How to Start a Vinyl Record Collection for Fun and Profit

A friend of mine, Dina, dug out some treasured relics of her teenage years, namely a whole collection of 45 vinyl records and LP record albums. It’s been -ahem- quite a few years since Dina’s been a teenager, so the records date back almost forty years ago to the 1960’s and 70’s.

Dina decided to turn her collection into cash, so she broke them up into lots and “tested the waters” by listing one lot on eBayâÂ?¢. She had high hopes that at least two bidders would fight for her “treasures” on the online auction, and run her starting price up to a tidy sum. That didn’t happen, so Dina decided to learn how to start a vinyl record collection for fun and profit with the rest of her vinyl record and album collection.

As for her experience with selling vinyl records on eBay�, Dina revealed to me that the winning bidder got the single lot of her 45 records for the starting price. She also said the winner paid more in shipping costs than he or she paid Dina for the merchandise. That was disheartening for her. Though, based on the original cost of the records, Dina estimated that she did in fact make a profit on them. She ignored inflation factors, and I let her just so she could feel good about the transaction.

Dina had memorable songs like “Ben” by Michael Jackson, “The Chipmunk Song” by The Chipmunks, “Seasons in the Sun” by Terry Jacks, “Shannon” by Henry Gross, “Evergreen” by Barbra Streisand, and “The Twelth of Never” by Donny Osmond, just to give you an idea of her collection.

So, Dina decided to keep the remainder of her records and albums and start a collection for fun and profit. (She still held hope that at least of few of her collection were rare and valuable.)

Once we delved into the world of starting a collection of old 45 vinyl records and LP record albums, we learned why she didn’t make as much money as she thought she would. For one, the vinyl record and album market of years gone by was virtually saturated. Songs were recorded and copied by the thousands and sold to the public. Therefore, if you have a copy of Michael Jackson singing “Ben”, you can bet thousands of other people who were teens in that era do too.

Second, the value of a 45 vinyl record or album depends a lot on its condition. Just like other teenagers, Dina spent hour after hour playing her beloved collection on her record player. She and friends loaned songs back and forth, lost sleeves in the shuffle, and she kept them in a record box she had bought. This box kept the 45 records in a vertical position, but to access them, you had to slide them in and out. Not good for the vinyl, especially when the 45 record wasn’t protected with its sleeve.

The conditions of most vinyl records are considered “Mint Condition”, “Almost Mint”, “Very Good”, and “Good.” But, even though the condition of a vinyl record or album adds to or detracts from its value, if the song is a rare one, then even if it’s in less than “good condition”, it can still be worth loads of money, as long as the record can be played and it sounds good.

So, we learned that, while condition is important, the song, the artist, and the date are also factors in determining whether it’s valuable or not.

Dina didn’t have any 33-1/3 or 78 records, which came out prior to vinyl 45’s and albums, but these recordings can’t be ignored if you want to start a vinyl record collection for fun and profit.

To find out what your vinyl record collection may be worth, you should make a list of your collection. Write down the name of the song, the artist, the date it was released, as well as notes about the condition of each record. If it’s a 45, do you have its original sleeve? Is the record scratched, or does it have writing on it, et cetera. Then, you’ll need to use the information you collected to do some research at your local library or on the Internet.

To find old 45 vinyl records and albums, as well as 33-1/3 and 78 records to start your collection with, or to add to an existing collection, visit online auction sites like eBayâÂ?¢. You can also check flea markets, garage sales, and estate sales too. Check online ads for the music you’re looking for too.

And finally, just like postage stamps, some single records or albums are valuable because of bloopers in their looks. Sometimes, especially with music albums, the records or their covers were pressed wrong. Maybe the colors were off, the lettering was different, and so on. So be sure to check records and albums you have for these flaws as well.

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