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A guide on how to grade and estimate your vinyl records...

Before actually starting to put your records for sale, these are a few questions to ask yourself and some tips to make this adventure a success.

Maybe you possess a trunk filled with old records in some hidden corner of your attic, or maybe you've inherited a collection and you have decided to put them for sale.

No room for improvisation! First, a couple of questions to ask yourself:

Do you know how to

Once you have read our answers to these 3 most important issues, we will show you how to put your records for sale. Maybe you have the record that will bring back good memories to a music lover, or the record that a connoisseur is looking for to complete his collection...

How to identify a vinyl record

Format :

 
Format
Diametre in cm
Diametre in inches
Revolution/minute
Duration

Format : 

LP

Diametre in cm : 

30 cm

Diametre in inches : 

12''

Revolution/minute : 

33 1/3

Duration : 

40 to 60 minutes Long Play (LP)

Format : 

12inch

Diametre in cm : 

30 cm

Diametre in inches : 

10''

Revolution/minute : 

45

Duration : 

Maxi Single and Extended play (EP)

Format : 

10inch

Diametre in cm : 

25 cm
10''

Revolution/minute : 

33

Duration : 

10inch

Format : 

10inch

Diametre in cm : 

25 cm

Diametre in inches : 

10''

Revolution/minute : 

45

Duration : 

Extended Play (EP)

Format : 

7inch SP

Diametre in cm : 

18 cm

Diametre in inches : 

7''

Revolution/minute : 

45

Duration : 

Single (SP)

Format : 

7inch EP

Diametre in cm : 

18 cm

Diametre in inches : 

7''

Revolution/minute : 

45

Duration : 

Extended play (EP)

Format : 

78 RPM

Diametre in cm : 

25 / 30

Diametre in inches : 

10'' / 12 ''

Revolution/minute : 

78

Duration : 

3 or 5 minutes per side
 
 

Pressing number, year and country, Label

This information is displayed on the record and/or on the cover.

Original or Reissue?

Even if it seems obvious, let's say it again, ''original'' record means ''first issue''.

The information isn't always clearly stated on the record. You'll have to make research (on the internet for instance) on the year it was pressed, and which label it was first pressed by.

Some particular vinyl records

The value of your record might increase if you are lucky enough to possess.

A Test Pressing: Usually goes with Test Pressing (or TP) written on the label with remains white. Test Pressings are pressed in very small quantities to evaluate the sound quality of the record before it is pressed in mass.

A Bootleg: It is a recording of a performance that was not officially released by the artist. Bootleg recordings are very sought after by collectors.

A record cover with an autograph: If the autograph is genuine, the value of the record can go up.

An uncharacteristic Pressing (from Corea, Japan, Venezuela, Congo...) : It might be worthier than its European or American equivalent.

A Promotional copy : It is a recording that has been distributed for free to radios, DJs and journalists, before the release of the commercial pressings, with a view to increase the interest of the public and the popularity of the album. Promotional copies usually state ''For promotional use only. Sale is prohibited''. They are also very sought after by collectors.

How to grade a vinyl record

The value of your record is closely linked to its condition. Even a rare record will not cost a lot if its condition is poor. Grading a record isn’t an easy game but experience and time are the best teachers.
The standards used by most collectors and record dealers are listed in the Goldmine Grading Guide (USA) or the Record Collector Magazine (United Kingdom).
A double grading (eg: EX / VG+) states the cover condition and the record condition. (See our page on records conditions.)

Please note : This double grading is used for a quick review of the record and cover condition but it is always interesting to add specific information related to the record (wear signs, writing on the cover...) and it is important to complete your description with high quality photos. (see our paragraph some advice on photos.)

To grade your viny as best as possible, you must distinguish its visual condition and its playing condition.

Play grading:

Listen to the sound of the record, the entire record (!), very carefully. Make a note of each scratch, and other defects you may hear on both sides.

Visual grading:

Put the record on a turntable to check that it is not warped, even slightly. Changes in temperature can slightly damage a record, resulting in bubbles that could affect the listening. Look into your vinyl record carefully under the day light or under a halogen, close to the record.

 

Some details to remember:

Some collectors can have a higher interest in the cover than in the vinyl record itself, for instance if they want to replace the ancient cover of one of their records.
At the time you list a vinyl record, it is recommended that you put one or more pictures of high quality, to let buyers see the visual condition. (see our paragraph some advice on photos.)

LPs printed in Japan have specific covers including an ''obi'' (see picture) that can make the value of the record go up if it remained in a perfect condition. They sometimes include a booklet with additional information.

Please note : If your records need a good cleaning: see our paragraph about ''how to clean your vinyl records... without damaging them''

How to price and value your vinyl record

Like we said before, the first steps before pricing a vinyl record are its precise identification and condition.
Now, how will you find out if your record stands out?
Just like any other collector's item, the value of a record is determined by rarity. Several other factors will also make its price vary: the artist’s fame, the musical genre, the general interest on the record market...

There is no exact rule, but generally speaking, a record that was pressed at millions copies will never cost a lot...

  • Compare prices from different shops on CDandLP by using the link ''compare''.
  • Take a look at other marketplaces specialized in records.
  • Check on the site popsike.com (Ebay bidding histories). You will learn about the evolution of the record’s value over time and it will give you an idea of the general interest for the record on the market.
  • Ask your local record dealers, they may give you good pieces of advice.

Always remember to compare similar products (check the year, the country of pressing, etc...). For example (source JukeBox Magazine):

  • M (Mint) : 100% of the value
  • EX (Excellent) : 90% of the value
  • VG (very Good) : 70% of the value
  • G (Good) : 50% of the value
  • F (Fair) : 30% of the value
  • P (Poor) : 15% of the value
  • B (bad) : 5% of the value

Important : Keep in mind that it is mostly an investigation work that becomes easier with time and experience. Your music knowledge will improve along the process and you’ll have fun while investigating.

How to clean your records and store them properly

How to clean your records (without damaging them!):

  • Regular cleaning => Clean your record with a carbon fibre brush before and after play. The carbon bristles will also help disperse any static charge that would cause dust particles to stick to your record.
  • Removing a stain => Use distilled and de-ionized water and a clean lint-free cloth. Always rub gently, clean evenly and never use your nails. If you have a lot of records to clean, cleaning kits are also available in record stores or from the internet.

Please note that for 78's: you will avoid using rubbing alcohol, it will damage them.

Storing your records:

  • Keep your vinyl records in a cool dry place. Avoid dusty attics and humid basements. Don’t store them next to a fireplace, a radiator, a sunny window.
  • Stack them vertically, not too tight and never lay them flat. The weight would make dirt become encrusted and records could warp over time.
  • Manipulate your vinyl records with clean and dry hands, avoid touching the playing surface. Use both hands.
  • Clean your records with a carbon fibre brush after play to remove all dust residues and put the records back in their covers straight away.
  • Renew the inside sleeves from time to time, old ones are dusty and mould can appear.

How to put a vinyl record for sale with CDandLP

Now that you know how to identify, grade and evaluate the price of your records, you are ready to put your vinyl records for sale...

Use the ''sell'' button to list quickly and for FREE.

See our seller's page and learn more about how our marketplace works.

Find out our 10 tips to be a successful seller:

  • The rarer, the better: list items unlikely to be displayed too often or list items with a better price-quality ratio.
  • Take a look at [[1:buyers' wish lists]].
  • Choose the right price. We help you by suggesting a price and providing a price comparator. Update your prices regularly. Resist the temptation to increase your prices.
  • Make your shop appealing: introduce yourself and your passion, showcase your real treasures.
  • Update your inventory on a regular basis especially if you sell on other platforms.
  • Add new items as often as possible: we automatically inform your following customers.
  • Give as much information as you can about your items: label, pressing, tracklisting... and provide accurate grading
  • Take item photos showing details. (see our paragraph some advice on photos.)
  • Share with your buyers: answer their questions with courtesy. Earn their loyalty. Offer them coupons.
  • Regarding shipping: offer several shipping methods and be generous for shipping fees. (offer free shipping for hefty orders) Clean your records (see our paragraph about record cleaning) and pack carefully. (see our paragraph about packing)

How to take pictures:

Pictures are an excellent way to promote your items.
While browsing your shop on line, customers will not be able to touch the records, nor read the information on the back of covers, like they would in a regular store or in a flee market.
Therefore, photos are the best way to convince your potential buyers.

  • Avoid mobile phones to take your pictures: resolution is too low ; details are important, they must be displayed.
  • Use a camera and choose an average resolution. You will get photos of an excellent quality.

Pack in a professional way:

Because the seller is responsible for his item till the buyer receives it, make sure you pack your discs and musical items as carefully as you can.
We recommend that you use professional record mailers rather than homemade packaging... Sizes and weights will be accurate and you will avoid exceeding the weights calculated by our computer system.

Important : When shipping a second hand record (non sealed): ALWAYS remove the record from the outside cover, to avoid seam-splits during transit; ALWAYS make sure that the record is in a protection sleeve; Write ''DO NOT BEND'' on your package.

Eco-friendly tip : Recycling works fine, as long as mailers are still in good condition!