How much of a record's value can be attributed to the album jacket?

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussions' started by Nathan Z, Jun 24, 2022.

  1. Nathan Z

    Nathan Z Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Here's something I've been thinking about recently. Just how much of a record's value can be attributed to the album jacket? Is there a general pattern/rule of them? For example, does a jacket make up 1/4 a record's value? 1/8? If I have an $100 record, and let's say it's in NM/NM condition, is $25 then the value of the jacket?

    What's the rule of thumb here?
  2. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    I don't think there would be a straight forward formula. If you look at very expensive collectable record it might account for up to 50-60% of the value if the record is in good condition. On ordinary commonly found records it might mean the difference between people buying the record or not so 100% but the jacket alone would not sell without the record in this case.
    Then the buyer can place different importance to it, no I don't think there is such formula but to be on the safe side I would consider as average 25% for most desirable records which are not particularly rare first editions. Why, are you trying to set the price for something valuable?
    Swann36 likes this.
  3. Jim0830

    Jim0830 Forum Resident

    I agree. It all depends on the priorities of the individual buyer too. Someone who buys the record for their personal listening pleasure would often be less interested in condition of the jacket. They can always try to find a beat up copy of the LP with a jacket in better shape. Someone who is looking to flip and resell the LP is probably going to put more of a priority in the condition of the jacket. It also depends on how rare the record is. I guess the only rule is there are no rules. If you are on good terms with a local record dealer, pick his/her brain when it is quiet and they can talk.
  4. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Katy, TX
    Say we're discussing a Beatles' Butcher Yesterday and Today, it's close to 100% of the value. Most albums it depends on what else is available. Myself it drops the value some, but nowhere near the 50% of what a NM record drops from Mint or from NM to VG+. The record has priority. I'll take a NM record with a VG+ sleeve over a VG+ record with a NM sleeve every time. I can find a better sleeve, maybe later. I'll take my chances or maybe I won't. Not the hugest priority to me. I'll generally just preserve the sleeve as much as I can just to have something to store the record in. If it has ringwear, I'll keep it from getting worse. I'm okay with that.
    GentleSenator and JMR like this.
  5. Tim Irvine

    Tim Irvine Forum Resident

    Austin, Texas
    There are a few albums well known for their covers where I think a quick look at eBay will confirm the cover added value...the VU with the stick on banana intact, the Moby Grape with the middle finger, the Blind Faith with the naked minor, and so on.
    timind and zombiemodernist like this.
  6. KT88

    KT88 Senior Member

    I run a record store, in addition to a Hi-Fi shop. I have also been collecting records for 40 years. So I meet a lot of people who are interested in music, but many have different values. There are some main themes and trends that have lasted some time though. Assuming that you are talking about the record coming with the jacket, then that's a more usual scenario. The record is what most stores grade and what most buyers want graded for their convenience. Everyone can see the cover without opening it. Some stores, perhaps mostly mail order sellers, will grade the jacket separately. So lets's say there is a VG+ record album that has a cover which is a bit tattered. Most shops where people walk in and buy records will grade the vinyl and let the cover stand for what it is. That is because the record is hidden by the cover, so what grading does is reveal that condition without further investigation. It makes shopping way easier for the buyer. It also keeps tire kickers from handling a record multiple times and putting it back on the shelf, which protects the store owner and future owners of the records from wear via careless handling.

    In a mail order situation, you can't really see the condition of either, so separate grading is best to meet expectations without having to waste time on a photo shoot. Who in hell has time for that? So let's say that VG+ record with the tattered cover might be best listed as VG+/G. What I have done here, since my customers see the cover is to sometimes ding the rating of the vinyl to allow for a lower package price where the cover isn't up to spec with the Lp., say that VG+ record may get a VG grade.

    In summary, I will say that a record jacket which is included with a record probably only holds 25% or so of the value of the package. perhaps more if it's a somewhat rare record. basically, people are more likely to buy a record that has a nice looking cover, and will likely pay a bit more for it also. But if the record itself is in poor condition, then they are not gonna want it at all. If you are trying to sell just a cover, then it is likely very low in value to most folks.
    Tim Irvine and Boltman92124 like this.
  7. BrentB

    BrentB Urban Angler

    Midwestern US
    It is kind of a funny thing. Years ago I had a regular customer at several record shows that would buy stuff from me. Pretty common stuff like Supertramp, Seger, Starship. He would pull out a small stack, step aside, and then study the covers for longer that anyone I have ever seen has. The spines, the edges, the top, the bottom, the front, the back, the opening. He would buy most of the stack and put a few back Never once did I see him remove the LP and look at it...
    Boltman92124 and timind like this.
  8. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Go Padres!!

    San Diego
    Did he ever return later on after playing the LP and finding it to be unacceptable?
  9. Theadmans

    Theadmans Forum Resident

    I am a sleeve fetishist...

    Sticker damage, bad ring wear, seam splits, creases, writing from previous owners etc etc...

    ...are big no nos for me.

    I give the vinyl a cursory glance for bad damage, warps etc.

    As I flip through my collection bad sleeve faults nag at my OCD...

    ...if the vinyl is bad - I can always play Hi-Res Qobuz while gazing wistfully at my minty mint sleeve.

    I realise I am weird...

    ...I am the same with CDs - damage caused to booklets by the case dimples and semi-circular case retainers drive me mad.

    People that cause this kind of wanton vandalism - should be shot by firing squad IMHO.
  10. I joined a record and cover match club about 5 years ago and it has about 7,500 members. The idea supposedly being if you needed to replace a bad cover for clean record or replace a bad record for your clean cover, you can list your ISO in hopes of fulfilling your need.

    Overwhelmingly, the requests are almost entirely ISO's for replacement covers.
    Overwhelmingly, most requests go unanswered.
    Raunchnroll likes this.
  11. BrentB

    BrentB Urban Angler

    Midwestern US
    Nope. He was a regular customer for 2-3 years (at 4-5 shows per year) and always bought quite a few. His only comment was "I had a lot of luck buying from you last time". Have not seen him at the shows in years and I am not sure where he went. That is happening with customers and other dealers alike all to much lately.
    Boltman92124 likes this.
  12. cwitt1980

    cwitt1980 Senior Member

    Carbondale, IL USA
    If it's a common title, I usually give it about a 1/3 of my price decision. For example, a Bob Seger Stranger In Town that has a VG cover but clean LP is going to sell regardless. Some people aren't that picky about covers. But if that cover is as good as the vinyl, I'm going to mark it up a few more dollars. Obviously, it's going to be different for various collectable/rare albums.
  13. Raunchnroll

    Raunchnroll Senior Member

    I routinely shop for covers that are in good condition. Price has tp be comensurate. Dollar bins used to be a great source to even up the meat & potatoes LPs that everyone likes, but the cheapie bins really dried up the last 5 years. Still find the occasional nice one though.

    Records with great covers are like cars with the interior cleaned and vacuumed after a car wash. They give off that 'close to new again' vibe - and you feel it.

    The thing with records, as I've said here before, is that for many buyers the only thing that matters is whether the disc emits music when a stylus is lowered onto it. Whether its a 50 year old 1st pressing or a brand new reissue, whether the inner / inserts are in good condition, the provenance of the record, hype stickers, etc. None of that matters.
  14. Spitfire

    Spitfire Senior Member

    Pacific Northwest
    To me it sometimes depends on the cover. Some covers are known as having a lot of ring wear or have other problems so if I find one of those out in the wild that's clean and in great shape I would probably note that when selling it and probably charge a small premium for it.

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