The value of a vinyl record is determined by its grade, exclusivity, age, and demand. Some records are more valuable than others because of these factors. The cheapest records are free or cost $1. The most expensive ones cost more than $2,000,000. But average vinyl records cost anywhere between $20 and $50.
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Nothing is more important than the condition in deciding the worth of your records! Yeah, their relative scarcity and demand is significant, but a collector or dealer would pay far more for a record in Near Mint than one in Very Good condition. However, determining the condition of the vinyl records can be a daunting task.
On one side of the coin, you might just check it over and give it a grade, but you’re not doing any favors to yourself or prospective customers. Just ask our customer outreach staff how many complaints they get every day from consumers who are jaded about the value of the vinyl album they purchased.
Seeking a release version can be time-consuming, but there is hardly any guessing at it. Well, not anymore! In this tutorial, I will help you assess the condition of the vinyl record that is right next to you, and how you can put that grading in good use.
How to Grade Vinyl Records
Grading a vinyl record is highly arbitrary, but learning what to look for can help you decide precisely what the condition is in. Inspect the cover and any accessories (lyric cards and stickers) for ring wear, discoloration, and sticker stains to grade the record. You may also need to check the vinyl record for scratches and any other defects.
Visually examining a record is better achieved under a bright light located near the vinyl sheet. There is, however, a fairly universal ranking system in place and a selection of widely-held standards to help you grade them yourself.
Whether you are buying a vinyl or selling, here’s a tutorial to how to grade vinyl records. However, before I dive in too deep, remember – buying something online with an LP rating that is less than VG+ is the worst thing you could do, so if you want to take a look at that particular piece, don’t be afraid to ask the seller to send you the pictures of your desired record.
It’s perfectly fine in every way. It was rarely played and is generally sealed. In any respect, the sleeve and the cover are just in flawless condition. To count as New, the album must never have been played and could also have been sealed. Mint will be used as a standard, if at all. It is important to note that not all sealed records are mint. There could be sleeve discoloration, ring tear, or vinyl cover if instructions for how to store vinyl have not been implemented.
To be graded as Mint indicates that the record was not played. In addition, mint can never be used as a grade unless more than one party acknowledges that the album or sleeve is truly in this state. There is no fixed amount of the Near Mint value that they will bring; it is better settled between the buyer and seller.
Near Mint (NM)
A strong explanation of the Near Mint record is that it seems like it only came from a retail store and it was unveiled for the first time. In other words, it’s close to perfect. A lot of dealers won’t use a better rating than this, suggesting that no album or sleeve can be perfect.
The NM records are clean, with no noticeable flaw. Writing, tags, or other labels can not exist on the disc, nor will any spindle marks by someone attempting to mistakenly position the record on the turntable. Significant factory flaws must also be missing; the record and the mark clearly pressed off-center is not Near New. This means if played, they are going to run smoothly – without any surface noises.
In fact, just like Mint, NM covers are free from creases, ring wear, and seam splits of some kind. A 45 RPM or EP sleeve may have no more than the slightest flaws, such as some indication of minor handling. In simple words, The vinyl album should feel shiny, and it’s only been used a few times. There should be no markings on the vinyl whatsoever!
Very Good Plus (VG+)
A Very Good Plus record displays some evidence that it was played and treated by a former owner who took decent care of it. Each flaw is of a superficial nature and does not affect the real playback. Theoretically, a VG+ album would sound the same as a Near Mint (NM) album. Vinyl surfaces may have certain signs of wear and may have minor scuffs or rather small marks that do not impair listening. Other than this, you might see minor warps that won’t change the sound of your record – so you are all good to go.
The sticker may have some ring wear or discoloration, but it should hardly be visible. The traces of Spindle can be visible. Image sleeves and inner sleeves may have some tear, subtly bent edges, or a minor seam-split. The LP cover may have scant signs of wear and may be marred by a cut-out opening or indentation. An accurate way to explain VG+ record is, it’s as perfect as NM but with a few defects that won’t disturb your listening. Most collectors, particularly those who want to play their albums, would be happy with the VG+ album, particularly if it is near the high end of the grade (sometimes known as VG++ or E+).
VG+ covers will only have minimal wear. A VG+ cover can have a very slight seam damage or a break (less than an inch long) at the edge, the most sensitive spot. There may also be some defacing of the VG+ cover, such as a cut-out. And covers with cut-out markings can never be graded as NM and that’s exactly what distinguishes NM from VG+. All in all, Very Good plus vinyl records are perfect, and if not for some minor aesthetic wear it would be Near Mint.
Very Good (VG)
Many of the imperfections contained on the VG+ record are more apparent on the VG record. That being said, VG records — which typically retail for no more than 25% of the NM album — are among the best bargains in price collecting, since much of the “big money” goes for more reasonable copies. A VG album or a cover would be worth the money to many vinyl enthusiasts.
Apart from that, Most of the original gloss seen on factory-fresh records is lost. Groove damage is visible in color, as are mild scratches deep enough to notice with a fingernail. When playing, the VG record has surface noise, and some scratches can be noticeable, particularly in soft sections and during the start and end of the track. But nonetheless, the noise won’t overpower the music. It’s seen a bit of action, but it’s still functional. Soft bounces and clicks, point cracks, highly noticeable marks. You will not only be able to listen to it and by enjoyed it’s aesthetically basically cover too.
Surprisingly, the same refers to picture sleeves or LP covers. However, at the same time, it does not have any of these issues.
Good/Good plus (G, G+)
Alright, get this straight – whenever you see Good or Good Plus condition, it is certainly not a good sign. You’d just be selling stuff that’s very good in this situation, with a bargain price and a perfect, unlimited definition to suit. A Good or Good Plus vinyl record can be played without interruption, but there would be substantial surface noise, noticeable groove wear, and scratching.
In addition to that, the sleeve will have seam splits, particularly at the bottom or on the surface. Tape, ring wear, or some other defect would be present. Although the record will be playable without skipping, the replay will almost definitely be followed by visible surface noise and “ticks.” Simply put, it’s not the best vinyl album you’d like to sell or purchase.
Poor/Fair (P, F)
Don’t even talk about putting money on a list with this ranking. Perhaps the most scandalously rare items ever sold for more than a few dollars in this condition — again, only if they sell. Attempting to listen is going to be a frustrating experience. Expect major noise issues, skip or repeat. The record itself is scratched, poorly bent, and has deep scratches. As far as the looks are concerned, the cover is near death, too. Poor and Fair graded records account for 0 to 5 percent of the Near Mint value, if any. More definitely, they’re going to end up in the dump. Records are broken, difficult to loop, or miss and/or repeat as an effort is made to retrieve them.
In particular, the LP cover barely holds the LP inside. The inner sleeves are fully cut, crinkled, and written on.
Where to Sell Vinyl Records
Now that you know how to grade your vinyl records, it’s time you take a step ahead and put this information to use. One way to do that is to sell them online. Selling records online will help you interact with niche buyers who are able to spend the highest price, but that also ensures that you may have to go through hassles, and hefty expenses leading to no profit on your end.
Well, not anymore. In case you’ve been living under a rock, you must know that there are numerous online platforms that make the selling process of vinyl a lot smoother (usually with a commission), while some leave the information to sellers and buyers without any service fees or modification at all. How amazing is that!
Let’s have a look at some of the best online platforms and compare each one of them, to make your life a lot easier.
Discogs is one of the most popular online stores to buy and sell albums. Users connect to a comprehensive archive of records, so you can add so monitor your personal collection. Build a catalog and add pictures and videos to sell your vinyl records right away. In Discogs, just like eBay, you can make your buyer to pay for shipping.
The site has been considered a “mini-eBay” that is frequented by vinyl collectors and frequently promoted in online circles. However, Discogs does have an upper hand over eBay as it charges relatively less ( 8% fee) on purchases. And you get a variety of options to do your transactions. For starters, Payments are made via PayPal, Skrill, credit card, bank transfer, currency, check, money order, or cashier’s check. The best part is, you only ship your sold vinyl albums after you’ve received payment in your bank account.
While close in nature to Discogs, Music Stack is swift to point out that it is “not Amazon, eBay, or Discogs” and that you do not anticipate quick or high-volume purchases. With Music Stack, you can sell rare vinyl records worldwide with 8 % service fee on every purchase made by the customer. Music Stack also uses PayPal Business to carry out any financial transactions.
While primarily meant for crafted pieces, Etsy has a fair selection of vinyl record sellers – so it will help you bring your album in front of a large audience. Send delivery costs to customers and incur a 20-cent listing fee with 6.75 % sale and payment processing fees when the records are listed.
Okay, this one uses a comparative different approach than then rest. It’s not a site, but an app that lets you show your selling information to the record owners, customers, and sellers group. It’s safe to list, but you’ll pay an 8 percent sales commission plus your regular PayPal fees.
You can sell your records directly to your collectors via eBay. All you need to do is set a purchasing price; or, for more valuable records, use the auction-style. However, eBay requires a 10% charge, but that may be offset by competitive sales in the auction that push up rates. Which indirectly means, you can make your customer to pay for shipping. Another you may need to note is all the transactions are carried out via PayPal before you ship your records to the potential buyers.
Finally, after all of this, if by any chance, you end up knowing that you don’t have the perfect ‘Near Mint’ – don’t lose hope. Many vinyl enthusiasts prefer records that are cheap yet work perfectly fine – and that’s exactly what you are going to take advantage of and make incredible sales.
However, if your case is otherwise, then there is no harm in purchasing the “not-so-perfect” record, stay patient, and precisely choose the right one for yourself, even if that means buying a VG+, VG, or G record.
I hope this was guide fully helped you out. If you’re interested in my other educational articles related to vinyl and record player, check them out here! If you’re interested in buying a good and affordable record player check out my affordable top list.