Buy some sleeves! Maybe the guy didn't play them or played them just a couple of times each.
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The reason for the inner sleeves is DUST. Another four letter word.
If s/he lived in a well cared for and cleaned space, sans kids and animals with fur, poodles allowed, had racks for the albums, and placed them with the open record end on the inside of the rack, so that you would see the title edge on the outside, it might work.
Sleeves are a safer and more sure way of avoiding DUST and other hazzards.
Those are my thoughts for what they are worth.
Sleeves are not expensive and they provide an extra layer of protection from small particles and other grit. This is not a particularly insightful comment on my part but I don't what else to say. The sleeves serve a protective purpose.
I suspect his records are pristine because either he didn't play them much and/or he was very careful with them.
Are you sure they are "minty" . On more than occasion I have bought records I couldn't see a single scratch scuff what have you on lt what so ever. I missed it some how. I am not blind, but the lighting etc. can fool you.
Yes of course get the best inner sleaves. The rice ones suggested already are superb, The MSFL are good but a little hard to use. any modern after market sleave is generally fine.
Even records that look mint may not play mint. Odds are high that there's stuff in those grooves too small to see, but quite large enough to hear.
So make sure you properly wet clean and vacuum before playing them, otherwise you risk grinding any microscopic grunge into the grooves forever.
And yes, buy some inner sleeves - and outer ones too if you're serious about maintaining your collection.
Agreed, get inner sleeves. I have also bought used minty looking vinyl, only to hear a cacophony of disharmonious screeches and wails! Or minty albums from the '60's, where the CERAMIC cartridges tracking at 5-10 grams stripped out all the "highs", leaving just an annoying hiss instead!
Don't forget that a a clean looking album can also sound like s**t due to a bad pressing. Or some poor sucker :-) used Rat Shack's SLICONE record cleaning spray...the vinyl looked shiny and clean, but actually was transformed into a 12" plastic dust magnet.
I think that care of handling ['60's & '70's] is the most important factor! How many friends do you know that used multiple record players[the drops are killers!], or grabbed an LP like a Frisbee, or left a stack of vinyl piled high for a few days after the party, before grabbing them from the middle, and shoving them back into the sleeves and jackets! Those of us who handled our old vinyl with care have been well rewarded.