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How to Become a Record Appraiser and Quickly Judge How Much a Piece of Vinyl is Worth

How to Become a Record Appraiser and Quickly Judge How Much a Piece of Vinyl is Worth

As an advanced stage among vinyl record lovers, becoming a vinyl record appraiser is a desirable goal. Here are some steps to help you become a great vinyl record appraiser.

Research Vinyl Records:

Understanding the history of vinyl records, the process of making them, the different record types and their characteristics is the first step to becoming a connoisseur. Learn more about vinyl records by reading books, researching sources, visiting exhibits, and meeting other connoisseurs. Gain knowledge on record labels, jacket design, record weights and dimensions, and more.

Build a personal collection:

A good vinyl record connoisseur needs to build his own record collection. Collection of recordings of all types, including works by different musical styles, periods and publishers. By owning and listening to a large number of recordings yourself, you will be able to develop a greater understanding of the differences and characteristics of the different recordings.

Develop Listening Skills:

Becoming an appraiser requires keen listening skills. Learn to identify the sonic characteristics of different recordings, such as pitch, timbre, noise, and mixing effects. Train your ear to tell the difference between original and reissue recordings, and the sound quality between recordings.

Research the market:

It is important to understand the trends and value changes in the vinyl record market. Keep an eye on record prices at auctions, second-hand markets, and online marketplaces. Learn about the value of rare, limited and special editions, and what factors affect the value of a record. This will help you more accurately assess the record's value when authenticating it.

Get involved in the community and network:

Connect with other vinyl enthusiasts and connoisseurs, and get involved in relevant communities and forums. Share your own experiences and opinions, and seek advice from more experienced appraisers. Attend music exhibitions, concerts and seminars to interact with professionals in the industry.

This issue introduces the description of the second-hand record in detail, hoping to help you get the right second-hand vinyl:(refer to the sheet)


(Combining these explanations to see the table will be clearer)

  1. Collection level VS listening level: both can be played perfectly, only the degree of damage to the appearance is different, and the collection level is often very subtle.
  2. Listening level VS others: the beginning of the core playback experience is affected, and the lower the level, the more serious it is.
  3. Matching and level dislocation of disc body and cover: In the actual market, the disc body and cover are often misaligned by 1-2 levels, such as the cover of NM disc VG+.
  4. The price depreciation rate combines personal experience and American Standard's description, does not consider cross-version and album release prices, and is only for the second-hand market.
  5. The application level, grading description, and use of scoring are all for the convenience of understanding, and only represent personal opinions.
  6. Regarding the grading of records: There are at least 3 sets of grading and valuation standards that are widely used in the world, initiated or established by the United States, Britain, and Japan.

application level

record rating (Trading Scenario, Non-US Standard)

rating description

use scoring

body condition

envelope conditions (including side marks/inner accessories, etc.)

price depreciation (under the same version)



brand new


brand new

Brand new unopened, no creases



only demolition


brand new

Allows for unpacking only, possibly side tearing; no creases/stains/frays/cracks/discoloration





There is no noise during playback, the disk body/label remains in the factory state, and there is no pressing defect *almost brand new

No creases/stains/wear/cracks/discoloration





There is no noise during playback, and there are much fewer defects on the body/label than the bottom, and there are usually no scratches *Only inferior in appearance to the previous level

The difference from the next level is only the number of defects, usually no stains, cracks can not be seen through repair


listening class




There is no noise during playback, the disk body is slightly worn/scratched/uneven, and the disk label is also slightly stained/displaced/discolored/worn *Does not affect listening

Minor creases/stains/wear/cracks/discoloration


using class




There are obvious noises when playing a smooth passage, and the defects of the disc body or disc label are more obvious than those of the previous level * Started affecting the core playback experience

Visible creases/stains/wear/cracks/discoloration and possibly mildew, writing or price tags





The problem of noise intensifies, and the non-smooth passages are also more obvious, there may be skipped stitches, there may be mildew spots on the disc body, and the disc label may also be damaged and moldy

Severe defects, a lot of stains/damages, creases upgraded to wrinkles, mildew spots and even possible water soaking, large side labels and inner accessories may break


Scrap grade


defective product


It can still be played, but the sound is unbearable

what else you can see


Basically not sold separately



can't play normally

badly damaged or partially missing


Basically not sold separately

inferior product


can't play

can be thrown in the trash


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