I am clearing out the old family house before it gets sold. I have a box of about 100 pop LPs from 1960s thru 1980s that I want to unload. They are all in used condition – some well worn, others not so much. They are all middle of the road pop artists like the Beatles, the Monkees, and Sinatra-style vocalists. There are no rare or exotic jazz recordings or anything like that.
I posted them on Craigslist, saying “make me an offer.” I got a response from a record buyer who has agreed to come over and look at them.
Before we meet I want to have a general idea of what a fair price for the stash is. For example, if he says, “$10 for everything,” when the going rate is a dollar per LP, I want to be able to turn him down with confidence. If he says “$80 for everything,” I will give it some serious thought.
The problem is, I have no idea what “the going rate” is. Any help, Dopers?
$50-$80 sounds like a good ballpark to me, if you say nothing you have is rare and some of it is not in the best condition. Usually when I go to record stores, they have bargain crates marked at $1 or 50¢ a record. Sometimes there’s a buy two get one free type deal. Unfortunately I don’t think a collection like yours is especially highly valuable.
Pull out the 5 LPs that you think are the most desirable (rarity, condition, whatever). Look up the “completed items” on ebay to get an idea of the average price those 5 have sold for. Add them up, and there’s your answer.
$50 to $80 sounds a bit high to me. That’s the full retail value in a record store when you buy them individually. The Beatles and Monkees will be somewhat collectible, even though there were a bizillion of them produced. Others may not be so collectible. Without knowing what other artists you have it’s difficult to even come up with a ballpark, but based on your description alone I would be more inclined to guess somewhere in the $20 to $40 range. If the records were in better condition then I might be more inclined to go with the $50 to $80 range but your description does say that many are “well worn” which cuts down their value.
Side note: Beatles records are a labyrinth for any collector. There are so many variations of issues that it’s difficult for an amateur to figure out what he’s got. Just the album “Help!” has 12 different varieties in one issue. Albums were issued, then re-issued on a different label and all had their variations. The only one I know of that has any serious monetary value is the so-called “Butcher Cover” of the “Yesterday and Today” album. There are others with some value, but nothing like that one.
As you mention, almost any record in less than VG++ condition is worthless unless it’s a true rarity.
There is a very real chance that you may have to* trick *the garbage man into taking them. Like hiding 15-20 at a time in other garbage over the course of a couple weeks to keep the weight of the can down.
I don’t mean to be a Dick*, but in the absence of any “rare” or “collectable” discs, I think you would be damn lucky to get $10.
But I could be wrong! Literally yesterday, I found a banged-up Droid thingy sitting in the *middle of the highway, *sitting right on the double yellow line, (no way to turn it on and try to find an owner) and my wife stuck it on ebay and had it sold in less than an hour!
This. Beatles LPs can be worth anywhere from nothing to a whole lot, depending on a variety of factors. So your collection could be worth anything from $10 to hundreds of dollars (but much more likely towards the lower end of that range). Basically, for the Beatles LPs, you need to say: what albums; what the label looks like (black Capitol labels with the rainbow ring around the outside are the originals); mono or stereo; and the condition of the record and cover. Oh, and if you have a copy of “Introducing the Beatles” on Vee-Jay, it gets really complicated.
All I can offer is something I was involved in directly myself. In 1967 I was working at a radio station and for some reason unknown to me the station manager decided to throw out several hundred LP’s in the trash. I went through them and took every one I had even the most remote interest in. I wound up with maybe 50 that were in okay shape, enough that they would still play anyway. I wouldn’t have paid a penny for any of them, but in retrospect I found at least 10 that I played a lot. I would have paid 50c in 1967 money for them if I had known how much I would have liked them.
Hope there’s something you can use from that story.
I also bought some old books “by the pound” one time. Not as clear a message there as with the records.
In our region there are Half Price Books stores that buy used vinyl. Their “run of the mill” sales bins which include a lot of well worn items (but some good to excellent condition ones) and include a bunch of Sinatra, Streisand and heavier-selling 60s-80s pop sludge tends to sell for maybe 25-50 cents an album. So if you took them 100 such albums in mediocre shape, you might get $10 out of it (guessing).
It would be nice if you knew someone who was familiar with the music of the era (quite a span to cover) and could tip you off to any potential rarities/premium stuff in your collection before you sell, that would keep you from missing out on a good item. Maybe on 1/4 to 1/2 the occasions I go through the crud bins at Half Price Books I find something worthwhile, or even really desirable (to me) - recent examples being a brand-new shrink-wrapped edition of my favorite NRBQ album and an '80s release of the Pasadena Roof Orchestra.
I think the collector will go through your collection and see if there’s anything truly outstanding, not find anything outstanding, and offer you $10.
You’ll say “but there’s [xxx]!” and he’ll say “that’s worth 50 cents.” It might go on like that for a while.
If you are really serious about thinking there’s something worth something then you have to do all the legwork yourself. Use www.gemm.com to compare your albums to prices there.
If not then trust me when I say that hauling records around and storing them is about the most worthless exercise ever. We’ve moved my brother’s collection like 5 times now and there will be one more when he moves for the final time. If he died and it was up to my mom, she would pay someone $10 to come take them off her hands (me, I’d look them each up and then sell the lot for cheap).
They are most likely not worth anything. If they are, it’s up to you to figure it out not for someone interested in buying them to tell you.
I found out the hard way that published record values are nearly useless, as it’s all market driven. I tried to get catalog value on a number of albums on ebay, and got zero interest other than on the truly collectible (scarce) stuff. As I mentioned in another thread, I ended up donating them all to the local jazz radio station and taking the donation tax deduction. I still have boxes of vinyl to try to dispose of and will probably give it all to the local Millennium Records. Bottom line: take what you can get and count yourself lucky to be rid of them.
One major reason there is still a market for used vinyl (apart from the collectible aspect or for people who just like the medium) is the ease with which you can transfer the music into a digital format.
About 25% of my digital library comes from LPs.
Of course, the records need to be in decent shape first. You can edit out the worst pops and crackles, but if the whole album is full of them it’s generally not worth the effort.