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Time to Look at your Record Collection

Several times when we are undertaking a house clearance the clients might have inherited a large record collection from their parents, family or friends and unsure of the value and what to do with them.  I usually advise them to find a specialist record Auction.  It can be quite challenging too determine the value ” let the auction earn the money and do all the research for you. If you decide you would like to do the work and all the selling yourself here are a few tips.

Condition is very important when determining the value. What does this mean in regards to your records? It means that you must know exactly what you have. Every record must be evaluated and graded. That is the only way to estimate how much money you can make. Cataloging, evaluating and grading each record are the essential steps of how people make any money selling records.

In most cases your box of vinyl will probably have many common records already found in collections, or just undesirable ones. The reality of selling your box as a whole is that the buyer will want to look at them first. They will squat down and quickly go through each record while you stand there in anticipation. Occasionally, they will pull one out for a closer look. Hoping to find a gem !! there are hundreds of collectable records out there, some more valuable ones to look out for are.

In recent years there has been some astronomical prices paid for early stereo pressings of classical records and the market has been confined to those in the know. There is a worldwide demand for early stereo UK pressings due to the tremendous audiophile quality that was obtained during the 50s and early 60s. Look out for the following catalogue number prefixes: Decca (SXL), Columbia (SAX), HMV/EMI (ASD), Philips (SABL/SAL) and RCA (“living stereo”). Collectors follow conductors, soloists (like Leonid Kogan), and orchestras, as well as certain definitive performances of acknowledged masterpieces by heavyweight composers.

Records recently sold are

  • 1 SEX PISTOLS God Save The Queen 1977 A&M AMS 7284 £8,000
    The value of this holy grail punk collectable continues to grow, as a Mint copy remains the crown jewel of any punk collection. Despite having a guide price of £8,000, this is a sound investment. The Sex Pistols have connected with and attract every new generation that has sprung up since 1977 and the reunion tours – and those Rotten butter adverts – have kept them in the public eye. Standard Mint stock copies of UK pressings of their lone LP, Never Mind The Bollocks. Here’s The Sex Pistols, are also ones to squirrel away, as most were played to death upon release.
  • PINK FLOYD A Saucerful Of Secrets 1967 Columbia SX 6157 £400
    The key to this being a secure investment is a Mint mono copy. Although this album is already valued at £400 in the Rare Record Price Guide, Pink Floyd are a blue chip investment and Pink Floyd with Syd at the helm are a blue chip investment with bells on. Other Floyd assets to secure are Mint copies of The Division Bell from 1994, which was pressed in small quantities, blue triangle first pressings of Dark Side Of The Moon (1973, £500), The First XI (1979, £200), the ’97 Vinyl Collection box (1997, £80), and the More (1969, £50) soundtrack, which is cheap with growth potential.
  • 11 LEONID KOGAN Beethoven Violin Concert 1945 Columbia SAX 2386 £500+
  • MR MAGIC Kazoo’s/Dance To The Drummer’s Beat 1982 Tri State US KF 3107 12″ £500
    According to our hip hop expert Dudley Jaynes, “to be a sound investment, records need to possess a number of qualities at the same time. Records that are genuinely scarce and contain good music or hold some significance to the artform perform best in terms of investment potential.” This applies to all collectable music! This hip-hop 12″ is old school and hails from Connecticut, and despite its excellence was largely ignored outside its immediate area upon release and so the vast majority were disposed of before modern collectors took an interest. Once unearthed and compiled, everyone wanted one.
  • AGINCOURT Fly Away 1970 Merlin HF 3 £700
    There were a number of albums pressed up in very small quantities in the 60s and 70s that by their very scarcity are collectable, and which will always hold their value. Some, it must be said, contain music that is poor – Ptolomy Psycon springs to mind – but Peter Howell and John Ferdinando released four albums under four different names and the wonderful arrangements and championship nature of the songs on Fly Away and other LPs like Ithaca’s A Game For All Who Know means that they remain holy grails for collectors. There is also Howell’s Dr Who connection (he updated the theme tune) to ice the cake.
  • THE OPEN MIND The Open Mind 1969 Philips SBL 7893 £750
    This record is already valued at £750 in our Rare Record Price Guide and so is a well-known psychedelic gem. However, like albums by Vashti Bunyan and Elias Hulk that are in a similar price bracket, or Leafhound’s Growers Of Mushroom in a higher bracket, a stone Mint copy will hold its value and appreciate due to the demand amongst collectors for the record and the fraction of copies that are in a genuine near-Mint condition. Despite a reissue, demand for this LP is not going to peter out for at least a decade – if ever.
  • DR Z Three Parts To My Soul 1971 Vertigo 6360 048 £1,000
    There remains huge interest in the Vertigo label and the famed swirl has been responsible for energetic bidding on eBay for the last few years, with Mint copies of albums from Gravy Train’s Ballad Of A Peaceful Man to Rod Stewart’s An Old Raincoat Won’t Let You Down fetching prices well over that suggested in the Guide. Dr Z’s Three Parts To My Soul is one of the rarest and thus a good investment – if you can find a Mint copy with both sleeve and vinyl in tip-top shape at a reasonable price. The same applies to Linda Hoyle’s scarce Pieces Of Me, from 1971.
  • LED ZEPPELIN Led Zeppelin 1969 Atlantic 588 171 £1,000
    This first pressing with the rare turquoise sleeve, “superhype” publishing credit and unscratched-out matrix number has a guide price of £1,000 in our Rare Record Price Guide. When I was at Spitalfields fair recently, a dealer had four on his stall with no takers – none Mint, mind. Then again, a couple of months ago a Mint copy sold for a whopping £2,000. The limited number of pristine copies out there means they are going to hold their value, as most turn up in VG to Excellent condition. Pristine “orange” sleeves are also ones to go for.
  • THE ROLLING STONES The Rolling Stones 1964 Decca LK 4605 £1,000
    Like The Beatles, everyone knows what the Stones’ rarities are, but demand for Mint copies keeps pushing up prices. Even investment bankers and rich businessmen have heard of the band(!) which makes Mint copies of their UK albums and singles a good investment. A Mint copy of this debut – with the 2.52 version of Tell Me – is a sound deal as long as it’s a first Mint pressing. Although more canny investors should plump for Stones LPs from the 90s, like Voodoo Lounge (1994) or Stripped (1995), which were pressed in very small numbers.
  • WIL MALONE Wil Malone 1970 Fontana STL 5541 £1,500
    You could probably double your money even if you found a Mint copy for £1,500, as this LP hardly ever shows up. This scarcity, allied to beautifully arranged and sung pastoral rock by Malone – just listen to Catherine Wheel – that was hardly distributed and totally neglected upon release back in 1970, makes this album one that will continue to appreciate in value. “I think only me and my girlfriend bought copies,” Malone told me when RC recently reissued this album on vinyl in a limited edition of 750 copies – and some of these have recently changed hands for £25.
  • HANK MOBLEY Hank Mobley 1957 USA Blue Note BLP 1568 £2,000+
    A wonderfully soulful tenor player whose original Blue Note albums are sought around the world. As one dealer told me, jazz does not go out of fashion, and, despite exhaustive international reissue programmes, collectors still hunger for classic albums on labels like Blue Note, Riverside, Prestige, Impulse – and let’s not get started on Ra and spiritual jazz. You must know your pressings when it comes to this album – there were many – and collectors take great interest in the labels of this beast, seeking those with un-matching Blue Note address labels (47 West 63rd NYC/47 West 63rd New York 23).
  • THE BEATLES Please Please Me 1963 Parlophone PCS 3042 £3,500
    The Beatles are the blue chip of record collecting and we could feature a number their LPs and singles here that will rise in price. It goes without saying that a Mint stereo copy of their debut LP with the rare Black and Gold label (whatever the publishing credits) has steadily appreciated in value over the years. Our RRPG price is £3,500 and Mint copies have sold for two or three times that on eBay. This is the sort of album that investment bankers would blow their bonuses on, as it appreciates much more than current interest rates would provide.