If you have a very large collection of vinyl records, having your records appraised by a reputable dealer may be a good idea for you to do. In most cases however, you can get a general idea of the value of your collection by some simple guidelines:
How the records are graded depend on their rarity as well as their demand. Both are important. You definitely can obtain more money for those that are near mint condition which is better than those in very good condition.
The bottom line is though most records pre-1970′s are usually not in Mint condition. Collectors are thrilled, understandably when they happen upon one of those. They’ll pay top dollar in a heartbeat.
Always hold your record under a high wattage light to determine the grade. Below are the different grade categories:
- MINT (M) Totally in perfect condition! Important: Two people must agree on its perfection.
- NEAR MINT (NM OR M-) Do not have any defects you can see with the naked eye. They could have been played before, preferably on a high quality turntable. Their covers must be absolutely spotless without any creases, ring wear or seam splits.
- VERY GOOD PLUS (VG ) or EXCELLENT (E) May be somewhat worn such as having light scuffs or very very light scratches which wouldn’t affect the listening quality, however. Very slight warps are acceptable, but only if they do not affect the sound quality. Only very little wear of the covers is acceptable.
- Very Good (VG) Have more flaws that are visible. The original gloss is gone. Groove wear is quite noticeable along with light scratches. Surface noise can be heard usually when played. The covers usually show signs of handling along with creases and seam splitting.
- Good (G), Good Plus (G ) or Very Good Minus (VG-) The record does not skip but it may have some noise and groove wear issues. The label itself may be worn. The cover may have ring wear and seam splits that is easy to see.
- POOR (P) and Fair (F) These usually end up in the trash. Most are probably cracked and warped. They skip when played. Covers are usually damaged. They can be worth some money usually only if they are extremely rare.
Best ones of all are those albums that are sealed which are worth the most.
Here are a few suggestions to help preserve the value of your vinyl records:
- store in a vertical standing position on a strong shelf
- Don’t stack them horizontally, the weight can damage the discs and the covers
- Don’t let them lean as it will cause warping, be sure to pack them close together
- store in a moisture free area
- store in an area they will not be exposed to heat
- Don’t let your vinyl records be exposed to sunlight, this can cause warping
- Don’t expose your vinyl records to cigarette smoke, this too can cause warping
- handle your records by only touching the edge or center where the record label is
- Avoid touching the grooves
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