Tuesday, August 19, 2008

You Spin Me Right Round, Baby, Right Round!

When we were deciding which of our possessions to sell, which to store, and which to take with us on our trip, I briefly considered selling my vinyl LP (record album) collection, or even sending it back to the D.I. from whence it came. (Well, not exactly from whence it came, since it came piece by piece from many different D.I.s across northern Utah, and I would just send it all to the Logan D.I., and they would be all like "Where on earth are we going to put all of these!?!)

I knew the albums might be worth a little something, so I decided to figure out what asking price I should set for the lot. Clearly I didn't have time to sell them individually on eBay, which would be the only way to get full value for them. At the same time, I really wasn't sure I wanted to let them go at all. I used to listen to them all the time, but my record player went to the D.I. two years ago in our move to the trailer. Since I haven't been able to listen to them for such a long time, I'm not nearly as attached to them as I used to be. They just sat there, taking up a full shelf-plus on my entertainment center, prompting inevitable comments and questions from each new set of home teachers. I haven't even bought an album in the last two years (but that feat has taken a LOT of willpower during my D.I. trips - I can't even go down that aisle).

My visit to eBay became a little treasure hunt and a real learning experience about the world of vinyl collecting, of which I have always been decidedly on the fringe. See, I bought the albums because I liked the music and I wanted to listen to it, and an investment of $.50 for an album was a lot better than an investment of $15.00 for a CD (this was back when we bought CDs, remember back then?). I didn't ever buy them thinking I was "collecting" them, or thinking that I would sell them for a profit, or because I knew which ones were worth a lot. I just bought them as a music lover.

Anyway, I learned about the grading system for the condition of the cover and the vinyl itself. I learned about first pressings and re-issues, and rarity, and on and on. And, I learned that the 167 albums I own, which I purchased for a combined total of $98.25, are worth in the neighborhood of $990.00 when priced individually. Whoa! I had no idea! Some, such as my rather worn out copy of an old Nat King Cole record (which features "Stardust", the reason why I bought it) are worth $2.00 or less. Others are worth upwards of $20, like my near-mint condition copy of the Broadway cast recording of Sweeney Todd, with accompanying libretto booklet. A collector would pay about $35.00 for it. Not bad for something I bought for $.75!

But wait. The key phrase here is "a collector would pay". You can find a book value for any item, but it is only ever worth what a real person will pay for it. So I'm not counting my money just yet. I think I'll just put these records in the Heatons' attic, and maybe take them out and play them again someday. The most enjoyable part of this whole pursuit was typing in the album name and waiting to see what results popped up: is it worth $1 or $10????? It was like playing the slot machine, I bet! (Haha. I bet. Get it?) The most satisfying thing is my completed Excel spreadsheet of my Album Catalog. Ahhhh, I finished something!!!

A few other interesting items in my collection:

The Osmonds religious concept album, "The Plan", is worth $22.00
Laura Nyro's "New York Tendaberry" with lyrics insert: $28.00
Completely hashed copy of Go-Go's "Beauty and the Beat": $1.00
Eagles' "Hotel California" in Near Mint condition, with poster: $20.00
Mint copy of Rimsky-Korsakoff's Scheherazade, performed by the Chicago Symphony: $135.00
My copy: $10.00 (why can't these D.I.-donors take better care of their records?!?)
The Chipmunks "Chipmunk Punk": $12.00
Selling "Chipmunk Punk" and never having to hear it again: Priceless!

1 comment:

  1. Definitely keep the albums. Even if you sell them someday, it's nice to know you have such a great collection you love not because someone else says it's of value, but because you do. I remember looking at my dad's collection all the time when I was a kid and liking at them because of the artwork and pictures. They don't do it like that anymore. But it's one of those things that always reminds me of my dad and his love for music, which influenced many of the things I listen to.