A short tutorial on getting started with assessing the value/prices of your records
So you want to find out the value of your vinyl record collection and determine whether to keep or sell them and estimate the current market value of your record collection
First of all: You need to determine the overall condition of the album covers and the vinyl records themself. Albums in a great condition with little or no wear may obviously have a higher value. Have written names, numbers or used hard to remove stickers on the covers, in this case you will not get a high value,
What are the music genre you listened to. Was it "middle of the road" for an relaxing listening experience, or is the music off-track hard to find music. Much of estimating the value of your collection depends on: the time you have available to collect and analyze various information and of course the volume of records in your collection.
Limited Time to Spent
If you have little time to invest in this collection appraisal, the easiest way is to place an advertisement in one or more local newspapers. In the advertisement you need to mention the nr of albums, the condition of the album covers and the records and the music genres Eg
Selling ~50 LP from the 60s-80s, Pop Rock, all in an excellent condition
The better and more detailed the description, the higher the chance that the ad is attracitng the right interested people. Wait until you have several offers and sell the records to the person which had the highest bid, or the most sympathic one. If there has been no interest, you can donate the discs to a thrift shop
Appraising your record collection
If you have plenty of spare time (who has this ?) you can investigate a bit more in time in the investigation (be careful this may become adictive :')
You should start with a list of the records, for each record this list should at least contain:
Name of the band/performer(s), album title, Record Label, Catalognr; Year of issue, Country of issue, estimated value, notes
Beatles; Abbey Road; Apple; abc123; 1973; England; 15$; light seam-wear;
If you have a collection of over 1000 records, it may be useful to buy one of the record value guides, otherwise you can research on one of web-sites beloe.
IMPORTANT: The prices listed on the websites below are asking prices, usually the asking prices are higher then what you may get. On auction sites, you must investigate the prices of completed succesfull sales.
The description of the items on the websites must exactly match the information you have collected previously. Eg the "Abbey Road" made in Germany has a lower value then the same record from the UK.
Auction sites: use the larger Ebay sites like ebay.com, ebay.co,uk, and ebay.de and investigate the number of records being sold, the highest bid they have received and the condition of the items. Write down this price into your record inventory.
Other helpful sites are the "Record Collectors Guild", gemm.com, popsike.com.
ADVISE: during the time you are investigating, listen to your vinyl records, you will enjoy the music and can check whether they have audible noises like cracks, skips or repeats at the same time. If you no longer have a turntable, consider buy a decent hifi-set and turntable (dont buy a all-in-one low budget turnable player
As an introduction is below a set of "basic" guidelines for estimating the value of your record collection. Each of these topics will be explained in full detail later on.
Apart from the sentimental value, in general the following types of records have little or no particular value
One of the first factors which help to determine the price of the record, is date the record was produced. Some of the general rule
Keep in mind that the above are general rules and exception will proof the generality of these rules.
If the album cover has an EAN code (product identification barcode) it has been produced after 1973.
This section can help you to date Columbia Records based on information or the looks of Columbia's record labels
1938 - Late 50's two overlapping circles with the Magic Notes in the left circle and a CBS microphone in the right circle.
1948 - Introduction of the Long Playing Microgroove LP
1955 - Introduction of the Walking Eye logo 1960 Modification of the Walking Eye logo
This section can help you to date parlophone records
The typical Parlophone label from the 60's has a black label with "PARLOPHONE" in yellow. This basic label style lasted on all Parlophone issues until 1969, when it was replaced by a black label with silver print. However, there were three different variations of the 60's parlophone label, which make it possible to give a more accurate date to your Parlophone album.
From April of 1963 through the end of the year, Parlophone LP's featured the new black label with "The Parlophone Co. Ltd." in the rim print. There is no printed slogan across the middle of the label on this issue.
From 1965 until 1969, all Parlophone LP's were released with labels having The Gramophone Co. Ltd. in the rim print and the Sold in UK message across the center of the label.
Record collectors can benefit in different ways from their collection, because records can be listend and the music enjoyed. Additionally the artwork , album descriptions and liner notes give great information on the artists/performers of a recording.
Great places to find records are:
Record shops - there are still a great number of vinyl record shops around. You will find great quality records at record shops. Serious record shops will take care about their reputation and services
so you can expect records in great condition. Check your local shops and support the business they are doing, they depend on you (note: when buying a larger nr of records they are often willing to offer a discount or throw in an extra bonus records)
Flea markets, Garage Sales - Flea markets and garage sales are great places to find records at low prices, but take care of the records cover and vinyl condition.
Newspaper advertisements - check your newspapers for people cleaning up their cellars and garages and trying to sell their records. Quick reaction and action is often required to make the deal, before somebody else does
Friends - do your friends still have records, you may discover common tastes in music.
This section describes a method for quicky grading records.
Ideally you have plenty of time and very bright sun-light to check the condition of album covers and LPs. Unfortunately this often NOT the case, as you need to check tens of records at a garage sale, and a next buyer already standing by :-)
Check the album cover, if album cover looks in mint (like new) condition, you can almost assume that the owner took care of the collection and the record itself will also be fine. Take the record out of the sleeve and hold it in various angles in the light to detect any scratches or surface marks. Glide your finger over marks, if you feel a mark you will also hear it when listening, but keep in mind that perfect records dont exist
Check the record label around the spindle hole, lack of white spots around the spindle hole, indicates that the record has been rarely played and used.
Above checks allow you to quickly check the condition of a album and record but nothing can beat listening to a record to check the condition, personally I use two different turntables with different cartridges.