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Where To Find Vinyl Records

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Where To Find Vinyl Records
Photo by Tony Hopewell / Getty Images

Over the years I have added record albums to my collection at neighborhood garage sales, record swap meets and from a number of trusted online sources. But the most important aspect about collecting record albums is to be resourceful.

I once ran an ad in a local paper announcing that I was searching for albums from the "garage rock era" and that produced quite a few responses. I was able to weed them out, talk to the people on the telephone, ask specific questions about what artists they may have, consequently saving me time going to look at albums I probably would not have been interested in.

Some leads were fruitful, some were not, but the point is I was able to add some quality records to my collection with little effort and minimal cost. Because I narrowed my search, I was able to find more of what I was looking for.

Another way to find records is the "word of mouth" method. I was talking to my neighbor about my collection and he told me his brother was also a collector and we wound up getting together and trading a few. So tell your friends, neighbors, co-workers or anyone who will listen that you fancy collecting record albums and would like to know if they know of anyone who has any.

I tend to stay away from the larger record shows or swap meets because the sellers tend to know exactly what the albums are worth and will command top dollar for them. If you are searching for a particular record album and it is a must have, by all means, pay the price, barter or do what you have to do to add it to your collection. But let me let you in a little secret. If you go to record show, and you are just looking to add to your collection, go an hour or two before they close. You can get some great deals because anyone who has ever moved hundreds of record albums will tell you, the less you have to move, the easier it is.

Another reason I stay away from the record fairs or swap meets is that the record vendors themselves will go through each others goods before the general public gets a chance to, and probably snatch up anything that is of any value or especially rare and highly collectible.

Many people take their records to the local charities like Goodwill, Salvation Army, St. Vincent DePaul Society and you can find whole collections if you are lucky. This method, as with all rummaging methods, is hit and miss. But on the right day, at the right time, you can add many treasures to your collection at a very reasonable price. But bear in mind, some of these records were discarded for a reason, some are just best suited for the trash, however, I still love to look.

But my personal favorite are estate sales and auctions. I recently went to a local estate auction and because of inclement weather there was a small turnout and I was able to take home five crates of record albums with about 30 albums in each, each for the opening bid of five dollars! I was very satisfied with the results, as my twenty five-dollar investment was worth much more than that.

Online auctions have been bringing out some positive effects in values in some areas. Modern jazz sales and demand have increased in recent years, as these vinyl records have been disappearing in large numbers from the record stores and have found their way to the online auction sites.

Because of grading issues, what may be a quality record to some, may not be quality to others. It is my practice to be very selective when purchasing my record albums online. I am not insinuating that every record dealer in an online auction is shady. But you must find one you trust. Check the ratings of the person, the feedback other buyer’s have left, for that will give you the best indication of who you are dealing with.

Next page - how much are your records worth?

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