Opera vinyls! What's my selling price?
March 4, 2011 2:42 PM   Subscribe

A neighbor is coming over in two or three hours to take a look at my opera and classical music vinyls.

Looked around but I still don't know how much to ask.

Take the operas, for instance. All from Deutsche Grammophon, from the mid seventies and early eighties. I have 8 or 10 of these. Famous titles. Rigoletto, Carmen, etc.

I think he knows his music and is interested in vinyls.

How much can I reasonably ask per record?

Thanks !
posted by amusem to Media & Arts (10 answers total)
Don't fall into the trap of assuming that what items are listed for online is what they're selling for. Just because a used paperback of Animal Farm is listed for $500 doesn't mean that my copy is (and by the same token, just because a mint 1st Edition copy of the same book signed by the author has sold recently for $1500 doesn't mean that my unsigned, non-first edition is worth anything near that).

Ask for less than they're selling for online. Don't discount the time and resources that selling them individually will cost, if you sell them on ebay, for example, you can anticipate 15% or more of your take going to ebay and paypal fees, then you have the time and effort of shipping the records on top of that. If he is willing to buy more than one of your albums, that is also saving you time and energy and the need to find packing materials!

I'd make sure that you don't have any super ultra rare recordings that are worth $$$, then ask HIM to make you an offer for what he wants first, and be prepared to counter with a price that is lower than what albums are selling for.
posted by arnicae at 3:00 PM on March 4, 2011

Oh! And if he buys it, you're also saving yourself the not inconsiderable time involved with listing them all, too.
posted by arnicae at 3:01 PM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't say "worthless" per se, but you're likely not gonna catch very much for them. It depends on the physical state of the records, and on the availability of the recordings on other media.

The latter can be checked very easily via Google. If you only have large label mainstream opera recordings, like, with Karajan etc., they're bound to be out on CD, sometimes as cheap re-issues. That would automatically mean giveaway on LP.

If they're really nice first issues with a good booklet (like Harnoncourt's earlier Mozart opera recordings on Teldec, or Kleiber's Tristan on DG, etc.), or special series kind of stuff (having a non-opera example in mind right now: the DG Brahms complete edition from the mid-eighties contained some piano music that's never been re-issued... that type of thing) you might ask a little more. Few bucks a piece, probably.

If you find a recording that's really special and appears in no form whatsoever on the first ten pages of your Google search, you'd want to point that out, or keep the record for yourself.
posted by Namlit at 3:35 PM on March 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Sell in bulk, don't expect to make more than 100 bucks if you have less than 1000 records. My dad left me his collection from the 30's till his death in the late 90's And some records do indeed have a market value, but few and far between. Of course for me it was the music I heard as I grew up that I wanted, some things are priceless.
posted by Max Power at 4:33 PM on March 4, 2011

If they're famous titles, chances are they aren't rare. How many copies do you see listed online, and what is the range of list prices? What other titles are the sellers listing, and how are those priced?
posted by filthy light thief at 4:53 PM on March 4, 2011

I'm with item. Let them offer, but in my world you'll be lucky to get $10 for the stack. Every single opera snob upgraded to "superior!" CDs 20 years ago so there is a shitload of opera and classical vinyl out there. There is certainly rare opera and classical vinyl out there, but I'm pretty sure it'd be older stuff that is out of print or otherwise not available on CD.
posted by rhizome at 7:19 PM on March 4, 2011

I usually buy those 70s Deutsche Grammophon vinyls for a buck or two each in garage sales (if they're in good condition). I don't think they're worth much more than that now...
posted by agregoire at 8:58 PM on March 4, 2011

I beg to differ about them being worthless. Go to ebay, look up records, click on classical, then click on past auction results. Classical music buffs love high quality analog recordings. That being said their are tons of them out there and of course only a small percentage of them are worth a ton of money but that is easy enough to check. (ebay again) Also http://www.high-endaudio.com/supreme.html the albums on this list are almost always highly sought after. With anything condition is king, scratches on the record or the sleeve reduce value.
posted by WickedPissah at 11:31 AM on March 5, 2011

Deutsche Grammophon is a dime a dozen, rarity-wise, so you're basically stuck with base condition rates, which in my experience are as follows:

Mint condition, ~$40.
Excellent, ~$20.
Good, ~$10.
Fair, ~$5.
Poor, ~$2.

Note that in most cases, condition mainly refers to the sleeves. If the records themselves are of anything less than Excellent quality, they go in the $2 bin.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:19 PM on March 5, 2011

(Also note that those are retail prices; don't expect to get anything nearly that high from a reseller.)
posted by Sys Rq at 1:22 PM on March 5, 2011

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