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The Value of Your Records

If you are like us here at the RCR headquarters, then you want to know the value of your records, or perhaps the real worth of the records you're buying. Who knows, you might have a treasure in your collection! Or maybe you just spent $20 too much on that copy of "Pet Sounds" you bought the other day. As far as what you must take into consideration when figuring out the value of a record, we've broken it down for you into three easy-to-remember categories: condition, edition, and derivation. Also, we've recommended some Web sites where you can go to find out more information.


Let's be honest: no one wants to listen to a broken record. The better condition your record's in, the more it might possibly be worth. This includes not only how many scuffs or scratches are on the vinyl, but how well preserved the cover is and whether or not you have the original inner sleeve.


First editions are worth more than second, third or fourth pressings, except under certain circumstances, like the second pressing had an extra song or a different picture on the cover. Also, many record companies will produce different versions for different countries. These are also often valued differently. So when you see that pristine copy of "Sgt. Pepper's" and wonder why it's not worth as much as the more beat up copy, it's probably because it is the Apple version and not the original Capitol Records version that has all the great psychedelic inserts.


As much as you like the Plimsouls, their records are simply not going to be worth as much as those by critically acclaimed artists like the Beatles, or those by bands with intense and loyal cult followings like Joy Division. Also, some records become highly valued just through association. For instance, records on the Decca or Sun labels, regardless of the artist, are highly prized. The same goes for records of performers produced by the likes of renowned artists such as Phil Spector or Lee Scratch Perry.


As you can tell there is a lot of things to keep in mind when considering the value of a record. Ultimately, though, the best way to truly find the value is to check out a price guide and become familiar with how records are priced and what people are paying for them. Allow us to recommend a few places where you can go to do this.

Goldmine Record Album Price Guide and link to Amazon where you can purchase the book

Goldmine Record Album Price Guide by Tim Neely is considered by many to be the main source for pricing records. There are other price guides out there, but this one is probably the best place to start. Neely covers all genres of music and only lists records that are worth $20 or more. He also has a separate book on 45 RPM records.

eBay logo and link to eBay Web site
Just about everything is bought and sold on eBay, so it's no surprise records can be found there as well. As a matter of fact, eBay has become the number one source of records for a few of us around here at RCR. Auction sites like eBay are a fantastic way to find out what people are paying for records because you can see how high people will bid on them. Just enter the name of the record you're looking for and type LP or album into the search field, and you just might find it.

Amoeba Music logo and link to their Web site

If you're a record collector who lives in the Bay Area or Los Angeles, then you know about Amoeba Music. Their stores are the premiere brick-and-mortar locales for finding records. In the Bay Area they definitely have the largest collection of records of any commercial outlet. Also, they hire people to be buyers who know a lot about the value of records, so you can be rest assured that copy of "Brian Jones Presents: The Pan Pipes of Jajouka" is worth the $40 at which they've priced it. Of course, this does mean that you'll usually not get a deal like you would at a thrift store or garage sale. But browsing on a regular basis will allow you to become familiar with the value of records.

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