Selling my Classical Vinyl LP Records

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I've seen records like this on the internet and I know the value of what I'm selling!

If you have a collection of classical records which you want to sell it is worth taking a few factors into your calculations when working out a price with which you would be happy.

ESTABLISHING WHAT YOUR COLLECTION IS WORTH:

A little knowledge can be a bad thing. How often have I heard that a friend has advised a seller that their collection could be worth something, with estimated prices being taken from internet auction sites (usually eBay). Sellers need to bear in mind that just because an item is "listed" at a particular price it doesn't mean to say that it will "sell" at that level. There are a lot of chancers and optimistic amateurs on internet sites, or dealers who are prepared to let items sit for months or years in the hope that some gullible individual will come along, and who have vastly inflated ideas of the value of their items. Therefore, in order to get an accurate idea of what your item is worth you need to look at the "sold" items, and even then you will notice an enormous discrepancy between the final prices gained at auction. Specialist dealers, with their large customer bases, will probably achieve the best prices, so in turn they are probably the ones who will give you the best prices for your rare items.

IDENTIFYING THE MORE VALUABLE ITEMS:

This is a difficult one, because to the untrained eye a specific record may appear to be worth quite a lot of money. However, in order to establish whether it is valuable or not requires a fair amount of knowledge. As with books, the serious record collector will only be looking for the equivalent of "first editions", and the price difference between a "first" and subsequent issues can mean an enormous difference in value. Likewise, just because the picture on the sleeve is the same as the one you have, it doesn't mean that your record is worth the same. Many records were issued in stereo and mono, and the mono issue will usually only be worth a mere fraction of its stereo counterpart. The country of origin is also important with many records, and so if the record has been produced in the "wrong" country its value will also be significantly reduced. And, of course, condition is all important. A damaged record (which could just mean that there is a fine hairline scratch) will not achieve the same price at auction as a pristine copy, while a tear or mark on the sleeve could be equally detrimental to the value. In order to work out which records are valuable you will need to compare the labels very carefully with those from your collection, and there are guides on the internet to help you do this. In general, full price labels of the late 1950s and early 1960s achieve the highest prices. but if your collection consists mainly of reissues it is unlikely that it will be of any value or interest to most dealers.

SO WHAT CAN YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE?

A sensible dealer will begin assessing a collection against what he would expect to pay for the lot at auction. Look at the lots on eBay and assess your collection against the sold lots (also take note of the content and number of unsold lots) In most collections there is a proportion of collectors' records while the remainder will consist of reissues and cheaper labels, which have very little resale value. It is the rarer material which will determine the value of your collection, and a dealer's prices will also be based on what he would expect to achieve on a low day at auction. Buying and selling involves an element of risk and the dealer's offer will reflect this - sellers must also bear in mind that they are offering a "job lot" to the dealer, so there will be some records that he WANTS but probably a fair proportion that he DOESN'T WANT, but he still has the job of getting rid of them. Dealers will always try to make an offer with which you are happy, but you should bear in mind that they have the experience and knowledge to know what an item will sell for and that, after all the time and expense associated with travelling, carrying, sorting, grading, listing and packing, their offer will be based on their ability to make a reasonable profit from the records they have bought from you. Obviously if you have a good selection that offer should be substantial, but always try to be realistic and don't necessarily think that you're sitting on a gold mine. How many sadly deluded people have I come across in my career as a record dealer, where they have rejected an offer only to come crawling back after a few weeks because they've realised that their expectations were all too unrealistic in the first place?
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