Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Collecting Jazz Records For Fun And Profit

Click on the above photo to enlarge it.

Click on the link below to read about that price guide and read some reviews.

My first lucky break was surely beginner's luck. I looked in the classified section of The Washington Post around 1980 and saw an ad for an estate sale listing a large jazz collection.
It was scheduled for the coming Sat. I was off from work on Friday and it was at an address not far from my house so I went over and knocked on the door early in the morning.

Two ladies were inside. They had just driven up from Shenandoah,Va. One of them told me the records were in the basement. I went down to take a look.
There was one other man walking around the house but he was not interested in the records.
The two sisters were cleaning out their brother's house. The had already sold all the furniture and they told me they had found socks filled with silver dollars stuffed down in the sofa.

The man had been a photographer. He lived with his mother. After she died he lived alone.
There were about 400 jazz albums in the basement as well as about 1200 jazz 78s. The 78s were 25 cents a piece but I was not interested in them. They break easily and take up too much room to store and most 78s have no real value.
So I just bought the best of the jazz LPS. There were plenty of original Blue Notes and Prestige albums there. I called my friend and he came over and bought the rest.

The albums had stickers from the record store in Washington D.C. where they had been bought back in the 1950s. It was located in D.C. around 13th and G Streets N.W. It had been a small store specializing in modern jazz.
My friend and I went back the next day and all the 78s were gone. The lady told me that two old men had been fighting over them.

The only reason I got the records on Friday was that the ad had been in the paper all week and many other collectors and dealers had been there knocking on the door but the two ladies were down in Shenandoah,Va. all week and no one was home until they arrived on Friday morning just before I got there.

Those who had come too early missed out just like those who had come too late.

I sold them all and made my first large profit. I was hooked. All it takes is one big score and the novice becomes an addicted collector,trader,buyer,seller. Vinyl addiction is much like drug addiction. The customer buys more in order to sell to buy more. It doesnt take long for the customer to become a dealer. And if they work hard and are lucky a wheeler dealer.

The link below is to a good jazz record collector web site.
If you scroll down you can read some of his and others collecting stories.
I like the one about him buying records in a lot on Ebay. He took a chance and won.Most collectors would never bid the way he did. It is not a good thing to do. He just got lucky. You can then go to his homepage to read more. He is a real pro.

Over the years I sold all my valuable jazz records to Japanese buyers and record store owners.
In the beginning this record mania was like the 1849 gold rush to California. Those that got there first made out. Those that came late did not.
We used to joke that the ones really making money are those that write and sell these price guides.