Here's a story about a former customer of mine.
Vinyl finally dead? That'll be the day... MP3 players may be all the rage but records make a sound investment
Who said that records were finished? If you have a pile of old LPs gathering dust in the loft, you could be in the money. The most collectible records fetch thousands of pounds.
Jean-Paul Cuesta-Vayon, 42, who runs the Vinyl Junkies shop in Soho, central London, says: 'You can't beat records - they are not just more tactile with far better art work than CDs, they also boast far superior sound quality. When CDs and then MP3 music formats came along they offered more convenience and seemed an exciting alternative. But as time has gone by many music lovers have come back to the more lasting appeal of vinyl.'
Jean-Paul says this attraction goes right across the music market -- from jazz to rock 'n' roll, hip hop and rhythm and blues. But though the appeal attracts all age groups, the nostalgia of those brought up on vinyl is also a key driving force. The blue-chip investments are the bands with international appeal that have stood the test of time.
Turning a profit: Vinyl Junkies shop owner Jean-Paul Cuesta-Vayon
At the head of the list is The Beatles. Other highly collectible groups include The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, The Who, Queen and The Smiths.
Among the individual performers, Elvis Presley, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Cliff Richard, Elton John and Marc Bolan are the most sought after.
Industry magazine The Record Collector puts the first ten numbered copies of The Beatles' White Album - released 40 years ago this weekend - as top of the pops for rarity value. It puts a conservative estimate of between £5,000 and £7,000 for one of the first ten copies, though investors might pay twice that amount.
Other rarities include a swearing Marc Bolan on a recording of Hard On Love plus a silk-padded sleeve of The Rolling Stones album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, both valued at £2,000. Collectors will pay about £3,000 for the mono version of Unfinished Music No 1: Two Virgins, an experimental 1968 album by John Lennon & Yoko Ono with the couple nude on the cover, rarity rather than musical appeal pushing up the price. Perhaps the most expensive record is the 7 inch single of That'll Be The Day, recorded by The Quarrymen in 1958 before three of them went on to form The Beatles. Sir Paul McCartney owns the only known copy, which is valued conservatively at £100,000.
Stephen Maycock, the rock 'n' roll memorabilia consultant for auction house Bonhams, says: 'It wasn't until the Eighties that vinyl really started to be viewed as collectible, when the supply dried up as the musical format was switched to CDs.'
First pressings are usually the most valuable, as they were often produced in relatively small numbers before the record became a hit. Early demos and limited exports are also sought after among die-hard collectors.
Cant's be beat: Jean-Paul among his wares
The record company and issue code on the disc and sleeve can help reveal the identity. Other considerations include whether it was a commercial release or promotional, recorded in stereo or mono, contained any freebies or has a picture sleeve.
As with all collectible items, Maycock says condition is vital. An LP in mint condition is worth twice a 'very good' example that has a few minor scuffs and surface scratches. Anything less is not usually considered as collectible - a badly scratched copy could fetch less than a tenth of the value.
Although Jean-Paul admits that recordings by the big names in music have accounted for some of the most impressive price rises in recent years, there is also a growing market for more obscure artists where cut-price gems can still be discovered.
'I have an early Seventies jazz record, The Latin Taste by Romano Mussolini, the youngest son of the wartime Italian dictator,' he says. 'It could be picked up for a few pounds a few years ago, but is now worth £600. Another rarity is Charlie Parker's In Sweden 1950 album, which is worth £1,000 because it's extremely rare.'
Bonhams has put a £600 estimate on a disc recorded in the late Sixties by Reg Dwight before he changed his name to Elton John. An early U2: Three 12in single from 1981 and signed by Bono has a valuation of £3,000.
While internet trading has transformed the market, for many vinyl investors there is no substitute for the fun of rummaging through racks at specialist record shops or trade fairs.
Befriending the dealer at a secondhand record store can also prove invaluable. But traders will typically offer half the price you could get on eBay.
An excellent source of information with details of shops and fairs is the Record Collector. The magazine publishes the industry bible, Rare Record Price Guide 2010. For American releases, investors should check out the books, Goldmine Record Album Price Guide and Goldmine Price Guide To 45RPM Records.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Here's a story about a former customer of mine.