LPs and; 45s
Still Sealed (SS):
Record's never been opened.
Near Mint (NM):
A nearly perfect record. There may be one or two small inaudible defects. The record should show no obvious signs of wear. A 45 RPM or EP sleeve should have no more than the most minor defects, such as almost invisible ring wear or other sights of slight handling. An LP jacket should have no creases, folds, seam splits or any other noticeable similar defect. No cut-out holes, either.
Near Mint Minus (NM-):
A record that should play mint but has a few slight visible marks. The album will have as much luster as an NM, there just may be some scuffs from the sleeve or very light scratches that shouldn't be audible. An NM- album cover subjectively fits somewhere in between VG+ and NM.
Very Good Plus (VG+):
A Very Good Plus record will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it. Record surfaces may show some slight signs of wear and may have slight scuffs or very light scratches that don't affect one's listening experience. Slight warps that do not affect the sound are OK. The label may have some ring wear or discoloration, but it should be barely noticeable. The center hole will not have been misshapen by repeated play. Picture sleeves and LP inner sleeves will have some slight wear, lightly turned-up corners, or a slight seam-split. An LP jacket may have slight signs of wear also and may be marred by a cut-out hole, indentation or corner indicating it was taken out of print and sold at a discount.
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 upon playing, especially in soft passages and during a song's intro and fade, but will not overpower the music otherwise. Groove wear will start to be noticeable, as will light scratches (deep enough to feel with a fingernail) that will affect the sound. Labels may be marred by writing, or have tape or stickers (or their residue) attached. The same will be true of picture sleeves or LP covers. However, it will not have all of these problems at the same time, just two or three of them.
Good (G), Good Plus (G+):
Good does not mean Bad! A record in Good or Good Plus condition can be put onto a turntable and will play though without skipping. But may have significant surface noise and scratches and visible groove wear. A jacket or sleeve may have seam/s splits, especially at the bottom or on the spine. Tape, writing, ring wear or other defects will start to overwhelm the subject.
Poor (P), Fair (F):
The record is cracked, badly warped, and won't play through without skipping or repeating. The picture sleeve is water damaged, split on all three seams and heavily marred by wear and writing. The LP jacket barely keeps the LP inside it. Inner sleeves are fully seam split, crinkled, and written upon.
N-: Like new
E+: A choice copy with virtually no wear
E: Excellent with only minimal traces of use and handling
E-: Very nice with slight groove wear, some light marks
V+: Well played but very nice, with some groove wear
V: Worn, but listenable. Considerable surface noise will be evident
V-: Very worn, but you can still make out the music
P: Beat, maybe unplayable
If two grades are listed, they are for side 1(A) and 2(B) respectively.
Brass Plug (BP): Small brass plug in cover to indicate cut-out
CC: Cut corner, slice of cover is missing to indicate cut-out
COH: Cut-out-hole, small hole in cover
DNAP: Does not affect play
In Shrink (IS): In original shrinkwrap (but not sealed)
In Loose Bag (ILB): In original loose bag (predates shrinkwrap)
NOC: Name on cover
NOBC: Name on back cover
NOFC: Name on front cover
NOL: Name on label
RE: Reissue, not the first pressing
RW: Ringwear (wear on cover resembling the shape of the record)
SM: Sawmark, small cut in cover to indicate cut-out
SOC: Sticker on cover
SOBC: sticker on back cover
SOFC: sticker on front cover
SOL: sticker on label
SS: seam split
TOC: tape on cover
TOBC: tape on back cover
TOFC: tape on front cover
TOL: tape on label
WOC: writing on cover
WOBC: writing on back cover
WOFC: writing on front cover
WOL: writing on label