About Our Grading System

Our standards are high at Stellar Records because we want to ensure your listening experience is out of this world. We grade our records so their condition is in line with what you expect out of a used record. 

MINT (M)
Mint records are flawless in every respect. These are extremely rare and should only be graded as such if multiple experts agree on their condition. Their value is usually negotiated between buyer and seller due to their rarity and condition.

NEAR MINT (NM OR M-)
A Near Mint record appears as if it was just opened from a retail store, nearly perfect. Many dealers do not grade higher than NM, suggesting true perfection is unattainable.

NM Records:
Shiny and free of visible defects.
No writing, stickers, or spindle marks on the label.
No major factory defects.
Plays without surface noise.
Can retain NM status even after being played if properly cared for.

NM Covers:
No creases, ring wear, or seam splits.
Note: High standards apply uniformly across all decades. Only 2-4% of records from the 1950s and 1960s meet these standards, explaining their high value.

VERY GOOD PLUS (VG+)
A VG+ record is almost Near Mint except for a few minor issues. Collectors, especially those who play their records, often find VG+ records satisfactory.

VG+ Records:
May have slight wear, light scuffs, or very light scratches that don't affect playback.
Slight warps that don't affect sound are acceptable.
Minor handling signs like center hole marks are okay as long as the hole isn't misshapen.
Minor ring wear or discoloration is barely noticeable.

VG+ Covers:
May show minor wear, a small seam split (less than an inch), or minor defacing like cut-out markings.
Covers with cut-out markings are never Near Mint.


VERY GOOD (VG)
VG records have more noticeable flaws than VG+, but they can be a bargain, selling for no more than 25% of a NM record's price.

VG Records:
Show obvious wear and lack original gloss.
Groove wear and light scratches are visible.
Surface noise and some audible scratches during softer parts and transitions.
Minor writing, tape, or stickers on the label.

VG Covers:
Show obvious handling signs, ring wear, and possibly more creases.
Seam splitting may be apparent on all three sides.
Writing or price stamps are common.
GOOD (G), GOOD PLUS (G+), or VERY GOOD MINUS (VG–)
These records typically sell for 10-15% of the Near Mint value, if at all.

G, G+, VG– Records:
Play without skipping but have significant surface noise and groove wear.
Labels show heavy wear, significant ring wear, heavy writing, or damage from tape/sticker removal.

G, G+, VG– Covers:
Have heavy ring wear, obvious seam splits, and extensive writing or markings, such as large radio station letters.

POOR (P) and FAIR (F)
These records are generally worthless, often ending up in the trash. They are heavily damaged, cracked, warped, or skip during playback.

P and F Records:
Cracked, impossibly warped, or skip/repeat during play.
Covers are heavily damaged.
These grades are primarily useful for placeholders until a better condition record can be found.

If you have any questions about our grading system, or want to know more about a record you are interested in purchasing please don't hesitate to reach out to us via our contact form.