Mint = original, unscathed condition.
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The Goldmine record guide (Krause Publications) grading scheme has become the standard for assessing the condition of records. Their pricing guides use Near Mint (NM) as the baseline condition for their valuations. Here’s what they say about Mint (M) records:
"These are absolutely perfect in every way. Often rumored but rarely seen"
Goldmine says "A good description of a NM record is ’it looks like it just came from a retail store and it was opened for the first time’, in other words, it’s nearly perfect".
What most people mean when they say Mint would probably fall within the Goldmine categories of NM or even Very Good Plus (VG+). Personally, I wouldn’t call a record Mint if it has ever been played, but playing it is probably necessary to be totally sure of its condition! Hmmmmm.