Collectors heaven … JukeBox Jive, Poole (now sadly closed). All records catalogued in neat sections, in appropriate sleeves, plastic bags, price sticker on the bag, not the sleeve
The examples are 45s …
As with every form of collecting, you have to know the field. You can’t just look it up. This general introduction uses some seemingly random singles and EPs to illustrate the issues. None of therm are obvious collectables.
I bought a near mint copy of Eddie McLoyd’s 1975 soul rarity Once You Fall In Love (Brunswick) for 50p in a charity shop that was asking £9.99 for the Simon & Garfunkel Greatest Hits LP. Any dealer would have knocked out the Simon & Garfunkel at £2 or a lot less. Note this was the sleeve it came in. The record was equally clean. It’s shimmering Chicago soul, very much in the cool Marvin Gaye mode. Nice percussion. Subtle strings. Originally on the US Dakar label.
Once You Fall In Love was in the Record Collector 2010 Guide at £20 in MINT condition, Manship’s Rare Soul guide at £28, advertised online at vinyltap for £50, and a copy was on eBay that very day with bidding having reached £125. Unfortunately the 2020 Guide has dropped value to £10. Discogs has it now between £14.99 and £25. Quite a see-saw ride.
In a Bristol secondhand vinyl store, I picked a couple of 45s from the £2 box. The proprietor of the shop was appalled. ‘Someone’s moved them! (which happens), “Jimmy Helms is highly collectable, they’re ten quid each.” I didn’t buy them, but recalled the conversation. A few weeks later I saw a different Helms single at 50p. Ragtime Girl. Pye 1970s label. Most unprepossessing, but it was very clean. The disc was near mint. I bought it, took it home and looked it up. Rare Record Guide 2012 and Manship’s Soul Guide agreed on £150 (it dropped to £100 in the 2014 guide, then to £60 in the 2020 Guide). OK, then you have to find someone to part with that much.
We begin to see 70s soul peaking about ten years ago, and stating to fall off in value. Northern Soul used to dominates in the rising market areas.
Rock and roll. Not a famous one. Take Woo-Hoo. It’s Columbia, licensed in from Roulette (good sign, that). It’s by The Rock-a-teens. Chart action was nil in the UK, but #16 in the USA in 1959. Early ones would have been in the Columbia dancing sleeve, this one is in the circles sleeve, which could still be original … I’d put it in a dancing sleeve. It was obscure for years, though Showaddywaddy and The Rezillos did covers. It suddenly started to be picked up by advertisers around 2004 … Carling Beer, Chevrolet, Toyota. it appeared in Kill Bill by Japanese band The 188.8.131.52s. If you hadn’t heard of the title, it’s a good sign for this vintage. If it’s cheap buy it. The one above cost £2. The Rare Record Guide 2020 has it at £40 mint. It was the same in 2012, so not appreciating, and a lot of rock ‘n’ roll has gone down. There’s a Buy Now on eBay at £34.99. Discogs has a ‘Highest Price’ of £22, but an optimistic seller there lists it at £30. My copy isn’t mint. It’s at least very good vinyl, perhaps “excellent”and the sleeve could be improved.
The rule is the obscurities, the flops, the stuff that’s fallen out of sight are the collectables rather than the hits. Unless, like me, you collect to play them, of course.
How about a 1966 Joe Loss single on HMV? Very clean, excellent quality vinyl, correct retailer numbered sleeve. But Joe Loss? Surely he must be in the Unwanted section with all the Val Doonican and Englebert Humperdink? Not so. Both Joe Loss 1966 singles rate at £20 in mint condition. First is The World Cup March, a perfect memento of the year we won it. Second is a disc with cover versions of Thunderbirds and The Avengers TV themes. Therefore, collectable to TV Theme fans and the burgeoning toy fair market.
Have you heard of The Others? They were formed in Hampton, near Richmond in 1963, just after The Rolling Stones. They only made one record, a cover of Bo Diddley’s Oh, Yeah! in 1964. Their schoolmate Brian May, later of Queen, said they were ‘very much in the same class as The Yardbirds.’ Not only that, the B-side I’m Taking Her Home was excellent too. They got airplay, but gave up and returned to Hampton Grammar School to take their A-levels. Result? A mod classic. Mint £60 (Down from £70 in the guides ten years ago).
The Cryin’ Shames … look at the small print on the label: Meeksville Sound. That means it’s a late Joe Meek RGM production, which immediately has some value. 1966. The A-side, Please Stay, is rather a whining version of the Bacharach ballad, and was a reasonable #26 hit. What’s News Pussycat, the B-side took its name very close to the musical, but even more blatantly ripped off Tombstone Blues meets Subterranean Homesick Blues, and was released just before the Dylan 1966 tour hit Britain. Joe Meek … mod era … it has to be worth something. Top 30 Hit? It means there are a good number around. £20 mint.
Chris Barber’s Jazz Band? Trad? Surely not collectable nowadays. But in 1967 they became plain Chris Barber’s Band and they recorded Cat Call written by Paul McCartney, and McCartney played piano and vocalised. The Beatles had done this live (as Cat Walk) in 1962, but never recorded it. Add The Marmalade label, collectable in itself. Any Marmalade disc is sought after. The original sleeve, even if repaired with tape as here, enhances value. Mint £50.
The Rare Record Guide is not infallible, and they wouldn’t claim it to be so. I wanted a 1965 copy of Tom Paxton’s The Last Thing On My Mind, the first UK Elektra release, for the Elektra section. The price guide in 2012 was £7 for the rare first issue (Elektra 45001). So try and find one. We saw “excellent” copies ranging from £15 to £25 on the internet, and they had all been sold before we tried to buy them. Result … none available. So if you have the only one available, the price is whatever you want to put on it. I note that in the 2020 edition of Rare Record Price Guide it’s gone up to £20. Most Bob Dylan singles have modest prices in guidebooks, but if you look on the net, there are very few offered for sale. That’s because they have already been collected. My estimate is that in mint condition, most Dylan singles are worth more than Rare Record Guide suggests.
The Ian Campbell Folk Group 1962 EP Ceilidh at the Crown on Topic (see Topic) isn’t in the 2010 Guide. Most Topic EPs would be worth £10 or more, because the label is rare and the repository of unusual folk material. The Ian Campbell Folk Group EP highlights Dave Swarbrick on very early virtuoso pieces. I’d guess its absence is an oversight. I doubt that more than one or two changed hands in the last five years, and my opinion would be £20 mint. My opinion is supportable because no one will find enough comparative transactions to argue it down. I’ll admit right away that I bought it for £2 in a batch of early 60s folk.
The three Flamma Sherman singles on Simon Napier Bell’s SnB label are £20 for the first, No Need to Explain, £18 for Love Is In The Air, in the Rare Record Price Guide 2020, and the third single, Move Me, is £50. Manship’s Rare Soul Guide agrees with the £50 and doesn’t list the earlier ones. So £20 is the “mint price.” Flamma Sherman were four sisters, daughters of the Liberian ambassador to London. It ticks boxes … girl group, rare and collectable label, 1968 AND great records. What about those prices? Discogs is even less. The first single is on sale at £2.27 and £5. In the last three years I’ve only seen two Flamma Sherman SnB discs for sale in record fairs. Bassa Love was £50 and Love Is in The Air was £60. Try telling the dealer they’re £20 in Rare Record Guide. The answer will be, “Yeah? OK, so find them.” There is only one Love Is In The Air on sale online. Price? £120. Near mint. Soul specialist dealer. I reckon he’s right.
Take Miles Davis. The most collectable jazz artist? The 1959 EP On Green Dolphion Street features Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones. One of his better-known tracks too. The EP shown is in “excellent” condition, inside and out with original paper inner sleeve. It’s not in the Rare Record Guide which means it’s worth less than £8 mint for an EP. Perhaps it’s worth £7.99. Miles Davis has been thoroughly and lovingly remastered on CD (and LP) for the many collectors. Miles Davis fans tend to have good hi-fi systems too, and this is a contemplative track, and it has a side break on the EP. Any Miles Davis fan would go for the LP. I bought it for a pound, convinced it was a bargain find, worth loads more. But no, it isn’t. I found one on the net at $7. But just the one.
Often Record Collector says that a label … Marmalade, Dandelion or Stiff or Immediate … is “highly-collectable” in its monthly magazine, but then you find that most of the Stiff singles fall below the £5 cut off, so are not even in the price guide, and that whenever you see a Dandelion (priced at £10 to £12 Mint in the Rare Record Guide) the store is asking £25 to £30 as “excellent.” As a rule of thumb, if you really want a specific single that’s not ‘collectable’ but fairly rare, which means you have to hunt it down on the internet, you will end up paying at least £4.99 (which is the current Vinyltap base price for most of their huge online catalogue). Vinyltap can ask that because the records they sell are all clean / very good plus in my experience, and on rare titles they’re the best way to find them.
Pop Art Goes Mozart is “Mozart arr. Joe Meek” from 1966 and is by The Tornados, though actually a replacement lot comprising mainly The Saxons. Rated at £30 mint. All based on the Meeksville Sound logo.
Rare psych always rates. Reflections of Charlie Brown by Rupert’s People lists at £75 mint. That’s because Fleur du Lys backs them on this record, but on no others. The B-side Hold On, was a classic when they recorded it with Sharon Tandy.
Most often, shops price well below the Rare Record guide, but quote it. It’s common to see “Guide price £25. Our price £12”. That all comes down to the What does “mint” mean? question.