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Friday, November 16, 2012

Just for the Record, Should I Keep My Vinyl?

Vinyl record collection at student-run CKMS st...
Vinyl record collection at student-run CKMS station at the University of Waterloo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
         The recent passing of my step-father has put me in a reflective state of mind.   I look at my life--the experiences I've had, the material possessions I've accumulated, the people I've known--and I consider the concept of value.  I think about all the stuff in my closets and my garage.  Maybe it's time to get rid of some of it.  That's what I've been thinking.

          It could start with my vinyl record collection.  My turntable has been disconnected for a few years and  now is piled up with CD's and DVD's.   I don't listen to vinyl records anymore.  I don't even listen to CD's that often.   Maybe an hour or two per day--sometimes even as much as three hours--I might spend playing CD's in the background of my life.   If I'm on a road trip I might listen to as many as twelve CD's on a long driving day, but those trips don't happen that often.

         I don't plan to get rid of my CD collection anytime soon, but I am thinking about those vinyl records.  Don't get me wrong.  I truly appreciate my record collection.  I've been collecting those albums since my junior high school days--1964 is when I bought my first record album and I still have it.  I got rid of all of my 45's at the end of high school, but I kept the albums.  I've always treasured those albums.  But if I'm not listening to them then what's the point of keeping them?  I not curating a museum.

        Craig's List is tempting me.  I'm thinking that I could try to list the whole batch for maybe a thousand dollars firm and see if I get any bites.  I don't recall how many albums I have.  There might be as few as 300 or as many as 900.   It's no gigantic collection by any means, but it's reasonably respectable considering some of the albums included in the bunch.

           On the other hand I could try selling them off piecemeal.  Seems like a hassle, but the profit potential could be much better than getting rid of them all at once.   I'm not sure that I want to deal with the extended process of moving these out the door one by one, but when I look at some of the prices on the web of some of these gems I could potentially be getting as much as one or two hundred dollars or more for some of them.  That is if I am to believe that anyone is really paying these prices.

            These records.   They've been a part of me and my history.  There are memories in the music that accompanied times, places, and people in my past.  I have many of these records on CD now so the music wouldn't be totally lost to me.  The fact that I haven't been listening to them makes these records less a part of my life now.  They take up space.  They collect dust.  They kind of annoy my wife for whom these records have no meaning.  

           If I get rid of my records, I'm not getting rid of the memories.   I'm getting rid of stuff.   This is stuff that may be a boon or a burden to whomever is left with them when I leave this Earth.   I hope that departure is a long way off, but we never know when our time is up do we.  Maybe it's better to clean up our messes before we head out.  Kind of like helping clean up at the end of a party before we go home.

            Anyone want to buy a record collection?

            What do you own that you think it might be time to get rid of?   Has anyone had an experience selling things on places like E-Bay that they'd like to share?   When liquidating your life, would you rather avoid the prolonged hassle by just taking care of everything all at one shot?

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  1. Recently had to deal with getting rid of some old records. Check online to see if you have any of value, but guess what - sad to say, you won't find many takers. They just aren't worth anything.
    You might have a few gems, so do search and call a couple record stores.

  2. Hi Lee - I was going to suggest ebay ... it has a huge market place ...

    Good luck with whichever direction you go in .. cheers Hilary

  3. I think that you could make quite a decent amount of money of selling your records so if that's the route you want to go then I think it's a good idea. Best of luck with whatever you do though buddy, please keep us all updated.

  4. I love vinyl and will never get rid of my records. I love all the ritual associated with LP's and although they are only played on special occasions, they have soul and still sound better than all the high tech alternatives. . . . .

  5. My dad had a collection, and he gave most of it away. You might like to research a bit more before you come to a decision.

  6. I shipped a huge box of my mom's old records back from Oregon this summer and I wish I'd just ditched them. Nobody wants them! Not even the 1920's 78 records.

    Check online, but you'll probably find most are worthless.

  7. I no longer have anything that I think it is time to get rid of. I have given away my entire Louis LaMour collection, camping gear, and even a highly favored and treasured shotgun I had for over 30 years.

    I have no experience with E-Bay so I can't offer any info that would help you.

    My life won't be hard to sort through when it ends, I have a small CD collection of some of the most classic hard core, when country was not cool and really country, my pastoral library and a few old out of date non-stylish clothes.

    Now the wife? Different story. It will take the kids years to sort through her knick-knacks, collectibles, crafty type stuff, etc.

  8. Wow - your picture brings back memories. When my husband and I married we had a wall just like that. He had 1600 albums.

    Eventually he decided to sell. He sold most of it to local used record stores, a few to people and then the rest of his collection to a young man who was into all of it. There does seem to be a resurgence in vinyl appreciation. I'd check your local used music stores first. After that I'd check on Amazon. My husband sells a lot of his CD's there.

    Good luck!

  9. recent events bring that mortality check to everyone, the thought of is it all worth it. i went on that journey when my dad passed and i started giving those things away. things that i felt had no meaning, as a lot did. i wanted to give to a person who might do something more with it, than i did.

    i miss a lot of my stuff, but i have good thoughts to those who now enjoy their new stuff.

    vinyl is a tricky bird, last time i looked into it... i was told it was only the big stuff like the beatles, that were first editions that was worth something. you might want to see if there is a record convention in your area... find those people who love what you love. you might find more of a profit to see your collection go to someone who will appreciate the work you put into it.

    now of course check out the current prices, don't want to giveaway a rare lp...

    have a great day. i think i stayed on topic this time?

  10. ARLEE BOID ~
    Well, if you part with even one of those records without first checking with "DiscConnected" Larry, you will find that THIS was your most controversially-charged blog bit of all time!

    A word to the wise: Speak to Discman first. He might want to buy some. But at the very least, he will probably be able to tell you THE VERY BEST WAY to make yourself vinyl-free.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  11. At a local flee market is a man who takes old vinyl records and recycles them into journal covers. You may be able find someone who uses vinyl for these type of items. They may not pay a lot but instead of going to the 'dump' they are being recycled into another treasured item!

  12. Alex -- That's one of the points I'm making here. The online prices are high but I don't know how realistic the market is. I do know that the market isn't dead either. The buyers are out there, but it might be a big job trying to find them.

    Hilary -- I opened an E-Bay account, but selling there seems like it could be pretty time-consuming for things like records.

    Yeamie -- I'll let you know what happens if it does.

    Rob -- I too love the vinyl, but don't find time for the ritual anymore. The covers are great though.

    Damyanti - My post today is part of my research.

    L.Diane -- I'm sure there's a market that would have loved to have found the records you had, but I think it can be too time-consuming to locate that market.


  13. Gregg -- Earthly possessions can seem like so much vanity. Seem like? They are.

    Sheila - That picture is not my collection. Mine is much smaller. I'll probably try the Craig's List route first to see if I can find a buyer here in L.A. to take them all at one time. Go the easy way.

    RetroZ-- I probably should check the record shows again. I haven't seen any advertised in a while but I haven't been looking either. I might have a few rarities that are not big artists if I'm to believe some of my internet research.

    StMc -- Good point. Maybe I need to check with Larry for advice.

    Lynn -- I assure you that I have no plans to have my collection end up in the dump. Selling them as vinyl records will probably get me more than selling them as vinyl material to repurpose into other items.


  14. Oh, Lee. It's easy for me to say because I don't keep anything but PLEASE DON'T GIVE UP YOUR VINYL!

  15. You've got the most important things, the memories associated with them and others may have stories to share as well.

    It may be helpful to check with some record shops that still sell vinyl. They could use some great collections to bulk up their stock.

  16. I'm a big collector of vinyl, and I can tell you there isn't much money to be made. Unless you have mint condition rare vinyl, the hassle of shipping it all, not to mention the cost of shipping so much weight, makes it a a pretty difficult task.

    If you do go the ebay route, I would suggest selling records in lots of 10-20, to cut down on how much shipping you have to do. 1 record at a time is never worth it.

  17. I've thought a lot about getting rid of the clutter, in terms of not leaving a big mess for those who have to clean up in my wake. :)
    Plus, I have itchy feet, always moving somewhere. It's hard to cart around stuff I never use.
    Ebay is probably your best bet.

  18. I'm steadily lightening my load. My new rule is: "One new item in, and three old ones must go." As to what I got rid of, my turntable was one and all vinyl. Tape deck went next. I haven't used E-Bay, but my nephew has it down to a science and I'm amazed at what he sells. I'm now handing off things to him for a percentage. Great deal for me. Great deal for him. Do you have a nephew?

  19. Suze -- Don't tempt me! I love my records, but if I'm not playing them I feel like they're going to waste. Then again I guess I could think of them like I would a work of art on my wall. One thing I know is that I can't take them with me when I go and I'm not sure that my kids would care about my record collection.

    Angela -- The memories and the stories are the main things. And there are many. I can still recall the circumstances by which I acquired many of the records and special times associated with each of them. The records are memory prompts that might be difficult to let go of.

    Matthew -- I think you're right. About twenty years ago I tried to sell off the collection piecemeal and the shipping was a hassle. I'm still thinking the idea of selling the whole lot at once would be the easiest route to go.

    Laura -- I've been seeing more and more homeless wandering around my area, some with loaded shopping carts. I hope I would be never in that kind of circumstance, but still I sometimes wonder what I would do if I were in their shoes. There is much to be said for a pared down existence to increase the ease of mobility.

    C.Lee --The only family member that I know of that sells stuff on E-Bay is my step-daughter. She has sold some of her make-up and clothes and has apparently done alright. She lives a good distance from me though. Maybe at Christmas when she and her husband come to visit they can help me get started in the E-Bay business. I've got my account, but I just need to put some items up for sale.


  20. There'll be a market for some of them, but only you can decide if you can bear to part with them. If they're just gathering dust, get rid!

  21. So here's what I have to say about selling vintage collections:
    1. This is a bad time to be doing that. Collectibles aren't something people spend money on in a bad economy.
    2. Before you decide to get rid of them, check with people in your family that might be interested, because you will be much more satisfied if they go to someone in your family than you will making a few bucks. Unless it's a lot of bucks; that changes things.
    3. Think long and hard about it before you do. My mom gave away all of her vinyl at one point, and, really, she's regretted ever since, even though she doesn't listen to vinyl anymore. The records were important to her, and she's missed them. Personally, I sold off a toy once (because I really needed cash) that I have forever regretted getting rid of, so don't be hasty about dumping something "just because."

    For what it's worth...

  22. And another thing - look at the title of this blog for inspiration!

  23. I would keep the best of the lot, Lee, and convert them to CD with one of those LP2CD units.

    There are LP-sized frames at some craft stores for displaying the albums. Protects the record and decorates the den. Then, disperse the rest, but I'd suggest you do a little research before selling them as a 'case lot'.

    Good luck with your de-cluttering.

  24. i think you should definitely try selling them as a lot, there's always a chance you could find a buyer if you're lucky. But like some of the others here, I found there isn't much of a market and mainly for very esoteric stuff.

    Music,even rare stuff, is so easy to get hold of now it has to be something quite special to attract collectors, sad to say.


  25. Hi Lee,
    What about bundling them by decade or genre and selling them off. I think you would be more likely to make a fair amount of profit. People love THEIR music! :D

  26. Lizy-- If gathering dust is the criteria, then they must go.

    Andrew -- You make some excellent points worth considering. Many years ago I sold off my American Flyer electric train set for what I thought was a reasonable price only to find out later that it was worth much more. Then again it was stored at my parents house and if I had left it then it might have just disappeared. I will consider your suggestions.

    DG-- I do plan to keep a few choice selections that have extra special meaning to me. I've also thought about the conversion to CD, but I wonder when I would be listening to them. My mother is facing the same dilemma with the 100's of video tapes she has recorded from TV over the years. Will she ever watch them again? Does any really care about them?

    Mood -- One of the things that has influenced my decision is that much of the music I have found on YouTube. It's been fun listening to some of it there and that be the only time I'll ever listen to some of the old albums. I'm sure I'll eventually post the lot to see what interest I get. After all, I don't have to accept the offered price if it doesn't satisfy me.


  27. Oh, I did want to add... A lot of people love to decorate their space with just the covers! They are art could try this approach when selling them~

  28. Ella - That is a possibility. The bulk of the collection is late 60's/early 70's rock and that's probably where the greatest value is. The other albums might not draw much interest in their separate genres.


  29. Ella -- Looking for the buyers of album as art might be getting too specific for my purposes. I'd rather do this project quickly. Unless of course I could make a tidy living over the next year or so selling them off and I doubt whether that would be the case.


  30. Vinyl is making a comeback, but I certainly understand if you want to sell parts of the collection.

    I don't have experience with eBay or Craig's List, but I do know you could have the albums transferred to CDs and even have the sound restored in the process. And, then, you may want to sell them to pay for the transfers. Just a thought.

  31. I think this might be the first time I'm commenting on your blog (LOL) but what a collection you have and I'm sure it is worth a bit of money. We are in the neverending process of liquidating hubby's parents' estate and we've had a few estate sales, several people have come by looking to see if we had records (we really didn't have any, maybe 10 tops that hubby hasn't decided if he wants to keep or not).So definitely do some checking on what things could be worth before you liquidate them should you decide to.

    Honestly, I can tell you only because it has been a nightmare to do so with hubby's parents stuff, liquidate now as much as you want to get rid of, things you aren't using, etc. Hubby's parents never got rid of ANYTHING; there were over 60 years worth of cards they had sent each other, over 40 years worth of bank statements, canceled checks, etc. It is an ongoing mess and we are almost finishing our second year of trying to do this (long story but we are living in their house). It would be easier if we had a time period to get it all done because we'd want to sell the house.

    eBAY can be a hassle to sell on; I've heard a lot of buyers will complain about the products after they get them and want their money back, etc.

    good luck whatever you decide to do!


  32. If I were selling something as extensive and potentially valuable as your collection, I would try to find someone to give me an appraisal - even a somewhat unofficial one. Some things are much more valuable than others. You could possible sell the most valuable separately and the others as a lot.

    Since you live in LA, I think you may be able to tap into the collectors easier than if you lived in a small town in a flyover state.

    Husband has sold a few items on Craigslist with good results. Neither of us has tried eBay.

    If no one in your family would want the collection, it is time to sell it or give it away to someone who would cherish it.

    Sorry this ran long :)


  33. When I moved to the Caribbean, I sold off about 2/3's of my 'things' and the rest went into a storage unit in Idaho. After almost three years, I have to admit that living in furnished places among other people's things, feels kind of lonely. Obviously, I'm not too attached to 'stuff', but it's all a part of our history.

    That said; 'vinyl' certainly isn't a warm fuzzy item, although mine still sits in that storage locker, but consider long and hard how you will feel watching it go down the road. As for liquidating our lives, so those left behind once we move on don't have to,'s one of those things that is easier said than done. My father died in '99 and I was left with quite a lot of 'stuff' to deal with, but in the end it has been nice to sift through his life for a last goodbye.

  34. Lee, I can understand the emotional attachment. But there comes a time to clear some space, make a little cash, and be thankful for the memories.

    And there's always iTunes.

  35. Hey Lee! First of all, let me say that as a lover of vinyl, I think you have quite an impressive collection! I used to collect albums, and will still pick up a vinyl recording if it's something that I absolutely love and the price is right. Back in the eighties I found myself in a tight spot financially and had to part with the Beatles part of my collection...I had Japanese imports of every album the Beatles recorded, of course it was the only part of the collection the buyer was really interested in. I kept my Sgt. Pepper picture disc out of the deal and still have it,(bought in around 1975 or whenever it was that it was originally released) along with about 20 other lps, (not all Beatles!)..anyways, I agree with the people who have suggested that you get someone to do an least find out if you're sitting on something that's worth a small fortune! Maybe you could keep a favourite few and get the old turntable going again! There's just something about putting an album's so much more than 'pushing' 'play' on a media player. Good luck whatever you decide...great collection!

  36. Paula --I used to consider making the vinyl to CD transfer, but I just don't think I'd listen to the music much and I have so much now on CD that should keep me in music for years to come.

    Betty -- I'm pretty sure you've commented here before, but it's been quite a while. Welcome back. Just dealing with my step-father's death and helping my mother weed out some of her accumulation has been a reminder to me about my own stuff.

    Carol-- The appraisal idea is a good suggestion. I might have to consider that one as well. And I agree that L.A. is maybe one of the best places to move a collection such as this.

    Faraway -- I agree about the journey of exploring a life through possessions. It's sad, but it can also be a process of discovery of things not previously known.

    Stephen -- Cash, yes, that's what I could use. I got the memories and I need to write them down. Internet radio stations could keep me in good music from now on.

    Eve -- I always loved listening to an album and enjoying the cover and insert material if it were included. Loved good liner notes and it was fun to read the lyrics. In the early 90's I actually catalogued my collection and tried to get into the record sales business, but I think I ended up buying more new records that getting rid of any. Great business guy I am.


  37. I'm a pack-rat so you're asking the wrong girl...
    My husband runs an eBay business which makes us some nice spending money, but he sells electronic parts (new) that his company has made obsolete and are recycling so I can hardly comment on vinyl. I'd say do some research, and consider craigslist, too.
    On a side note, The Engineer gave his 8 track player and his last 8 tracks as a white elephant gift and it was the most "stolen" item...
    Tina @ Life is Good

  38. Lee-

    First off, a pox on all those Philistene commenters who got rid of their records!

    I was never able to part with mine (I have in the neighborhood of 1,500 of them).

    If you try to sell even a thousand all as one bundle, I think you'd be lucky to get much more than a quarter each.

    Any store is going to act like all of your collection is garbarge, and then sell the collectible stuff on eBay and put the common stuff in a $2 bin.

    You'd be better off trying to sell more collectible items individually on eBay.

    A couple of tips:

    (1) Condition is everything-if the album jacket is ripped in half, it doesn't matter if it's a Beatle's butcher block cover-it's not going to go for much.

    (2) If you have any of those Mobile Fidelity Half Speed Mastered audiophile albums, they are pretty popular.

    (3) As you get into the seventies, remember that that is when album sales started to take off, so the better seller it was may work against you for price (there are a lot out there).

    This is a good time to sell, as vinyl has been gaining in popularity among young people.


  39. Lee-

    Another thing you could try if you're so inclined is to rent a table at a record show (I know there are several monthly ones in the LA area) and see how you do.

    I don't agree with the comments that this stuff doesn't move in a bad economy-collector with cash are always buying.

    Phoenix (a city that's pretty well isolated) has a fairly suprising (to me) used vinyl scene with one monthly show that draws a decent crowd. I would imagine LA would be better.

    I would not spend the money on an appraisal-you should be able to spend a little time looking up your titles on eBay to get a feel for what you've got (if the title is not listed individually, it's probably not going to command a lot).

    I forget who made the comment about eBay and postage, but he's right. That's why I'd cherry pick what goes on eBay and sell the rest in bulk (Craig's list, a local used record store or even Goodwill and take the tax deduction).

    I've often thought about who would have to clear out my CD collection when I pass, and then figure, if they want the house, let 'em do a little work!

    I'm keeping my clutter!

    I do expect to be notified of any Todd Rundgren titles in your collection (especially if you have the Wisard/True Star album with the little band-aid and postcard)...


  40. Lee-One last thought.

    A couple of people have mentioned gettting the lp's put onto CD's.

    Not a bad idea if it is an LP that was never released on CD.

    But if there is a CD in print, you'll want to consider...

    (1) Why haven't I bought the CD before now? I learned early on that if there was an inch of dust on the LP, there would be an inch of dust on the CD.

    (2) If I really want to do this, am I either paying a service, or buying a conversion device that will cost me more than just buying the CD?

    I promise I'm done now!


  41. I more comment...

    Every time I see that picture of your collection on my dashboard preview pane, I salivate a little!


  42. Tina -- I still have an 8-track player that is part of one of those monster home entertainment consoles. Totally impractical, the thing sits in my garage. I think there are still a few 8 track tapes in there as well. Need to get rid of that thing.

    Larry -- Thank you for the tips from a guy whom I consider an expert in this field. I think your recommendations are wise. And to clarify, the picture is not of my collection if you will note the caption. My collection is probably 1/3 to 1/4 what you see in the picture.


  43. Hey,

    I'd also suggest eBay, especially if you are a betting man.... I've done eBay for five years and it's *always* the stuff you think is poop that comes in with a price that smells of roses :)

    Good Luck :)

  44. Vinyl is still being produced today and I've got a few friends who are still into it, i.e. they won't buy anything but vinyl. So I dunno what to tell ya really :) Possibly you could at least cull it down & just keep a few real gems?

  45. No! Save them!
    Says the pack rat. I've got a few myself but nowhere near that many. However, I gave away a sackful of books once and I still regret it to this day. Better to bin the LPs and save 'em in a garage or something. Unless you've got a family member who might want them?

  46. Lee, hope you see this one, since I'm so far behind. My sister Heather has worked in the used record biz for years now (her pic was in Goldmine magazine!). If you do decide to sell, you should seek her advice.

  47. Hey, DON'T "TOSS IT OUT" !! If anyone wants to get rid of their vinyl, just give me a shout here: Sell / Donate Your Vinyl Records !!


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