Post By: Alan
One of the questions I get asked pretty frequently is whether a certain record is valuable and collectible. As more and more vinyl records are being inherited, purchased, dug up, etc. many people are wondering if some of them are worth any money. Obviously, the value of a record is determined by a few major variables. Let's take a look.
Supply and Demand:
This is one of the most important things to consider when determining whether a record is valuable or not. First, let's talk about supply. Obviously, if a record is in low supply and hard to find, it has a better chance of being valuable. Of course, let's face it: There are tons of records from garage bands, never-will-be's, and hacks that are each in low supply and hard to find. The problem is that there is no demand. Nobody cares about the experimental art garage band that played a few gigs at the local bar in 1968. Of course, if there is something in high demand with a low supply, such as The Beatles's notorious 'butcher' cover, or Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland with the banned cover, you've got yourself a valuable collectible.
In order to get top dollar for a collectible record, it should be in good shape. You wouldn't pay a high price for a car with dings and scratches, so why would you pay for a record in the same bad condition? Not only should the record be free of scratches, it should also not pop or hiss too much. In addition, the cover of the record should be free of scuffs and folded corners.
Originals vs. Re-releases:
Many records from famous artists that were released back in the 50's and 60's are valuable, but only if the record itself was one of the originals. Many of the most famous albums from that era have been re-released several times since then, sometimes with new stuff. So, for example, maybe an album was released in 1959 in mono, with no frills. Then, perhaps that album sold really well, and so they remastered it, re-mixed it into stereo, and re-released it with a free poster 1985. That original album from 1959 will likely be worth some money, especially if it is in low supply, has high demand, and is in good condition.
OK, so what did we learn today? If you have a record that lots of people are interested in, but very few copies exist, you probably have a valuable record. If it's in good condition, it's probably worth more. If the record is an original as opposed to a re-issue, it is also probably worth some money. Sadly, most records are not very valuable, but there are plenty out there that are, and if you have some records that fit the criteria above, you may want to have them professionally appraised.
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