When buying or selling vinyl recodes there are some things you need to know.
In this article I will cover some of the more important things you need to know when dealing with vinyl records.
Let’s get started with knowing what type of records you have.
There are many different sizes of records that have been sold since the invention of the phonograph player here are some of the more common ones.
Record Information you Need to Know
- 78rpm (1900-1960) 10 inches
- 45rpm (1949-1990) 7 inches
- 33 1/3rpm (1948-1990) 12 inches
- Lp (Long Play up to 60 minutes)
- EP (Extended Play)
- Normal play (standard play)
Now that you know a little about the record(s) you have let’s move on to the next section.
Know Who the Artists, Songs and Company is
Many artist and record companies produced across many labels. You can have the same artist and song on many different labels. This can affect the value of your record as each on of these variables can have an affect on the value of a record.
Things to take note of:
- Most records have a record number. (This is a lot like a model number and is used to identify a record and to date the record) Example: Victor Record numbers looks similar to this: 22775
- The Record Label.
- Who makes the record (company)
- What color is the label
- What information is on the label
- Song (both A and B side)
- Artist (both A and B side)
- Producer (both A and B side)
Once you have this information you can start to research your record. This will give you a good start to find the value of the records in your collection. But we can not forget the very most important thing when it comes to record, see the next section.
The most important thing to consider when it comes to records is condition. You maybe asking yourself the following question right about now.
Why is knowing the condition of a record so important?
The simple answer is: As with any antique or collectible, the condition affects the value or monetary worth of the antique or collectible whether you are buying or selling.
One of the major causes of damage to a record is from the phonograph players themselves. Most phonographs used crude record player technology available at the time. This especially applies to records pre-1950. Finding records made before 1950 in any condition close to near mint or above is almost impossible. Records found in near mint, mint, and still sealed condition command a premium price.
Another important part of condition is the record cover. Now you maybe asking yourself this question.
Why are the record covers so important to a record value?
The answer is: Records with artwork covers such as Disney records are known to have amazing graphical covers and this can usually makes half of the records value (In some cases the cover is worth more than the record). With records like Disney Records the cover is just as important as the record. This applies mainly to 33 1/3 records (LP’s) some 78rpm and 45rpm (mostly singles) have artwork paper sleeves (These are highly collectible and very difficult to find in good condition). When there is a artwork cover with the record the collector considers both the record and cover condition when making these types of purchases.
You need to take in to account the record cover when grading a record if it applies.
Standard Grading System for Records
- SS = Still Sealed (This is the rarest condition)
- M = Mint Condition
- M- or NM = Mint Minus or Near Mint Condition
- VG+ = Very Good Plus Condition (Sometimes noted as EX or EXC = Excellent)
- VG = Very Good Condition
- G = Good Condition
- P = Poor Condition
Some dealers may add an extra (+ or -) to a grade, this allows them to get even more specific. Example VG++ this indicates a records to good to be VG+ (Very Good Plus) but not good enough to be NM (Near Mint).
There are also some common notations you may see along with the grading. These are used to tell you condition issues with the record or a rarity (example: special label). See my article on Common Record Notations this will be posted shortly so stay tuned.
How the different grades affect the value of a record.
Most price guides use NM (Near Mint) or VG+ as the standard for their prices.
We will use VG+ for this article.
Affects Grade Changes Have on the Values in a Price Guide
- SS would bring 125-200% (depending on the album rarity) over the guide price in most cases.
- M and M- would command at least 50% over the listed price
- VG+ would be worth 50% less than M-
- VG 25% of listed price
- G 10-20% of listed price
- P 5-10% of listed price
Finally just to add a small note of realism and what you can expect when selling or buying antiques and collectibles. When using a price guide you can expect to not see the guide values you when selling. Many collectors will not pay list price values unless the item is very rare or still sealed.
Collectors generally expect to pay 20-25% less than the stated price. You also may not be able to sell common antiques and collectibles any where near the list price as most collectors already own them, the supply is high and the demand is low.
Dealers will pay even less than collectors.
Be realistic in your expectations and remember price guides are what they say they are, guides to help you determine the value of an item. There are so many variables that can affect a value of an antique or collectable. Also note most price guides take time to publish so they are already out of date (1-3 years on average) when it hits the bookstore shelves. If you can find an online guide these are usually kept up to date more, this maybe a better way to go.
One last note if you are looking to buy or sell records the following auction house maybe a good place to start. I personally know them and worked with this auction house many times so I can highly recommend them.
Nauck’s Vintages Records
If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below.