Collecting records is, for most, a highly enjoyable hobby. In today’s world, by purchasing their favourite band on vinyl the avid music fan is showing their true love for their musical heroes. However, like most things in life there are always those that take things to a new level of serious. From one guy’s treasured picture disk of Madonna’s Erotica to a businessman in Brazil with the world’s largest record collection, record collectors are leading contenders for most obsessed collectors in town. Here’s a ParcelHero guide to the world of record collecting.
How do we define a collectible record? The most obvious place to begin in this musical landscape is defining monetary worth. Rarity is key. Back before charity shops brought in the local record shop owner to value their vinyl collection, record collectors would prey on unsuspecting volunteers selling first editions for pennies. These days are long gone, with internet savvy pensioners quick to google the price of anything with dust on it and the local record shop claiming first dibs.
But if you have any of these floating around your loft you could inspire the perfect storm. Estimated to be worth £100,000, The Quarrymen’s original 1958 pressing of That’ll Be The Day/In Spite Of All The Danger is considered to be the most valuable record on earth. That’s because there is only one of them. The pre-Beatles little delights shine a light on the build-up to the world’s most famous band. A 1981 private reproduction of the original is worth £10,000 – considered to be the second most valuable record below the heavens, but that’s because only 25 copies exist.
Following closely, according to Record Collector is the 1977 Sex Pistols God Save The Queen/No Feelings, estimated to be worth £8,000. Only 300 copies are expected to exist as it was withdrawn from sale. As is expected the most valuable records consist of varying pressings of the Beatles, John Lennon exclusives, the Rolling Stones and hyper-rare one-off releases from obscure primarily English bands. Tinkerbell’s Fairydust LP, for example, released in 1969 with a very ‘out-there’ laminated sleeve is worth £3,000.
Finding the perfect balance between a very rare fragment of a world famous band and definitive obscurity is the tight rope all collectors must stroll down. And bands know this. For example, The Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request, in 1967 had two copies with a padded silk sleeve promo version. Only two copies were produced, and now they are worth £2,000. Rarity + Infamy = Absurdity.
Yet age will forever out-do beauty. Back into the black & white world of 1927 and Long ‘Cleve’ Reed & Harvey Hull’s Down Home Boys has one surviving copy, estimated to be worth $30,000 – $60,000. The 1927 blues duo are thumping high in the collectible’s treasure list with similar 1930’s records being bought for $30,000.
Attempting to build up such a value-added storm these days is particularly difficulty for artists. Record sales have seen a recent surge, with their popularity shinning a new hope on our love affair with music, and our worship of guitar clad heroes. But remaining unique enough to release an album that will beat a similar drum to the likes of the Beatles and Rolling Stones is no easy task, but bands are getting creative.
The critically acclaimed Hot Chip album In Our Heads have turned some heads with their limited edition coloured vinyl’s. This is what’s known as deliberately collective. Some features of the striking 2xLP lavender and canary yellow vinyl include a special note from Joe Goddard of Hot Chip to VMP members, a download card for In Our Heads, original art print by Michelle Holley and an original cocktail pairing by the authors of ’12 Bottle Bar’. This trend hasn’t stopped, with modern bands still very geared to continuing this idea – especially in the world of mass produced cd’s and £40 new pressings from HMV. The latest Hot Chip album Why Make Sense? comes in a variety of any of over 500 different coloured sleeves.
Acts are now very aware that a desirable aspect of the music industry is releasing special features for collectors and avid fans who want something a little bit more than just the track. And this can have a really positive effect on album sales. Jack White recently impressed the disk-spinning world when the solo artist released his Lazaretto album with 2 hidden tracks beneath the records label. Depending on where the needle dropped, an electric guitar would begin playing or an acoustic. When the needle was centred it would form the body of the song. This limited edition releases did the opposite of maintaining any form of rarity however when It created a record storm, breaking records for vinyl sales.
So what does this mean for the new collector? If you have a stack of old vinyl sat up in the attic then there is a good chance that they won’t be worth a lot, but you could be one of the rare individuals who are actually sat on a musical goldmine. A good place to begin your research is eBay – check what your record is selling for online. Some people sell off entire record collections without much thought as to what could be inside – this is the gamble a budding collector must take.
But buying new collectible records from releases today could prove worthy as a future investment. Primal Scream’s famous Screamadelica record recently had a re-release with plenty of additions thrown in, including unheard tracks and a booklet. This could easily be worth something in 15 years as it provides a unique sound to the much loved album, even in a digital world. Time is money. We are a nation of house owners and stamp collectors, even outside of the UK people love to collect things, to own the physical item.
If you are selling your collection online then it is worth shopping around for a reliable courier to transport your vinyl. Selling to a collector is especially difficult if your prized first release turns up with an added crease on the sleeve, it will absolutely be sent back. So choose wisely. Find out how to pack your vinyl…