Thursday, April 3, 2008

New Vinyl Record Appraisal Services Offered

Want to know what your old records may be worth? I have just opened up a new site and will appraise your classic records for a small fee.

There are many variables that go into ascertaining just what a particular record may be worth. I have written a two-part article about this and the first part is posted below. Look for part two tomorrow!

Putting A Value On Vinyl Records

part one

By Robert Benson

One element of the ever changing music industry is that the sale of vinyl records has increased and that these audio treasures are still in demand. In our age of digital products and downloads, there are still millions who prefer the sound and experience of vinyl records. In this two part article, let’s explore how a person can ascertain just how much a particular record is worth.

There are many factors and variables that come into play, whether buying or selling records. The ‘grading’ of a record is very subjective and because no two people grade the record the same, many problems arise when reselling new and used vinyl.

The value of a record is, and this is putting it in a very simplistic way, is what a person is willing to pay another person or business for the record. But there are many other variables that must be considered to put a value on a record, let’s look at them:

There is a common misconception that because a record is old, that it is valuable. On the contrary, some records that are just a few months old have more value than some that are 50 years old. And, while it is true that some bands and artists are more sought after and command a better resale price, the condition of the record is paramount, whether the record is a week old or seventy years old; age is not a determining factor, but condition is.

There are several different methods of grading records and unfortunately there is no ‘standard’ that everyone uses. But let’s look at one of the more widely accepted grading methods, which is in the “Rockin’ Records” price guide, written by the genre’s leading authority; Jerry Osborne. In this method, the record are given a certain ‘grade’ as to their condition, here are the grades:

Mint (M)- an absolutely perfect record in every way-to allow for a tiny blemish or flaw, this record would be considered Near Mint, which is the highest grade used the in the Osborne record price guides and what the prices in the record guides reflect.

Very Good (VG) - records in this condition should have a minimum of visual or audio imperfections that do not detract from your enjoyment and listening pleasure. You may see a plus or minus after this grade.

Good (G) - From a practical standpoint, this grade may mean the record is a good enough copy to fill a gap in your collection until you can secure a better copy. This record will show obvious signs of wear and tear and play all the way through without skipping.

Osborne explains what you can expect using the following formula. For very good condition, the record is worth 25-50% of the Near Mint price listed in his guides. For Good, figure 10-25% of the near mint price given in his guides. Another common mistake is that people take the price in the guides, grade the record and then do not ‘downgrade’ for the flaws and condition issues.

Another confusing aspect to this method is that some records might be listed as VG + or VG- or VG++ or NM-. But, what exactly is the person grading the record mean with these notations? Is it for the record, the sleeve, the LP jacket or the record itself? You can see why this way of grading can be very confusing to someone just starting a record collection.

Osborne also suggests a ten point grading scale and some feel that this system allows for a more precise description of the record than the mint, very good, good scale. Here is the scale:

9- Near Mint
8- better than VG but below NM
7- VG
6- better than Good but below VG
5- Good
4- better than Poor but below Good
3- Poor
2 and 1- why bother adding these to a collection?

I prefer the ten point scale, as it eliminates some of the confusion and provides a better description than VG_ or VG++ or G-. One important factor that Osborne stresses is to be honest about the condition and grade, meaning apply the same standard to the record you want to buy or sell as you would want the seller or buyer to give. But, and this goes along with Osborne’s recommendation, is a TRUST factor. You must assume and trust that the person giving the grade to the record is honest and will be held accountable for the grade.

But just because a record is visually acceptable may not mean it plays that way, so one must take that into consideration as well. So if you are buying a record you may also ask if it plays the grade that it was given. A long time ago, these two went together, but it seems that we have gotten away from this.

Another element in the grading process, and I have seen this done several ways, is the condition of the LP jacket, picture sleeve, inserts and liner notes. Some sellers may give you two ratings, one for the record and one for the other elements. There are some very valuable album covers and picture sleeves (from 45 rpm records) and these must also be accounted for in the selling price or the value of a vinyl record.

As you can see, this is a ‘gray area’ when buying and selling vinyl and one that is very subjective. Condition is the most important factor when buying and selling vinyl and when buying records you must be able to find a trustworthy seller and ascertain which method they are using to grade what they have for sale. And, as previously stated, the record price guides lists the prices for records in near mint condition, so that must be taken into account. Obviously, this all can be a bit confusing for a beginner, but a little common sense and education can help any buyer in their quest to add to their collection.

In part two, we will discuss some other important elements that go into finding what the value is for a vinyl record.

Look for part two in tomorrow's post!

This Day In Music History- April 3

Richard Manuel, keyboardist and vocalist with the Band, was born in Stratford, Ontario, Canada in 1943.

In 1961, a Pittsburgh quintet called The Marcels took "Blue Moon", a tune written in 1934, to the top of the Billboard chart. It was also a #1 in the UK.

Que sera sera... Doris Day was born Doris Mary Anne von Kapelhoff in 1922.

The late Jan Barry of Jan & Dean ("Surf City") was born in 1941.

Billy Joe Royal ("Down In The Boondocks") turns 66.

Tony Orlando ("Candida") is 64.

Wayne Newton ("Danke Shoen") is 66.

A motley member of Motley Crue. Guitarist Mick Mars was born with the moniker Robert Alan Deal in 1956. A one-time class clown, he legally becomes Mick Mars before he’s 18.

Sarah Vaughan ("Broken-Hearted Melody") died on this day in 1990.

The British Broadcasting Corporation bans the Coasters' "Charlie Brown" over its reference to "spitballs" (a ban it lifts two weeks later) in 1959.

In 1956, Elvis Presley made the first of two appearances on The Milton Berle Show, live from the flight deck of the USS Hancock. He earned $5,000 for performing "Heartbreak Hotel,” "Money, Honey" and "Blue Suede Shoes.” It's estimated that one out of every four Americans saw the show.

Elvis Presley's "It Happened At The World's Fair" movie opened in Los Angeles (it opens nationally a week later) in 1963.

In 1965, Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs released their garage classic "Wooly Bully."

Sebastian Bach, the somewhat outspoken singer with Skid Row, was born in the Bahamas in 1968.

The Doors' Jim Morrison turned himself in to the FBI in Los Angeles. He was charged with inter-state flight to avoid prosecution on six charges of lewd behavior and public exposure at a concert in Miami on March 2nd, 1969. He is later released on $2000 bail.

1989 - Pepsi dismissed Madonna as a spokesperson after her "Like a Prayer" video was called "blasphemous" by the Vatican.

In 1960, The Everly Brothers begin their first ever UK tour in London, where they were supported by The Crickets.

Also in 1960, Elvis Presley enters a Nashville studio where he records "It's Now Or Never" and "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"

In 1971, the Temptations hit the top of the Billboard Pop chart for the third and final time with "Just My Imagination". They would however, place 11 more songs in the Top 40 over the next 20 years.

In 1973, Capitol Records issued two Beatles' greatest hits packages - "The Beatles: 1962-1966" and "The Beatles: 1967-1970". Fans call them "the red album" and "the blue album.”

Ray Charles became the first performer to have hits on Billboard's charts in six different decades when his version of Leon Russell's "A Song For You" entered the R&B singles chart in 1993.

The Traveling Wilburys (Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynn) began recording their "Handle With Care" album in Malibu in 1988.