While it is true that vinyl records have made a very strong comeback over the past fifteen years or so, there are many factors that affect a used record’s value, and that value is usually not tied to just one criteria. There are most often a combination of variables we consider when determining if the used vinyl you have is worth big bucks. Below are few points to be aware of if you find yourself wanting to liquidate your vinyl collection. (Please be aware: the points listed below are generalities and observations we are making as a result of our experience as liquidators and consignees. There are always exceptions to the rules. This is not an exact science.)
Demand. First and foremost, keep in mind that although vinyl is experiencing an amazing resurgence, it does not apply to the entire buying public at large. Most people have not suddenly decided to dump their CDs or stop downloading or streaming digital music files and switch to vinyl. Many no longer even have a turntable in their homes. So although there is a new demand for record albums, it is still relegated to a niche audience of collectors.
Age. ’Old’ does not automatically translate into valuable. Why is that? Read on…
Condition. Obviously, everyone knows this. No one wants an album with scrapes and scratches all over it, or one that has been sitting at the bottom of a closet collecting mounds of dirt and dust. (Again, we’ll reiterate, there are exceptions.) But the issue of condition also applies to the cover and record label. Water damage, mold, mildew, wear rings and split spines are condition issues we run across often. So, as common sense would dictate, the less handled, the less abused, the less damaged… the better.
Scarcity/Rarity. We visit many an estate in which the homeowners have held on to their record albums and, when they enter into an estate sale or consignment situation, hope to see some monetary return on their collection. However, it stands to reason that best-selling albums by popular artists, released on major labels, would be fairly common in the second-hand marketplace since hundreds of thousands, if not millions, were produced, making them less scarce and therefore less valuable. (Remember, exceptions!)
Whose record is it anyway? The most desirable genres in the second-hand market these days seem to be rock, jazz, soul, R&B, funk, folk, rap, reggae, psychedelic rock, surf rock, punk rock, metal, country, bluegrass and blues. Many times, the collections we’ve been invited to peruse—typically those of the WWII or older baby boomer generations—are very similar to one another: lots of classical, opera, easy-listening, big band, swing, polkas, crooners, Broadway scores and show tunes. Unfortunately, most vinyl in these categories is of little value. (C’mon, let’s all say it together… there are exceptions.)
As liquidators and consignees, we consider all of this and more when determining how to price vinyl at our estate sales or whether to accept record albums on consignment. In our estate sales, we price records to move. While we will always consider if an album we encounter is of higher value and price accordingly, we will generally list 45s at $1.00 and LPs at $2.00-$3.00. We also have to consider that albums (in bulk) are heavy and difficult to store, transport and/or ship. As such, unless we are offered 45s, LPs or 78s for consignment that we determine to be of significant value, chances are we probably wouldn’t be able to take your collection on consignment.
That being said, and with all the exceptions that exist out there, we are always happy to come and check out your vinyl record collection to see if you do have some hidden gems that we can turn into cash for you.