Though many sellers do, we very, very rarely use Near Mint (NM) to grade used records.
The only exception is if the record is unarguably almost mint - for example if it is a record that has been opened and never played, or perhaps played once. Very Good plus (VG+) is generally the highest grade we give to a used record.
VG+ [Very Good Plus]
A VG+ disc will show some signs that it has been played and otherwise handled or used. It might have light surface marks or very light scuffing, none of which should significantly affect playback. Any minor warping is considered acceptable using goldmine grading, so long as this does not affect the playback.
A VG+ sleeve and/or label may show small signs of wear, including slightly crumpled corners or minimal seam split, though you will usually find that we would downgrade such things to a VG grading.
VG [Very Good]
A VG disc will have any of the defects present in a VG+ disc only more pronounced. For instance, there may be more surface marks or a noticeable scratch. Markings may or may not affect playback - you may hear more surface noise during quieter sections of the record but we would not usually grade a disc as VG if surface noise was overpowering.
A VG sleeve and/or label may have small to medium seam splits or tears but be otherwise okay. A sleeve may be marred by writing or an old sticker or may have a more pronounced ringwear.
G+ [Good Plus] / G [Good]
A Good Plus record should play through without significant skipping but will be marred by significant surface markings, scratches and/or surface noise. A Good record will be similar but these defects even more pronounced.
A Good Plus sleeve will be marred by one or more of significant tears or splits, ringwear, tape, writing, and folds.
Poor [P] / Fair [F]
A Poor or Fair record will be badly warped, marred by scratches that affect playback and is generally not something we would list on our site, unless it was a highly collectible item.