Good: This record still plays well but has larger scratches and may be missing its original sleeve. Collectors usually do not bother with records in this grade or below, though a music buff may still be interested. NOTE: Parker’s record and Comics does not generally carry records in this category or below.

Good: This record plays, but with noticeable pops and hissing. While not chipped or broken, the original sleeve is long gone and the record label may be only partially legible.

Fair: This record barely plays at all and should not be used as it may damage your turntable or needle.

Broken: This record does not play at all, and isn’t good for much besides target practice.

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