Albums

It isn’t uncommon to see the everyday items of our past make it back into the mainstream again. Generation Xers and Millennials are picking up a once forgotten music format: vinyl records. Almost at the point of extinction about 15 years ago, full-length LPs that helped define the golden era of rock in the 1960s and 70s have been gaining popularity. 

If you ask record collectors “why vinyl?”, the response is always “because of the sound quality.” Then, of course, there is the element of collectability. Collectors buy vinyl as an investment, with the hope that the records will appreciate over time.

Some fans are baby boomers nostalgic for their youth. To the surprise and delight of those music lovers, increasing numbers of “the iPod generation” (Gen Xers/Millennials) are purchasing old and new turntables, buying long-playing vinyl records and giving them a spin. 

They’re also drawn to physically owning a product and enjoying the ritual that is involved in removing the record from its sleeve, dusting it off and listening to it. Album cover artwork and the sound quality of records have all lured the younger generations in the hobby of collecting vinyl records. However, both the cover and the album must be in prime condition.

Collecting and selling vinyl albums is a big business. It isn’t just the garage sales, estate sales, antique stores and record and music conventions that carry collectible vinyl. There are many underground record collectors, auction sites and vinyl record-related websites that sell vinyl at premium prices. 

The online community has responded as well. In fact, at any given moment, there may be more than 6,000 collectible Beatles’ albums for sale on eBay. Some have sold for thousands of dollars, and it is reported that the album bought and sold the most in vinyl format is “The Beatles,” also known as the “White Album.”

I can assure you it is not only the Beatles’ albums that sell. A few years ago, I went through a client’s collection of 6,000 records, and I would never have guessed Miles Davis could have a value of $425. The price was determined by the condition of the album cover, the age of the pressing and the title. Cole Porter, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, and even more modern artists such as Nirvana, Radiohead and Daft Punk are highly sought after.

For a vinyl newbie, consider what your collecting goals are before you start buying. Start with a specific genre. Show your eclectic taste and variety. Or, purchase just for aesthetic purposes and use the covers as art or shelf décor. Make it about fun and enjoyment. You may never know where that could lead. 

— Contact Jeff Pearson damshill@yahoo.com or A-Z Appraisal & Estate Consultants, 5525 N. 12th St., Phoenix, AZ 85014.