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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the purchase of your collection.