From the Jazz Collector Inbox

hankSorry I haven’t posted in a few days. I have a house full of guests in The Berkshires and have surrendered my office for several days. But I am back with a new feature. This one we can refer to as “stuff from the email inbox.” At Jazz Collector, we do get more than an occasional email. Sometimes it’s readers to point out particular records on eBay that either surprise or anger or intrigue them. Often, we get inquiries from readers looking to assess and/or dispose of collectibles. Sometimes this turns into a nice opportunity for us, as was the case with the Irving Kalus collection I purchased last year, In Memory of a Jazz Collector. To give you an idea, here’s what’s come in during just the past few days:

Louis Armstrong Autograph: “Hello. I stumbled on your site while researching values for 78 records and an autograph of Louis Armstrong and his band at the time (late ’30s, early ’40s) and wondered if you could help me find a place that I could get a value on these items?”

Jazz Book Collection: “My father was a massive jazz connoisseur, collector and discographer but sadly passed away in April, Age 92. Attached is a list of his books, which we wish to sell.  We have done some EBay etc. research but would prefer a deal for the job lot via a dealer, or at least a select job lot. A number of the books have been signed by the authors and dedicated personally to my father.”

Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568: Hi Al, Great blog! I post every once in a while. Here’s a recent eBay experience about 1568

I saw an auction for BN1568 with a price of $899. Did not appear to be a scam. I did the BIN and Paypal’ed immediately, which cleared instantly. That was a Saturday, asked the seller to pack carefully and to look into insurance. Followed up on Monday morning, asking about insurance cost.

Seller replied that she was “just informed of the value of the LP” and thus has to cancel the auction. Well, that obviously sucks, so I replied with a few points:

“What can I say?

1. The buy-it-now price was $900, which suggests to me that you had some idea of the value of the record. $900 for an LP is an immense amount.

2. It’s a non-official 2nd pressing, because side 2 only has the W63 address, not the New York 23 label.

3. When I’ve bought things on eBay before that seemed somewhat overpriced, I usually discovered upon receiving it that there were flaws to the item that made the price make more sense.

4. I’ve sold a good number of things on eBay, many of them were fixed price/buy-it-now and several sold very quickly.  I guessed that I had probably underpriced them, but I followed through with the transaction. But I followed through with the transaction. That’s the nature of a market.”

Anyway, seller hasn’t refunded my $ and HAS relisted it Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568. 

Don’t mean to gripe or be long-winded. Maybe someone on the list can learn from this? Keep up the great work!

Lorraine Geller on Dot: Of course, no email grab-bag would be complete without a missive from CeeDee, who drops me an entertaining note about once a week. This one was on the Lorraine Geller LP on Dot, which we recently included in a post. It wound up selling for $932. CeeDee’s note was simple, but appropriate. It said:

“$$$ . . . but why?”

I shall leave it to you, good readers, to answer. As a comment, not an email, please.


  • Sorry about the Mobley. That is probably against the eBay rules for the seller to renig on a purchase. I think the only way they can do that is if someone buys the same item through another means (e.g., brick and mortar store). Probably not worth lodging a complaint however.

  • Ceedee!!!! Lorraine Geller…but why ? Because its a lovely session, its rare, and we all love Lorraine AND finally because mr Japanese loves her even more.

  • And I would LOVE to own this record, much more than a date with Mrs Johansson, Scarlett

  • That Mobley situation SUCKS. Hope that paypal refunds the buyer and that they leave a big fat NEG on the seller.

  • The mobley situation definately deserves a call to eBay. This is against their policy. I would contact eBay immediately, especially because you have not been refunded.

  • The seller of the Mobley record has acted illegally in my opinion.

    The seller has offered a “Buy Now” price and the buyer has accepted the “Buy Now” price. Once the “Buy Now” button has been hit, there is no going back for the seller, as the seller has now entered into a legally binding contract.

    To my knowledge, there are no grounds on which the seller can suddenly withdraw the auction; except in perhaps exceptional circumstances; but this would include dialog with the buyer, and Ebay themselves, before an agreement is reached.

    To the buyer: Contact Ebay and do whatever to get your hands on the record that you legally own; as after all, the seller has your money.

  • Yeah, agreed. Tuff nuts, if you put a BIN on an item that means you have to Sell It Now as well and not just “feel out the market.” The fact that the seller hasn’t refunded is just unconscionable… honestly I wouldn’t trust a seller like that to follow through with sending the item even if eBay/PayPal sides with the buyer (which they undoubtedly will).

  • Ah, and the seller of the Mobley also seems to have little experience selling records, so… buyer beware on this one.

  • I’m the guy who emailed Al about the Mobley. The saga continues!
    Oddly, I received an “Update for your purchase” automail from eBay this AM, indicating that the seller had shipped the item?! I then received a follow-up email from the seller saying she decided to honor the sale and she had shipped it.
    Now the still-weird part: she said her husband relisted it but she’ll have him take it down. However, the listing is still active AND the seller has changed their eBay ID to a different name!
    USPS either has the LP and it’s on it’s way…or this is a strange scam and I’ll be getting my money back, sans 1568.
    Stay tuned!

  • To Kb

    Let us know if you get your hands on the record, and if you do, let us know what it is that you actually receive, and what it is like.

    Even if side 2 has the W63 address; if this is a legit 2nd pressing, I will still be extremely envious and jealous.

    The best of luck with receiving your record!

  • Rest In Peace George Duke!

  • Ok everyone, Detective Fredrik is here to help you all with this kind of stuff. I have done this before, you remember sunsetstripvinyl who used images from Popsike and cropped them and sold a lot of extremely valuable records which I guess he didn’t have? Anyway, he used images from Popsike from his auctions, and when I sent him a message asking him for more images he said that he didn’t send additional image cause “other people had used them in their own auctions”. I of course already knew that he had stolen the images from Popsike and had the proof. OK, good folks.. regarding this 1568 then, here’s how you play detective: look at the three images that are used for this auction, they all have a different setting. The seems to be taken by three different cameras and in three different ways. The front cover looks to be taken indoors and the label image clearly show it’s taken outside given the light and a tree or bush reflected in the deadwax. The back cover is taken in a completely different way as well and is heavily cropped. The images also don’t have the “zoom in” function, which suggests that the images are taken from the internet, no higher resolution as you would get if you have taken them yourself.

    OK, so that’s a few things “off” with these images. Then we have the actual proof that this is a scam auction: here’s the first link to the front cover sold on eBay in 2010 (a little cropped):

    …the label image I recognized straight away from an auction where the record sold for 5600 usd (it’s on the bottom of the page, click on it for bigger image):

    ..and finally to complete the stolen images gallery, here the back cover (from a recent auction on eBay, cropped a bit):

    Conclusion; A text description can always be copied and re-written a bit to appear new. But if the seller in fact does not have the record, then he/she will take images from somewhere else, right? They will take them from the internet, from other pages, sites. This seller stole from different places, not only Popsike. If something feels off about the seller or auction, check the images, and search for them and see if they are stolen from somewhere else. If they are, then the seller probably is a fraud.

    Happy nosing around!

  • Wow, pretty amazing. I do recall a pretty nice auction of free jazz LPs that after some sleuthing (and I’d already bid) turned out to have pictures from elsewhere on the internet (popsike, etc.). Luckily I actually got the albums and they were as described, but it was weird.

  • Nice work Detective.

  • Indeed, nice work, Fredrik!

    Status here: USPS tracking doesn’t indicate that any package was formally ACCEPTED, only that shipping is MANIFEST. This seems to imply that electronic info has been received by USPS, but who knows where any package might be.

    And the auction that was supposed to be taken down is still going!

  • Damn Fredrik. You’re good. Remind me not to try to sell you any property at the Glengary Glenross estates.

  • I emailed the 1568 seller yesterday if this record was still available as I read it was already sold and so far no response and is still accepting bids. Considering Fredrik’s great sleuthing and the sellers zero history dealing with collectable records this does not bode well.

  • there is another “artiste” to be followed, offering
    Johnny Griffin BLP 1559. Starting bid at $ 2,250.
    Also an OJC Rollins Saxophone Colossus for over $ 600!
    Dig the pictures he supplies.

  • WAS THE SELLER FROM FLORIDA. i was scammed on 1568 too, buy it now for 280 and was resold for quarulple that, pics were horrible, apparently was lp only no cover, seller only had few ebay items ever listed. total mess, no money back

  • On that (obviously OJC) Saxophone Colossus listing Rudolf highlighted, check out the listed Record Size. It’s surely a very rare disc.

  • 1568 mobley update:
    – shipping status still MANIFEST
    – auction still in-process
    – I went through the feedback of the seller and emailed a few buyers who left that seller good fb. one got back to me and gave a glowing review of both the item they won (a Disney collectible, which seems most of this seller’s offerings) AND the seller’s service. bizarre!

    I’m probably going to give ebay a call this afternoon to see how to proceed.

  • On cd collecting, I’m not surprised at the high auction price. Over the last couple of years, I’ve noticed a trend of jazz cds just going out of print with no explanation. Jazz cds that I purchased new just a year ago are now out of print and selling used for triple the new price. I was also hearing rumors at a local record store that cds were going to be phased out and replaced with memory cards and computer downloads. I have a hard time believing rumors but why are so many jazz cds being listed as “unavailable” on sites like Amazon? It seems like the industry does what it wants, even if it defies customer demand.

  • To KB,
    You just have to call eBay and file a claim. I’m sure they will force the seller to refund your money. But don’t wait too long. There is a time limit. I think it’s around four weeks. There’s an 800 customer service number on the eBay site. I recently went through a long arbitration over an expensive piece of audio equipment. They eventually ruled in my favor. But my advice is only to communicate through official eBay email and keep time and date records of all phone conversations. But you have a slam dunk case. You might even be able to get PayPal to pull back the funds.

  • I agree with Seth that the music industry does what it wants. It always has or at least tried.

    As long as the industry can still make money on CD’s and there are still retailers to sell them, CD’s won’t get phased out anytime soon. If we are seeing more and more CD’s go out of print, my guess is that the labels are gearing for reissues with new packaging/bonus tracks/DVD content etc. The labels surely see their CD’s are selling on that eBay or other resale sites for much more than the original price and they’ll want a piece of the pie.

  • Mobley update:

    – the relisted auction closed last night at $2800, meeting seller’s reserve apparently.

    – this morning, through ebay I emailed seller to refund my money immediately. I also opened a PayPal case.

    – did talk to ebay customer service yesterday and they won’t take action until the last possible date of shipping arrival, which is Aug 15. Paypal will wait 20d from now before stepping in.

    So, assuming seller DOES have this disc (despite not taking any original photos), upshot appears to be that seller bought time away from my negative feedback by submitting electronic shipping info and lying to me about the disc shipping. Meanwhile, they listed the auction for a shorter run than it would take ebay to step in.

    Seth: Agree with you; I’m sure I will get my money back because of the obvious problems here, but what a complete and total hassle AND there’s very little repercussion for this unscrupulous seller.

    Sigh…another ebay ‘caveat emptor’ lesson 🙂

  • I went through a month of hell over an amplifier that was obviously not packed well. I was freaking out because over $3,000 was involved. Ebay has a special division for large claims. Mine fit into that category.

    I had plenty of photos to back up my claim. The seller used old cardboard boxes that were worn out. The amplifier was dropped and damaged. He could have purchased new boxes from the U-Haul web site for very very little money. After examining the boxes, UPS even refused his insurance claim. What Ebay does is try to get the seller and buyer to work something out. But after a short period of time, you can escalate the case. When it’s time, you will see a button that says, “Do you want to escalate the case?”

    Something else I learned is to keep calling their claims department. There are some employees who know more than others. I was lucky enough to reach the manager for the whole claims department. If you escalate the case, the seller automatically gets a mark against his feedback. Any rational seller wouldn’t want that to happen. But this is the key: You cannot let the time elapse for you to escalate the case or you will be out in the cold.

    After my seller agreed to refund the money, I was down to having three days left for escalation, and still had not received anything. I sent a terse letter to him and Ebay that I would escalate at the end of the day if the money wasn’t in my account. That afternoon, I received an email from Paypal that they had received the money back. I don’t know if the seller voluntarily refunded or it was pulled back by Paypal. In my case, they had my money segregated in an escrow account.

    But I can’t emphasize this enough: Make sure you have the escalation cut off date written in stone. Keep calling customer service and write about every conversation. This is a form of warfare. The Ebay agreement is filled with small print that few people take time to read. Many sellers prey on the buyers’ ignorance of the Ebay claims system. I know this from experience. I once lost money because I trusted the word of a seller who seemed ethical. He was just stringing me along until the time elapsed.

    While there are some ethical sellers, Ebay has,unfortunately, become a haven for con artists. What was done to you is an obvious breach of contract. In a court, a judge can order specific performance: the seller would have to let you have the record at the price that you both agreed upon. But eBay had you agree to abide by their arbitration system when you joined. Now, if you took this situation to small claims court, a judge could nullify the arbitration agreement in your particular case. Few people do this because of the inconvenience. Your case is so outrageous and unconscionable, that eBay should never have let the seller re-list the record. There was already a binding contract in place. I think they really dropped the ball on this one. But good luck and keep fighting. Don’t let the system wear you down. You know the saying about when good people stop fighting…?

  • The Mobley is clearly a scam. Happened to me two times. Once I even called the seller before shipping!

    Get your money back and do not further pursue with chasing the seller on ebay.

    Move on. No need to get further stress from ebay.

    good luck!

  • thanks Seth and stereoidiot. that’s exactly where I’m at: trading calm, factual emails with the seller as they occur.

    as soon as ebay and paypal let me, I’m making formal claims/escalations at both places and will be vigilant until my $ are returned.

    I wonder what the $2800 auction winner is doing right now?

  • since it’s clearly a spam, you and the $2’800 buyer with escalate to ebay and get for sure your money back since you didn’t received the item. Keep the tracking number – it’s faked anyway.
    and again, get your money back and forget about it.
    If it was not a spam, I would challenge the grading of this seller. An NM record will ends up as a G….
    relax !

  • As a new collector, I’m finding an inherent risk in record collecting. When I was paying less for re-pressings, the risk wasn’t as noticeable but was still there. I just took smaller losses more often.

    Let me elaborate. Record grading is so subjective, it’s almost comical. As a simple example, I purchased two mint minus pressings of Charles Tolliver’s “Paper Man” on “Arista.” They are duplicates. Both are the same grade, same label and pressed in the same year. Here is why I bought the duplicate: The first record sounded terrible. It not only has audible clicks and pops but the music lacks bass and depth. There is virtually no sound stage.

    I’ve recently learned that a record can be played out. In other words, if it was played often with a dull stylus, the groove walls will break down. The resulting sound is shallow. There is no way to see this condition. (That I’m aware of.) The record simply must be play graded. I have found played out records more often with rock. I imagine, or would like to believe, that jazz lovers are more careful about their record collections and equipment.

    But from my years on the AudioKarma audiophile site, I’ve found that many vinyl users have no idea how to set up a turntable that won’t destroy their collection. And it doesn’t require expensive equipment. I bought my son an excellent used Technics turntable for about $120, complete with a dustcover. I immediately replaced the cartridge. I knew to do this because there is no way to tell the condition of a used stylus, no matter what the Ebay sellers with microscopes tell us. I’ve read numerous articles on the subject that were written by engineers. It not only takes a very powerful microscope to see a phono stylus, it also requires a trained eye to determine that a stylus is worn out or wearing unevenly. So I bought a new Shure cartridge that lists for $100. It was on sale for $40. (I have to thank my friend Steve for spotting that sale on the Amazon web site.)

    Aligning the cartridge took some toil. This is because the Technics’ turntable and tonearm were made in 1978. It is an entry level machine that can’t be easily set up. It completely lacks the controls to make some adjustments, like vertical tracking angle. In those days, most people didn’t do much with their phono cartridges. If the record wore out, it was easily replaceable for a few dollars. (Don’t you just hate it when an Ebay record sells for $500 and has a $2.99 price sticker on it from a place like Korvettes?) With high end equipment, the dealer would set up the cartridge.

    So, say you buy an expensive first pressing, that is graded M- , according to the seller, by using Goldmine standards. I can’t help but hold in a chuckle as I write this. Of course, Goldmine is only a guideline that works if or when the seller follows it. I can’t say how many times I’ve seen negative feedback about poor grading from so called Goldmine Standard sellers. One disgruntled buyer put it succinctly: “A mint minus record is supposed to be free of any clicks or pops.” This is also the “Goldmine” definition. Personally, I can count on my fingers the number of times a record really turned out to be close to what it was graded.

    The only solution, I imagine, is to stick with a seller who has come through in the past. I am naturally suspicious of Ebay record sellers with less than 100% feedback. Sometimes, of course, one has to make allowances for some irrational buyers. But when I see a large amount of negative feedback, I stay away. It doesn’t matter whether the seller has thousands of buyers that left good feedback. I’ve found that buyers are naturally averse to leaving negative feedback. Sometimes I see complaints buried in the good feedback!

    The first thing I do before buying a record is to look at the negative feedback. Ninety percent of the time, I believe it could have been avoided with honest dialogue. Then I look at the seller’s response to the negative feedback. I find that these comments give valuable insight into the seller’s true character. If the seller responds with a tirade of libelous profanity, I move far away. What I’m looking for is some humility, even if the seller believes he’s right. Unfortunately, I rarely find it.

    The best record sellers not only have a money back guarantee, but also pay for return shipping. It’s not a mystery why most of these sellers have no negative feedback. We all know, that in many Ebay transactions, it isn’t worth the postage and trouble to send the record back for a refund. If the buyer is unhappy for almost any reason, the good vinyl sellers on AudioKarma just send an immediate refund. Sometimes they tell the buyer to keep the record. Now, I understand why this approach isn’t practical with expensive first pressings. And most AudioKarma record sales are not first pressings. But I gravitate to sellers with liberal return policies. After many years of Ebay adventures, I don’t think any record is worth the aggravation of a dispute.

    My ideal seller play-grades the record on good equipment. (And they will sometimes state exactly what they use.) How can one be a vinyl dealer without an authentic interest in records? One definite red flag is a seller who states that he knows nothing about records. I’ve seen this statement on Ebay auctions where it’s obvious that the seller is a record dealer and has sold thousands of records. I don’t need to elaborate about this obvious form of duplicity.

    So if one uses common sense, the buyer can push the odds in his (Or her) favor, that he will receive exactly what he paid for.

  • There are better pressings of Paper Man on Polydor UK and Black Lion (UK, Holland). Just FYI.

  • Do you have an update on the book collection discussed in this post?

  • Dear possible “jazz-book-lover(s)”

    We are an auction company in the Netherlands, called “Derksen Veilingbedrijf.” And we might have something interesting for you coming Thursday.

    At least 5000 books, mostly written in English, will be auctioned 11-26-2015. The day after tomorrow!!

    It’s possible to bid online or by phone, after you created an account. If you need more information don’t hesitate to ask. Pictures of the books are at our website,, and press on “catalogus > scroll down for books/boeken.”

    With kind regards,
    Met vriendelijke groet,

    Bob Slotboom

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