Buying a record collection

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussions' started by lazydawg58, Oct 23, 2019.

  1. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know Thread Starter

    Lillington NC
    I'd love some feedback from those of you that buy collections from individuals. I'm not really talking about buying from fellow collectors but more from people that have records in their garage, basement, closet etc. or at estate sales, yard sales. I have bought a few and wonder if I'm doing it right. Below is an example I posted earlier on another thread.

    If someone has 500 records and want to sell them "all or nothing" then I think 50 ceents to $1 per is a reasonable price. Everybody thinks their records are worth a lot more than they actually are. Eighty percent of all the records out there are worth between $1 and nothing while they are sitting in a box. Clean them up, repair the jacket, play grade them, put them in new inner and outer sleeves and half of those are still unsalable, either because no one wants them or they aren't at least VG-. The other half of those 400 records are now at best worth $3 to $5 at a record show or consignment booth, maybe a little more at a brick and mortar. That leaves 10o more records. Discard a third of them because of condition and you have 66 left. 60 of them might bring $5 to $7 ($7 to $12 brick and mortar) That leaves 6 valuable records if you are lucky. Maybe they bring between $120 and $140. But often those 6 valuable records aren't even in there.

    So out of 500 records bought maybe just over half (266) are going to actually get sold. The buyer is going to have expenses like rent (whether it is a table at a record show, storage unit, consignment booth or actual store), supplies, travel, etc. Time is also a major factor. The seller gets their money on the spot it might take the buyer months just to get back what they paid for the records, much less starts making any money.

    So lets say those records are bought for $400 or 80 cents each. There is more than likely, if my estimates are accurate $1,000 to $1,300 worth of records in there. So the buyer is purchasing that collection for about 30 to 40 percent of their retail value. That seems to me to be more than fair.

    I'm not saying this as a authority. I'd love to hear what others think. My feelings will not be hurt if you ripe my assessment to shreds, just tell me where my reasoning is faulty.
    JasonA likes this.
  2. Gaslight


    Northeast USA
    Completely depends on what's in there. If the collection is all thrift store fodder then $1 per LP is probably a gift to the seller. But if they have old Blue Note / Reiverside jazz in great condition or NM classic rock staples that are worth $20+ apiece then that's another story.

    Where I do agree is that anyone who sells in bulk like this is going to take a hit on how much they will get. You'll get more money if you sell off the collection a little at a time but of course that takes a lot more time.
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  3. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know Thread Starter

    Lillington NC
    Well that is where I'm factoring in a few (6) in demand records. Of course if you go through a collection and you start seeing Blue Note Records, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, and Led Zepplin in large numbers and in pristine condition that would push the price up significantly higher. But even then in any average Joe collection there are going to be lots and lots more common albums, (Pure Prairie League, Cat Stevens, Hank Jr., 10CC, Paul Simon, Journey, etc. etc) than anything that is in high demand for high prices (Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, Grateful Dead).

    In looking at a collection I'd first establish if they were interested in selling records selected from the boxes or if they wanted to sell it all or nothing. I'm talking about when it is an all or nothing proposition.
  4. joachim.ritter

    joachim.ritter Senior Member

    I think when we are talking about low value records like those you shouldn't pay more than 20 to 25 percent maximum. US$ 1 for a record you can offer for US$ 5. If half of a collection is trash you can only offer 50 cents per record.

    30 to 40 percent seem to be o.k. for records you can sell for a better price, like US$ 10 to 20.
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  5. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know Thread Starter

    Lillington NC
    I'd still love to hear from some of you that have more experience buying collections. How do you determine what you will offer when buying an entire collection?
  6. clhboa

    clhboa Forum Resident

    I think you are on the right track. I was buying collections in the early 90's when lps were seen as outdated. I would imagine it's a little tougher now. Given the comeback of vinyl's popularity, I think most people will assume they are sitting on a goldmine even when they're not.
  7. Mr. LP Collector

    Mr. LP Collector Forum Resident

    Good opinions by all here. One of my long time record friends, when he sold his store in 1999, had a saying that I still remember to this day.--"80% of the collectors are looking for 15% of the records.

    Maybe I'll get to the point here. Yes, vinyl has made a comeback. Sure has! How long does it last this time though? If you have time and a collectors shop nearby check his selection, write down prices if you can. There are certain labels regarding pop, rock, classic rock that I think real hard before I jump into a collection of a few hundred. I'm probably going to get a lot of people who disagree with me, but I'll start with Columbia Records. In the 1980's they pressed the bejesus out of releases. You can make a strong case for Pink Floyd, naturally. But my experiences from going to shows, record stores, indoor flea markets, etc., is when it comes to Streisand, Journey, REO Speedwagon, Willie Nelson, Loverboy, Neil Diamond, etc., etc., make sure the discs and covers are M- before you put $3 on them, and take the first $2 offer you get. There are exceptions to white label promos, dj timing strips, and certainly half speed masters.

    All the major labels were guilty of this --anywhere from A&M records to Epic, Asylum, Warner Bros./Reprise w/ several artists. Back to Pink Floyd. AFAIC they are carrying the weight regarding classic rock albums in big demand with the millenials. That collection you're looking at just might have those Columbias (they were pressed heavily). On the other hand, what's the chances of that collection having all the Floyds, including the solo stuff? The Harvest label stuff? The Tower label lp's?

    Moving away from classic rock for a second, is the collection loaded up with bluegrass? Reggae? Pre-1970's jazz? Pre 1965 Country?

    It's been a long time since I've bought collections, I do stay active at shows regarding pick and choose. It's a tough call sometimes-There are levels I put at regarding what is selling at the shows--what are the people basically putting as priority on big dollar purchases? Well, I consider the upper tier as Beatles, Stones, Floyd, the Who, Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Dylan, Grateful Dead. The second tier would be Kinks, Animals, Jethro Tull, Moody Blues, U-2, Genesis, Fleetwood Mac. And MANY more! Elvis is somewhere in between.

    If it's loaded with progressive, that's a good thing. Kraftwerk, Focus, Tangerine Dream, Jan Akkerman solo, Renaissance, Bo Hansson, Gentle Giant, groups like that, have a loyal following. And I get get requests from them at shows a lot.

    Any hoo I'll shut my yap! There's a fine line between the used record store owners mantra of "Buy low, sell high." I do just the opposite lol, but I enjoy doing the shows. The one thing about the market, it's always changing! Be careful with the offer, check whazzup with Discogs and Popsike with the nicer material. If there's a nearby store, ask about those artists you mentioned-Cat Stevens, Pure Prarie League, Simon, Journey, etc.

    Good luck!:righton:
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2019
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  8. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know Thread Starter

    Lillington NC
    Thanks for your thoughts. Can you offer a little more on the highlights above? I tend to gravitate to the bluegrass, early country, soul, and jazz, not so much for the resale value but as a personal interest. Of course as I build my own collection I will look to sell duplicates and others that I don't attach myself to after a few listens.
  9. Mr. LP Collector

    Mr. LP Collector Forum Resident

    I've been to a couple shows since the Ken Burns "Country Music" DVD that PBS aired a few weeks ago. IMO that helped the country/bluegrass genres at the record shows--I know, I've been to two in the last two weekends.

    What I look for when it comes to bluegrass is Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, and Ralph Stanley (of course) but what I have in my personal collection is a variety of styles-John Hartford, New Grass Revival (along with solo lp's from Sam Bush), Hot Rize (along with solo lp's from Tim O'Brien), Bela Flek, Tony Trishka, Norman Blake, Abigail Washburn, The Cox Family, Alison Kraus, Dillards, and several others.

    What I like in regards to old country are the obvious ones, of course such as Hank Williams Sr., Bob Wills, Hank Thompson, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, etc., etc. But there are certain artists out there that appeal to me that a lot of country people aren't that familiar with, one that comes to mind is Bonnie Guitar. Youtube the song "Dark Moon." One of my personal top ten songs of any genre of music! She is not in the Country Music Hall Of Fame but had released close to a couple dozen lp's in the 60's and 70's. In 1989 I did a show in Seattle (she's from there) and brought several Bonnie Guitar lp's with me--sold them all in the first hour. Another artist I like is Mickey Newbury- again, a guy who IMHO is very underrated.
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  10. Tim Crowley

    Tim Crowley Forum Resident

    Lyndonville, VT
    Buying an entire collection is the best way to get a bang-for your buck", IMO.
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  11. Mr. LP Collector

    Mr. LP Collector Forum Resident

    Well, my tastes in jazz and soul are most likely different than other people but with jazz ya gotta start with Miles Davis and John Coltrane. My personal collection varies besides these two key figures, but here goes--Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Bill Evans, Chet Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker, June Christie, Cal Tjader, Lionel Hampton, Johnny Smith, Dinah Washington, Phil Woods, Maynard Ferguson, Anita O'Day, Billie Holiday, Milt Jackson, Hubert Laws, there are SO many others!

    Soul? The Showtime Channel last month did an awesome documentary on Barry Gordy and Motown Records. I haven't bought the cd yet but will and to my knowledge the dvd isn't out yet but it is GREAT! The CD box set looks really cool, just over of 100 songs of classic Motown tunes! Other artists i collect are Aretha Franklin, Sam and Dave, Ruth Brown, Drifters, James Brown, Etta James, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, Dells, Solomon Burke, and SO many others!
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2019
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  12. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know Thread Starter

    Lillington NC
    I was fortunate enough to get a collection from the estate of a regional country music celebrity last year. Unfortunately condition on much of it wasn't what I had hoped for. But I got tons of Osborne Bros., and lots of other bluegrass from the sixties and seventies. Also lots of sixties and seventies country including several autographed Gene Watson. I also got at another estate sale 130 pristine country albums, Bill Anderson, Porter Wagoner, Conway, etc. In both examples I paid around 75 or 80 cents per record. I've read about Bonnie Guitar but never seen any of her albums out in the wild.

    I have a table at a neighborhood vintage shop where I sell all my records for $4. I haven't stocked any of the bluegrass yet but the country sells slow but steady. I've been surprised but the soul and jazz I've put out hasn't really moved at all. A Miles Davis just sits there with no takers as does Jerry Butler and The Supremes. Of course the classic rock sells best but it is also the most expensive, so $4 leaves little room to do more than break even. I guess I should qualify that to say I don't really expect to make money on the table, just supplement the cost of my hobby.

    As for record shows. I've considered setting up a table but I end up buying a lot of my records from the $1 bins at the shows so it seems I'm better off buying than selling there.
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  13. lazydawg58

    lazydawg58 Know enough to know how much I don't know Thread Starter

    Lillington NC
    I pick up lots of Getz, Washington, Hampton, Fergeson, Sanborn, Montgomery but seldom see the big names like Coltraine, Parker, Davis, Evens. I also have lots of Isley Brothers, Impressions, Supremes, Cooke, Smokey, Wonder etc. But the Green, Redding, Gaye are few and far between.
    Mr. LP Collector likes this.

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