We have the coolest job! Working on a collection of autographs this week including that of Gustav Klimt dated April 10, 1906. The ancestor who collected them was a prominent German physician in the early 1900s.
1960s British Pop sensation Dave Berry once said: “The four building blocks of the universe are fire, water, gravel, and vinyl.” Obviously the music industry has gone through an enormous overhaul since then with many different types of recording mediums being used. By the late 1990s it seemed that vinyl records were all but extinct. People couldn’t dump their records fast enough and sadly many just ended up in landfill or rotting away in someone’s basement.
For whatever reason, vinyl records have made a massive resurgence and Mr. Berry’s quote has come back from obscurity. People have begun collecting records in droves AND paying a lot of money for them! It’s gotten to the point where new artists are actually demanding their work be made available in the format. What was once seen as an obsolete nuisance has become almost a staple in the music lover’s library making vinyl records very valuable.
I know what you’re thinking… You’re thinking: “I’ve got a steamer trunk in the garage FULL of old records! Could they be worth anything?” Well, there are many different factors you have to consider when assessing the value of your records. Long answer short: Yes, potentially your records can have value.
“So how exactly do I know which records I have are valuable and which ones aren’t?” Sometimes it can seem overwhelming, but by following the tips below you will be able to easily sort through your collection separating the valuable (or potentially valuable) ones from the invaluable ones:
1. You’ve heard the expression: “Location, Location, Location”? Well in the Estate Business we have a similar, but different saying: “Condition, Condition, Condition.” Are the records in good condition or are they scratched to heck? All other things being equal the record in better condition will without exception be the more valuable one. Factory sealed records are especially valuable. Unless you have a record by an EXTREMELY popular artist – which we will discuss soon – you can assume that your records in bad condition do not have any value.
2. Is it by a popular artist? This can seem like a pretty vague question but there ARE some no brainers. If you’ve got any of the following artists you can assume the record has value; this list includes but is certainly not limited to: The Beatles (and each individual members solo works), The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Velvet Underground, David Bowie, The Doors, AC/DC, The Beach Boys, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton (and his affiliated bands), Boston, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Queen, Simon and Garfunkel…the list goes on and on. If you’re not entirely sure a quick Google search can be quite revealing. Uncle Jimmy’s Polka records probably aren’t valuable, BUT it’s always good to double check.
3. Is it rare? Better yet: is it something YOU KNOW FOR A FACT is rare? Without question the rarer the better. Was it pressed on limited edition colour vinyl? Is it artist signed? Is it signed by a dead artist? Is it an original U.K. pressing or a Canadian pressing? There are lots of things that can make a record rare; the hard part is finding out what those things are. As mentioned above a quick Google search is always revealing. If there’s something rare about your record there’s a good chance it has some value.
4. Last but certainly not least, there is a big market for “obscure” records. Now, “obscure” can be difficult to define within the context of vinyl records. An obscure record is one that is so rare, or so strange that an eclectic person would want to collect it – and pay a LOT of money for it! An example of obscurity adding value to a record happened rather recently: A Charles Brown “Mood Music” Record pressed on a 10” LP by now defunct Aladdin Records in 1952 sold for over $2000 online! In this case, the combination of a somewhat popular artist being recorded and pressed by a defunct record company made this particular piece appealing to the right people making it very valuable. These are hard to come by but are certainly out there!
There are certainly other factors that make a record valuable but the above list sums up the basics. Hopefully we have provided some useful information that will aid you in the process of sorting through your collection. As always, one of our certified experts are willing to help out. Call EstateNet today for a consultation if you’re interested in selling your collection OR for an appraisal service.
Garage sales, yard sales or neighborhood sales; whatever you call them, they can be a great source of product for antique collectors and pickers. Here are 12 tips that I recommend when planning your next 'mining' expedition for garage sale gold.
So there you go - now you're all set to take advantage of the spring garage sale season. Good luck!
I personally have been in this business for over 25 years, a long time by any stretch. I can remember talking to 'old-timers' when I began, veteran dealers who had been at the game for a long time and hearing their stories about what USE to sell and how bad the market is. I promised myself to never become one of those jaded dealers.
Well guess what?
It's a tough business! I don't know many millionaire antique dealers, and if I do, they made their fortunes chasing other dreams and now can afford to dabble in antiques. I think we have to take into account that antiques and collectibles like any other market is affected by changing tastes and trends, but there is a huge seismic shift happening thanks to our beloved baby boomers. The demographic that made millionaires out of the Eaton family and the Hudson's Bay company are now downsizing, so all this 'stuff' is coming into the marketplace and where does it all go? To top it off they've given birth to a generation who aren't interested in any of it. So take that into account and mix in the advent of Ikea, a store where you can furnish a condo for around $1500 and you've got a recipe for disaster, at least from an antique dealers perspective.
And so I find myself, now an old-timer saying many of the same things I heard my forerunners saying. While I may have some good arguments, it's still the same things coming out of my mouth as theirs.
Here's a link to an interesting article from the Washington Post last week, talking about this very dilemma;
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