Skip to content

Condition Grading Our Vinyl Records & CDs

What do you mean by Mint condition and how can I tell what condition my item is?

This is one of the most controversial areas of collecting second-hand vinyl records, CDs & Cassettes with differing opinion as to what constitutes Mint condition. We use the generally accepted Record Collector Magazine Guide to condition reproduced below for both buying and selling. 


Vinyl Records (7", 12" LPs etc)

Mint The record itself is in brand new condition with no surface marks or deterioration in sound quality. The cover and any extra items such as the lyric sheet, booklet or poster are in perfect condition. Records advertised as Sealed or Unplayed should be Mint.
Excellent The record shows some signs of having been played, but there is very little lessening in sound quality. The cover and packaging might have slight wear and/or creasing.
Very Good The record has obviously been played many times, but displays no major deterioration in sound quality, despite noticeable surface marks and the occasional light scratch. Normal wear and tear on the cover or extra items, without any major defects, is acceptable.
Good The record has been played so much that the sound quality has noticeably deteriorated, perhaps with some distortion and mild scratches. The cover and contents suffer from folding, scuffing of edges, spine splits, discoloration, etc.
Fair The record is still just playable but has not been cared for properly and displays considerable surface noise; it may even jump. The cover and contents will be torn, stained and/or defaced.
Poor The record will not play properly due to scratches, bad surface noise, etc. The cover and contents will be badly damaged or partly missing.
Bad The record is unplayable or might even be broken, and is only of use as a collection-filler.

CDs & Cassettes (CD singles, CD albums, Cassette Singles & Cassette Albums)

As a general rule, CDs and cassettes either play perfectly - in which case they are in Mint condition - or they don't, in which case their value is minimal. Cassette tape is liable to deteriorate with age, even if it remains unplayed.

Cassette and CD inlays and booklets are graded in the same way as record covers and sleeves. In general, the plastic containers for cassettes and CDs can easily be replaced if they are broken or scratched, but card covers and digipaks are subject to the same wear as record sleeves.

Remember: When you make a purchase from every item listed is in excellent to mint condition unless otherwise stated and every order is covered by our 100% satisfaction guarantee!

All text copyright Parker Publishing