How much is my record collection worth Turntabling

How Much Is My Record Collection Worth?

How much are my vinyl records really worth

How much is my record collection worth? It’s a question many ask, but the answers are more complicated than a basic dollar amount. Your record collection is worth more in some ways, less in others-it all depends on what you have and who else might be interested in the same things.

Great example-Look at the picture of those spoken word albums above. You may ask yourself who on EARTH cares about T.S. Eliot on vinyl. But look closer-this record is narrated by none other than the original Obi Wan Kenobi himself, Sir Alec Guinness.

NOW you have the interest of a certain segment of hardcore Star Wars lovers who cannot get enough of that man’s voice. And who can blame them? Alec Guinness is one of the most respected names in 20th Century film and stage work for a certain type of cinema lover. The value of this record-amongst THESE PEOPLE is much higher than for your average crate digger looking for…whatever it is they are looking for.

How Much Is My Record Collection Really Worth?

Make no mistake, the value of your collection goes up if the records are in GOOD CONDITION both covers and vinyl. Even the most tired old pile of ancient classic rock records that every record store has moldering away in the cheaps bin is IN that bin because the records aren’t pretty enough and clicks-and-pops free enough to be sold at a more competitive price.

So if you have a PRISTINE copy of a Carole King Tapestry album? That will fetch more than the battered old copy in the two dollar bin. Even though Tapestry is a record store cliche that every…single…record store has stashed somewhere along with those Poco records and the ever-present water-damaged copy of Led Zepplin II.

Your record collection is worth MORE if you have lustworthy things in it in Very Good to Near Mint condition. What is considered lustworthy? That depends SO MUCH on the buyers you’re trying to reach. Some people don’t give a DAMN about Alan Ginsberg’s vinyl records. But those with a fascination for the Beats (Burroughs, Kerouac, Ginsberg, Corso, etc.) will be VERY interested in knowing more.

Alan Ginsberg On Vinyl Ginsbergs Thing Vinyl

Who Decides What My Records Are Worth On An Individual Basis?

The market basically decides…but as mentioned above, there are MANY MANY different kinds of markets for vinyl records. But there ARE some determining factors including:

  • Availability when originally pressed
  • Current scarcity
  • Vinyl Variants
  • Unique features
  • Sealed or unsealed

If only 500 copies of a release were originally pressed (and that is more and more common these days) you have the makings of a serious collector’s item in a few year’s time. If an album was mass-produced, but since has never been repressed, that may also increase the value.

A record that was pressed with a certain number of the run on colored vinyl or other vinyl variants, that record is likely to get increased attention. Misprints, accidental cover problems, or other things that make a certain number of the records more rare and impossible to find may also factor in.

If a record is still sealed, especially after many years, that record also will be more lustworthy depending on the buyer.

There are A LOT MORE issues associated with how to value a record collection. I’ll write about them in future posts. FULL DISCLOSURE: I buy record collections and write about them from both a collector and reseller perspective. If you are interested in selling a vinyl collection or part of one, please get in touch with me via e-mail: jwallace242@gmail.com

–Joe Wallace

 

How To Sell Your Vinyl Records To A Buyer

How To Sell Your Record Collection

How To Sell Your Record Collection-it really should be the title of a book. Until that happens though, if you have a record collection to sell there are some things you should know about the process to avoid disappointment.

Full disclosure: I buy and sell records for a living. I have purchased entire collections, tiny portions of them, and everything in between. What I am about to tell you is the truth about selling your record collection as someone who has sold a collection or two myself, and as a buyer.

How To Sell Your Vinyl Records To A Buyer

Have Realistic Expectations About Selling Your Vinyl Record Collection

There are two basic kinds of record collection buyers: one type wants to purchase for their own personal enjoyment, the other wants to re-sell the collections they purchase.

Those of us who are resellers do this for a living and have concerns about being able to make some kind of profit from the records they purchase. It’s a business and in business the goal is to keep costs as low as possible, ideally not rip anyone off, but still find a way to have enough money at the end of the day to buy groceries.

That means that the professional reseller will evaluate your record collection on the basis of two basic things-how much the collection is worth on the resale market, and how much will have to be paid to obtain the collection.

The “personal enjoyment” buyer is likely NOT interested in buying your entire collection. This is just a fact of life. If you try to sell to someone who is not a reseller, it’s best not to expect your entire stack of records to go out the door. The collector will be very selective and may only purchase a handful of what you have.

Dealing With Professional Resellers (Like Me)

There are two basic issues for a professional record buyer and seller. One is the lustworthiness of your record collection-do you have records that nobody wants? Your old Foghat records, show tunes, Jimmy Buffet, and that battered copy of Carole King’s Tapestry are NOT in demand, sad to say. Unless those records are SEALED, you probably don’t stand a chance with things along those lines.

The other factor is the CONDITION those records are in. Are they beaten to death? Are the covers damaged? Do the records sound like snap-crackle-and-pop breakfast cereal? The better condition your albums are in, the more they are worth.

That said, selling your vinyl record collection is still a bit tricky. Some pro resellers will take ANYTHING that is in decent condition-glossy vinyl with few surface marks or scratches and covers that are in good condition without gouges, big corner bends, worn-off patches on the artwork, etc.

Some resellers, like me, are VERY selective. We specialize in certain musical genres above all others. For me, it’s New Wave, Industrial, Soundtracks to genre films (horror, foreign films, sci-fi, unusual things of all kinds), goth, electronica, spoken word and general weirdness.

That means that a lot of resellers won’t touch your classic rock collection, or your old Peabo Bryson and Aretha Franklin LPs. If there is a niche to be bought, there is a buyer for it. But you’ll have to be very specific about your collection and what it contains.

How to sell your record collection

Pricing

A good record collection buyer will ask you how many records are in your collection, what genres and names you have, the overall condition of those records, and most importantly, how much you were thinking about selling the collection for. Having a dollar amount set on your collection is a very good idea. The buyer WILL want to negotiate that price based on the quality of the records themselves, the previously mentioned lustworthiness of your albums, etc.

Don’t approach a buyer without an idea of what you might like to get for the records. Do approach the collection buyer with an idea of the condition of your records and covers, what you think the quality of the whole group might be, etc. You do NOT have to be an expert-just give the buyer something to work with.

Don’t expect to get the same dollar amount you paid for the records. Do expect your collection to sell for an amount much lower than that-you purchased the records and used them, put wear and tear on them, and the value decreases over time with that notion in mind.

The key to getting more money from your collection has to do with quality and quantity. You will get more money from a larger collection. You will get more money for a smaller collection of records that are in OUTSTANDING CONDITION. You will get more money still (comparatively) for SEALED records.

One thing is sure-you should manage your expectations when selling a record collection with the idea in mind that the buyer needs to be able to make some kind of profit from the purchase she makes. That isn’t just the collection of records themselves-the records have to be transported, they have to be cleaned and graded by hand. That takes time. They have to be put into new outer sleeves. That takes more money. There is an investment in purchasing a vinyl record collection that goes beyond what is paid for the albums themselves.

There are other nuances to selling a record collection-things I will share in another blog post.

If you have records for sale, do get in touch. You can reach me via orders@turntabling.net to discuss the purchase of your collection.

–Joe Wallace

AFRTS Vinyl Records

Destroying The American Forces Radio And Television Network Vinyl Collections

AFRTS
by Joe Wallace
True story. Back in the 1990s, I was an enlisted Air Force member working as a military broadcaster. I was stationed at Misawa Air Base in nothern Japan, and during that time I did my share of radio and television news, production, and and radio shows…for the military.

Overseas bases like Misawa, and many others were considered “accompanied tours” which meant you could bring your family with you while you worked through your two or three-year military assignment there. The idea behind having a local radio and television network was that AFRTS was bringing “a touch of home” to the pre-internet bases as a morale builder. It worked. There were time-delayed sports events, satellite radio, and local programs. There were no commercials, since it was (and still is) a government-run network…but there were PSAs that everyone made fun of even as we sat and watched. It was the only game in town!

In Japan, the thing I was most proud of in the early days was my one-day-a-week stint as the head of Joe’s Exploding Zoo- a radio show featuring any then-labeled alternative music I could get my hands on in an official capacity-we were only allowed to play records and compact discs that had been copyright cleared via the American Forces Radio and Television Network’s procurement department back in California.

The compact discs were via Century 21, which I was already familiar with having worked with those discs as a civilian DJ in Illinois. Century 21 provided compilations to subscriber stations with the latest format-specific music charting at the time, plus oldies and supplemental discs. But the vinyl for our military radio shows came from AFRTS itself.

And it was, compared to what you’re used to from vinyl records, fairly unusual. AFRTS vinyl was usually an album side featuring one artist, and an album side featuring another artist. Sometimes you might get an entire record on sides A & B, but more often than not, it was combos-you might get The Pet Shop Boys on one side, and Soul Asylum on the other. They were not the actual releases from the record companies themselves, but rather a shipment of AFRTS-label vinyl with those cuts:

AFRTS Vinyl Records

The record library was MASSIVE. Approximately ten thousand records massive, all catalogued, labeled as you see above, and properly stored. And in spite of not being plugged into the whole of recorded music, the collection was surprisingly eclectic.

As a snotty 20-something punk/goth/industrial/noise/etc. troublemaker, I actually found enough music to run a two hour show with once a week. Depeche Mode, Sisters of Mercy, Devo, and many others were all represented one way or another on vinyl, but also lesser known groups like Single Bullet Theory (who pre-dated Single GUN Theory, I might add), The Burning Sensations (notorious for their entry on the Repo Man soundtrack), and some mildly edited-for-content Frank Zappa just to name a few.

But one day, it was decided that vinyl did not have a place in the AFRTS operation any more (thanks for nothing , digital) and because of copyright issues, all stations were ordered to DESTROY THEIR VINYL COLLECTIONS.

And so we get to the video below, also produced by military journalists stationed overseas at Iraklion Air Station in Crete, detailing the utter horror that is the mandatory destruction of 10,000 vinyl records at JUST ONE STATION. They found a suitably violent way to deal with the job, which you can see for yourself as long as this YouTube clip remains available.

I could write endlessly about my experiences as a military DJ and reporter, but those are stories for another time…



Mort Garson Black Mass Lucifer

The Wonderfully Surreal Vinyl Of Mort Garson

Mort Garson Black Mass Lucifer
The wonderfully surreal world of Mort Garson includes a nice assortment of unusual vinyl records, many of which are fairly analog-synth heavy and all of which are fun to listen to. Taking a vacation to Garson-land, in terms of diving into his back catalog, is a joy more record lovers should try.

Garson covered a lot of ground in his career as a multi-talented composer, conductor, arranger, performer, etc. before he died in 2008 and his legacy is pretty damn enviable for fans of unusual vinyl records-“love sounds” music, occult-themed modular synth freakouts, and yes, music for sensuous lovers, and for plants (see below).

Mort Garson The Zodia Cosmic Sounds vinyl record

We don’t need to go into the entire Mort Garson bio, since the super-fantastic Space Age Pop has already done an extensive biography and Turntabling highly recommends this site for all your Space Age Bachelor Pad music detail needs (and more). But suffice it to say that Garson, a military veteran and among the early adopters of Robert Moog’s synthesizers, is a force to be reckoned with if you’re a hardcore vinyl lover with a penchant for Moog sounds (and Turntabling is ALL ABOUT that).

Have a listen to these amazing Mort Garson sounds while they last on Youtube-they are well worth seeking out! Especially the adults-only Music For Sensuous Lovers, which is Garson’s contribution to the Adults-Only vinyl craze of yesteryear. These links might not stay up forever, hear ’em while you can!


The Zodiac Cosmic Sounds

The Love Strings Of Mort Garson


Music For Sensuous Lovers


Plantasia by Mort Garson