Thanks to all for keeping the site current during my unexpected and prolonged absence. More than 60 comments and counting on the last item is quite impressive. I will try not to do that too often, but I was able to get a much-needed break from life and work and spend some time with The Lovely Mrs. JC in beautiful Provincetown, Ma., where we got to sit on the beach, view the eclipse, eat lobster and marvel at the beautiful sunsets and scenery. Now that I am back I feel compelled to at least catch up on some of the ongoing conversations and items I was watching before I left.
Let’s start with the riff on listening or not listening to our records. I don’t begrudge anybody their preferences on how to collection. As far as I’m concerned, it’s your money, your time, your enjoyment. Do whatever you want. As for me, I find that, in reality, my approach is somewhat mixed. I have no problem at all putting any of my records on my turntable and, in fact, take tremendous pleasure in listening to the real rarities in their original form and format. Just the other day I put on my beautiful mint original pressing of Saxophone Colossus, poured a glass of Porter and listened from beginning to end. Sheer ecstasy. And a few days before that, I took my portable Califone record player out to the porch here in The Berkshires and brought out a bunch of original 78s — Fats Waller, Louis Jordan, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday and Lester Young. Again, sheer ecstasy.
Promo records have never seemed to be a big thing in the Jazz Collector world, at least not compared to other genres, but there are some promo records that seem to catch collector’s eyes, including Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, Columbia 1355. This looks to be an original mono pressing with the red and white promo labels and the 6-eyes. The seller talks about the record being in “nice shape” but doesn’t actually give a grade and mentions a scratch that cuts across side B. All of that would be somewhat OK for gamblers, but it is also a seller that does not accept returns. A lot of risk to ask, IMHO, for a record that has a start price of $600. So far there are no takers. A quick view over at Popsike shows that a promo copy of Kind of Blue recently sold for $2,700, so the seller is probably not coming from left field with that price tag. We’ll keep a watch and see if it sells. My bet? Yes, it will.
I was watching a recent auction on eBay from the Jazz Record Center focused on books, magazines, programs and other ephemera. I was curious because I have amassed a large collection of this type of stuff over the years, including duplicates, and I’m thinking about scaling back what I have, including the idea of adding a storefront to the Jazz Collector site. Just thinking about it at this stage, and I am not always the best at turning thoughts into action, so don’t anyone get too excited. Anyway, one of the items that caught my eye was this book: Four Lives in the BeBop Business, by A.B. Spellman. This was a first edition and the Jazz Record Center put a start price of $65 on it. And I was thinking, I have a copy of this and if someone offered me $65 I’m pretty sure I would sell it. But there were no bids on this item, so I have no idea at this point what the real market value would be.
I know others have commented on the previous post, but I can’t let this one pass without at least one more word: Jackie McLean, The New Tradition, Ad Lib 6601. This was an original pressing in some kind of condition, perhaps VG+ or a little better. Hard to tell, because the seller used a stock photo as the main picture and then supplemented it, I suppose, with pictures of the actual record, which shows some obvious wear on the front cover, although the overall condition looks OK. You would think the lack of clarity on the description would cause bidders to be hesitant. And perhaps they were. Nevertheless, there were 16 bidders and 27 bids and a whopping final price of $5,035.75.
Catching up on my watch list after a few days off eBay, starting with Hank Mobley and Lee Morgan, Peckin’ Time, Blue Note 1574. This was an original West 63rd Street pressing listed in M- condition and Ex for the cover. Looks like there was a three-way bidding war for this LP and it wound up selling for $2,700.
Here’s one for those of you who like to use the term “Holy Grail,” although it is a term I normally avoid, except for a few seconds ago: Jackie McLean, The New Tradition, Ad Lib 6601. This one is listed in Ex condition by the seller and, based on his key, that seems like it would be a very strong VG+ using standard Goldmine grading. This one is already in the $1,360 range with more than a day left on the auction. It will at least join Peckin’ Time in the $2,000 bin and will probably sell for quite a bit more, based on past history with this record. Read more
Just looking at some random items from my watch list, starting with Clifford Brown and Max Roach, Study in Brown, Emarcy 36037. This was described as an original pressing, but clearly it isn’t, with the black writing on the back cover instead of the blue. Also, the cover was graded at M-, but it’s not that either, with both a sticker and writing on the back. So perhaps it was not surprising that the record did not sell at a start price of $300. But it’s back again. I just wanted an excuse to run a picture of the cover. And pose a quick question: I keep all of my Brown and Roach records filed under Brown, and I assume those that file by artist do the same. Does anyone file these under Roach? Drummers, anyone?
This one did sell:
Let’s catch up with a few more from our watch list, starting with a pair of Newks: Sonny Rollins, Tenor Madness, Esquire 32-058. This was an original U.K. pressing listed in VG+ condition, although there was surface noise mentioned in the description, so there was some risk involved by the buyer. I guess it depends on your tolerance for noise. The cover was listed in Ex- condition. The final price was about $266. Seller describes the cover artwork as much better than the U.S. edition, which is certainly in the eye of the beholder, but I do tend to like the cover art on these U.K. Esquires as well. As for these two covers, I don’t have a strong preference one way or the other, although, if forced to choose, I’d probably opt for the U.K. version. Along the same vein there was:
Welcome, Mr. President
My goodness, the $1,000 bin is overloaded, including all four of the records I was watching last week (A New Crowd For the $1,000 Bin?). They were:
Sonny Rollins Plays, Period 1204. Final price:$1,300
Kenny Dorham, Cafe Bohemia, Blue Note 1524. Final price: $1,482
John Jenkins and Kenny Burrell, Blue Note 1573. Final price: $2,025.01 (wow!)
Paul Chambers, Bass on Top, Blue Note 1569. Final price: $1,126
And then there were:
Three “victims” of the 50-Year Rule
A few weeks ago I got into an interesting email discussion with one of our loyal readers, Dave Sockel, who sent me an article about the plummeting market value of Elvis Presley collectibles, particularly old Elvis vinyl. Dave’s email came with the subject line: “A cautionary tale for all of us?” This was my reply:
“I remember reading something a few years ago — I think I posted on Jazz Collector — about a “50-year-rule” for artists. Basically, 50 years after the peak of the artist’s popularity and/or death, he or she is all but forgotten and the demand for their stuff starts to really erode. We’ve kind of seen it with the beboppers in Jazz, and a guy like Art Tatum. When I started collecting, Tatum records were collectibles. Not any more.
So I placed some bids on the Omega Auctions auction last week. And I struck out completely. There was nothing in the collection that really caught my eye, but I wanted to participate to see if I could perhaps buy something at a lowball price. Part of it was the fun of being in the hunt; part of it was to understand the experience to share with you all here at Jazz Collector. So I went through the entire auction list and marked about a dozen items and put in bids that were low but not completely unreasonably, particularly if the action was light. I wasn’t able to do the auction live, so these were all online bids. If I had been able to do it live, who knows what would have happened. Here’s a bit of a summary: Read more