Acquiring used vinyl...is it worth hunting anymore?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Chester0711, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. Chester0711

    Chester0711 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Minneapolis,MN
    After a recent trip to a record show and some decent hauls at garage sales.....

    This thread is directed at those who are vinyl hunters, and I am not referring to those of us who go to the record shop and purchase our used vinyl at current market prices. I am referring to those who hit up the garage sales, goodwill, estate sales, etc....

    - Has there been a sharp decline in what you see available at garage sales, estate sales, etc?? I know there are still plenty of records out there being dumped off for $1-$2 a piece but have you seen the quality (quality of artist, not so much of the vinyl itself) drop off immensely? I have been told it is more difficult in recent years to find "Rock" and "Jazz" than it may have been in the past...or is this just rubbish and the stuff is still readily available.

    I was told by a "dealer" at a show recently that typically people will farm out their collection to local dealers or collectors, before they put them in their garage sale for $1. Is the common person catching on to vinyl's value?

    Also, my brother hunts a lot of estate sales and says if you do not have an in with the company running the sale, good luck, as they typically hold spots for dealers and the like. Is this normal practice for any of you "in the know?"

    Also, where do dealers with no storefront get their vinyl? Do they put out craigslist adds searching for collections to buy? Do they just tour the garage sales all week? How do they get their stock with no storefront (i.e., they dont get walkups looking to sell) yet at a price where they can make a margin?
     
  2. Arkay_East

    Arkay_East Forum Resident

    Location:
    ATX
    It was so much trouble, for so little reward, I stopped trying. Goodwill/thrift and estate sales/flea markets particularly. There is so much good vinyl in the $3 - $10 range at my local, the time expenditure was a waste.
     
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  3. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    Thrift store just south of me actually has hired goons hitting garage sales etc...
    My local buys and sells cheap from 'drop-offs' Sold a nice condition Floyd-A Nice Pair for 4.99 last week.
    2 years ago a local estate sale had 100's of classic rock marked for a buck. I think the guy was a wedding DJ, picked up a few. (I beat the pickers)
    For me the treasure lies in the odd-ball music I listen to, not the run of the mill classic rock titles. Found a Nitzer Ebb 12 inch and a couple Canadian New Order/Joy Division titles a few years ago for a couple bucks. That for me was worth the hassle
     
  4. Chester0711

    Chester0711 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Minneapolis,MN
    But that cant possibly be the norm? I mean when you see the exact same artists (maybe not titles) at every garage sale, I have to believe there is some pre-garage sale work done to find the valuable items if there are any and those go out. What doesn't get swallowed up goes in the milk crate at the garage sale.

    I also actually watched two guys in a car drive up a street full of garage sales....one was running along to each spot asking if they had records, the other was driving the car down the middle of the street. So people are definitely out there hunting it down for profit....these people are not collecting for themselves.
     
  5. n.phelge

    n.phelge Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas
    It all depends on your location, luck, perseverance, and how many other folks are also looking. I personally have never found any desirable vinyl at any local thrift shop (people seem to prefer to take them to HPB and get pennies for them), and any estate/yard sale with photos indicating anything decent will have a long line before I arrive. There is still good stuff out there - the opportunities just seem less frequent and will have more shoppers. Some people do use estate/garage sale purchases as their source of income, and I've seen some record stash digging get pretty ugly.
     
  6. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    I'm thinking most of the sales I've been to here locally have no clue what they have or care, judging by some of the titles I've seen for dirt cheap that have ended up at my locals.
     
  7. Gaslight

    Gaslight Cave dwelller

    Location:
    Northeast USA
    If you are looking for classic rock titles, I believe that ship has sailed now. You're better off looking for CD's if you're looking for a bargain.

    Non-rock LP's may have some bargains to be found as it wouldn't necessarily be on a flipper / dealer's radar.
     
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  8. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    No kidding, who really wants a Roxette-Joyride German pressing besides me? :laugh:
     
  9. Arkay_East

    Arkay_East Forum Resident

    Location:
    ATX
    True. I do find r&b and country records sometimes.
     
    c-eling likes this.
  10. Chester0711

    Chester0711 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Minneapolis,MN
    I have managed to pick up about 25 classic rock titles this spring for around 40 dollars total. They were all acquired through 2-3 different garage sales in my area. Aside from the classic rock, I have made a little game of seeing if I can complete the entire Herb Alpert and Tijuana Brass catalog via garage sales!
     
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  11. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    I always keep an eye out for the 80's country. Recently picked up a Randy Travis-Storms of Life and a Yoakam-Hillbilly Deluxe
     
  12. If one does not seek,it is likely one shall not find...
     
  13. I find garage sales still your best bet.
     
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  14. knob twirler

    knob twirler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chapel Hill, NC
    Don't Roxette records straddle the time line between West German and Unified German pressings? Makes it even more collectible:)
     
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  15. Gaslight

    Gaslight Cave dwelller

    Location:
    Northeast USA
    Will retract what I wrote slightly....I actually find the community garage sales to be the best chance of scoring some classic rock LP's. At least in the recent past.

    Main reasons are because, since it's a community event, there are people who are participating who haven't really looked into overall worth of their stuff - they get a balloon on their mailbox and they can just put out however much / however little they want since they aren't very committed to it. Then combine that with the number of homes participating and if you're early enough you could potentially beat the dealers.

    This also goes for non-music items, btw.
     
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  16. serendipitydawg

    serendipitydawg Active Member

    Location:
    UK
    "Acquiring used vinyl...is it worth hunting anymore?"

    To answer your question literally, then hell yes.

    But as other posters have mentioned it depends on whether there is an on-going vinyl "revival", whether you're trying to make a living at it, and prevailing "market" conditions.

    If you enjoy the "hunt" you will never give up, but perhaps stop getting up early to cruise the garage sales
     
  17. Champagne Boot

    Champagne Boot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    Started seeing all the usual suspects from behind the counters at my locals at garage sales and the thrifts about 10 years ago. They've wised up--and people have, too. If you have an internet connection, and you just got your dead grandparents' records out of the basement, you're not hauling those out to a record store anymore. Everything's going straight to eBay, Discogs, Craigslist, etc. Estate sale and antique store folks are in on the game, too. They know what they have/can figure it out rather easily. What's more, the eras in what's popping up has shifted. The people dying/unloading records now aren't the folks who were buying in the 50s/60s. It's 70s-80s stuff now.

    I'm hitting my local stores for most everything these days, and buying the occasional (maybe once-twice a year) record on Discogs/eBay. There's essentially nothing good to be found out in the wild that hasn't already been found. I never really liked doing garage sales as it was, so it makes that FOMO an even easier pill to swallow.
     
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  18. musictoad

    musictoad Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    I have to imagine it's so much work that all the time spent could be spent working an actual job earning money to buy exactly what it is you want.

    I guess some people like the hunt, but that sounds so tedious when you have no clue whether the effort will pay off.

    Anytime someone posts about a steal they found, I always wonder how many hours of fruitless searches that person went through before they found the one prized steal.
     
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  19. Jeff Kent

    Jeff Kent Forum Resident

    Location:
    Mt. Kisco, NY
    You just never know. I enjoy the hunt as much as anyone, but after a few weeks of no finds it can be discouraging. Then you hear of a local friend who made a huge score at a shop you recently passed up and that makes it worse. My favorite store just marked down about 1000 CDs to $1 ea with 'even more in the back to put out' so I swing by every couple weeks and pick up 20 or so.
     
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  20. coniferouspine

    coniferouspine Forum Resident

    Believe it or not, in my town there is actually a little local Facebook discussion group, of amateur vinyl collectors/hounds/flippers, and that has made me realize that I am far too old and far too jaded for this stuff anymore, and I just don't have the time or the energy to get up super early every Saturday morning and dedicate a significant block of my weekend mornings to hustling and beating the early birds to the garage and estate sales in my area. Turns out it's not hordes of people vying for these records in the wild once I get to the sales, it's just a small clique of maybe ten or a dozen people who buy everything up, mostly to flip what they can get money for and keep a few things...there are also people in that group who hit the local thrift stores daily, during the week, figuring out what time of day when the newly priced arrivals go out in the bins and all that stuff. I have to work, I have a wife, I have friends, and many other interests and a life -- I love music but I simply ain't got time for that kind of hardcore dedication anymore.

    Five to seven, maybe 10 years ago, it was more leisurely, mellow, and not quite so much of a hustle. I used to occasionally make the rounds and did the yard sales, but not really anymore. I had one garage sale I'll never forget, I bought stacks and stacks of punk records from the guy. I still drive by the house from time to time (it's on a street I use as a shortcut) and I remember it so vividly. But like any scene or trend, it only takes the addition of a couple of extra people to the ecosystem, to turn it into a competitive and brutal thing.

    It's just really frustrating to go to a garage sale, and the person will say "oh man, somebody was just here and bought all the records, you just missed 'em" and then sometimes I can literally even get the person to describe the guy, and I'll know who it is.... Did he have brown curly hair? Old guy with glasses? Young skinny guy with a high voice? And then on the Facebook group a couple hours later you'll see the guy proudly posting pictures of his haul, spread out in piles. It is really kind of annoying!

    I used to daydream about doing what my favorite used bookstore in New York used to do, back in the day. The owner told me his secret one day when I asked him "where do you get all this stuff?" as I bought a mint condition copy of Jodorowsky's El Topo soundtrack on Apple for $4 and Santana Lotus from him for $7, from his new arrivals bin. The owner there told me he would go to the storage locker auctions (this was long before the popular shows now on TV) and instead of actually bidding on units, he would bring folded-down cardboard boxes in his car and just flat out tell the other bidders, "hey, all I want is the books and records -- anything with books and records I'll make you a cash offer right now today, on anything you win." He'd make alliances with people and they'd bid together on certain units, or agree not to bid, but splitting the contents afterwards where all he ended up with was books and LPs and occasionally the odd thing like a lamp for the store or whatever. He'd have huge boxes of books and records coming in, every week that way. That was 20-25 years ago now. Of course, now with that stupid show, everybody knows about it.
     
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  21. Christopher B

    Christopher B Well-Known Member

    Location:
    New Castle, DE
    Unfortunately, the potential profit of the hunter's bounty clouds people's sound judgement. People do it for profit a lot of times and it isnt just vinyl, it's Hot Wheels, chase Pop figures, etc. And companies arent dumb. They enable some of the madness with making limited quantities, only releasing titles in certain countries, exclusive Best Buy or Target CD versions and the like. If you have enough patience, and sometimes, enough cash, you can find anything.
     
  22. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    A year off target :laugh:
     
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  23. Chester0711

    Chester0711 Active Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Minneapolis,MN
    There are definitely people out there who do not know what vinyl is valued at....hell, prior to a year ago I was not as aware either. Just seems to be more people out hunting it down now. I can usually tell the collectors from the flippers. They don't seem to have a "process".

    The process of online sales seems like such a hassle more or less to clear a profit of any significant amount. I am not sure it is something I would ever try based on the time and hassles alone. This of course is just based on the few records I have purchased online.
     
    c-eling likes this.
  24. Jeff Kent

    Jeff Kent Forum Resident

    Location:
    Mt. Kisco, NY
    There are still large private collections out there too. Ideally if you're a regular at a particular store you could have the owner give you a tip that they just received a large collection. They might let you look at it before it hits the floor.

    I was at a store last month that had purchased a gigantic private CD collection (40,000+) and let people browse 5,000 at a time on consecutive Saturdays. You took your pile to the desk and they priced them there based on either Discogs or Ebay prices. They then gave you the option to buy. If you passed, they went to the floor priced as marked.

    I have to wonder how many places are pricing using a similar method. I picked up a 3CD early Ellington set for $1 that's long out of print and should sell for upwards of $30 in a store that knows Jazz.
     
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  25. I find many killer classic rock albums from half-price books and my local mom & pop's. Most all are in great shape. I scored a not so high demand Montrose s/t original vinyl for $1.99 yesterday afternoon. Vinyl was in excellent shape, the cover has a small crease on front but consider it a great find for my personal tastes. I have noticed that my local half-price books has lowered their average price on used vinyl in the last year.
     
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