Reference Books. There are a number of publications which help you to value vinyl records; probably the most comprehensive in the UK is the ‘The Record Collector Rare Record Price Guide’. This is a bi-yearly publication with the date of each issue being a year in advance. The soft back edition retails between £25.00 and £30.00 with older editions sometimes turning up for only a few pounds. As with all price guides this is only a rough guide and although very comprehensive can only predict what a record might sell for. If you are looking for the values of records issued in the US then the ‘Goldmine Price Guide’ is a good place to start. Unlike the UK guide there are several editions covering more specific areas of record collecting, including 45s, albums and individual genres. Reference books are definitely a good place to start when valuing your records but please remember they are only a guide and prices can vary dramatically in real life situations.
Popsike.com. Popsike is simply a vast database or reference site which stores hundreds of thousands of sales and auctions of vinyl records on the internet. Mostly, the information is drawn from EBay. If you make a search for say ‘Pink Floyd, Dark Side of The Moon’ you will get a long list of items which have sold which you can click on and access the original photo and description from the seller. Also you can change the priority of the list by date or price and check out if the item sold for above or below average. Over the last few years Popsike has become an important place to obtain record values. Popsike is free if you only want to do a few searches but for full use there is a subscription charge of $18.00 for 6 months.
Specialist Sites. If you are looking for the value of items from a particular genre then it is worth searching for specialist websites. For example if you have a soul item to value it is perhaps worthwhile checking out www.raresoulman.co.uk. This site is dedicated to selling soul records and has a considerable database. Classical vinyl sellers might try www.classicalvinyl.com and there are equivalent sites for most genres.
Grading Your Vinyl. Doing your research is the first step in finding out the value of your record but an important factor is condition. A considerable part of a records value is based on condition of both vinyl and sleeve. A common misconception for anyone selling their records is that they will get the same amount for their records as the items they have seen advertised on the web. A record in near perfect condition will sell for considerably more than one that is well used. So before you research check out the records condition, which includes scratches, paper marks, writing on labels and wear to the sleeve.
Expert Valuation. When collecting information on any subject an expert’s knowledge is always invaluable. Many reputable Record Dealers also offer advice and valuation on your records.
General Misconceptions. There are many misconceptions attached to the value of vinyl records, for example not all Beatles records are valuable. Many Beatles releases sold in very large numbers and were also reissued regularly over the years. Equally there are records very often overlooked which can command very high prices, perfect examples would be some Classical records which can sell for over four figures. So make sure you know exactly what you have, is it original or first issue? Do I have the rare version or the one that sold a million copies?
Record Shops and Record Fairs. If you are looking for direct contact with someone who can help you to value or sell your records then you need to find out where your local dealer or Record Fair organiser is situated. Record Fairs are often excellent places to obtain some idea about the value of your records as this is where you will find genuine record collectors and enthusiasts. A good idea is to search for local fairs in your area on the web.
EBay or Internet Market Sites. Searching the internet for specific records can be laborious but there are a few places which are more likely to have similar or identical items. Probably the most well know is EBay, here you can refine your search to music/records also there is an option to check out “Completed Listings”, items which have already completed there auction or sale. An even bigger database of records can be found at www.discogs.com, this site has the facility to refine searches of items serial numbers and country of origin.
Selling Individual Items or Collections. One point to bear in mind when valuing your record collection is how would I sell them? This seems a rather obvious question, but how you decide to sell depends on the time and effort you are willing to devote. If you decide to sell your collection yourself then trading at a record fair or via the internet is an option. Alternatively it may be easier to sell directly to a dealer. When negotiating with a dealer always avoid those who are looking to cherry pick your collection as this will make it difficult when trying to shift the remainder of your records.
Supply and Demand. A last but important point is the demand for a particular record. Some records are rare but only have a small percentage of potential buyers. These records have value but can take a little while to sell and sometimes it is easier to except a lower amount. In the end it is supply and demand which dictates the price a record will sell for. More information at www.cannonballrecords.co.uk