Yellow Racket assigns condition based on the Goldmine Standard for grading records.
New (N) (Not typically included in the Goldmine Standard)
New records are purchased directly from the label, distributor, or registered wholesaler. Records are still sealed. Jackets may have slight shelf wear, but media has never been played.
Still sealed. Never played. No observable flaws. Items have been purchased secondhand.
Near Mint (NM)
A Near Mint (NM) record will play perfectly, with no imperfections during playback. The record should show no obvious signs of wear.
The cover (and any additional packaging) has no creases, folds, seam splits, cut-out holes, or other noticeable defects.
Very Good Plus (VG+)
A Very Good Plus (VG+) record will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
Defects should be more of a cosmetic nature, not affecting the actual playback as a whole. Record surfaces may show some signs of wear and may have slight scuffs or very light scratches.
The disc and LP cover may have slight signs of wear, and may be gently marred by spindle marks, paper scuffs, wrinkled corners, etc.
Very Good (VG)
Many of the defects found in a VG+ record will be more pronounced in a VG disc. Surface noise will be evident, but will not overpower the music. Disc may have light scratches (deep enough to feel with a fingernail) that will affect the sound.
Labels, jackets, and inserts will have visible cosmetic flaws such as wrinkles, cut-outs, slight splitting, etc. However, it will usually have less than a dozen minor flaws.
A record in Good condition can be played through without skipping. But it will have significant surface noise, scratches, and visible groove wear. A cover or sleeve will have seam splits, especially at the bottom or on the spine. Tape, writing, ring wear, or other defects will be present.
While the record will be playable without skipping, noticeable surface noise and "ticks" will almost certainly accompany the playback.
Poor (P), Fair (F)
The record may be cracked, badly warped, or won't play through without skipping or repeating. The picture sleeve may be water damaged, split, or heavily marred by wear and writing.