. . . And The Prices Keep Going Up

Bill Evans Jazz VinylI’m sure many of you are way ahead of me, but please let me catch up on some of the interesting auctions we were watching, starting with Bill Evans, Waltz for Debby, Riverside 399. This was an original white label promo copy. The record was listed in VG++ condition and the cover looked to be about VG+ because a previous owner had stamped his name and address on both the front and the back. When I first wrote about the record, there were several hours left in the auction and the bidding was in the $265 range and I guessed that the final price would probably surpass $1,000. To my surprise, and probably to the surprise of many of you here, the final price was $2,248. And that’s not even counting the Global Shipping Program charge of nearly $475, which is discussed in the comments on the earlier post. I’d be curious as to who is spending this kind of money on these records, and why? Is it for listening? Is it for investment? Is it just for collecting and owning the history?

This was another one that surprised me with its high final price: Curtis Fuller, Blues ette, Savoy 12141. This was an original pressing with the deep red label and the deep grooves. It was listed in “E” condition, which I take to mean about VG++, and the cover was described as “very clean.” It sold for $811.50.

Those two Jimmy Raney 10-inc records wound up selling as well: Jimmy Raney Ensemble, New Jazz 1103. This was an original pressing in M- condition for the record and the cover. It sold for $394.10. Jimmy Raney Quartet, New Jazz 1101. This was also an original pressing in M- condition for the record and the cover. This one sold at its start price of $175.

And here’s one more big-ticket item: Cliff Jordan, Cliff Craft, Blue Note 1582. This was an original pressing listed in Ex condition for the record and the cover, although the cover seemed to have issues. When I first wrote about this one, it was in the $450 range and I speculated that it had a good chance to break into the $1,000 bin. It did, and then some, selling for $1,575. I’ve long desired this record, but have never been willing to pay the going rate. A few years ago, I could have had a mint copy on eBay for half of what it’s selling for now. In retrospect, maybe that was the thing to do.



  • The GSP isn’t part of the Evans auction, no? If it were, though, that’d be irritating as all get out.

  • Although it is not a rare record, regarding its historical importance, and its musical quality, this “Waltz For Debby” 2200 $ + price seems more relevant than many mediocre Blue Note that go for 500 $ everytime.
    The question for me would be the actual condition of the vinyl, beause Riversides are very irregular in quality. I’ve often seen visually immaculate Riverside records that turned out to be at the best VG + on the record player. Bidders, beware of groove wear !

  • Couldn’t agree more…I’m suspect of riverside and prestige/new jazz original vinyl as the quality is not nearly as good as clean blue notes. I’m totally happy with my Japanese pressing of “waltz for debby” – not a single click or pop to be heard.

  • Some records and artists just have a life of their own in terms of “iconic” status, so you’ll see absurd money for something like Waltz for Debby, whereas far rarer items don’t go for nearly as much.

  • True, I have a first pressing copy of “Presenting Ernie Henry”. The album jacket is in mint condition and the record looks like it is in mint condition as well. And then you play it……………and it doesn’t play mint, somewhere around vg + at best. It is a conundrum. I have an old Chet Baker Pacific Jazz 10 inch that looks like it has been roller skated upon, and yet, the sound is better than the Ernie Henry. Go figure.

  • Dear Al: The Evans record eBay page said it was coming from California, so if it did wind up selling to another U.S. address, how is it applicable for the Global Shipping Program charge of nearly $475? C.

  • Caroline: I don’t know where you live, but if I look right now at this item on EBay, which has been sold, they give $ 42,65 postage to France and $ 591,44 import duties ( for France, I suppose). Of course, for a US buyer this should not apply. I say, should, because I have the experience of a purchase from the U.K. to France, where I was charged import duties under this wicked GSP program, although within the EC such duties do not exist.

  • eBay is not a good way to purchase very expensive items from outside the European Union, even if the seller doesn’t use the GSP, he/she may insist to insure the item for the full amount and write the full amount value on the package, which will definitely make the customs stop the package and make you pay a grotesque import duty.

  • Just wondering why a record that plays,perfectly without any noise would get a lower grade visually and therefore a lower price. Are we not talking about sound quality?

  • Art, Yeah, you and I are. Insane people are not.

    Some people want their records to play AND look mint, which I don’t get. I have a copy of a nice Blue Note that I got on the cheap because it looks like someone did coke off of it (4004, holiday for skins 1). But it plays mint and the cover is nice.

    And also a lot of sellers are too lazy to play grade their big ticket items so they go by sight alone.

  • It’s impossible to grade an album correctly visually. The album can look a superb NM but sound like a VG or the other way around. Never, ever buy from a seller who doesn’t play grade their items. A visual grade only is worth zero.

  • For records that fetch high $ the seller should really play grade the albums. I hate it when they play much worse than they look. Some sellers that I bought from also clean the LPs to get a potentially higher visual grade. If they do a bad cleaning the residue crackles and the record gets unlistenable. This happened more than once for me…

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