Are there boxes of vinyl records stacked in your attic or piled in the lowest levels of your shelves in your spare room? Did it ever occur to you that your vinyl records could be worth something?
If so, there are ways to dump them for some cash.
In today’s guide, I wanted to share several ideas about how to sell vinyl records, how to locate record values, and where to sell them so you can earn cash from these items.
Reasons why vinyl records are so valued
Just because a vinyl record is old, it doesn’t mean that it holds value right away, although it does have value to some extent. It’s important to know how much your records are worth before you jump in and sell it. After all, you want to make sure you’re getting the best deal for your sale.
Several factors are at play that makes a vinyl record a treasured item. Below are some of the reasons why these records are priceless:
- Unpopular releases recorded by artists before they reached stardom
- Record albums released by unknown record labels
- Teaser albums for exclusive play at radio stations
- Albums with few copies made and overseas editions
- Picture sleeves with noteworthy designs
- Unusual label variations
- Vinyl test pressings, acetate versions, and albums that were never released
- Record albums withdrawn from the market
- Picture vinyl records and colored vinyl discs
- Unsealed albums in a superior state
- Records with genuine autographs
- Vinyl record format
- Condition of the vinyl record
Unpopular releases recorded by artists before they reached stardom
Many famous artists started out as unknowns and released albums that did not do well in the market. These albums are often valuable because they can hardly be found today. And the renowned artist being an exceptionally prized personality is another reason.
Labels and variations
Another factor that can make a vinyl record worthy is if it’s made by an arcane label or printed on an uncommon label variation. For instance, according to Rare Records, which has a section called label variations, if you find a Beatles’ “Yesterday and Today” album showing a particular red Capital mark on it, you’re likely to get an appraisal of $10,000 for it, as compared to $10 for a copy without the mark.
Teaser albums for exclusive play at radio stations
Promotional records were made solely for radio stations. These copies, which were not made available to the public, were typically acetates and vinyl test pressings. They came with text on them that often said, “Not for Resale”. If you have one of these, you could be holding something priceless.
Albums with few copies and overseas editions
Editions with limited release as well as foreign editions that have been distributed on a modest scale can be considered records of great value. Typically considered as limited editions are picture phonograph records and colored vinyl discs.
Picture sleeves with remarkable designs
Picture sleeves, also referred to as covers, of vinyl records, in many cases, represent half a record’s value, sometimes even more. An expert states that the cover of a 45 is often more valued than the record itself. So far, the Rolling Stones’ “Street Fighting Man” holds the honor of having the most valuable picture sleeve priced at $18,000.
Record withdrawn and recalled from the market
There were times when a record after it was released with limited copies had to be withdrawn or recalled due to certain reasons. This kind of release can hold value, too. A well-known instance of this is the “butcher album” by the Beatles.
Vinyl record format
Vinyl records were released to the market in mono, stereo, or quadrophonic formats. In comparison, the mono format of a vinyl record may be more valuable than the stereo version, while the quadrophonic format may hold more value than the stereo format. All these though will depend on when the record was released.
Autographed record albums
Vinyl records autographed by artists usually make the record highly valuable, that is, if the autograph is proven to be authentic. There are times when the autograph itself is far more priceless than the album itself.
Condition of the vinyl record
When it comes to assessing the worth of a vinyl record, the condition is a top factor. This includes copies that are considered very rare and in demand.
There is a list of condition codes that the vinyl record industry adheres to. If you’re planning to sell vinyl records, then you should learn and use this. Some record stores have a list of these condition codes and these teach you how a vinyl record is categorized. Some examples of the said condition codes are:
- S (Sealed). The original packaging was never removed from the album.
- M (Mint). The record is in perfect condition even though its plastic wrap has been removed.
- NM (Near Mint). One example of a Near Mint classification is when a record has little scratches but still plays perfectly.
- E (Excellent). This is when a record has superior sound quality even though it shows indications of having been played.
- VG+ (Very Good Plus). This code is assigned to a vinyl record with sound quality that may have had a little impact but is hardly noticed by the regular listener.
Just how valuable are your vinyl records?
Determining the worth of a vinyl record or record collection can be done in four different ways:
Go online and check the prices of the record
When checking the value of a record, consider these online sources:
- eBay. This site helps you locate listings of your vinyl record or collection that were sold recently.
- Music Stack. This resource allows you to find an album using the artist name or song title. It’s also a great source of information on historical pricing.
- Discogs. Use this site to find sales price figures of vinyl records and information like sales history and record prices (categorized as low, median, and high).
- Popsike.com. Aside from monitoring eBay sales, this site lets you search for the most priceless vinyl records. You can search for the most valuable album of all time, or during a specific year or month.
- Music Price Guide. Use this site to find lists of auction results for vinyl records. It also provides real-world information on the market values of vinyl records.
- Value Your Music. Here, you can access present-day prices for vinyl records based on completed sales at auctions.
Invest in record price guides
Vinyl record price guides are essential in determining the value of your records. Below are some of the recommended price guides:
- Jerry Osborne’s Rockin’ Records: Buyers-Sellers, Reference Book and Price Guide. The latest edition of this price guide, which can be downloaded for $25, was created specifically for PDA devices. The PDA edition contains all listings but without the interior color pages. Collectors can easily use it from any PDA device with a PDF reader.
- Mighty John’s Gold: A Record Appraiser’s Guide. Created by Jerry Osborne Mighty John Marshall, this is a price guide to records, picture sleeves, and album jackets. It also includes values for promotional copies and recommendations on records that serious collectors should be aware of.
- Goldmine Record Album Price Guide. Written by music authority Dave Thompson, this price guide provides updated prices for albums released since 1948, an explanation of the Goldmine Grading Guide, and tips to grade and value records including promotional pressings.
- Record Collector Magazine. This U.K.-based magazine provides its very own record price guidebook and articles about the prices of vinyl records. Its Rare Record Price Guide Online, a definitive guide to rare and valuable records, lets you value your collection with an up to date currency conversion facility and also monitor your collection’s total worth, among other functions.
While these record price guides do not offer the latest values, these are helpful when you need to ascertain the worth of your vinyl records.
Have a professional appraise your vinyl records
Find professionals to assess the worth of your vinyl records for a fee. The fees vary from one expert to another. Some may charge a dollar per vinyl record while others will only assess extensive vinyl record collections. A completed expert appraisal for a vast collection may cost over $1,000.
Appraisals can also be obtained at auction houses, particularly if you own a rare vinyl record collection. By getting an appraisal and finding out the worth of your vinyl records, you can get the best value for your unique collections.
Talk with online and physical record stores
Local outlets and online stores are also great for getting appraisals for your vinyl records. Some may even offer you a good amount if they see that you’re holding a rare record or collection. Before you go into one of these shops, you must have a good idea of the worth of your vinyl records in order to avoid getting swindled by dishonest buyers.
Places where you can sell vinyl records
When you’re done getting your vinyl records appraised and you already know the value of your vinyl records, then you can confidently sell them to a record store or deal directly with a collector.
Vinyl record collectors will normally give you the most value for your collection, but the sale might take a while. If you want faster transactions, you can sell your vinyl records to retailers and stores; however, they will typically offer lower prices because they have to resell it to gain profit.
Online platforms where you can sell vinyl records
eBay is a good source if you wish to sell directly to a collector. You can choose between setting a price straight away, or you can opt for the auction method if you have more valuable vinyl records. eBay requires a fee of 10%, which can be offset during aggressive auctions that cause prices to increase. Depending on the arrangement, the shipping can be paid for by the buyer. Prior to shipping the vinyl records, a PayPal payment has to be made first.
- Website: eBay.com
Discogs is among the most famous online venues to buy and sell vinyl records. Referred to as a mini-eBay, Discogs is frequently recommended in online groups and is constantly visited by vinyl records collectors. An elaborate record database is available for you to peruse and contribute to. You can choose to add your own collection and track it.
Before you can sell your records, make a listing of your items, put in some photos and add videos. Sales at Discogs are charged 8%. Modes of payment include cash, check, PayPal, credit card, Skrill, bank transfer, cashier’s check, or money order. Once you receive payment, you ship the records you sold. Shipping can be paid by the buyer.
- Website: Discogs.com
Music Stack has a concept with similarities to Discogs, but it specifically states that its sales volume is not at par with that of Discogs, eBay or Amazon. An average sale at Music Stack is 1 per 1,000 listings for each month. Also, for all completed sales on the site, Music Stack charges 8%, which is paid using PayPal Business.
- Website: Music Stack
Etsy is largely popular for handmade goods and crafts, however, the site also caters to sellers of vinyl records. Yes, you can sell vintage items on Etsy. A respectable number of sellers use the site to promote vinyl record collections to a large group of potential buyers. Etsy charges a listing fee of $0.20. When your vinyl records are sold, you also pay 6.75% for the sale and the processing of payment.
- Website: Etsy
Below is a list of online record stores with a nationwide reach that may be interested as well:
- Amoeba Music
- DJ Records
- Dusty Groove
- Hard To Find Records
- Sell My Records. This store also offers vinyl record appraisal services and consignment sales.
- Sell Vinyl
- Shake It Records
- Starry Night Records
- Used Kids Records
- We Buy Records
Aside from selling to collectors, extend your search and include individuals who have primary collections but also have a genuine interest in vinyl records. For instance, a collector who holds a large collection of Elvis Presley memorabilia will definitely be fascinated with Elvis Presley’s vinyl records.
Find more potential buyers by conducting a search using terms like “SUBJECT vinyl record collectors” or “SUBJECT vinyl record collector forums”. As an example, when you go to Google and look up “Elvis vinyl record collector forums”, you’ll find thousands of results that you can pore over. You can also search local Facebook Groups that allow you to ask the group if they are interested.
Selling records in your area
If you wish to sell your vinyl records locally, there are online as well as offline resources to check out.
Local Web-based tools and apps
Use these alternatives to find local buyers and sell to them directly. There aren’t stringent procedures and moderation is not always necessary. Plus, there are no charges or fees. You can deal directly with buyers and discuss details with them. This option, however, may not always yield the best results and, at times, could lead nowhere.
Even so, directly selling your vinyl records to buyers has its advantages. The major one would be that you can get the most lucrative deal without having to pay middlemen or be charged certain fees.
Potential sources to find direct buyers include:
Record stores and pawn shops in your area
When you sell your vinyl records to local vinyl record stores or pawn shops, there’s a good possibility that you’ll be offered immediate cash. Nevertheless, these sources are often constrained to buy low and sell high to earn a profit.
If you have any vinyl records laying around, then I hope this guide helps you out. As you can see, there are a variety of options you can choose from if you want to get top dollar for your older vinyl records.
Before you sell, however, just make sure you research the price to ensure you’re getting market value or at least close to it. In doing so, you can be assured you’re getting the most for your sale.
That’s going to do it for now.
As always, if you want to add to what I have written or add a company that I may have missed, you’re more than welcome to add to the comments section below.
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