Goldmine® Grading Guide is now the most widely used guide. We rely on Goldmine standards as a guide.
Circuit Records grades conservatively to avoid disappointing customers. We grade media using the Goldmine standards as a guide. Please reach out to us if you have any questions prior to your purchase - thank you!
Following are the definitions*
These are absolutely perfect in every way. Often rumored but rarely seen, Mint should never be used as a grade unless multiple people agree that the record or sleeve truly is in Mint condition.
Important to Know: Circuit Records will not grade any media as Mint.
NEAR MINT (NM OR M-)
A good description of a NM record is “it looks like it just came from a retail store and it was opened for the first time.” Many dealers won’t use a grade higher than this, implying that no record or sleeve is ever truly perfect.
NM records are shiny, with no visible defects. Writing, stickers or other markings cannot appear on the label. NM records don’t have to be “never played”; a record used on an excellent turntable can remain NM after many plays if the disc is properly cared for.
NOTE: These are high standards, and they are not on a sliding scale. A record or sleeve from the 1950s must meet the same standards as one from the 1990s or 2000s to be Near Mint. This is why collectors pay higher prices, even for more common items.
VERY GOOD PLUS (VG+)* or EXCELLENT (E)*
VG+ or Excellent records may show some slight signs of wear, including light scuffs or very light scratches. Slight warps that do not affect the sound are OK. There is no writing on the label of the record, however, there will be more obvious signs of wear. VG+ or Excellent cover/jacket might have some very minor seam wear or a split (less than one inch long) at the bottom, the most vulnerable location.
VERY GOOD (VG)*
VG, when played, a VG record has some scratches that may be audible, noticeable in soft passages, but the noise won’t overpower the music otherwise. Minor writing, tape or a sticker can detract from the label. They remain a fine listening experience, just not the same as if it were in better shape.
VG sleeves will have many signs on human handling. rough along the edges of the sleeve that may appear on all sides. There may be writing on the sleeve or the label
IMPORTANT TO KNOW
*VERY GOOD PLUS (VG+ or Excellent) sleeve/cover/jacket might have some very minor seam wear or a split (less than one inch long) at the bottom, the most vulnerable location.
*VERY GOOD (VG) has some scratches that may be audible, They are a fine listening experience, just not the same as if it were in better shape. VG sleeves will have many signs of human handling - rough along the edges of the sleeve that may appear on all sides. There may be writing on the sleeve or the label. The sleeve may have been torn.