When Records Break Records: What’s Your Vintage Vinyl Really Worth?

Like most old-school trends, vinyl records seem to have come back in style. And like everything else, there are some real vintage gems floating around out there. So how do you know if those dusty old LPs and 45s are worth keeping? Could there be a record-breaking record in the collection you’d thought about tossing? I caught up with Giles Moon, consignment director of Music Memorabilia at Heritage Auctions, to find out how to determine if your music collection would sell for more than a song.

Like so many baby boomers, I have inherited my parents’ record album collection which includes their parents’ collections. If your vinyl doesn’t have any sentimental value, is it safe to assume it doesn’t have any great financial value? Should I give up the Al Jolson, Patsy Cline, Sinatra, Don Ho and those turn-the-page-at-the-ding children’s story albums, or is there a valuable gem in the midst?

While it’s true to say that the vast majority of vintage vinyl doesn’t have much value, there are some gems to be found. It definitely is worth either checking with a vinyl expert or looking online. [Regarding checking online:] It’s probably best to investigate the “Sold Auction Listings” on eBay as a good source of market information on how well albums are selling [demand]. If you discover an album you own is particularly valuable, then it might be best to contact an auction house dedicated to selling music memorabilia. Those auction houses have the trust and respect of the deep-pocket buyers who will pay the most for rare items.

What are the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to saving and also discarding old vinyls?

Condition is the key with vinyl. The reality is that most people played their favorite records over and over again, so they’re not in good condition, and their covers/sleeves are well worn. Sadly, this makes a huge difference in value. A vinyl collector always will pay top dollar for records that are in fantastic condition.

I have Sonny Bono’s only solo album, Inner Views, still wrapped and looking good. Are quirky vinyls like these ever valuable?

This psychedelic album does have some value, particularly if it’s still sealed. It’s probably worth in the region of $20-30.

Are there some artists that should be on our watch lists when it comes to valuable vinyls?

Read more here.

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