How we grade items
Absolutely perfect in every way. Certainly never been played, usually still sealed
Near Mint (NM or M-)
A nearly perfect record with no obvious signs of use. The vinyl will play perfectly, with no imperfections during playback. The sleeve/booklet will have no creases, folds, seam splits, cut-out holes, or other noticeable similar defects.
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. 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 that don't affect one's listening experiences. The label may have some ring wear, discoloration, but it should be barely noticeable. Sleeves may have very slight signs of wear, and may include a cut-out hole, indentation, or cut corner.
Very Good (VG)
Many of the defects found in a VG+ record will be more pronounced in a VG item. 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 with 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. Sleeves may also have small splits or wear. A VG item will not have all of these problems at the same time.
Good (G), Good Plus (G+)
A record in Good or Good Plus 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.