I started collecting records in the 60's. Every kid remembers when the Beatles came on the Ed Sullivan Show. During the 60’s I amassed a nice collection of Beatles, Beach Boys and Rolling Stones LP’s and singles along with other artists that I still have today. Like almost every other kid I threw away the sleeves of some of the 45’s. I have been replacing sleeves as I can find them. I have a nice collection of 45's with picture sleeves started. In the 80's I switched to CD's as they were the obvious future. Virtually replaced all of my albums with CD’s. Now going full circle I'm back to collecting LP's and 45's

Goldmine grading standards:

MINT (M)
These are perfect in every way. Often rumored but rarely seen, Mint should never be used as a grade unless more than one person agrees that the record or sleeve truly is in this condition. There is no set percentage of the Near Mint value these can bring; it is best negotiated between buyer and seller.

NEAR MINT (NM OR M-)
A good description of a NM record is “it looks like it just came from a retail store and it was opened for the first time.” In other words, it is nearly perfect. Many dealers will not use a grade higher than this, implying (perhaps correctly) that no record or sleeve is ever absolutely perfect.
NM records are shiny, with no visible defects. Writing, stickers, or other markings cannot appear on the label, nor can any “spindle marks” from someone trying to blindly put the record on the turntable. Major factory defects also must be absent; a record and label obviously pressed off center is not Near Mint. If played, it will do so with no surface noise. (NM records don’t have to be “never played”; a record used on an excellent turntable can remain NM after many plays if the disc is properly cared for.)
NM covers are free of creases, ring wear and seam splits of any kind.
NOTE: These are high standards, and they are not on a sliding scale. A record or sleeve from the 1950s must meet the same standards as one from the 1990s or 2000s to be Near Mint! It is estimated that no more than 2 to 4 percent of all records remaining from the 1950s and 1960s are truly Near Mint. Therefore, they fetch such high prices, even for more common items.
Don’t assume your records are Near Mint. They must meet these standards to qualify!

VERY GOOD PLUS (VG+) or EXCELLENT (E)
A good description of a VG+ record is “except for a couple minor things, this would be Near Mint.” Most collectors, especially those who want to play their records, will be happy with a VG+ record, especially if it toward the high end of the grade (sometimes called VG++ or E+).
VG+ records may show some slight signs of wear, including light scuffs or very light scratches that do not affect the listening experience. Slight warps that do not affect the sound are OK. Minor signs of handling are OK, too, such as telltale marks around the center hole, but repeated playing has not misshapen the hole. There may be some noticeably light ring wear or discoloration, but it should be barely noticeable.
VG+ covers should have only minor wear. A VG+ cover might have some very minor seam wear or a split (less than one inch long) at the bottom, the most vulnerable location. Also, a VG+ cover may have some defacing, such as a cut-out marking. Covers with cut-out markings can never be considered Near Mint.

VERY GOOD (VG)
Many of the imperfections found on a VG+ record is more obvious on a VG record. That said, VG records — which usually sell for no more than 25 percent of a NM record — are among the biggest bargains in record collecting, because most of the “big money” goes for more perfect copies. For many listeners, a VG record or sleeve will be worth the money.VG records have more obvious flaws than their counterparts in better shape. They lack most of the original gloss found on factory-fresh records. Groove wear is evident on sight, as are light scratches deep enough to feel with a fingernail. When played, a VG record has surface noise, and some scratches may be audible, especially in soft passages and during a song’s intro and ending. But the noise will not overpower the music otherwise.
Minor writing, tape or a sticker can detract from the label. Many collectors who have jukeboxes will use VG records in them and not think twice. They remain a fine listening experience, just not the same as if it were in better shape.
VG covers will have many signs of human handling. Ring wear in the middle or along the edges of the cover where the edge of a record would reside, is obvious, though not overwhelming. Some more creases might be visible. Seam splitting will be more obvious; it may appear on all three sides, though it will not be obvious upon looking. Someone might have written or it or stamped a price tag on it, too.

GOOD(G),
GOOD PLUS (G+)
or VERY GOOD MINUS (VG–)
These records go for 10 to 15 percent of the Near Mint value, if you are lucky.
Good does not mean bad! The record still plays through without skipping, so it can serve as filler until something better comes along. But it has significant surface noise and groove wear, and the label is worn, with significant ring wear, heavy writing, or obvious damage caused by someone trying to remove tape or stickers and failing miserably. A Good to VG– cover has ring wear to the point of distraction, has seam splits obvious on sight and may have even heavier writing, such as, for example, huge radio station letters written across the front to deter theft.
If the item is common, it’s probably better to pass it up. But if you’ve been seeking it for a long time, get it cheap and look to upgrade.

POOR (P) and FAIR (F)
Poor (P) and Fair (F) records go for 0 to 5 percent of the Near Mint value, if they go at all. More likely, they end up going in the trash. Records are cracked, impossibly warped, or skip and/or repeat when an attempt is made to play them. Covers are so heavily damaged that you almost want to cry.
Only the most outrageously rare items ever sell for more than a few cents in this condition — again, if they sell at all.

SEALED ALBUMS:
Still-sealed albums can — and do — bring even higher prices than listed.
However, one must be careful when paying a premium for sealed LPs of any kind for several reasons:

1. It may have been re-sealed.
2. The record might not be in Near Mint condition depending how the record has been stored.
3. The record inside might not be the original pressing or the most desirable pressing.
4. Most bizarre of all, the wrong record might be inside.

IMPORTS
The Goldmine? Record Album Price Guide lists only those vinyl LPs manufactured in the United States or, in a few instances, manufactured in other countries, but specifically for release in the United States. Any record that fits the following criteria is an import, and you will not find it in the price guide:
? LPs on the Parlophone label by any artist, at least before 2000. Parlophone, best known as the Beatles’ British label, was not used as a label in the United States until very recently.
? LPs that have the letters “BIEM,” “GEMA” or “MAPL” on them.
? LPs that say anywhere on the label or cover, “Made in Canada,” “Made in the UK,” “Made in Germany,” etc.
Also unfortunately, there are few general rules about the value of an import as compared to an American edition.
Some import albums, especially well-made Japanese imports that still have their “obi strip,” can go for more than the U.S. counterpart. Others seem to attract little interest in the States.
One rule is just as true of imports as it is with U.S. records: Those discs that are originals in the best condition will sell for more than reissues and those in less than top-notch shape.

PROMOTINAL COPIES:
Basically, a promotional record is any copy of a record not meant for retail sale. Different labels identify these in different ways: The most common method on LPs is to use a white label instead of the regular-color label and/or to add words such as the following:
“Demonstration — Not for Sale”
“Audition Record”
“For Radio-TV Use Only”
“Promotional Copy”
Some labels, of course, used colors other than white; still others used the same labels as their stock copies, but added a promotional disclaimer to the label.
Most promotional albums have the same catalog number as the regular release, except for those differences.
Sometimes, regular stock copies have a “Demonstration — Not for Sale” or “Promo” rubber stamped on the cover; these are known as “designate promos” and are not of the same cachet as true promotional records. Treat these as stock copies that have been defaced. Exceptions are noted in the listings.
All of this is mentioned as a means of identification. As a rule, do not list promotional records separately.
There are exceptions:
Most promotional LPs sell for approximately the same as a stock copy of the same catalog number.
However, there are certain exceptions. These include promos in special numbering series:
Columbia albums with an “AS” or “CAS” prefix.
Warner Bros, albums with a “PRO” or “PRO-A-” prefix.
Capitol albums with a “PRO” or “SPRO” prefix.
Mercury albums with an “MK” prefix.
Promos that are somehow different than the released versions, either because of changes in the cover or changes in the music between the promo LP and the regular-stock LP.
Promos pressed on special high-quality vinyl. These were popular in the 1980s and can bring a premium above stock copies of the same titles.
Colored vinyl promos.

GRADES THAT DON'T EXIST:

M+
They are trying to say the record is better than MINT! No such animal. If you see this grade, avoid the record like the plague. Mint is the highest grade anything can ever be. And 99 out of 100 times the record won't even be mint! Man is not perfect! So how can a man-made product be better than perfect? Answer: Impossible.

NM-
Near Mint Minus. Just another way of trying to get top book value for a record that is less than NM.If a seller uses this grade, ask what it means (thoroughly)as opposed to the NM or M- grade. It's your dollars and if they are selling it as less than NM yet for top dollar, you may be out of luck trying to convince them that it was an over grade on their part. If a record is slightly less than NM, then use EX or VG++.

EX+
If you read the above the same rule holds true here. No such thing as EX+. It is just another confusing grade that does not have any defined level of agreement among collectors. People who use this grade don't want to lose money on their collectibles. By upping the grade, means upping the price. Just be fair. Use conservative grades. When you grade a record, put yourself in the shoes of the potential buyer. Would you want to get a record with this grade and discover some overlooked flaws? If you sell a record for big $$$ be prepared for criticism. People will examine the record with more than just a quick glance once they receive it. Over grading will only make you look bad. And too many unhappy customers mean very few repeats (or perhaps no customers in the long run).

VG+++
Come on, 2 plus marks are enough! No such animal!

G++
The grade is just a good selling point. Realistically though it does not exist. Use it seldom, if ever

Capitol pressing plant identifiers
ɑ = Allied
? = Frankford/Wayne
? = Santa Maria
Pressed by: MCA Pressing Plant, Pinckneyville ?-P-?
Pressed by: MCA Pressing Plant, Gloversville ?─G─?
Capitol Records-EMI Of Canada Limited (Target Logo)
Capitol Records Pressing Plant, Jacksonville 0
Capitol Records Pressing Plant, Scranton IAM in Triangle. OR An abstract anvil-type symbol is used in the runout, indicating (before 1963) the Scranton pressing plant.
Capitol Records Pressing Plant, Winchester -------?
Capitol Records Pressing Plant, Los Angeles ?
A drum with 2 drumsticks Mastered at: Artisan Sound Recorders.
Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Terre Haute = letter "T" etched or stamped into the run-outs. Many times it will be a "T 1", "T 2", etc. or written in the reverse, "1 T", "2 T", etc. In addition the center label may be identified with "CTH" , or "CT" suffix matrix code. (e.g. ST-A-702035CTH) and possibly a "CT
1. IAM in a triangle = Capitol's Scranton factory
2. * in the matrix = Capitol's Los Angeles factory
3. Miniscule-sized, machine stamped matrix numbers and an "I" somewhere = RCA Indianapolis. That "I" is HARD to spot, but the tiny matrix tells you it's an RCA.
4. Hand-etched or machine stamped matrix and a machine stamped "R" = RCA Rockaway
5. Hand-etched matrix, starting or ending with "G" = Decca Gloversville
6. Hand-etched matrix, ending with "P" = Decca Pickneyville.
E.g., 45-X-44444-F4P

? ? ?
A&M:
X = Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Pitman
Y or y = Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Terre Haute
Z = Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Santa Maria
W = Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Carrollton, GA
C = Monarch Record Mfg. Co. (pre-1985), Electrosound Los Angeles (1985-86)
B = Electrosound Group Midwest, Inc.
R = RCA Records Pressing Plant, Indianapolis

Decca:
(1) ? / ? = Gloversville
(2) ◆ = Pinckneyville
(3) ? = Richmond

MCA:
(1) ?-G-? = Gloversville
(2) ?-P-? = Pinckneyville

Atlantic:
PR = Presswell Records Mfg. Co., Ancora, NJ
LY = Shelley Products, Huntington Station, NY
SP = Specialty Records Corp., Olyphant, PA
MO = Monarch Record Mfg. Co., Los Angeles, CA
PL = Plastic Products, Inc., Memphis, TN
RI = PRC Recording Corp., Richmond, IN
AR = Allied Record Co., Inc., Los Angeles, CA
CT or CTH = Columbia, Terra Haute, IN
CP = Columbia (Pitman, NJ)
CS or CSM = Columbia (Santa Maria, CA)
MG = MGM Record Mfg. Division in Bloomfield, NJ

Additional Pressing Plant Information:
? flower and bird motifs to the right of AZ = Brian Gardner.
? = Pressed by United Record Pressing
a, Q, O Check Allied Record Company
@ (DC Interlocked) = Dave Crawford (2)
AL = Allentown Record Co. Inc.
AR or ARC= Allied Record Company
ARP = American Record Pressing Co.
BW = Bestway Products Inc.
CS or CSM = Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Santa Maria
G or G1= Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Carrollton, GA
H (RCA Releases) RCA Records Pressing Plant, Hollywood
HRM = Hauppauge Record Manufacturing Ltd.
I (RCA Releases) RCA Records Pressing Plant, Indianapolis
LY = Shelley Products
MG or MGS = MGM Record Mfg. Division, Bloomfield, NJ
MO = Monarch Record Mfg. Co.
PH = PRC Recording Company, Richmond, IN
P, PIT = Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Pitman
PL or PP= Plastic Products
PR = Presswell
PRC = PRC Recording Company, Richmond, IN
PRC-C or PRC-W = PRC Recording Company, Compton, CA
RI = Philips Recording Co., Richmond, IN
R (RCA Releases) RCA Records Pressing Plant, Rockaway
SO = Sonic Recording Products, Inc.
SP = Specialty Records Corporation
?, S, SI, S S2, = Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Santa Maria
TI, TII, TII, CT or CTH = Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Terre Haute
T, 1T, T1, 2T, T2 = Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Terre Haute
X = Embosed or S Backwards In or out of circle = Shelley Products

Others:
MR = Monarch Record Mfg. Co.
∴ or Λ = CBS Pressing Plant, Aston Clinton

SP = Specialty Records Corp., Olyphant, PA
MO = Monarch Record Mfg. Co., Los Angeles, CA
PL = Plastic Products, Inc., Memphis, TN
RI = Philips Recording Co., Richmond, IN
AR = Allied Record Co., Inc., Los Angeles, CA
CT or CTH = Columbia Records Pressing Plant, Terre Haute
CP = Columbia (Pitman, NJ)
CS or CSM = Columbia (Santa Maria, CA; very infrequently)
BW = Bestway Plastics, Mountainside NJ
SO = Sonic Recording Products, Holbrook, N
MG or MGS = MGM Record Mfg. Division, Bloomfield, NJ

London Records label matrix suffix:
AL - Allentown Record Co.
P - Columbia, Pitman, NJ
TH - Columbia, Terre Haute, IN
SM - Columbia, Santa Maria, CA
SH - Shelley Products, Ltd., Huntington Station, NY
BW - Bestway Products, Inc., Mountainside, NJ
GL - Decca/MCA, Gloversville, NY
K - Decca/MCA, Pinckneyville, IL
PH - PRC (formerly Philips) Recording Corp., Richmond, IN
W - H.V. Waddell, Burbank, CA

Other scriblings:
AT = Mastered by Atlantic Studios
AT/GP (handwritten) = mastered by George Piros at Atlantic
AT/DK (handwritten) = mastered by Dennis King at Atlantic
ATLANTIC STUDIOS DK (stamped) = mastered by Dennis King at Atlantic
ABS = Alex Sadkin
ab = Abbey Record Mfg. Co. (? we still don't know the exact meaning)
EDP [in oval] = Europadisk Pressing
PR or PRC or (PR) = Philips Recording Co. (maker of metal parts from lacquers)
LW or LWP = LongWear Plating (maker of metal parts from lacquers) Enter as "Mastered At"
?POGO = Keith Olsen's Pogologo Productions
Porky or Porky Prime Cut = George Peckham
Pecko Duck = George Peckham
s? = Sam Feldman
RL = Bob Ludwig
LH = Lee Hulko
ɑ = Allied Record Company (usually followed by B-XXXXX)
MG = MGM Record Mfg. Division in Bloomfield, NJ
AMP = ABC-Paramount
M = Mercury
RCA = RCA Victor
?-P-? = MCA Pressing Plant, Pinckneyville
回-G-回 = MCA Pressing Plant, Gloversville
G or G1= Columbia Pressing Plant, Carrollton, GA
? = Capitol Records Pressing Plant, Los Angeles
—? = Capitol Records Pressing Plant, Winchester
RG = Rob Grennell
GK = Gilbert Kong (GK)
"cg" + "?" = Chris Gehringer
GF = Greg Fulginiti, of Artisan
R3 or R4 = Mastered at Rainbo Records (on Capitol Pressing)
︵︵? (birds) or メ or ?、= Brian Gardner
DT = Dave Travis
RJ = Ray Janos
AZ CB = Chris Bellman at Allen Zentz
JG = John Golden
JJ = John Johnson (3)
SM = Stephen Marcussen
MF = Mike Fuller
BK = Bill Kipper
McM = Ron McMaster at EMI NY
SH = Steve Hall
H.W. = Howie Weinberg
TJ = Ted Jensen
RB = Ron Boustead (Precision)
SG = Steve Guy
Chet = Chet Bennett
RAYS = Ray Staff at Trident Studios, London
TLC = The Lacquer Channel, Toronto
FW ? or FWNY = Frankford/Wayne Mastering Labs
GOL = Goldisc Recording Products, Inc.
CSB ?? = Carlton Batts
PP = Plastic Products
TD = Terry Dunavan
ESR = Elektra Sound Recorders
GC or Baseball looking symbol next to Sterling = Greg Calbi
? = Columbia, Santa Maria

Often used symbols:

? ? ? ? ? RИ ? △ ? ? Δ ? ? £ ? ? ? ? ? · ˙ ? Ψ o ? Σ ● ? ? ? ? ∞ ? (???)
?? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? s??????? ???-? ??s????? ?? ??????? ??s?????s? ???????? ?? ???????? ?????????? ??????????????
??????????????????s????x??
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

???? ? & ? ? ? “” ?? ?“ ?
№ ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ??? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?33? ? ????
?-P-? < > ? ∴

????
♂♀ Ω ? ? ? ? ?△ ? ≠ ? M Λ N
A?a?B?b?C?c?D?d?E?e?F?f?G?g?H?h?I?i?J?j?K?k?L?l?M?m?N?n?O?o?P?p?Q?q?R?r?S?s?T?t?U?u?V?v?W?w?X?x?Y?y?Z?z?

FW/? ?

èé ? ó á ?

? ? ? ? ? € £ $ ¢ ? ? ? ? ? μ 3 2 1 1
¢ § ° o × ? ? ? ← ↑ → ↓ | | ± ? – № ≠ ? ? ? ? ? ? △ ? ? ? ? Λ ? ? ? ? ? ☆? ? ★
? & ? ? TM? ? ? ??? ♀♂ ?? ? 2222

? ? ? ? TM? ? ? ? o ?
x
? ? ----? èé ? –––?
M
?/
??????????????★?☆?*????○????Ω? ? ¤?????℅§? ? ? μ ? Ω ? ? ♀ ♂ ? ?
?+???→€£?$¢←?№ A? B? A? B?? ♂? ◎ ????∞∟∠ ?~ ? ¤?¤ ? ?-P-??↓↑↗??????,,
? ? ? ? ★ ° ? §Ⅲ

3 ???q ?

? ? ? ? ? ? ? △ ? ? ? ? Λ ?-P-? – — ? ~ | | §
? ? ? ? ° Δ ☆ ★ ? ? ? ■ □ ? ? ? → ? ? ? ∧ ∨ ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ∞ ∑ π

①②③④⑤⑥⑦⑧⑨⑩???????????⊕?
?? ??????????? ????????【 】┱ ┲ ? ? ? ? ◢ ◣ ◥ ◤ 凸 ?o ? べò?? ? ??? ︷╅ ╊ ÷—▂⊙? 3 ̄づ o ?︶︹︺ ???????? ? ?

№ ? ∞

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