Normally you do not have any problem identifying specific data of
collector's item, but in some cases it is not always clear, i.e. where
a pressing originates from, or if the song X on the sampler Y is from
original album Z or A. This part of the FAQ tries to give some hints on
where to look closer to the disc, or album jacket. I hope it'll be
to some of you...
This is a very delicate topic, so let me
why: Gradings do exist all over the world amongst collectors, and can
viewn as a description of the shape of a record, and so to determine
right value of the item. But yet there are still differences between
main collector circles in the U.S., England, and especially Germany.
Also note that vendors - in most cases
ones - often do not pay much attention to those ratings and trying to
too much of your hard earned cash. They buy whole collections for cheap
money, and then looking up the value in their price guides without
the shape of the disc. Of course they stick price stickers with the
possible price on them they can find, normally those for mint/mint
Another popular sport: Disregarding the
they are selling their goodies. I often visit record shows and flea
here in Germany, and there's always a dumbhead who's trying to fool me
with the answer: "You ask me why this record is so expensive?! I read
in Record Collector!"
- Exactly the answer I expect from those who are trying to be "my very
special friend"... or why do you think I have to pay an extra for a
pressing just because they looked it up in an english or american price
A serious note to all the
hand vendors in the world:
Listen, folks, you may or may not have
but every collectors price guide includes
a foreword! You can find this in
first part of your book. Please read
them before you start sticking
little prices on your items! And pay
attention where you are selling and
price guide you use! - I thank you
for your time.
Enough ranting, let's start with the European gradings:
The common gradings for the german (and
countries) market was developed by the german collectors magazine "Oldie-Markt"
in 1978. Their estimation rules still have legality in whole of Europe,
with the exception of Great Britain who rate records by anglo-american
rules. Basically it can be said that the estimations of Oldie-Markt are
half step under those american and english ones. Means: A record
to be "Good+" in Europe is going to be rated "Very Good" by english or
american vendors. Collectors should have this in mind when browsing
trading or auction lists.
|M = mint
The record (the cover) is by all means in new condition. There
no extraneous noises audible. Like already bought in a store.
VG = very good
The record was played and shows marginal noise. Hairscratches
visible, but not audible.
The cover only shows light wears.
The value of a vg/vg item is 75% of a m/m one.
G = good
The record was played more often. Scratches and surface noise
audible. Yet a record rated g is still enjoyable and good to be
The cover shows distinct marks, like small rents or paint on
i.e. ink, stamps, adhesive tape, restauring marks from felt-tip pens.
The value of a g/g item is 50% of a m/m one.
|W = worn
The bad ones start here. They've been played above average,
and noise are clearly audible. Only worth on rare items to complete a
A cover in this category is worn out, often teared, or soiled
stain, waterresistive pens, etc.).
The value of a w/w item is only 25% of a m/m one.
F = fair
The record is of no value acustically and virtually not
anymore. The purcase of such an item is only for archival purposes.
The cover is teared or only kept in pieces.
The value of a f/f record is at best only 10% of a m/m one.
+ / -
The abbreviations are going to be added when the condition of
record or the cover is somewhere inbetween the qualities described
Here's a table wich helps you to determine the value of your
And the obligatory explaining example:
You're just walking down the record show, and suddenly you spot a
french copy of Son
Suzy Creamcheese / Big Leg Emma. Your toenails errect, and you ask
the vendor how much it is. "Oh, this one is extremely rar / super
/ pristine shape / you won't see this anywhere else / blah, blah,
Onehundretandfifty Marks!" (~$70) --- A closer look, and the record can
be best described as "Good", but the sleeve is in "Very Good"
The single is worth roughly 215,- DM (~$100) in new condition, and the
table above states a value of 55% of an item in m/m shape. That means
single is only worth 120,- DM (~$55), and if weapon laws weren't that
here in Germany I would have pulled out my Magnum...
The following is taken from a copy of "Record
Collector" magazine, July 2000 (the one with the Zappa special...).
The ratings (or "gradings", as they say) were valid for the auctions
offers in their mag. The main difference between thems and the german "Oldie-Markt"
is the inclusion of more standards, they have additionally "excellent",
"poor", and even "bad" included. - Now let's see what they say about
|M = mint
The record itself is in brand new
with no surface marks or deterioration in sound quality. The cover and
any extra items such as the lyric sheet, booklet or poster are in
condition.Records advertised as "Sealed" or "Unplayed" should be mint.
EX = excellent
The record shows some signs of having
played, but there is very little lessening in sound quality. the cover
and packaging might have slight wear and/or creasing.
VG = very good
The record has obviously been played
times, but displays no major deterioration in sound quality, despite
surface marks and the occasional light scratch. Normal wear and tear on
the cover or extra items, without any major defects, is acceptable.
|G = good
The record has been played so much that
sound quality has noticeably deteriorated, perhaps with some distortion
and mild scratches. The cover and contents suffer from folding,
of edges, spine splits, discoloration, etc.
F = fair
The record is still just playable but
not been cared for properly and displays considerable surface noise; it
may even jump. The cover and contents will be torn, stained and/or
P = poor
The record will not play properly due to
bad surface noise, etc. The cover and contents will be badly damaged or
B = bad
The record is unplayable or might even
broken, and is only of use as a collection filler.
|CDs and Cassettes
As a general rule, CDs and cassettes
play perfectly - in which case they are in Mint condition - or they
in which case their value is minimal. Cassette tapes is liable to
with age, even if it remains unplayed, so care should be taken when
CDs are difficult to grade visually:
can look perfect but actually be faulty, while in other cases they may
appear damaged but still play perfectly. Cassette and CD inlays and
should be graded in the same way as record covers and sleeves. In
the plastic containers for cassettes and CDs can easily be replaced, if
they are broken or scratched, but card covers and digipaks are subject
to the same wear as record sleeves.
They have a table with the value of each item in those conditions
mentioned above which can be condensed to a simplier one with
declarations (The British one!):
I just have to find me a copy of "Goldmine"
so stay tuned...
EAN (European Article
ever noticed the barcodes on the jackets and jewel cases, but always
what it is all about? You ask yourself how this info can be of any use
to you? - When I first compiled and rearranged Bossk's(R) Singles FAQ I
stumbled across the Maxi-CD "I Don't
Wanna Get Drafted". I have this one in my own collection, and
about the country of production, since the FAQ only mentioned Europe as
its origin. Something like "Made in England", or "Printed in England",
but no result...
I got curious about this coding when I got my CD-ROM drive and
who, like most of the newer ones now, are cabable of reading and
CD-TEXT. With this functionality the burner also reads and writes
and the EAN number on the disc. More and more record companies use this
feature now to mark their discs digitally, and so I began to do a
bit of research.
Pay attention to the first 2 to
3 digits of the number.
Back to the problem, I now was able to determine the country of
production, which is also in most cases the country of release. As you
can see: Sometimes helpful to know what it is! 8-)
Excerpt from the link below:
What are the country codes?
Lots of people have requested the codes. Here is a partial list.
Remember, it indicates the country that issued the code, NOT THE
OF ORIGIN OF THE PRODUCT. The authoritative list is here:
00-13 USA & Canada
20-29 reserved for local use
30 -37 France
479 Sri Lanka
489 Hong Kong
600-601 South Africa
740-745 Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica
80 -83 Italy
880 South Korea
90 -91 Austria
Standard Serial Number for periodicals)
Standard Book Number)
Standard Music Number)
The IFPI build a code to distinguish each recorded and released
Useful for radio archives and stations to find and/or identify a
recording, RDS (Radio Data Service) and more. Maybe even useful for
and fans if in doubt if the track on sampler XY is the same as the
released version, or maybe a remix, or newly remastered. The system is
quite new, so the advantage of this will take affect on later releases
(If there ever will be new ZFT releases...). The numbering can be found
on discs roughly from 1998 on.
Example: ISRC FR - Z03 - 98 -
When to label a track with new ISRC?
ISRC = Code identifier
FR = Country Code (2 characters) FR = France
Z03 = Registrant Code (3 characters) Z03 = Mercury France
98 = Year of Reference (2 characters) 98 = 1998
00212 = Designation Code (5 characters)
|Re-mix: multiple recordings produced in the same recording
without any change in orchestration, arrangement or artist
||new ISRC per recording
|Playing time changes
|Compilation without editing of individual tracks
|Processing of historical recordings
||new ISRC for first re-release
|Recordings sold, distributed by agent(s)
One of the first Zappa CDs released with this code is the Mystery
Disc, which has US-RY2-98-00938 to 00972
Anyone knows a link to a list of all registrant codes? Mail
The big note:
Like most of you I, too, have a regular life and have to go to work
day, so do not expect updates on a daily basis, nor a prompt reply to
Just give me a little bit of time. And then there´s always the
of violation of copyrights. If you think that my pages contain material
which I´m not allowed to include because of its protected status,
please drop me an e-mail,
and I will remove the doubtful parts. On the other hand I regard all
within my pages as protected by copyright laws, too, so please ask
you steal. I´m sure we can work something out.