Which LP pressing is best?

I am starting to scour ebay and elsewhere for lp's. Obviously, condition is a major factor (as is a thorough wash), but there are better and lessor pressings for many (most?) lp's.

Besides buying several and listening, is there any general way to predict which is better -e.g., first pressing, etc. Is there anywhere out there in cyberspace that might have this people's opinions re this? Is there any way to track an album's pressing history? Can I ask any other very obscure questions? :)

Thanks, Chuck
You can start at http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums/
Steve's forum has several lp freaks and often discuss pressings. Tom Port, one of the most knowledgable record people around hangs there sometimes, you can also check out his on-line lp store, Beter Records at http://www.dccblowout.com/

enjoy the journey.
Another place to look is Arthur Salvatore's web site. Arthur is focused on classical music recordings and his opinions are considered by some to be controversial. I find his recommendations and opinions to more often match my own than not. See the section "Purchasing Used LPs."
Be aware that on ebay everybody throws around "mint" and "near mint" with impunity. Or the prevalent "Excellent". Since ebay is too lame to force people to all adhere to one standard for grading records you get a variety of descriptors for LP condition. Not that this would stop the ninety percent of the idiots there who think "mint" means that those greasy fingerprints and gouges are okay. Many people sell with the idea that most people won't complain and as long as they offer a refund they can get away with selling garbage hoping that the buyer is a sucker. Since it's a hassle and a drag to deal with the refunds they get away with it most of the time and they always point to their "amazing" feedback. I always wonder how much of their feedback is made up of refunds. People HATE to leave negative or neutral feedback and aggressive sellers can make you feel that you shouldn't.

Eventually you get to a point where you won't buy a record unless it's defined as "mint". Then you'll go through a run of those so-called "mint" LP's that are VG at best and VG-- at worst. Then you stop buying from ebay like so many people I know, including myself.

Even if that "near Mint Beauty!" is only $5 they're gonna charge you $6 shipping and when that record shows up with that scratch entirely across side two, the hassle of sending it back to get a refund(more shipping costs) and they only refund your $5, not the shipping. So you've wasted all that time bidding, waiting, being disappointed and then to the post office to ship it back or just forget and never leave feedback due to the threat of getting negative feedback yourself. Since most sellers wait till you post your feedback before they post yours so they can hold that over your head. Compared to all trouble, being sniped at the last second is defeat tinged with relief that someone saved you from the disappointment of receiving that beat to death "mint' LP.

I only buy sealed records on there anymore unless I'm really jonesing for a copy of something and then I steel myself for the worst. Occasionally I am pleasantly surprised but this summer was pretty bad. As for first pressings and such, well many sellers have as much knowledge of various labels and pressings as they do grading condition. So you'll get that later reissue with the smaller Elektra "E" on the label sold to you as the earlier issue.

After these hassles CD's seem pretty great in comparison.....
Thanks, all. I guess there is no one who has encountered a chronology of pressings anywhere....
Ccryder, you'll have to be more specific about what you're looking for: what kind of music, what record labels. In classical music, there certainly are "labelographies" with very detailed information about dates and pressing plants. The Mikrocosmos labelographies being the most comprehensive: http://www.mikrokosmos.com

I'm not aware of similar compilations for pop/rock/jazz although they may exist.
Thanks, Rushton. That helps - even knowing the term "labelographies" helps.