? The Vinyl Tourist's Mini FAQ
1. How to Locate Hard-to-Find Albums
2. How To Sell and/or Value Your Records
1. How to Locate Hard-to-Find Albums
- Start by going to the GEMM database and searching by artist or album title. GEMM is an online consortium of dealers and collectors which claims to list over 26,000,000 items including LPs, CDs, cassettes and other collectibles.
- Try Google Groups (formerly DejaNews) to see if any copies were offered for sale in the rec.music.marketplace.vinyl newsgroup. Three other groups of interest include rec.music.marketplace.cd, plus rec.music.marketplace.misc.
- Post a WTB (Wanted To Buy) ad in the rec.music.marketplace.vinyl newsgroup or the others mentioned above.
- Try an advanced search string in Google or DuckDuckGo. Remember to use the following format in the advanced search box:
"artist name" +"album title"
Include the quotes if the artist or title is more than one word; include the "+" sign to narrow your returns.
- Try eBay, the online auction house. The same search tips apply as above. Remember to search "Completed Items," too. Albums that went unsold are often still available.
- Finally, check out the ads in Goldmine, a specialty magazine which caters to the record collector. Available at better record and book stores.
2. How To Sell and/or Value Your Albums
The best places to sell and maximize your return are:
- eBay online auctions. You can sell in small groups by artist or genre or list them one at a time (a better strategy). Set a minimum opening bid of $1 to $5. Don't start where you want it to end -- a high opening bid only drives people away. If you need to get a minimum return, than use the "Reserve" feature instead. If you can, include a photo or scan of the album in jpeg (.jpg) format, but limit the image file to 600 x 600 pixels and under 50K, maximum, in order to minimize download times.
Take into account when the auction starts and ends. For US sales, I recommend running 7-day auctions that begin and end Sunday through Thursday, between 7PM and 8PM, Pacific time. More potential bidders across the country will be home on those nights and times than any other. If your customers are mainly overseas, factor in their local time zones to set the auction's end when they are most likely to be home, as well.
- Post them in the GEMM database. GEMM is a site where dealers and collectors list their wares in a searchable form. Fixed price is the best way to go here.
- Take them to a record dealer (check the Yellow Pages), but don't expect to get more than 5¢ on the dollar.
- Take out an ad in Goldmine, a specialty magazine which caters to the record collector. Available at better record and book stores.
- Rent a table at a record fair. Fair dates and locations, as well as contact numbers, are listed in the back of the magazines mentioned above.
- Have a yard sale. Arrange them in boxes by price or type (Country, Classical, Rock 'N' Roll, and so on), but don't expect to get more than $1 or $2 each for them.
- Finally, sell them online in the rec.music.marketplace.vinyl newsgroup. Check out their FAQ before posting.
As for values, the Goldmine Price Guides are available online and at many book stores. Keep in mind that these are guides only -- listed values tend to be highly inflated compared with the "real world." Or better yet, run a search in eBay or GEMM to see what other people are selling the same albums for. Knock off 20% to stimulate sales.
At the very least, if you'd still rather just get them out of the house, please donate them to a thrift shop. Many public libraries now have thrift shops and sell old books and records, using the proceeds to buy new ones. There's also the Salvation Army and similar charity shops. You'll get a tax deduction for their value and some lucky collector like me will thank you!