Nothing Aberrant in These Prices

duke-jordan-jazz-vinylI’d like to get back to some of the records we were watching, starting with Duke Jordan, Flight to Jordan, Blue Note 4046. This was an original West 63rd Street pressing that was in VG+ or better condition for the record, and probably around VG++ for the cover. When we looked at it the bidding was in the $300 range and we were surprised it was that low, expecting it to eventually end up at or near the $1,000 bin. It did, selling for $960. So what may have seemed like an aberration, was just a product of later bidding, which has been de rigueur on eBay for many years, so no surprises. Same with this one: Doug Watkins at Large, Transition 20. This was an original pressing with the booklet. The record, cover and booklet were all in about VG+ condition. The bidding came in late, but about as expected, with the record selling for $809.

That item with the supposed Charlie Parker autograph, 7 Early Miles Davis on Dial, 1 signed by Charle Parker, wound up selling for $406.50. After reading all of the comments on that Jazz Collector post, I tend side more with lennib and think that it was more probably than not an original autograph (sorry Don-Lucky), but the lack of any kind of historical record to prove or disprove would probably have prevented me from bidding. Truth is, I wasn’t on eBay, didn’t think to place a snipe bid and forgot all about the auction. I’m also always hesitant to buy 78s on eBay because of the strong potential for breakage during shipping. All things being equal, though, the lot went for $406.50, which is a price that I would have been happy to pay just for the possibility of having a Bird autograph.

One more for today: Ike Quebec, Bossa Nova Soul Samba, Blue Note 4114. This is an original pressing with the New York USA labels. The record is listed in VG++ condition and the cover is VG+. The bidding is in the $300 range with about three days left on the auction. There was a time, perhaps when I first started collecting, that the Ike Quebec Blue Notes did not seem to be as coveted by collectors as some of the other Blue Notes of that period. That time has certainly passed and, as we noted a few weeks ago, the Quebecs have moved up in value quite nicely and have surpassed many of the other Blue Notes of the era. Why? You tell me.

30 comments

  • I like those Quebecs a lot, though I don’t have any originals in my shelves alas.

    This auction should be fun to watch, for those of us into free jazz and experimental music:

    http://www.ebay.com/sch/m.html?_ssn=nobbyknucks&_sop=16

  • I was joking with some friend earlier that my favorite part of the Ike Quebec listing is “Makes a great gift for any Ike Quebec fan!” Like I’m five paragraphs deep in descriptive text despite not being interested in it and then, oh yeah that WOULD be a good gift for my sister. She is after all a huge Ike Quebec fan.

  • jbcoleburger — great catch, and very funny. didn’t read the listing carefully enough the first time. ahh, what sellers will say sell records.

  • Thanks for the heads up Clifford. Many nice records to watch and I will be taking a shot at a few. I really like Heavy Soul as far as the Quebec records go.

  • Clifford, just looked at that action you mentioned. Some interesting pieces there. And as always, a lot I used to own and for some reason, albeit made sense at the time, I no longer own.

  • Mr. Quebec had a huge role at Blue Note. He truly was the MAN behind the scene. He found and brought may great players to record and was responsible for arranging many sessions as well. If you must value his contribution by money alone then put him in the $1000.00 club!

  • Hi. Curious what are your thoughts are on this Ike Quebec from the same seller: http://www.ebay.com/itm/252542538282

    No ear and no DG, which makes it a Liberty pressing 100%, and already over $300. Is demand for these really increasing that much?

  • That’s ridiculous. My pet peeve is sellers who are coy about details regarding presence of the “ear” or not. I’m sure a lot of these bidders probably assume it’s there since it’s an “original first pressing”. What a joke! Total game of deception here.

    I was really lucky with this particular album; a few years back won a NM mono “ear” copy on eBay as a buy it now for $35!

  • i can’t disagree with art about his contribution. i like ike quebec, and i want to be clear that this following idea has nothing to do with him as a musician, BUT:

    do you suppose the prices for less collectible blue notes: sabu, 3 sounds, ike quebc, stanley turrentine, jimmy smith, etc, are going through a halo effect?

    for example, the consensus seems to be that collectors (LJC is an example) do not enjoy jimmy smith very much musically. i do, so i am happy to scoop up his rarer records for less than usual, but the prices are going up! are we seeing “blue note” as a name become the new marker of desirability, as opposed to the albums themselves to any extent? i’d say yes. what say the rest of you?

  • mark and thomas: curiously, i couldn’t find anything about the ear one way or the other on that listing. i agree that it probably isn’t there or this clearly knowledgeable seller would mention it, but did you ask him?

    in any case, the lack of DG would be enough to keep me away, and certainly not for that money. good lord.

  • I’m sure if the “ear” was present it would be mentioned by this seller. I think he is knowledgeable in record selling for sure!

    Deep grooves, especially with NY pressings, do not concern me too much. Plastylite mark yes; but deep grooves not so much.

  • I think the main reason these late 63rd St pressings are desirable is they are the last Blue Note Mono pressings that were mastered by Van Gelder. There was a Mono run on the UA labels but they weren’t Van Gelder masterings and after A/B testing many of these titles I (this is all very subjective) thought they don’t have that same “presence”. Even the mono analogue Mosaic sets are not mastered by our hero, they sound far better than the UA series but ………

  • Yes, that’s a bit naughty calling it a first press IMO. The fact that the ear isn’t mentioned almost certainly confirms it ain’t there, given he mentions the ear on his Kenny Burrell LP

  • The Flight to Jordan listing is solid, I’m liking that seller. Great photos, and I love that they play graded every song…that’s the way to maximize bidding for your record!

    I usually defend sellers if they fail to explain that there is no “P” in the dead wax, but not if they’re touting the record as an original, so the Blue & Sentimental seller gets no sympathy from me (based on all the other information they provide, clearly they’re aware of what they’re doing). They also made a mistake by grading that crunched up inner sleeve as VG++…dead giveaway that they overgrade IMO. It also seems like they’re following in the footsteps of the great B.D. they way they are overhyping their record.

  • I don’t think that Blue & Sentimental has DG, but i’m sure that the seller knows it’s not an original if there is no “P”. Don’t think it is even worth asking, if it was there it would be in the listing. Does anyone own a copy with DG?

  • Abrasive_Beautiful

    Yeah no way in hell that Blue & Sentimental has an ear. Even without all the other cues, etc, the 27 years sleeve is a dead ringer. I also don’t think that one ever had DG, but like Mark, I’m not too concerned personally about it on the NY pressings.

  • Blue & Sentimental has an ear. I can see it in the sixth image at about five-o’-clock.

  • Turbocharged Weasel

    I’m just looking at the photos with a phone, so maybe computers show things in those photos that I’m unable to see on this device, but it seems like there are things in the dead wax on both sides that could be ears… Or not. I can’t particularly say for sure either way, because nothing looks that clear, and I could just be seeing some dust.

  • I just asked the seller directly; he says there is no ear.

  • Does anyone else have a problem buying from people who have a “no returns” policy? I understand they are trying to weed out those devious few who try to swap records on them and return a lesser quality item but I would imagine creepy buyers like that are really a very small number. When I see “no returns” I just can’t help feeling like the seller is not really standing behind his product and will likely be difficult to deal with should something go amiss. It always bothers me and makes me leery of buying from someone when they say that. Any thoughts on this ?

  • I’m pretty sure “no returns” isn’t enforceable. If the item is “Not As Described”, Ebay will always ask you to return the item for a refund (probably minus return postage costs). The problem is, if you’ve bought from a different continent, you’re going to lose $20 plus due to the cost of return.

    Some sellers are good, in that they’ll let you keep the record and refund – this is obviously only for cheap items.

  • Exactly, Richard, which makes it even more of a turn-off when a seller doesn’t offer returns. If eBay is going to force them to accept the return anyway, why then do they still write ‘seller does not offer returns’? Because in many instances, they probably don’t trust their customers, which is probably in some cases a reflection of the fact that the seller themselves shouldn’t be trusted.

    I’m not at all into how the collector world is built up on a foundation of mistrust and no one giving anyone the benefit of the doubt. You put a little faith in the world, the world puts a little faith in you, that’s how I operate.

  • Having just finished selling off a couple of hundred records on eBay, it is tough to keep everyone happy. The buyer has the preponderance of the doubt on eBay and some buyers take advantage of that with threatening negative feedback unless you acquiesce to their demands for deep discounts after they bought the record. I think some buyers are also hoping that when a record says VG+, it is secretly NM- and they return it at the sellers expense if it is not. Worst situation is that some international buyers use US/domestic shipping services. I sent the records to a US PO Box and a company packages up lots of smaller shipments for transport to say Japan. Eventually it makes it way to the buyer who inspects it. If they are not happy for whatever reason, they won’t pay to return it and then give negative feedback unless you cut the price in half. The way eBay does feedback is that so long as the buyer pays, the seller cannot give negative feedback even in the case of post sale blackmail.

    I have to admire some of these big sellers like bobdjudak. He must be bending over backwards to keep his 100% rating.

  • a return is not the same as “item not as described”. a return is when you return it simply because you have changed your mind or for some reason that is not the seller’s fault.

    i don’t offer returns because i sell so little that it would kill my bottom line for people to send a record back because their wife got mad at them or something. but if someone has a grading problem or if they point out a flaw that i missed, i ALWAYS take it back and pay shipping. secretly, i have a subtle system for detecting switcheroos, and i caught a guy doing it once. he got banned from ebay and i got to keep his money AND got my record back. haha.

  • As a regular seller of records on Ebay, “No Returns” is not enforceable. I advertise my listings as No Returns to try and scare off scammers. There are several unscrupulous buyers out there looking to game the system unfortunately. I’ve been selling on Ebay since 1999 and have run into several of them. Unfortunately there is little recourse for the seller. However, if there is a legitimate issue, I always try to make good. On a side note…..Brian Anderson: hope you enjoy your new records!

  • For what it’s worth, Greg, I offer returns and in all my years selling records on eBay I have never had someone return a record for any reason other than the described or actual condition not aligning with their expectations. So from my experience, indicating that you offer returns should not open the floodgates to superfluous returns.

    But Greg, if you mark “seller does not accept returns”, how can you expect all potential buyers to understand that what that really means is, “I will accept a return if we don’t agree on the grading or if I made a mistake, but otherwise I don’t accept returns.” Surely there’s sellers out there who really mean “If you have a problem with my grading you will need to take it up with eBay” when they indicate that they do not accept returns (which I feel is a rather unpleasant way to enter into a business transaction), so how do you except honest potential buyers of yours to distinguish you from those other mistrusting sellers? I imagine you have an explanation of your return policy included in each listing.

  • Well if marking ‘no returns’ is scaring off scammers, I guess that’s a good thing…maybe it does. With that, I think you potentially lose honest buyers for the reasons I mentioned above. But I guess I shouldn’t assume ‘no returns’ means ‘I will raise hell if you don’t agree with my grading’.

  • Can’t say for certain that marking “no returns” wards off scammers. I will say that it hasn’t hurt my sales at all. I think most long time sellers with good feedback are reasonable people that will be more than happy to work with their customers if there is an issue. I have been on both sides of that equation and it usually works out fine in the end. But there are always exceptions…..

  • I’ve been slightly undergrading my lps and it works out fine, plus you get great feedback. Unfortunately I’ve purchased a few recently that were way overgraded. One was graded E+ with “beautiful fidelity”. I was shocked when I saw the condition, plus the sound was awful. I would have graded it a G with a detailed explanation. Yeah, the guy gave me a refund, but why not just grade it properly in the first place?

  • rich: honestly, i just assumed others understood the policy. it is spelled out on ebay if you look for it. perhaps i should be more careful. i did straight-up catch a guy one time pulling a switcheroo. i pointed out how i knew and he got really, really defensive and angry.

    bill w: the seller is hoping you won’t got to all that trouble and they will be able to give a partial refund and still make a killing on a fucked record. i NEVER accept anything but a full refund or a full refund with returns if shipping is paid both ways by the SELLER.

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