When Grading Vinyl Records, Good Does Not Mean Good

Selling vinyl records on eBay can be difficult and confusing, especially for the beginner. If you have a record that is in good condition, with just a few light scratches or scuffs that do not seriously affect the sound quality, you describe it as such in your eBay item description, right?

Wrong. This is the first and most important lesson in learning to grade vinyl records – good does not mean good. In fact, when grading a record, good can mean bad, or less than desirable. So before putting those vinyl albums for sale on eBay (or anywhere else), go over these terms and descriptions. Hopefully, it will save you some money.

Near Mint

A Mint record is one that has never been played. Near Mint is as close to brand new as you can get. The record may have been played once or twice, but there are no visible signs of play – no marks on the vinyl or label.

Excellent / VG+

Some buyers and sellers use only VG+, but I like to use Excellent as a grade between VG+ and NM. Excellent is almost Near Mint, but there are slight signs of wear – minor spindle marks, for instance. A VG+ record may have a slight warp or a few light scratches or scuffs, but nothing deep that will affect the sound quality. Most records which draw big money are Excellent or better, and many serious buyers will only purchase records graded VG+ and above.


A Very Good rated record is, to most buyers and sellers, an average record. It will not have the factory gloss and may have several light scratches or scuffs, groove wear, and scratches deep enough to feel with a fingertip. Scratches can be heard but should not overpower the music. VG records can have writing or tape on the label.


A good record will not skip but can have significant groove wear, scratches, and surface noise. Good records have very worn labels with heavy writing and stickers. It is easy to see why a record rated Good is often less than desirable. Good records are usually kept only until a better copy can be found.

Poor / Fair

Poor or Fair records may be cracked and severely warped. They will skip when played. These records should be thrown out.

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