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Is There a Place for Lower-Graded Records on Discogs?

There are a little over 1 million records rated as Good Plus in the Discogs Marketplace. While that number is a far cry from the next highest grading, 4 million Very Good-rated items, Good Plus ratings or lower-graded records still comprise a million-plus chunk of the marketplace.

We all wish that we could find that one record, the holy grail, as some might say, in minty condition. Or at least a solid Very Good+. However, that ain’t the way things always work, is it? If you’re willing to compromise on quality, some of the most exciting rarities and oddest obscurities on Discogs can be found by searching through the lower-graded sections.

Confused on the Discogs ratings? Here’s a quick guide.

Run-Down Rarities

Amongst your usual Beatles singles going for obscene prices, there’s obscure funk from Nigeria’s Heads Funk Band, an ultra-rare picture disc of David Bowie and Mick Jagger’s infamous cover of “Dancing In the Street,” an unreleased white-label of King Tubby mixes, and a Monkees album that was not only signed by all four Monkees but was also sourced from Dave Davies’s personal record collection. For those with some serious cash to blow, run-down rarities await.

Browsing the Digital Dollar Store

On the other hand, as collectors, we more than often want junk that most would turn their nose up to. After all, one person’s trash is another’s treasure, and all of those usual cliches doubly apply to the likes of music and other creative endeavors. While it may prove difficult to gleefully dig through a stranger’s cherished collectibles in-person at the moment, Discogs’ virtual bargain bin is ripe for the picking.

You won’t lose the joy of stumbling upon something so odd and cheap that you have to buy it, as plenty of oddities abound. Plus, there’s the bonus of filtering by price, genre, and format, so you’re not glued to your phone for too long. Check under the couch cushions for some coinage and grab something that may be common halfway around the world, but utterly unknown amongst you and your record-collecting pals.

lower graded record beatles odeon

Lost-and-Found Cover Art

You probably won’t find anything rare, but there’s an abundance of sleeves sans records on the Discogs Marketplace. Need the jacket to Tim Curry’s ’81 single “Working On My Tan”? Whether it will house the record properly or act as a framed decoration for the Curry-obsessed, here’s your chance. It makes much better wall art than actually framing a record. Keep in mind that you can’t buy or sell a sleeve without the accompanying record, but there’s a decent chance you can find a high-quality sleeve bundled with a beat-up record.

For What It’s Worth

Sellers, this is an excellent opportunity to get rid of some of the more interesting, yet poorer-rated stock you have taking up space. Just be upfront about what you’re offering, grade appropriately, and be sure to price things accordingly. Acknowledge why the record has been given a low grade and let potential buyers make offers. Refresh your grading knowledge if needed. And clean your records! There’s a decent chance you can elevate a Good+, Very Good, or beyond. If Discogs has proven anything to me, it’s that someone out there is interested — you gotta figure out how to grab their attention.

Ready to take the plunge into some Good+ waters? Protect yourself before you wreck yourself: Your shipping policies can be set up with a minimum order value per region. Do this to avoid the hassle of packing up and shipping a handful of cheap records for a profit of pennies or less. Our step-by-step guide with videos to setting up shipping policies will get you selling more in no time.

Everyone is a Winner

Buyers, please think of the seller before impulse-buying a handful of 45s for pennies. First, you’ll probably end up spending more on shipping than the actual records. Make it worthwhile and go on a cheapo bonanza and buy in bulk! Follow your initial instinct — that one low-cost rarity can lead to more.

It’s undoubtedly a pain for sellers to carefully pack up and ship those records while making little to no profit on the sale. Consider throwing some slightly more expensive wax into the cart with those cheaper records to make things worthwhile for both you and the seller. After all, when a rarity pops up, who knows when your next chance will be to grab a copy?

If You Know, You Know

My colleague and Discogs Database contributor extraordinaire, Diognes, has provided a few more excellent points for buying or selling lower-graded records below. Take heed!

  • For records from hot and/or humid regions, G+ is usually the best you can do.
  • Some playback systems, like jukeboxes or most portable record players, are probably going to drop the playback fidelity to where it’s a lot less distracting.
  • Try a different needle that gets deeper into the groove. Those deep grooves may not be as damaged as the bits a worn or blunt needle has already destroyed.
  • Loud records fare better than quiet ones. Beat-up 60’s garage records are cut so loud they overpower most scratches, whereas a genre like classical suffers.
  • Regarding U.S. records, mostly 7-inches in particular: Styrene wears out differently than vinyl. Styrene burn creates heavy sibilance in addition to the pops, clicks, and surface noise that wear-and-tear causes with vinyl.
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11 Comments
  • Jun 23,2020 at 17:40

    I don’t understand why covers can’t be sold without a corresponding record. They’d be quite cheap to ship, and there’s collectors out there always looking for a more pristine sleeve.

  • Jun 14,2020 at 23:45

    I’m confused as to what the purpose of this piece really is? Its not like many Discogs shoppers need to be aware that there are a bunch of cheap records you can find from sellers. Sure. During peak lockdown, digital trawling was my jam, and I always cruise a seller’s catalogue for fun “add-ons” as long as their shipping rates were biased towards me doing so – I’m there anyway fo something from my want list. I live in a medium sized city where there is no shortage of crate digging to be had – I can do the swappity swap cover/vinyl game for my Elton LPs all day long (for example).

    IF a digital seller goes through the trouble of whacking their “filler” on Discogs its kinda like; whats the point? Go down to your physical merchants and look in the ‘can’t be bothered to catalogue this’ section and have a field day. I’ve found missing covers or lonely records and reunited them plenty of times in dollar bins (Beatles mono 1st pressings, Led Zep…) Get your funny 70s euro trash album covers and deep gems at no risk here.

    The article also (as noted in comments) suggested buying empty covers on Discogs. Nope. Can’t do it. Pick up your rare mistreated vinyl w/o cover though and keep hunting. Joys abound if you actually want to listen to the media I agree, I’m down with that – I’ve made some decisions to stick a beat up original LP carefully alongside a re-issue (Beatles again mostly) just for the heck of it and because I can.

    Yeah, think about the seller – also, think about your collection and packaging and shipping, and think about what your wife will think when you get a massive box of shite too I suppose. Keep digging the charity shops. You can even (in the US) shop goodwill online now. The money goes to a worthy cause, and you can save your bones to support your local record stores especially now.

    I also thought this article would be about 78s, so, I guess I’m ticked.

  • Jun 12,2020 at 22:38

    All collectors I know are in need of rare sleeves (only the sleeve, no record), I don’t understand that policy people at Discogs. It would be great if you could please consider changing it.

  • Jun 12,2020 at 08:25

    ‘minty condition’ Come on, really?

  • Jun 11,2020 at 00:32

    I’d have to say that the part of this article which
    talks about orphaned record sleeves for sale in the
    marketplace is worded in such a way that seems to be
    sending mixed messages. The guidelines are clear,
    You can sell a record that no longer has the original
    cover, but you cannot sell an empty cover by itself.
    That said there are thousands of empty covers for sale
    in the marketplace at any given time. Sometimes they
    get flagged, sometimes they get bought! It’s not a
    big deal.

  • Jun 11,2020 at 00:15

    Why do I always get the impression that these
    blog articles are primarily geared towards the
    14 – 18 year old range?

  • Jun 10,2020 at 13:05

    I have two Beatles jackets and one Alice Cooper I would love to sell on Discogs but it won’t let me-is the policy changing?

  • Jun 10,2020 at 10:39

    You can sell a sleeve but it must be with a record but it doesn’t say how beat up it has to be.

  • Jun 10,2020 at 06:52

    Hi,
    i tried to sell two rare covers, and i got the red flag –
    This item is in violation of one or more Discogs policies.
    Karlheinz Stockhausen ‎– Gesang Der Jünglinge / Kontakte
    Nektar ‎– Journey To The Centre Of The Eye
    Please let me know, what is correct.

  • Jun 9,2020 at 17:41

    Don’t worry there are plenty of G+ being sold as VG+.

  • Jun 9,2020 at 13:03

    Lol, selling sleeves only is against Discogs rules. Are they changing that or are you encouraging people to mess with sales figures for your blog post?

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