A Jazz Potpourri for the New Year

John Coltrane Jazz Vinyl Blue TrainHere’s a jazz potpourri to start the new year. This one came in from CeeDee under the subject “another for the $1k club” and it was John Coltrane, Blue Train, Blue Note 1577. This was an early (second?) pressing with the West 63rd Street able, deep grooves, RVG, ear, etc. An original original would have the New York 23 label on one side, which would make it a potential $2,000 record. This one was in M- condition for both the record and the cover and it sold for $1,000.01. It’s not a first pressing but, in that condition and given the state of the Blue Note market, the inclusion into the $1,000 club is, for me, not a big surprise. CeeDee also sent me this one, which is a surprise: Earl “Fatha” Hines, Here Comes, Contact CM-6. This was an original pressing with the gatefold cover. It was part of the Dr. Herb Wong collection being sold by Funkyousounds. The record was listed in VG++ condition for the vinyl and VG+ for the cover. It sold for $192.50. I really can’t recall any Fatha Hines records attracting collectible prices, or even collector interest, so this is a surprise. It does have Richard Davis and Elvin Jones and a pretty cool cover, so perhaps that drove the interest. Any other thoughts?

One more from CeeDee: Bud Powell, The Scene Changes, Blue Note 4009. This was an original West 63rd Street pressing. The record was in M- condition and the cover was VG++. The final price was $809.99. Again, given the market condition these days, not a big surprise to me.

I found this article on Discogs pretty interesting. It’s been about five years since I’ve sold records online and I rarely buy online either. My exposure to Discogs has been limited thus far. Looks like I’ll have to spend more time exploring the site. I am curious about the experiences of some of the Jazz Collector readers. Have any of you used Discogs and do you prefer it to eBay?

 

31 comments

  • I have been reluctant to buy from Discogs, despite several apparently great deals…. exactly for that reason. There isn’t as much clarity as to the exact details of a record and there isn’t as much guarantee to make it right if something is wrong.

    I might have had the chance to get an original M-/M- “Moanin'” for $20, but the seller never gave me a straight answer as to the presence of Inc or (R). He said it looked like the picture on the LP page, but that tells me nothing at all. Sigh.

  • Abrasive_Beautiful

    The Wong collection is definitely getting crazy, I was surprised to see a copy of Poly-Currents by Elvin Jones to sell for $92.

    I have had some experience buying on discogs. The worry is always that you will get the wrong pressing than what it’s listed under, but I always ask for pictures to be emailed. I would be unlikely to buy without seeing photos, unless the written description was very detailed and the seller had a lot of feedbacks.

    Unfortunately, my most recent discogs purchase ended up being a debacle. The seller shipped my record (Original stereo Right Now!) in a flattened priority mail box with no padding and the self sealing tabs on the box got adhered to the record cover. I also asked for the LP shipped outside of the cover, but it was not and the sleeve now has a total top seam split. The record was basically flawless though and sounded amazing luckily. I asked for partial refund and the seller claimed he had another buyer that would pay more than I did. I explained that the sleeve was damaged due to his negligence alone but have not heard back in almost a month now.

    Buying on discogs has usually been a good experience though, as long as you deal only with experienced and knowledgeable sellers. YMMV

  • discogs is a great site, any problems are as easy to resolve as via ebay. Ive only had one issue and got an immediate refund. Prices are far cheaper. I always ask for photos if item above £15 ($30). The grading system is sensible fair/good/very good +/nr mint/mint.
    ebay has insane prices for some fairly ordinary pieces (vinyl in general as well as jazz LPs) i see a bobdjukic auction right now earning some amazing prices….

  • Wow. Better hold on to my Earl Hines Spontaneous Explorations on Contact.

    Agree with the above on Discogs. Much more of a crap shoot than eBay due to lack of pictures and listing depth. Weigh that against the benefit of not having to engage in a bidding war as everything is Buy Now or Best Offer. There is a lot of overlap and incomplete release information so you rarely can buy anything collectible without having some back and forth with the seller. Kinda like the very early days of eBay.

  • I like selling average records on discogs; lower % fee than eBay. For collectibles, you’ll always get a higher auction price on eBay. I never buy on discogs. There simply no guarantee you’ll get what you think you’re buying. Reissues are advertised under original pressings, etc.

    Now, I really like USING discogs; decent folks and a genuine attempt to categorize all the pressings, even if not always successful.

    The Wong collection is getting a bit silly; high bids for fairly common items, e.g., Ahmad Jamal – Extensions for $76.

  • Terryfromflorida

    I find the discogs cumbersome to use when your trying to search for original pressings. Type in “Kind of Blue” in the search bar and your eyes will glaze over with so many pictures of the same cover. Using the advanced search helps slightly but not much. Many sellers use stock photos. OK for inexpensive purchases, but not for any serious money unless you are 100% certain what your getting.

  • I’ve had good luck on discogs so far. I’m not sure if I would splurge on a high dollar LP on there. I’ve seen sellers list the same record on both discogs and Ebay simultaneously and sometimes you get a better deal on discogs.
    The Wong collection IS really out of control!
    And speaking of out of control, how about the Bobdjukic auctions? I’ve bought from him before and had good luck but it wasn’t high dollar stuff. He has THE magic touch when it comes to getting people to bid! Anybody know anything about him?

  • I have sold some albums and bought some albums on discogs, but as someone above already said its true strength is the encyclopedic elements more than the marketplace.
    In regards the article it seems that much of what is sold on the site is likely new items, obscure or otherwise, and probably not the huge universe of vintage LPs that most of us are used to looking for.

  • I’ve been watching the auctions from caluvere who just sold the Blue Train. He’s been listing some impressive jazz titles but his descriptions don’t match the accompanying photos. The Coltrane cover is described as M- but the lower right corner is fairly banged up. My thought is that if he can’t visually grade the covers accurately does he know how to properly grade the vinyl. None of his high ticket pieces, like Bill Evans “Waltz for Debby” have any feedback yet.
    Some sellers aren’t being deceptive, they’re just clueless.

  • Turbocharged Weasel

    I’ve used Discogs a little… Discogs is a fairly good website, but like eBay, some precautions are necessary. The biggest drawback to Discogs is probably the fact that each listing doesn’t have its own photographs, so you often have to ask the seller for photographs. As for grading, the site has its own standards set (I think they’re just the typical Goldmine standards), so usually the grades are pretty consistent in meaning. They have a fairly good but imperfect catalogue of releases for nearly anything you can think of (78s are a weak point, though), and if you get to a master release page for any record you’re looking for, all released versions of it are usually listed in chronological order, which is nice. Once you get the hang of using the website, it’s pretty easy to use, but it’s still got issues. Although there are actually a fair amount of rare jazz records for sale on there (2 copies of Undercurrent, a copy of Giant Steps with the black label, a copy of Blowing In From Chicago, a copy of Soul Station, et cetera), sometimes their catalogue of pressings are incomplete… As previously mentioned, with some Blue Notes, you’ll have reissues being sold as originals because there sometimes isn’t a section for each reissue. And, like eBay, some sellers are incompetent or clueless… Getting pictures is highly recommended, and you have to look carefully. Occasionally you’ll see that seller that has that VG+ record that they describe as playing great besides those two first songs that it skips through, or that cover that is in VG shape with nicely taped splits and only a little water damage, and as usual there are the people that think that a VG/VG copy of Blowing In From Chicago is worth $1,500, or that guy awhile back that was asking $500 for a G+ copy of Undercurrent (that’s gone now, so maybe somebody paid him what he asked… Tsk, tsk). There are still plenty of great deals to be had, and the prices usually are less than the bidding war highs of eBay. Overall, I’ve had fewer bad experiences on there than I’ve had on eBay… I’ve had eBay records described as VG++ show up as only G+ That looked fine due to selective photography and light tricks, and I’ve never had that happen on Discogs. The worst I’ve had is a cheap record showing up and being the wrong pressing, and a seller that decided not to send me pictures while promising he would for several days and then never getting back to me. If you can find the deals and get your ducks in a row, you could do well on there. The only Blue Note I ever bought from there was a copy of A Night at the Village Vanguard, and it turned out better than described.

  • Discogs is hit and miss. I agree that the big issue is records being sold under the wrong release or pressing variation; with Blue Note being a particularly troublesome label for this. Once got burned with a Horace Silver Jazz Messengers on Blue Note sold as a “47 w 63rd” “ear” issue but turned out to be a non-ear New York USA Liberty era issue. Got a partial refund, but still ended up with a $40 record variation I didn’t want! On the plus side, I’ve gotten some good deals too like a NM stereo “inner urge” with “ear” for $100 which likely would have commanded more on eBay.

  • Discogs is two things: a collective data base, kept alive by members/contributors, Wikipédia idea and a site to sell and/or buy.

    For European sellers they have introduced the obligation, since September 2015, to have a VAT number. Can you imagine the administrative burden of passing through the system of tax authorities just for an occasional sale of a jazz album? Ludicrous. So selling through them is a no-go for me.

    Buying: I have had some experiences: first I discovered that you are not buying what you see. sellers use stock photos. So it is imperative to ask detailed information from sellers. In many cases you don’t get a reply. People put records for sale and forget about them. They don’t care. Rather frustrating. I finished one satisfactory operation directly with a Dutch seller, though started via Discogs. And one satisfactory operation with a UK seller, this one 100% legitimate, all the way through their system. So I have one positive feedback in their system.

    Discogs is cumbersome, frustrating and time consuming. I prefer EBay. The data base gives useful info, but is far from complete.

  • Abrasive_Beautiful

    Another strange thing I forgot about, in addition to above, was that my seller claimed the copy of Jackie McLean 84215 specifically said it had an ear in the deadwax. I futzed at the time, because that LP came out after the liberty buy-out and does not have ear. When confronted about this he basically said “Whats the problem, it’s an original isn’t it?”

  • Discogs and eBay are both maddening – pretty much the only tried-and-true method is repeat buying from trusted sellers on either platform. I’ve been screwed on high and low-dollar LPs via eBay and via Discogs, although it’s true that ‘scogs is a little more “wild-west” at this stage. The main problem has been condition, although poor packing choices are a close second. Good times…

  • Off topic but did anyone notice that Oliver Lake LP “prophet” sell for $150+!? There’s like 10 copies on discogs for $5-20. That’s an example of where discogs can come in handy I guess!!

  • Yeah, that seemed like a nutty bidding war but they’ve also been getting similarly high prices for other $10-$15 LPs (Prestige twofers, etc.).

  • Discogs is a great resource, and one that I’m actually sing to develop a side business with that will hopefully help connect all of us collectors in a better way. (www.thewaxcabinet.com). I’ve been selling on the site for about a year to test the waters, and my experience has been ok. It’s a little frustrating with their set grading system, and the inability to upload my own images (especially for the higher priced records), but it is what it is. If a buyer is interested, they will reach out for more pictures and I’m happy to send them. I have a few of my choice records on the site for my must have price (top dollar, and at least for now). They probably won’t sell on there at the price I’m asking, but it’s not a big deal to me! 🙂

  • I am a new seller on discog with about 20+ sells. Trusting the seller is a great factor along with knowing what is the refund policy. Refunds for any reason is nice but can be risky so trusting the buyer is essential too. Benefits: I can list an lp in less than a minutes. I will have a critical listen to an lp that I am selling and I will provide details. Many seller do not. The “buy it now” or “make an offer” is a great feature and less stressful than watchihng the clock on e-bay. I have found that there are great buys on discog and I sell my items with that expectation whether an vinatge Atlantic , Prestige or Bluenotes pressing.

  • I have just used Discogs and what a waste of time and energy. Ordered Hank Mobley ‘Work Out’
    Music Matters reissue. Lots of nice pictures to sell then item, good description….
    Guess what turned up?… a cheap 75th Anniversary reissue, totally the wrong Item and
    not easily mixed up with the very inferior cheap issue sent. I think they tried to pull a stunt on me.
    After a week of waiting for a response i got..”we will check if the correct record is in stock”..
    That was 4 days ago and now after several requests for a refund or correct item…NOTHING!, just Silence. Horrible experience. Back this up with a my only other previous Discogs experience, Byron Morris Unity ‘Blow Thru Your Mind’, advertised for $99 original pressing Mint, etc etc… i bite and order and pay… A cheap obvious modern reissue pops through the door, I complain, the seller swears blind he has had the record since the 70’s sealed and only opened it prior to sending to check. Further investigation of the stamper numbers tells me it’s a reissue from a few years ago, thin card jacket etc…What a joke!
    I miss proper record rack digging in real shops.

  • Recently purchased a fine Max Bennett album on Bethlehem. The transaction was flawless, the description was accurate, the grading was perfect. Package was strong and appropriate. Nothing else to say…

    My rule is very simple for both Ebay and Discogs : always ask for more description if you are not familiar with the seller…If the seller doesn’t send you additional picture, or is rude, or does not respond, don’t buy, don’t bid.

  • More than $450 for a reissue of Mingus’ The Clown?

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/CHARLES-MINGUS-The-Clown-ATLANTIC-LP-NM-SHRINK-/381507337725?hash=item58d39bfdfd:g:MhgAAOSw5dNWhbho

    @Michel, who’s Max Bennett? Perhaps I missed something.

  • Another thing about discogs comes to mind- the tracker. If you want to make a list of your collection the site provides a way of doing so, which can come in handy ie for insurance purposes. Although an excel sheet would work just fine, or a notebook 🙂

  • @Michel, who’s Max Bennett? Perhaps I missed something.

    GST : Max Bennett is a veteran bass player who started to play in the end of the 40’s. There are two fine Bethlehem sessions and albums from 55 and 56. He played in the 60’s with Lalo Schifrin, and Larry Carlton in the 70’s. He is still in activity…

  • Apparently there has been bid retraction on the Clown… now it is “only” at 277… The guy had bidded 701 $… No comment….

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/CHARLES-MINGUS-The-Clown-ATLANTIC-LP-NM-SHRINK-/381507337725?hash=item58d39bfdfd:g:MhgAAOSw5dNWhbho

  • I’ve been cautious with Discogs for many of the reasons outlined by earlier commenters. Having said that, the two purchases I have made from Discogs sellers have both been successful. One was a Columbia six-eye stereo pressing of Miles Davis Friday Night at the Blackhawk and the other (only last month) was a Riverside mono first pressing of Chet Baker In New York. Both records were in great condition, reasonably priced and as described by the sellers.

    As others have noted, I think the appropriate precaution is to contact the seller and ask for confirmation of details and multiple photographs of the specific item for sale. My limited experience is that genuine sellers will politely and quickly get back to you with these additional elements. If the response is slow, evasive, ignorant or rude then it’s time to walk away.

    There are definitely some good deals to be had on Discogs but you need to be judicious.

  • Perhaps, as Discogs is a database, some of you guys should add some of your knowledge of jazz music, musicians and pressings to upload/amend releases onto the site. That’s essentially the purpose right? To create a user created database of every release pressed. Some of you know a whole lot more than most on there from what iv’e read on various posts here. Personally, iv’e uploaded 2 releases and contributed amendments to a couple that i knew to be incorrect, its fairly painless experience taking approx 10 minutes to complete, its live within minutes and you can begin to sell straight away.

  • Thanks Michel. I’ll have to check him out!

  • I have inherited A collection of albums from my uncle Peter it was the famous bass player out of Germany PETER TRUNK . He played alongside with Gillespie, along with playing on this album Lucky Thompson Lord, Lord, Am I Ever Gonna Know? (1961) and Cees See too, just to name a few. He’s albums are all German bought . Now I have an original first pressing BlueNote Miles Davis Vol.2 1502,
    Matrix BN-LP-1502-A. BN-LP-1502-B. And With all the correct credentials of a first pressing, like the cursive big P ,which they call the EAR , a hand Etched RVG, not stamped and 9M also hand etched. I also have Miles Davis ‘kind of blue’, an original BN-
    CS 8163 . Matrix XSM47326-1A, XSM47327-1AE. Now they are in there original sleeves and the covers are in fairly good condition . The records themselves play wonderful. now would anybody know who I would talk to to add to their personal collection and not a retail collector of some sort. For these were owned by my uncle Peter and I want them to be appreciated just like he did when he listen to them. Like I said they are from Germany with a Musikhaus Hummel red/gold sticker on the cover and on the record label which was placed over the category number on the first sides of each of these albums. Any buddy to give me any information would be helpful. And like I said this is just a few. I have some my uncle Peter’s original works to which if you look online, they go from anywhere $500 to 2500 . I have some artists signatures with a little quotes saying how thankful they work for Peter assisting them with his great mind for music. Any help would be greatly appreciated at this time .

  • Kendra I am interested.. My email is raap (at) shaw (dot) ca

  • Mark I sent u an email, forward to hearing from you.

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