A Stamp, A Failed Bid, Some Cool Autographs

Herbie Nichols copyHere are a few more items we are/have been watching on eBay, starting with Herbie Nichols Trio, Blue Note 1519. This looks to be an original deep-groove Lexington Avenue pressing. The record is listed in M- condition and the cover is VG, with taped seams. The bidding is in the $240 range and there are four days left on the auction. I have a strange copy of this record. It has the Lexington Avenue address, the ear and the RVG in the deadwax, but no deep grooves. Not sure of the vintage — probably pre-Liberty, but not an original, I would guess. Another interesting thing about my copy: It has the stamp: “Property of Rudi Blesh.” Rudi Blesh was a jazz critic and  historian. He even has his own Wikepedia page. Rudi Blesh or not, I’d still love to replace my pressing with an original, but not at that price and not with taped seams.

I actually did bid on a record this past week, which I don’t do very often this days. It was the Phil Woods record I wrote about earlier in the week:

Phil Woods, Woodlore, Prestige 7018. There was about an hour left in the auction and the record was sitting at about $130. I know that The Lovely Mrs. JC has been trying to find a record to give me for my birthday next week, and I also know that her endeavors have so far proven to be unsuccessful. I thought perhaps I’d help us both out. The record was listed in VG condition for both the vinyl and the cover, which definitely made me wary. But I figured it was worth a shot if the seller had perhaps been conservative, especially since this is a record I have long wanted in my collection. (Well, I do have a Japanese pressing, but that’s not the same as an original). Given the condition of the record, and the time left on the auction, I put in a snipe of about $210, figuring I’d have a good chance. It’s more than I would want to pay for a record in this condition, but it was a gift and, ostensibly, I would not supposed to know the actual price. It wound up selling for $284. As some people here in the states say, “no harm, no foul.”

I was curious to see what this piece of memorabilia would sell for: JATP Program Signed by Lester Young. This was part of an auction by the Jazz Record Center. I found it interesting that they chose to list it as a Lester Young autograph when, in fact, the Pres signature was only one of many other signatures on the program. Other signatures were Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Sonny Stitt, Coleman Hawkins, Roy Eldridge and Percy Heath. Not a bad lineup, just need a drummer. I would guess that the Lester Young Signature is pretty rare, given when he died and some of his personal issues. This sold for $555.50. If you follow the Jazz Record Center link above, you can see the other items they sold on this auction.



  • The Phil Woods was out of my range also, better luck next time, Al.

  • …I think you dodged the preverbal bullet on that Phil Woods LP Al. The cover was most questionable indeed, especially the seams and stains on the back cover.
    As for the signed JATP program… Great collector piece, and the autographs appear legit. The buyer certainly got it for a bargain price considering the star studded line-up of signatures.

  • Herbie Nichols: Al’s peculiar pressing. I have had the same. Lex adress on labels and rear cover, ears etc. but one feels it is not an original. The différences: no kakubuchi, no flat rim and lighter vinyl. I got mine from Alfred Lion around 1963. My feeling: they just did a pressing run with the materials at hand, at that particular moment.

  • Rudolf, you are the first person I have ever heard mention that they purchased their Blue Notes first hand from Alfred Lion ! This sounds like the start of a great posting topic… Did you deal with him via phone, mail or in person ?

  • don-Lucky: it is fascinating indeed. In the fifties and early sixties, Blue Note worked with an official and exclusive importer for all sales into the Netherlands. This guy (Munnikendam in Amsterdam) was the sole importer. Munnikendam showed less and less interest in supplying special items (Herbie Nichols, Hank Mobley, Thad Jones, Sonny Clark and other artists not selling well). Munnikendam only had stocks of big sellers like Blakey, Jimmy Smith and H. Silver. As you know, Blue Note issued catalogues with the whole range 1500-1600 albums marked available, unlike Prestige who continuously deleted items. So, exasperated by this situation I wrote a letter to Blue Note saying that catalogue numbers x, y and z were impossible to obtain in my country and asking whether I could buy them directly. The reply from Alfred was immediate and short: they would supply the whole catalogue at a unit price of $ 3.75 per album, excl. cost of shipment. I think I ordered three or four times to complete my missing BLP albums. I would order, Blue Note would send an invoice, I would pay via I.M.O. and got the albums at my home adress. Very cool indeed.

  • Glad I checked back on this one, thanks for the rest of the story Rudolf. Personally, I long for a simpler time when buying Blue Note LP’s was a gentlemen’s pursuit. LP’s were bought for the music, sold at a fair price, and you could still deal direct from the owner.

    That said, I don’t miss the required patience, waiting in anticipation of those order arrivals. Although at $3.75 (+Shipping) I would gladly waive the convenience of Paypal & reassurance of a tracking number any day !

  • Rudolf- as always, thanks for the great story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *