Keeping Track of 10-Inch LPs

clifford copy 2Here are some of the items we’re watching on eBay now, starting with some 10-inch LPs: Clifford Brown, New Star on the Horizon, Blue Note 5032. This is an original pressing listed in VG condition for the record and VG for the cover. There are three days left on the auction and the bidding is in the $50 range. Lately, we’ve been seeing high prices for original 12-inch Blue Notes, even those in not-such-great condition, like this one. I have a feeling we won’t see the same phenomenon for the 10-inch records, simply because they are a greater risk to begin with. They typically have more surface noise anyway, at least to these ears. Not sure why that is. Readers? Watching the auctions from this seller will give us a sense of the market, since he has a lot of nice 10-inch LPs in similar shape, including Thelonious Monk Plays, Prestige 189. Actually, this one is in better shape, graded at VG+ for both the record and the cover. The bidding, so far, reflects the better condition. This one is now in the $70 range.

I was also watching this one from the same seller, and I was surprised it fetched as high a price as it did:

Lee Konitz, The New Sounds, Prestige 116. This was also an original pressing and it was listed in VG condition for both the record and the cover, with tape around the seams and some surface noise. Still, it sold for $133. 40. Perhaps it is the presence of Miles Davis on the LP, or perhaps it’s just that these 10-inch Blue Notes and Prestiges are hard to get in any condition. And they do look quite cool.

One more that surprised me somewhat: John Coltrane, Giant Steps, Atlantic 1311. This was a stereo pressing wight the bullseye label. The record was M- and the cover was VG++. The price was $494.44. This is a pressing that’s gone up quite a lot in value the past few years. Back when I started Jazz Collector in around 2003. I purchased a bullseye copy of Giant Steps for $50 and readers gave me hell. I guess it wasn’t such a bad buy after all.

20 comments

  • I imagine the reason 10″ records are typically in worse shape is that many shipped without any inner sleeve.

  • Dear God, those original Sun Ra records he has up are awesome!

  • What a great lot of 10″ records. Look @ the rare covers, really awesome. I wish that I could find such a nice bunch on a garage sale sometimes…

  • i LOVE 10-inches. they seem so cool and delightful. i agree with aaron: they rarely have inner sleeves and so they incur more damage, but in my experience, a VG copy of a sturdy older 10-inch can be a great listen, simply because they are so thick. i have a copy of barney vessel volume 1 (the original 10-inch version) that has a feelable scratch but you’d never know it by listening! it plays beautifully.

  • *barney KESSEL that should be. stupid autocorrect.

  • The most part of my 10″ does not sound very good. I got a Jazztone Hot Lips Page that looked like new but had very weak sound and constant background-noise. No pops or clicks so it was rarely played. Still listenable but not Hi-Fi.

  • I too am drooling over those Sun Ra lps. In amazing condition

  • Yeah those Ras are nice. Cosmic Tones is a great LP. He’s got a lot of beautiful stuff up.

  • That Russ Freeman 10″ is a beauty as well – you never see that one around.

  • Sound quality:

    Most 10″ LPs were pressed on a material very similar to electrical insulators known as Bakelite. This material was long lasting and tough to break, but it did not take the spiral scratch very well. It was rigid enough that after a very few plays the grooves would start to chip. Kind of like Fantasy label colored vinyl 12″ LPs. They were pressed on plastic, not vinyl, and after two or three plays static electricity would build up and leave a very serious surface noise problem.

  • Terry – Thank you for that great post. Very informative. My wife has some lovely Bakelite jewelry but I wouldn’t want to put any on my turntable.

  • Terry: this is very disturbing information, are you saying that 10″ Blue Notes and Prestiges are pressed on plastic and not vinyl? Seems very odd..

  • Fredrik,
    I can not remember when BN, Prestige et al first released 10″ LPs. Some of the first ‘vinyl’ LPs were not even close chemically to what we view as vinyl today. They were mostly vinyl, but needed a stiffener to retain shape and rigidity. This product chipped in the groove similar to the Bakelite, just not as bad. By 1961/2 the vinyl polymers had advanced enough that the stiffeners were no longer necessary. This improved sound quality exponentially, especially on stereo releases.

  • I am not a chemist, but I noted that Prestige 10″ albums were in the beginning (those with the blue labels) pressed on inflexible thick material which was scratchy. The quality improved when the blue/grey stars label was introduced. At the end of the 10″ period, the labels turned to yellow/black and the quality was excellent, thanks to AB.
    I never came across 10″ Blue Notes with inferior vinyl, nor CR or PJ.
    Fantasy is a case in itself, the Weiss Bros (the owners) being merchants or producers of plastic. The coloured (blue, violet, green, red) 10″ Fantasy albums were scratchy indeed. Sometimes they were alternated by black versions (Terry: vinyl or black plastic?). The colour tradition lingered on to the early sixties. Early 12″ came in violet, green and red or red marbled, but also in rigid black material. Later versions are thin, black or red, flexible and easy to bend. The end was red or black for mono and blue for stereo.

  • Thanks to both Terry & Rudolf for sharing this information. Either way… I would buy a Prestige 10″ pressed on a material which is not vinyl if it’s a 1st pressing in great condition. If you want a 1st pressing then you have to swallow that the material of the record is inferior to other, later materials. As well as the sound recording of course. Good to know that the 10″ Blue Notes and Pacific Jazz releases used good stuff.

  • Rudolph,
    All of the Fantasy black colored material I’ve seen are vinyl. I have not seen all of the very earliest blacks’ as I already had the colored versions.

  • I have early black ones in 10″ and 12″ format. The 10″ ones sound rather bad, but they are not new (E). A 12″, Brubeck – # 3-210, is in rigid material, but sounds very good. Condition NM+ though, so not surprising. I guess they are vinyl. For the coloured ones, sellers often describe them as “red/green etc vinyl”. Ignorance?
    CR had some red vinyl issues (2501 and 3501), as had PJ (1204 and 1208).

  • And so this 10″ auction ended and the VG+ Monk sold for $500.00 +.
    Looks like the feeding frenzy has moved to 10″ps.

  • Monk, Navarro, Powell and “Birdland”: I got ´em all double as Lexington 10″ & 12″ pressings. Finally I prefer 12″ because they sound a little bit better and the covers are in a better condition.
    Why does 12″ sound better ? Perhaps because of the improved Ampeg tape machines they could use in ´56? I don´t know.
    But I´m rather sure that 12″ doesn´t justify the several times higher prices.

  • horsti:

    please name me in your will. thanks.

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