Heavy Hitter Day

Lots of heavy hitters on eBay this week, including a high-end Blue Note auction from the Jazz Record Center that includes this beauty: Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568. This is an original original pressing, meaning side two has the New York 23 address, which makes it the one most prized by the most avid collectors. The record is probably in VG+++ condition and the cover looks to be M-. The auction closes tomorrow and the bidding is now in the $4,000 range with 18 bids and eight bidders. Anyone want to take a guess on the final price for this baby? We’ve seen $9,000 in the past, but my memory is that was not a legitimate bid or sale. I’m guessing this one sells for somewhere in the $6,000 range. Here are a couple more from the same auction:

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Not So Quiet Kenny, And More

One of our readers sent me the following link: Kenny Dorham, Quiet Kenny, New Jazz 8225. This was an original purple label deep groove pressing. The record and cover were listed in M- condition and the seller used the word “pristine” in his description. The final price was $3,617. According to Popsike, that is a new high water mark for Quiet Kenny. The reader added this note: “Of course, this LP is superb music-wise and very rare, so in today’s market maybe the price is justified?” My answer, I guess, is yes, it is justified in today’s market. And, I have to say, every time I think the market has peaked, I am always proven wrong. So, who’s not to say that someday down the road, we’ll be talking about this purchase as a bargain?

This one also fetched quite a price:

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Guest Column: Blue Note Angst

Our friend Daryl Parks, who wrote a previous post on originals versus reissues, has written another piece, this one around the angst of both owning and selling original Blue Note records (and others) worth a lot of money. Here ’tis.

By Daryl Parks

Let me cut to the chase: I am selling first-press, holy grail Blue Notes this week. In our Jazz Collector community, we rarely discuss the emotions related to such sales, so I will. I’m not sure that I’m doing the right thing by selling these records. I am guess that your comments or bids will let me know.

I began to follow Jazz Collector some six years ago. A retired neighbor had given me a few pristine jazz lp’s worth a few dozen dollars, which caused me to learn as much as I could. Al and the JC family taught me more than I ever knew I wanted to know about jazz records: first editions, grooves, initials in the runoff, and more. As I knew I would never be able to afford the rarest of the rare first editions at the center of the site’s clamor (e.g., Blue Note, Prestige, New Jazz) I stood offstage with my re-issues and infrequent Impulse first presses for five years. I often dreamed about owning just one of the rare ones described and discussed. (Fast forward) Then, last year, out of the blue, I owned six. Read more

To Unseal, or Not To Unseal: That is the Question

I received an interesting question from a reader about sealed records. I am sharing my response here because: 1. It’s an interesting question and I thought it might provoke some interesting responses, and 2. When I tried to reply directly, my email got bounced and I don’t know how to get in touch with the questione otherwise. Anyway, here’s the question:

“I have a couple of hundred “factory sealed jazz albums from late 50’s to mid 70’s. These are from a store stock I owned. I want to start selling them but I can’t tell a prospective buyer what the label looks like (ex Trumpet Verve). What is best way to offer them for sale? Many have drill holes in cover and you can see that the drill went through the orig plastic.”

And here’s my answer:

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A Jazz Vinyl Post-Xmas Post

Merry day after Christmas everyone. It is good to be back. Let’s catch up on a few jazz records we were watching on eBay, starting with an old standby: Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, Columbia 1355. This an original white label promo copy. The record looked to be in VG++ condition and the cover was VG+. The final price was $496, which isn’t bad for a promo copy. We’ve seen them sell for more than $1,000 fairly consistently in nice shape, and one even broke the $2,000 barrier, according to Popsike. To me, this is a record where the condition of the cover would be important, since the black cover tends to fade and, for a promo copy, a nice, sharp, minty cover would be nice. Perhaps other potential bidders felt the same way, which kept the bidding at a reasonable level? I have a couple of original pressings of Kind of Blue, both in nice shape, but I’ve never owned a promo copy. Still don’t.

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Another UK Esquire and an Audiophile Question

Back with another Esquire Prestige to start with, if you will all kindly indulge my new obsession: Donald Byrd, Kenny Dorham, Gene Quill, Phil Woods, Pairing Off, Esquire 32-026. This is an original UK pressing listed in VG+ condition for both the record and the cover. It’s a another cool cover, IMHO, illustrating the instruments of the two sets of pairs, the trumpeters and altoists. It’s quite a bit different than the U.S. version, which was released as a session led by Phil Woods. Bidding is in the $120 range with more than a day left on the auction.

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Blue Note 1568: Bah, Humbug

Buy it now, just $1,200. There’s a copy of Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568 sitting on eBay now with a start price of $4,500 and a Buy it Now price of $12,000. It is an original West 63rd Street pressing and the obsessive collectors among us would argue that it is an original original, meaning it sports the inscrutable New York 23 label on side two. The seller starts off by saying he is not qualified to grade jazz records but he just lucked out and found a collection that included the likes of Hank Mobley Blue Note 1568. Funny, I’ve been collecting jazz records for nearly 50 years now and this particular little bit of luck has never befallen me. In any case, he offers some audio clips of the record that he recorded on a (gasp) Ion USB turntable, which is enough to scare some of you off right there. Read more

A Fine Array From Blue Note and Prestige

We were watching a bunch of items from the Jazz Record Center auction that closed yesterday and here are some of the results, staring with Clifford Jordan and John Gilmore, Blowing in From Chicago, Blue Note 1549. This was an original pressing. It was probably in VG++ condition for the record. The JRC doesn’t use our normal grades, just a description. This one had a single mark that is audible seven times. I know that precludes it from M-. Does it preclude it from VG++? Otherwise, the record sounds immaculate. The cover was probably VG+ or VG++, depending upon how you feel about a “professionally repaired” spine and bottom seam. Also, the picture looks more VG+ to me than VG++. The final price was $1,247. My sense is that a different seller would have been less meticulous in his description and received a higher price. In any case, I still don’t own an original copy of this record for any of you out there who may be interested in a trade.

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The Best of Hank Mobley?????

Our friends at the Jazz Record Center have a very nice auction underway now, including: Hank Mobley, Soul Station, Blue Note 4031. This looks to be an original West 63rd Street pressing, probably in M- condition for the record and VG++ for the cover. The bidding is in the $700 range as I type this, and I would expect the final price to be quite a bit higher, much closer to the $2,000 bin. This is a record that I never owned in original condition until i was fortunate enough to get a copy in the Bruce M. West Baltimore collection four years ago (has it really been four years?). Anyway, like a lot of the records in that collection, I put them on the shelves and promised myself I would get around to listening to them one day. And, a few nights ago, I finally kept my promise with Hank Mobley Soul Station. And it was quite a revelation. Read more

Mail: Byrd, Monk, Sun Ra

Catching up on some email. Here’s the story of a fun score from a new reader:

“Hi, I am fairly new to jazz vinyl collecting and listening. I have been drawn to the 50’s and 60’s jazz and LOVE your site. Unfortunately so much of this vintage jazz is way out of my budget. I have been buying when and what I can afford. Wanted to share this: This past weekend I was in a vintage shop with my wife and wasn’t sure I would find anything. In the back was a small box with some records. I start flipping through them like I always do when I find records in vintage/antique shops. I run across a Donald Byrd – Royal Flush BLP 4101 original pressing. The vinyl itself is VG in appearance, plays somewhere between VG and VG+ and the cover is VG+. The price on the album was $10. I was elated and couldn’t get the money out of my wallet fast enough! Hope I didn’t bore you. Thanks for your site and keep the posts coming as it is helpful in my jazz education!” Read more

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