Condition and Grading Overview
We are extremely critical and conservative graders of phonographs, and subsequently, our written descriptions and condtion "grades" can be relied on make a good purchasing decision. Besides the written descriptions, we grade each phonograph on two criteria, one being originality and the other condition. Our overarching goal has always been to maintain complete integrity in the hobby, which can only be achieved by a true and accurate representation of each phonograph.
Please note that we grade "originality" as a service to the collector community, as most collectors prefer the historical significance of original machines, while others who are new to the hobby, or simply intested in a nice showpiece for their home, prefer the fresh appearance of newly restored machines. While the value of totally original machines tends to be higher than for restored machines, all restored machines we sell are as historically authentic as possible. Condition grading refers to the cosmetic appearance of the phonograph.
We do not sell original or restored phonographs in poor, fair, or marginal condition, fakes, replicas, or phonographs that have been pieced together from different models. Our inventory represents some of the best examples in the country. Many machines that some online sellers or antique store dealers classify as "mint" or "outstanding" may not even qualify for sale from our business, as they would not measure-up to the calibre of phonographs we sell.
We also use a "+" and "-" designation when appropriate to indicate a small weighting factor in the overall grade, e.g. "2+" would imply a machine that is rated higher than "2" but less than "1".
Originality: Is the phonograph original or restored?
Grade 1: Machine is 100% original. Cabinet may have been cleaned and hardware gently polished, but no replacement cabinet, hardware or trim parts have been used. Turntable felt may have been replaced. Totally original finish.
Grade 2: Machine is considered at least 75% original. Some newly manufactured (but historically correct) replacement hardware or cosmetic parts may have been used, or some touch-up of the finish may have been necessary.
Grade 3: Machine has been fully or partially restored, but restoration was done in a historically correct manor, using original style materials and processes.
Grade 4: Machine is restored, but with unknown materials/processes. It appears historically correct, but the degree of authenticity can not be determined (Grade 4 is reserved for restorations not done by Victor-Victrola)
Condition: What is the overall cosmetic/appearance condition of the machine? Note: All machines we sell undergo a complete mechanical rebuild and are fully warranted for mechanical performance.
Grade 1: Mint/flawless condition. This grade is reserved for the very best examples, and is very rarely used.
Grade 2: Machine shows only the slightest wear due to age or use. Most sellers would consider this grade "mint" or "exceptional" condition.
Grade 3: Machine shows some wear, but is extremely presentable in a collection. Our Grade 3 represents what many phonograph sellers/dealers may call "excellent"
Grade 4: Machine shows considerable wear, but is still very acceptable in general appearance, and will stand up well as a solid antique for display in any home.
Grade 5: This is a "special" classification reserved for certain very rare or desirable machines that are below "Grade 4" in condition, but are too original and desirable to restore or refurbish. This would be applicable for collectors looking for a very rare model in complete condition that has not undergone any work.
Close this window to return to listings