Cool Struttin’ At the JRC

The Jazz Record Center had an auction last week and I was keeping tabs on a few of their records, including: Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin’, Blue Note 1588. This was an original pressing with a weird variation: Both sides had he same label (Side 2). To me that would diminish the value, not sure why because the music is the same, but it just would. This one looked to be in M- condition for the record and probably VG++ for the cover. The final price was $2,500, so perhaps the label aberration effected the price, since we’ve often seen this record sell for more than $3,000 and occasionally more than $5,000. It used to be that the Jazz Record Center would get a premium on its records because of it’s reputation, but I find that is no longer the case. I had thought, perhaps, it was because they didn’t take Pay Pal, but now I notice that they do take Pay Pal.Β The action also included a bunch of 10-inch Blue Notes, which I love, including:

Clifford Brown Quartet, Blue Note 5047. This was an original pressing that looked to be in M- condition for the record and the cover. This one sold for $729. Clifford Brown Sextet, Blue Note 5048. This was an original Lexington Avenue pressing that also looked to be in M- condition, perhaps VG++ for the cover. This one sold for $361. I wonder why there is nearly a $400 gap in the market value for one of these records versus the other. Tal Farlow Quartet, Blue Note 5042. This was another original Lexington Avenue pressing that looked to be in M- condition for the record and the cover. The start price was $100 and there were no bidders. If I had been paying attention, I would have bid on this, since $100 is a price I would be happy to pay in order to own a copy. Hmmm. The Jazz Record Center is only a few subway stops away from my apartment. Hmmm.

30 comments

  • Al – would you say label mispressings would lower the value of a record? I see people put mispressed records (not jazz) on Ebay fairly regularly, as some kind of USP / rarity.

    I have a copy of “Feelin’ Good” by the Three Sounds. When I first played it, I wasn’t totally paying attention, and after a few bars, thought “is Gene Harris playing the organ here?” (he does on some of the tracks on the “Vibrations” LP).

    It turns out that one side of the record is actually Jimmy Smith’s “Midnight Special”.

  • Based on my experience, I would say that mispressings et al typically diminish the value of the records, sometimes significantly. Collectors seem to want the original record the way it was supposed to be issued. Although, I’m sure, there are some exceptions.

  • Al, it’s interesting that you should mention this recent auction by The Jazz Record Center because I was also following closely. There were a number of items of interest as you say and, in the past, I would probably not have bid on any of them. But two things changed my mind this time – first – as you’ve noted, JRC has now started accepting payment by PayPal and second, I’ve been after a nice copy of Dexter Calling for a while now and I was fortunate enough to win the auction for that item.

    I may well have bid on other items but I’m trying hard to restrict myself to a budget of at most one record per month. I feel virtuous when I manage it but sometimes, if I make a purchase early in the month, the gods of collecting taunt me for the rest of that month with a selection of desirable records that I have to try hard to resist pitching for.

  • Terryfromflorida

    There is no question that Fred is one of the more knowledgeable guys in the field. He’s a nice guy. I buy, and will continue to buy, from him.
    I agree that he no longer gets a premium on his auctions but think he created that himself. Partly in his refusal to use PayPal and more importantly, the Goldmine grading system.
    For example: Along with the batch of lp’s that just sold on eBay, he had several Blue Notes in the store in lesser condition. (He usually sells the crappier ones in house and puts the decent ones on eBay). As opposed to grading them Goldmine standard, he put words like “Ticky” on the sticker to imply an lp with ticks. Unfortunately that doesn’t make clear to the buyer how distracting the ticks are.
    His auctions exaggerate sometimes too when he describes some lp’s as “perhaps played once or twice”. If that’s the case, Goldmine grade the lp M- and then proceed to describe it in more detail like he does now.
    I.E. “The lp is graded VG, plays with some quiet ticks that do not distract from listening”.
    Additionally, he doesn’t always clearly specify upfront if the lp is a 1st pressing. His use of the word “original” can apply to any original Plastylite pressing and not necessarily the 1st.
    You also have to read between the lines of his description and look for the words “like new” or “appears unplayed”.
    Lastly, he could use more descriptive titles in his auctions instead of just putting Thelonious Monk on Blue Note”.
    I feel these changes would bring higher results in his auctions and more bidders too. He did Ok on the Louis Smith auction with the UA cover πŸ˜‰

  • Yeah, JRC doesn’t really “hype” their auctions so it’s not surprising that their records don’t go stratospheric. That said, $2,500 is still a chunk of change for an imperfect example of a classic, in demand title.

  • I think the reason this JRC auction didn’t get premium prices is that all the cover photos seem to show yellowing around the edges. That to me would indicate the previous owner was a heavy smoker and although nicotine stains on laminated covers can often be cleaned off fairly easily, the stains on the back paper slick are permanent. There also might be a nicotine film on the records themselves.

  • Gregory the Fish

    i notice a few things about the auction as well:

    1) the weird labels on sonny clark wouldn’t bother me personally, as it is still original, but i can understand why they’d annoy others. i have a copy of the visitors’ “in my youth” that has the first side pressed on BOTH sides. drives me nuts! but just a label error… no big deal to me.

    2) more offerings of ‘not original’ stuff than usual, such as japanese and european pressings. very odd.

    3) CRAZY high prices for some 45s! I have a tiny handful of blue note 45s and i might sell them if they fetch that much each!

    4) a few listings still said no paypal.

    5) did anyone notice the louis smith cover was not original? they said so, but still… that’s wacky!

    6) I love tal farlow and am very sad to see him get no love. give it a good home, al! i wouldn’t have blinked at that price if i wasn’t a student. ha!

  • I always found it odd that JRC never puts the title of the album in their auction titles. For instance, that copy of Dexter Calling (nice pickup Martin!) is only listed as “Dexter Gordon on Blue Note” so when you search “Dexter Calling” it doesn’t show up. All my saved searches include the album title so if JRC wasn’t a saved seller, I’d never receive any alerts and their listings would go by completely unnoticed.

  • I would never even think about dropping big bucks on an album with a label or cover misprint. I once turned down a clean Lexington Horace Silver Jazz messengers album for $100 because the rear cover slick was upside down. I knew it would bother me whenever I pulled it from the racks so why bother buying it?

  • I just bought Bossa Nova Bacchanal…on CD. Would have loved to catch that Criss session, too.

  • A label misprint I wouldn’t worry about it. Will only maybe notice it in the few seconds between taking the record out of the sleeve and mounting it on the turntable. No big deal.

    A big cover malfunction though would certainly prevent me from buying an album, unless it was insanely cheap and I thought I could get a replacement cover easily. I love handling and looking at the covers of my records and something like an upside down rear slick would annoy me to no end. I also abhor seam splits and flaking as I actually keep my records inside the covers – I know I run a slight risk of damage that way but I can’t help it, it just feels so much more authentic to me.

    I’m curious: do you guys keep your records inside the covers or outside?

  • Inside the jacket here

  • Inside with the exception of some very fragile or tight covers (Danish Debut, early Atlantic 12″s, Vogue FR) and the few hand-painted or hand-pulled jackets I have.

    I think I have some mismatched labels but nothing high-dollar/nothing I’ve paid a lot for (hence not sweating them).

    Bossa Nova Bacchanal is great. Every time I think “oh man, I have too many records and need to divest” I am reminded of some choice ones in the racks that, while they may not get played every day, are cherished sleepers.

  • I keep my records outside the jacket with both in a resealable sleeve.

    As far as misprints are concerned they seem to carry more weight with younger buyers (at least when it comes to more modern music). Perhaps there will be a shift in the market as these collectors grow older and have more influence on the market as a whole?

  • I store most of my lps inside their jackets except for almost all non-laminated Riverside, Prestige and Contemporary titles that are stored in a generic sleeve inside an outer plastic sleeve with the cover. The paper stock they used is so thin that spine wear and potential splitting is a huge issue.

  • All records stored inside covers even the fragile riversides and Prestige. I do try to be careful when removing and putting them back in but I’m just not a “record stored outside of cover” guy…

  • Gregory the Fish

    Mark: An upside down back slick wouldn’t bother me, but I can see where it would bother some people. And I DEFINITELY relate to “I knew it would bother me whenever I pulled it from the racks so why bother buying it?”. That thought has saved me money before.

    cellery: i keep them inside if I can. I have no good reason for it, and it requires me to be very careful, but I feel like I just HAVE TO keep them in or it isn’t real in a way. odd, i know. I make exceptions for 10” records because since they often came without inner sleeves, and I keep them in inner sleeves for protection, it is very hard to get them into the jackets and despite my distaste for it, it isn’t worth the ripped and damaged jackets. I have yet to lose a jacket otherwise.

    clifford: every time i think about downsizing, i play the record(s) i am thinking of parting with. invariably, they stay on the shelves. i have traded or sold four or five records that i regret, and since then I always play them again first.

  • Heh, funny, somehow I always figured the “discerning collector” kept them outside for safety and I was the odd one out – glad to hear I’m not πŸ˜‰ Gregory, no good reason, eh … record collecting’s an emotional rather than rational thing I’d say so if it feels “right” to you, why not? To me being able to hold the cover with the record inside it, flipping it over and checking out the liner notes, then sliding out the inner sleeve and subsequently the record is part of the experience. Never had any mishaps. I think the only record I have outside the cover is Black Sabbath Master of Reality (sorry if that’s distasteful to mention on a jazz blog ;)) – it’s the first UK issue with the laminated box cover which is very hard to open without risking a crease or tear in the fragile opening flap or its lamination.

  • Wrong labels don’t bother me but if I was trying to add something like an original Cool Struttin to my collection and was paying big bucks for it I would want a correct 1st press.

  • @cellery, oh yeah those Vertigo gimmix sleeves are cool but a pain in the butt to keep in nice condition. Nice that you have an original UK Master of Reality — no shame there!

  • Abrasive_Beautiful

    I’m surprised to hear of so many of you with the record inside the sleeve. I have always kept everything separate after they have been cleaned and re-sleeved. Less risk of damage and easier access because I can pull discs out with the cover still on the shelf if I desire.

  • Clifford, yeah, I love Vertigo. I have UK originals of all the Black Sabbaths and two Gentle Giants, and an Australian pressing of the second Patto lp with the Roger Dean gimmix sleeve that I got real cheap. Wish I could afford others (the Nucleus / Ian Carr stuff for example, to get back to jazz) but they’re so damn expensive; someone called ’em the Blue Notes of rock, there might be something in that.

  • I’m exclusively an outside the cover person, however I don’t value intact seams nearly as much as a decently playing record when purchasing, so it would be much more risky for me to store mine inside the sleeve. I’ve also witnessed first hand a friend sliding a 10″ Chet Baker Sings into its sleeve at an AirBnb we rented and watching the record fall right through and shatter on the floor.

  • An AirBnb renter left their valuable records out in the open?! I’m feeling anxious just thinking about it!

  • GST, fortunately it wasn’t in great shape from the get-go, but they also left out original copies of Miles’ Kind of Blue, Brubeck’s Take Five, and some other classics.

  • ha, yeah I don’t think I’ll AirBnB my apartment anytime soon.

  • Gregory the Fish

    black sabbath is awesome, cellery. i only really collect jazz but i love black sabbath/doom metal in general.

    that Air BnB is wild! did the renter get mad, what_can_brown?

    abrasive_beautiful, i didn’t say it made sense! haha. πŸ™‚

  • Greg – I was surprised actually. We were very up front and called them after the weekend was out (allowing sufficient time to check out local stores for a replacement). The owner didn’t seem to care whatsoever, but I did go on ebay and pick up a replacement and have it sent to him. Fortunately because his copy was probably VG- condition, I was able to find a slightly better copy for just $25. This guy wasn’t a vinyl collector as much as he just enjoyed listening to the music.

  • l label misprint would not bother me. A misprint our variation would be considered unique by some collectors, and valuable in its own right. I listen the music, not the cover. I store some records in the cover sleeves, some outside the cover, within a vinyl protective cover. Depends on the condition of the actual cover.

    Nicotine residue is easily removed from a record via deep cleaning. Just curious, how many have a record cleaner in regular use ?

  • Hello all, Am I missing something here or what? I thought the purpose of storing records outside the jacket was to prevent the jacket’s getting ring wear. Perhaps I’m a maven or something but a beautiful jacket, to me, is an integral part of having a wonderful collectible LP. Why would the record stay inside the jacket at the risk of splitting seams when taking it out to play the LP? I have always put a sleeve on the jacket and before I got in the habit of placing LP outside jacket I noticed some of the jackets developing a ring wear line even with a plastic sleeve in place. Now that I store LP in a MOFI liner and place the Lp inside a generic plain hard jacket and put that pkg on the outside of the jacket I have flawless covers which are double sleeved. Sorry, I don’t get it at all. What is the point of having LP inside the jacket?

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