Really old sheet music - what do I do with it?

Hey, Dopers. My husband “inherited” a very large box full of old sheet music, most of it in booklet form with some nice artwork on the covers, some of it loose. Also a couple copies of an old music magazine called “Etude.” Copyright dates on the music and magazines range from the late 1800s to the mid 1950s.

What’s the best thing to do with all of this? A lot of it seems to be in nice condition - it’s got that “old paper” musty smell to it, but aside from some edge tears and the missing cover here and there, it looks to be too nice to be cannibalized for craft projects. I should say that I have no use for it, nor does my hubby, but if any of it is worth anything we’d both prefer to sell it rather than to hand it out like party favors. On the other hand, we’re not looking to retire off this stuff. I’d start listing it on eBay, but I haven’t a clue IF it’s worth anything, and if it is, WHAT it might be worth. Listing it piece by piece seems like it would be more trouble than it’s worth, though.

Any ideas?

Check eBay to see if any of it is on there now.

You could also donate it.

There’s also this price guide.

Oh wow, Mr. Blue Sky! I have one of the ones on the cover of that price guide! I may have to get that.

I did check for sheet music on eBay, but there is a ton of it, and prices vary wildly. There are well over a hundred sheets here, so the price guide thingie may be my best bet.

I guess it would depend on the type of music you have.

The market for old classical sheet music is virtually non-existent (pop is another story though). If a particular edition of a work has passed into the public domain it is most likely available in reprint from one company or another (Dover, Kalmus, Cd Sheet music, etc…). Still, you may be able to sell some of the pieces on ebay (I think dividing it up into small lots, by composer, ensemble, etc would be best), but even then people will buy it simply because they want to play it and not because its an antique, so I wouldn’t expect to get more than a few dollars at most for each piece. You may get lucky though- A few years ago I found a bunch of old orchestral excerpt books for sale at a dollar a piece. I sold each book separately on ebay and each one went for around 20 or 30 dollars. These books are still being printed today and can be bought new for much less money- I’m assuming the people who bought them didn’t know that.

The Etude magazines, however, could be worth some decent money. I would definitely look into that a bit more.

After you have it appraised, I would donate it to a worthy educational institution. Perhaps Berklee?

You will be able to write it off as a charitable contribution on your income taxes.

dervinck - it’s almost all pop music. A couple classical pieces.

ccwaterback - we’ve discussed donating, too, which remains a possibility. I have a friend whose daughter attends Milliken (sp?) and I have asked her to talk to some one in the music department about it.