Keeping an Eye on Jazz Vinyl Pricing Trends

stan-getz-jazz-vinylThe seller Bullsite2000 has several interesting auctions closing today. I’m surprised at some of the bidding — at both levels, some higher than expected, some lower than expected. For example, Stan Getz, More West Coast Jazz, Norgran 1088. This is an original yellow label pressing listed in M- condition for both the record and the cover. The bidding has reached nearly $200, which is more than you would typically see for this record, which has never seemed to be one of the Getz records that has been particularly coveted by collectors. The seller took some nice pictures, and the condition does look pretty flawless, so there’s that. Then again there isDuke Jordan, Flight to Jordan, Blue Note 4046. This is an original West 63rd Street pressing. The seller offers several descriptions of the record, based on tracks. From close to near mint to close to VG+. If you base the grading on the worst track, which seems fairly reasonable, the record is probably VG+, although most of the record will probably sound better. The cover looks to be VG++ because of some writing on the back. In any case, I would expect this record in this condition to sell for somewhere in or close to the $1,000 bin. So far it is in the $300 range.

Overall, it seems to me that prices are a bit lower these days than they have been recently. Does it have to do with the strength of the U.S. dollar? I don’t really keep track of monetary exchange values, but I’ve been surprised at some of the bidding. Not to the point where I’m tempted to jump in, but I would have no problem paying $500 or so for that copy of Flight to Jordan, if I didn’t have a copy of my own in better condition.

Here’s another one that should fetch a higher price than the current bidding would indicate: Doug Watkins, At Large, Transition 20. This is an original pressing with the booklet. The record, cover and booklet all look to be in VG+ or so condition. The auction closes later today and the bidding is in the $370 range. We’ll see where the bidding ends up, but I’d also expect this one to be close to the $1,000 range under normal circumstances, if we can ever use such a phrase to describe the Jazz Collector market.



  • i recently bought two records that i had been after for awhile. one was at an incredible price. about 1/6 of average market value over the last few years as tracked by popsike. one is the most expensive record i have ever purchased (still not THAT much, though) and has been exploding in price in the last two years with no delays or lags, so i figured i should just hunker down and grab it before it gets worse. i paid about 5x more than i would have expected three years ago when i first started looking, and given the behavior of the last year, i actually think i got a good deal. so who the hell knows?

  • Well GTF now I need to know what the 2 records were!

  • Abrasive_Beautiful

    Oh yes, do tell!

    My max price per record has also slowly creeped up in recent months. About 4 months ago I broke $100 for the first time, and the house max has gone up steadily from there. As an attempt to compensate, I definitely reduced the volume of $20-$30 records that come in the house. I’ve found that one big piece is often more satisfying than say ten cheapies.

  • Soon-to-be Mrs. Clifford agrees with the above — fewer, heavier pieces replacing the flood of $20-$40 titles/randomness. I however have a hard time leaving a mint 70s blue chip jazz record at the shops!

  • Yes Gregory – I need to know too.

  • Turbocharged Weasel

    Well, the Duke Jordan went for $960… Prices have been odd lately, as has eBay bidding practices. Although last second bidding is normal, I’ve seen a few auctions where almost all of the bidding was in the last several seconds. Awhile back that Sabu record that you featured jumped from a $300 starting price to over $700 right at the end, and I’ve personally had small lots go from a $9.99 starting bid to over $50 at the last moment… The snipers tend to do well, so a lot of people are just starting to do that, and that may affect the normal flow of what auctions are supposed to look like, reaching a certain price at so-and-so point of time. It also could make final bids a bit inconsistent… Many are now waiting for the last second to bid, which could mean that the price could skyrocket when two people (often foolishly) place bids at $3,000 or so to try to guarantee a win, or it could mean that the end price is below average, if one person bids about $3,000, yet everybody else bids about $600, since the price right before those last few seconds was $350… Even though the record usually fetches three times that. I’m not sure if that all makes sense or not… I’ve personally done fairly well, getting somewhat decent copies of rare records that normally would go for $60-$120 for under $40, but I’ve also been snubbed a couple times, and I’ve seen things go for five times what they normally should go for, sometimes due to the popularity of the seller. The world of jazz vinyl collecting can be an erratic one, and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

  • Yes GTF ya can’t just leave us hanging like that!

    I must admit that sniping is my preferred method if it’s a record I really want. If I’m only a bit interested I’ll usually just throw in a bid in the last day or so. Of course if the auction ends at like 3:00 in the morning then I’m likely not to use sniping. There’s third party services that put in snipe bids for you but I’m not that hardcore to pay for those services.

  • Sniping and a general competitive atmosphere on ebay are two reasons I prefer discogs. Its a shame that we get so worked up about money and value of objects that we think everything deserves an auction. Auctions should be for cars and paintings, not records. Kudos to those who get more for a record than it is really worth in the auction setting, but ultimately it creates a false market when a few fools with too much money start making bids.

  • That copy of Action (McLean) he had did some damage… at least for that record, which I don’t think of as being too pricey despite its excellence.

  • Yikes. I think I paid $35 or so for my clean stereo copy! $415 is nuts but I guess if there were two well-heeled Jackie McLean fans gunning for a stone mint mono pressing then…well…there you go.

    As for discogs my biggest issue is the lack of pictures. In the last year only(!) I’ve been burned by paying for reissues sold as originals.

  • I should add that discogs is not immune to foolishness either – witness the hammered copy of the black unity trio on offer for $750 with no cover!!!?

  • Haha – clean copies of the Black Unity Trio are pretty near impossible to find. Guess that’s the origin of the acronym – rare *BUT* hammered!

  • Rudolf A. Flinterman

    Strange that the Verve re-issue of Norgran Getz material fetched twenty dollars more than a Getz Norgran original, also auctioned by Bullsite.

  • wow, i didn’t expect everyone to be so interested. the last two orange label impulse albums i was missing were the two i got: johnny hartman – “the voice that is” and the one exploding lately was “duke ellington and john coltrane”.

    Down to 14 of the catalog, all of which just need to be available for the right price. none of the remaining ones are rare.

  • Havnt been paying attention to the Coltrane/Ellington impulse lately. I scored a pristine NM mono original for $30 some years ago…it’s a great album!!

  • Gregory, which ones are you looking for? I may be of assistance. 🙂
    I’ve been digging the Gary McFarlands. I was talking up his stuff on Skye a little while ago as well.

  • I have certainly taken advantage of the strong dollar to get records from the UK and Europe for better prices than would have been possible just a year ago. Likewise with a few Ortofon cartridges from a German seller.

    I don’t know where most of the foreign demand comes from for rare US jazz, but the Euro and Pound have fallen against the dollar by 25% in the last couple of years (though the falls have occurred at different times). If you’re buying a $1000 jazz record then that is pretty rough. On the other hand, the Yen has actually strengthened over the last year and the Yuan hasn’t moved too much.

  • mark, yeah not three years ago that’s what i would have expected to pay, but i wasn’t tough enough with the bidding, and i never saw it in the wild. i have not seen a mono or stereo am-par copy go for less than $100 in about a year, though. that album went nuts! i figured i should just grab it before it gets worse the way A Love Supreme did after I got my copy.

    juancho: mostly some of the dedication series, and the three that are always overpriced that i haven’t bought yet are “love in us all” by pharoah, “crystals” by sam rivers, and “en medio” by gary saracho. but i have finally completed all orange labels and all red-ring labels! and all of the gary mcfarland i have ever heard i pretty much love or hate. little middle ground with him. 🙂

  • Halfway down reading the comments I too was dying to know what LPs Greg was talking about haha.

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