Record awards come complete with their own language, terms, and definitions. In discussing and evaluating them consider the following, and please contact me with any questions, or to suggest new or improved definitions.

Record Awards – Plaques containing gold and/or platinum LP’s or 45’s (and in later awards, Cassettes, CD’s, etc.), made to celebrate the success of artists and their music.

Authentic awards – Awards that are called for by labels and management to give to someone, or some organization, that has participated in the successful creation and sale of music. In recent years, awards may not be given, but instead purchased by authorized individuals.

Certified awards – Awards whose sales have been certified by a country’s recording association. In the United States, the association is the RIAA. An award that is not certified can none the less be Authentic, but it would be called an In House award.

  • RIAA awards – Awards with unit sales certified by the Recording Industry Association of America at levels of gold, platinum, and multi-platinum.  Since 1958 RIAA awards have had a variety of formats and logo styles, each distinctly different.
  • RIAA Types of Presentation
  • First Presentation — Award correct in parts and format for the date of RIAA certification. You would expect an award manufactured in 1974, to have the 1974 label, components, and construction typical of the period.
  • Second, Third, Fourth, etc. Presentations — Awards for the same album, in a later, and therefor different RIAA format (not that of the original date of certification). Example
  • RIAA States of Condition
  • First-State – Awards that are completely original including backing paper (which may be torn).
  • Second-State  — AKA Restored Awards, have backing paper, board attachments, and or hangings have been changed, but the disc, mini, label, presentation plate, and matte are original (front visible components) .
  • Third-State — Awards that have been changed or repaired, with parts or format not correct for date of certification.

In-House Awards – Any Authentic award that is not a Certified award is considered and In-House. Labels had them made them for convenience, to get a particular look or cost savings. These awards will likely have a label logo, or no logo, on the presentation plate instead of the Certifying associations logo. Example

Display and Souvenir Awards – Made for sale to satisfy the collector or fan market. These awards are less valuable than Authentic awards.

Fake Or Assembled Awards – These are “Frankenstein’s” made to fool someone or gain the higher value of Authentic awards. These are not worthless, and may, if in good condition, be valued like display or souvenir awards, but in any event much less than their Authentic counterparts.  The best way to spot fakes is to know what Authentic awards look like.


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