The Record Collector Grading Guide explained...

· 441 words · about 2 minutes

Photo by Friso Baaij on Unsplash


Have you ever noticed that when purchasing vintage vinyl records either in-store or on online marketplaces such as Discogs you’ll often see records labelled “Mint”, “Excellent”, “Very Good” “Good” or “Fair”, they may sometimes use abbreviations instead such as VG (Very Good).

But who decides what condition a vinyl record is in and is there really a big difference between a record that’s classed as “Very Good” to one that’s “Good”?

This is where the Record Collector Grading Guide comes in. Created by Record Collector magazine the guide helps to standardise record conditions so sellers can give an honest description and buyers can feel confident about what they’re purchasing.

The grading guide is broken down into the following grades:


Mint (M)

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 marked as Sealed or Unplayed should be Mint.


Excellent (EX)
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 (VG)
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 (G)
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 (F)
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 (P)
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 (B)
The record is unplayable or might even be broken, and is only of use as a collection filler.


Other guides such as The Goldmine Grading Guide use slightly different grades such as “Near Mint” and “Very Good+” but using the above guide will provide you with a good idea of the condition of the record you’ll receive if you see these or other similarly titled grades.

Here at Blast From The Past we don’t stock any records graded lower than “Good” condition, ensuring that everything we sell is in a playable condition.

You can find more information about the Record Collector Grading Guide here.