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MusicStack's Guide to Collecting Vinyl Records



How To Determine Record Values

What other variables go into placing a value on vinyl records? Besides the previously mentioned conditionof the vinyl record, there are many other elements to look at: the color of the record label, what is printed on the record (for instance, Mfd. by or Manufactured By), sometimes even the placement of the logo and in the case of RCA, where the dog, Nipper, is located on the record label.

Here are some other variables to consider when putting a value on a record:

Scarcity
Many millions of vinyl records are in circulation. Almost every household in the US had some vinyl records at one time or another. We even had a vinyl record 'boom' from around 1955 to 1980. But, how many of those records are still around and more importantly, what condition are they in?

Rhythm and blues records from the 1950s were often produced by smaller record companies and suffered from poor promotion and publicity. Some may have been limited to only one or two thousand pressings. On the other hand, Beatles records were mass-produced, so fairly common records of theirs are not worth as much as one might think.

Demand
Like any other commodity, vinyl records are subject to supply and demand. If there is a demand for a certain genre or artist, chances are the price will go up, as there is more competition for the records. The music genre called Northern Soul has enjoyed a surge in sales, driving up the prices. Conversely, there is not a lot of demand for classical music -- in fact, there aren't even any price guides for it - so you cannot expect to get much for the records.

History
Many genres of music often command a higher price because of their place in music history. The early roots of country music from the early 1930s and 1940s, early jazz recordings, the rock and roll infancy recordings (including rockabilly, rhythm and blues, the girl groups of the 60s) are often highly sought after and more valuable. Some early Motown, psychedelic music, surf music, garage band rock and doo wop often command a higher price because these records have a prominent historical value.

Artist or Group
Some musical icons command top dollar, because there is always a demand for their records: Early Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix.

LP Jacket, Inserts, Picture Sleeves
Some records came with an added incentive and that is also collected and can add value to a record. LP's came with inner sleeves with liner notes, lyrics, posters, and cut out. All these elements are included when establishing a resale price. The condition of these extras must be taken into account when ascertaining the value of the record. 45 rpm records came with picture sleeves and some of them are even more valuable than the record that they may hold.

The Year of Release First pressings may be of more value than a reissue of the same record ten years later. For instance, a Beatles record that was released in 1965 is of more value to a collector than a reissue that was released in 1980.

The Record Label
Some record labels are also more collectible than others. Old R & B or jazz on the record label Bluenote is generally worth more than if the same music and artist are released on another label. Another example is Beatles' records released on the Capitol record label as opposed to the Vee Jay label. For instance, if you were to the record "I Want To Hold Your Hand"on the Capitol label, it will generally be worth more than the same record on the Apple label (which was formed after the record was issued).

Stereo vs. Mono
All 45s manufactured by all record labels after 1970 were pressed in stereo. But some labels issued records between 1957-1970 that were issued in both formats. You would have to check the catalog number of the record to find out which one you may have. Some mono versions may be worth more than there stereo counterparts, while some records in stereo may be worth more than mono; it all depends on the artist and label.