Used Grading

Below is an explanation for how we grade our used vinyl records at River

Soar records. Most of our records are graded visually; considering the volume of used vinyl we handle, it is impossible for us to listen to each record, but many are from our own collections. If we spot any significant flaws, we make every attempt to listen through them and note how they play. Here is a description of the Goldmine grading system we use.

MINT (M) - Perfect vinyl record album, possibly never opened (still sealed, though even that can be deceiving as it is easy to reseal them). No writing on the label or fading, no wrinkling, no color-wear. Be very cautious when buying a record that someone rates as a mint record, because the term is overused, and this is a very subjective area of record collecting.

NEAR MINT (NM) - Almost perfect record, like you just brought it home from the record store. This record should have no signs of wear; maybe played once or twice. The album cover or jacket should be in pristine condition, with no creases, folds, splits or defects, and have all its original applicable inserts. Record album should play with no background noise and certainly not be scratched or warped. This is also the highest price listed in all Goldmine price guides.

VERY GOOD PLUS VG+ - Generally worth 50 percent of the Near Mint value. The record should have a minimum of visual (slight ring wear), minor corner/spine damage or audible imperfections that do not detract from the sound quality of the record. The album cover may have some slight wear, some turned corners, creases, or slight seam split. Slight warps that do not affect the sound are OK and acceptable to most collectors. It may have plenty of fine spindle lines on the record but it does not affect the record at all. There will be no 'scratches' that can be felt with a fingernail that will effect the sound quality with skips, jumps loud clicks etc. In short, this is a record you would be comfortable paying a premium price to acquire, taking all things into consideration. Most record collectors' collections will fit into this category, because they went to great lengths to preserve the vinyl, the album jacket and its contents. Also, this is what they are most likely to purchase (assuming a near mint copy was not available or just too expensive).

VERY GOOD (VG) - Generally worth 25 percent of the Near Mint value. VG is a step down from VG+ in that the imperfections are more pronounced (groove wear, ring wear) and not only can you see the difference, you can hear the difference (that is the ultimate test). A lot of records that fall into this category were well-taken care of, but the owners purchased the record not so much as a collector's item, but to be played; hence the record and the album jacket will show signs of human handling or the occasional beer spill.

GOOD (G) - Generally worth 10-15 percent of the Near Mint value. Obvious signs of wear and scratches. A record not taken care of by its owner. It will play without skipping, but you will probably pass on adding it to your collection. Why? It is generally not worth that much. You do have a decision to make if you know that it is a rare record, but it may be best to wait until you can find a better copy of it.

FAIR and POOR records, unless they're the rarest of the rare, are best suited for the trash. Experience suggests that you not buy anything lower than a record rated Good because of the low resale value of the record and the quality of the sound, which is diminished because of the flaws in the vinyl itself.