GRADING, ABBREVIATIONS, RETURNS POLICY:
Please read this information thoroughly before placing an order.
GRADING is cover / disc, visual, and strict. Please note that I do not have the time to play-test most LP's. For the most part, items listed on this site are USED RECORDS (i.e., not new, not CD's.) If you are only content with records that "play mint" I would suggest only buying items graded SS, NEW, or MINT. Many records will have at least some slight surface noise even in new or mint condition. Please keep in mind that the records I sell are generally NOT "audiophile" pressings and in many cases have seen 30+ years of use. My return rate has been well under 1% for years so you can be confident in the gradings!
The grades are defined as follows:
SS (still sealed): Still sealed in its original shrinkwrap. Please note that many old cutout LP's are "reseals"; this was generally done by cutout distributors as a means of removing the original retail pricetags. IMPORTANT: sealed LP's CANNOT be returned once opened. I can unseal any SS LP here for inspection before shipment, if you wish to have a return privilege.
M (mint): Only items appearing to be brand new or absolutely perfect will be graded 'M'; generally I use 'M-' as the best possible grade.
M- (mint minus): M- discs appear to be nearly flawless.
EX (excellent): 'EX' discs appear to be a bit less than M-, or a M- record with one scratch.
VG++: VG++ LPs appear to be definitely used, but well cared for, and audible flaws should be minor.
VG+(+): 'VG+(+)' LP's are between VG++ and VG+. This is the point where you'll start wishing it was a little bit better, but many of these LP's still play great. IME this grade is more or less equal to the European "EX" grade.
VG+: 'VG+' LP's appear well-used but not beat, and should still have a lot of life left in them.
VG: 'VG' LP's appear somewhat beat but should still play listenably well, i.e. the LP is a 'player' copy which you may want to upgrade later. Anything that looks really beat or trashed will be described as such and priced accordingly.
IMPORTANT: Please note that this system of grading allows for much more accurate gradings than the old "Osborne / Hamilton" 1970s grading scale (i.e. M, VG, G, F, P grading, which is often erroneously referred to as "Goldmine grading"- read a current issue of Goldmine to see what I mean) but my grading also means a "VG+" LP is 5 grades below mint, which is not what it used to mean in the '70s, for all you old-timers out there!
Covers: Assume the cover grades more or less approximate the disc grades in terms of overall wear; specific cover flaws are noted individually, see below. If you are the sort of collector who only collects absolutely "MINT" covers, you should naturally only buy items with the cover graded "MINT".
'PH' is a promo hole (Capitol etc lp's). 'FREE' is a Capitol promo designation meaning the word 'free' is drilled into cover corner. 'cc'= cut corner. 'h' = a cutout mark of some sort (usually, a drillhole or punch hole). 'sr' = slight ringwear. rw/'cw' = moderate cover wear. 'rscl' = radio station call letters written on jacket and / or label(s). 'soc / sol' = sticker on cover or label(s). 'psf' / 'psb' = promo sticker(s), stamp(s) etc. on front / back cover respectively. 'ts' =cleartaped seam(s), neatly / unobtrusively taped unless noted. Other abbreviations are "standard" ones as used in Goldmine, etc. If you don't understand an abbreviation, just ask and I will be happy to explain it to you.
1) Each item is guaranteed to be in the (visually graded) condition stated in each item's description.
2) If you are dissatisfied with the grade of an item, let me know within two weeks of receipt that you are returning it for a refund or credit (less postage). A refund will be issued on the day the returned item is received here. Items are to be returned promptly at the buyer's expense, and the delivery of the returned item is the buyer's sole responsibility. Buyer may wish to obtain insurance or a tracking number for any returns- I am not responsible for returned items that are lost in the mails on the way back to me.
3) Postage is not refundable. Your postage fees are charged for the service of packing & mailing, which is completed in full at the time you receive your order.
4) Partial refunds or adjustments (for minor problems that the buyer feels do not necessitate a return) may be given but this will only be done at my discretion; buyer will always have the option of a full refund of the retail price of the returned item (less postage).
5) I will not under any circumstances accept returns for reasons of "musical content" (no way for me to know beforehand what sort of music you will enjoy, sorry to say).
6) As stated above in my grading policy, SEALED records can only be returned if they are STILL SEALED.
7) IMPORTANT: Returns of credit card purchases will be refunded onto the buyer's card on the date the returned merchandise arrives here, and a receipt for the credit will be mailed promptly; other refunds can be paid out ONLY via check; I can also give the buyer merchandise credit toward other items if requested.
8) RETURN POLICY FOR 'traded in' items: For purchases made IN PART OR IN FULL via TRADING records to me: any items you return for a grading issue can be a) exchanged for other item(s) from my site of equal value to the returned items OR b) I can return to you your trade item(s) of equal value to the item(s) returned to me. You MUST return any disputed items back to me WITHIN ONE WEEK OF RECEIVING THEM. After one week all return privileges EXPIRE PERMANENTLY. NO CASH REFUNDS under any circumstances for any transaction made via trade- even for "part-trade, part-cash" transactions.
9) Further to #8 above: any individual who decides to deal with problems in a trade transaction by a) attempting to renegotiate the value of any trade items after the fact AND/OR b) 'adjusting' the prices of trade items by refusing to send any or all promised trade items instead of returning any disputed items for credit, WILL BE PERMANENTLY BANNED FROM MY WEBSITE and will not be allowed to purchase any items from me in the future.
10) By placing an order from this website, buyer certifies full agreement with the terms and policies stated above.
PLAYING OLD RECORDS ON MODERN GEAR: I audition many (not all) of the used LP's listed here before grading. I generally clean most (not all) used LP's I sell on a $2000+ LORICRAFT record cleaning machine. Those LP's I have time to audition are played on a fairly high-end rig- usually, a Technics SP-10MKII with an Ikeda or Jelco tonearm, through an AcousTech or PS Audio phono stage. I use MANY different phono cartridges to play records- everything from pricey low-output moving coils such as an Ortofon SPU-GME and an Ortofon Kontrapunkt A, to a Denon DL-103R, to vintage DJ/broadcast type designs such as a Stanton 400.V3 (the modern-day reissue of the classic 1964 Pickering NP/AC) and a Shure M3D and M44, to esoterica like a Decca London Gold and (for mono records and 78s) a vintage GE VRII. In general, older used records will sound quieter with a low-compliance cartridge with conical or elliptical stylus profile (such as the Ortofon SPU, Shure M44 or Stanton 400.V3 mentioned above). Radical stylus profiles are generally best used with modern audiophile grade reissue pressings that were never played on vintage gear. Playing old used LP's (and sometimes even new-condition vintage pressings) with modern line-contact styli will result in enhanced high-frequency response, but for most old LP's this just reveals more groove wear and pressing flaws. Keep in mind that many 1960s rock LP's did not have much audible HF content above around 12kHz to begin with. However, the more radical stylus profiles are less likely to pop, stick or skip on actual scratches (the kind you can feel with a fingertip) as the styli are physically much smaller. Experiment with different phono carts for yourself and find out...
Pic above shows Technics SP-10MKII in custom plinth. Tonearm at left is a Jelco SA-750L 12" arm with Shure M3D mounted. Tonearm at right is an Ikeda IT-345CR 10" arm with Denon DL-103R mounted. Both arms feature SME type removable headshells for quick cartridge changes.
Please remember that vinyl records are not CD's! Please note that different turntable / tonearm / cartridge combinations may produce very different auditory results from the same record (see "Playing Records..." paragraph above). Those items that are auditioned prior to grading have been played on a fairly high-end system for best fidelity. I will accept returns for records that do not play "up to par" for you but please be aware that when grading records, I can only evaluate them according to how they sound on my playback system. Upon return of such records I will audition them here in order to reevaluate the grading before relisting the items. I will also report back to you how the items in question play on my system. Please note, again, that the records on offer here are generally not "audiophile" pressings; most are secondhand mass-market products manufactured (often as cheaply as possible) 30+ years ago.
For what it's worth, if you are using a mass-market turntable or cartridge you bought back in the 1970s or 1980s, you might want to think about upgrading to a modern turntable and/or a new phono cartridge (yes, they are still making dozens of different models of both products at a wide variety of prices). Your records will have greatly improved fidelity AND drastically reduced surface noise on modern gear (or vintage high-end gear that's been properly kept up, for that matter). I don't sell hi-fi gear but I can recommend many other websites that do to anybody who expresses an interest.
One final minor note that won't apply to almost everybody: I tend to look askance at returns that are supposedly due to "auditory problems" on seemingly correctly visually graded items which subsequently also play exactly as graded when played on my equipment; this situation will tend to lead me to suspect you are burning CDR's or ripping the LP's to hard drive etc, then returning the LP's under false pretenses, and will tend to affect whether I will sell to you in the future. (For instance, if this happens, I won't sell to you again). Not a common situation but I think it's already happened at least once.