Of Blue Notes, Later Pressings and Big Bucks

cool-struttin-jazz-vinylOne of our readers, with a sense of wonder, sent me this link: Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin’, Blue Note 1588. The record was listed in M- condition. The cover was maybe VG+ at best, depending upon how partial you are to having the word “Super” written in dark red marker across the back of your records. The final price was $422, which at first glance one might attribute to the condition of the cover. Except for one thing: This was a Liberty pressing, not just the label, the cover, too. So now we have third, fourth or whatever generation Liberty Blue Notes selling for more than $400. Oh, the humanity! If I had known, I would have saved them all, and I had a lot of them, including Cool Struttin’. I was happy, at the time, to get $20 or $30 apiece. What is going on?

Then there is this one: Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568. There is a statement in the listing that this is a “Classic Records 200 Gram Pressing.” But that note is buried below a statement that says “All Records are Original Unless Otherwise Stated.” Now, the seller does urge potential bidders to “Read Carefully,” but still, when you look at the pictures there’s little or nothing to distinguish between a beautiful mint original and this type of reissue. I don’t know the seller, and I don’t know the buyer, but I imagine there will be some conflict when the buyer gets the record and realizes it is just a reissue. Why? Because the final price was $737.Now, there were 13 bidders and 19 bids, so who knows what happened, but it doesn’t seem to me that the going market rate for a reissue from the 21st Century, is now in the $700-plus range. Does it seem that way to you? I do know that when I sold records regularly on eBay, English was not the primary language for many of my customers and mistakes like this could happen if you weren’t careful, or, alternatively, if you were exceedingly careful and a bit sly as well. The seller does have a policy of returning all records with no questions asked, so I’m sure there will be no issue one way or the other. Perhaps the buyer knows exactly what he is buying and is pleased to have a mint copy of this record at any price. Perhaps.

35 comments

  • so stereotypical used car salesmen are getting into the record game, now?

  • Greg: it was only listened to by a little old lady on Sundays.

  • I was going to ask if us “experts” thought that the run-up in later pressing prices was due to buyer ignorance, misleading listings or something else. Having looked at the Sonny Clark and the number of different bidders, it couldn’t have been a mistake. People are actually paying top dollar for this stuff. I guess so long as the label is blue on white, the money is green.

  • A little know piece of information; P.T. Barnum was a record seller on E- Bay. Now that we have gone as far as possible into the world of prices, how to alphabetize and otterspace music, perhaps we can get back to the beauty of those black grooves!

  • Hmm, I never have seen P.T. Barnum and Bob Djukic at the same place at the same time…

  • Absolutely extraordinary. The seller even answers a questions and says,”A: Hi this is not the original. As stated in description Classic Records 200 gram reissue.”

    I’ve got several of the Classics Qui-Ex reissues from the early 2000s and I think they are very fine indeed. Beautifully made and presented. But $737? Christ above. I think it’s usual to see the Classics issue of Kind of Blue, for instance, reaching around $100, so they clearly are sought after to some degree, but surely this has to be a mistake. Or perhaps the super-rich simply don’t care because $700+ is loose change and has the same ‘meaning’ as sixty or seventy dollars…

    Whatever the explanation, I don’t see any used car or PT Barnum tactics here. The listing is pretty clear on it being a 200gm reissue. Clearly, worth is relative to those with deep pockets, a strong desire for the records they want and a determination not to wait or shop around.

    It isn’t a version of record collecting that I recognise, however…

  • alun, i have to disagree. a ‘clear’ listing wouldn’t relegate the information to the bottom and so prominently feature the DG 23 labels. they know what they are doing, and are only being unethical, not dishonest, but i still do not appreciate it. surely the fault lies with the buyer, but the seller does not have a clean slate.

  • The listing is pretty clear. It states that it’s a CLASSIC record in the title…This is on the buyer of the record in this instance.

  • Yeah, the auction link says Classic Records. Buyer/bidders knew what they were getting into.

  • Gregory, I don’t feel that Pretovelho was trying to be misleading with this listing. I’ve known him for almost 20 years as a dealer here in NYC and his 100% positive feedback rating after 6,541 sales carries some weight. I think he just assumed that anyone who is looking to add BLP 1568 to their collection would know immediately what pressing a “Classic Records 200 Gram Pressing” is. That being said, $737 for a pressing that steadily sells for under $60 is certainly an anomaly.

  • This is the usual price for one New York label INC copy with the R. In EX to NM condition

  • PS. Sonny Clark Cool Strttin’

  • Ha, I bid some money on a New Jazz labeled item because the label did not have the re-issue Trident on it. I was so excited about bidding on the record, what I did not “see” was the OJC on the label. Fortunately for me, someone else didn’t see it and out bid me. Whoever you are, thank you very much!

  • I am awaiting the day Mode, Tampa and Bethlehem labels become the new Blue Note. I am going to be fabulously well off.

  • I also watched the price of the Mobley reissue go into the stratosphere. The whole time I kept thinking, “The person (or persons) bidding on this LP must believe they are getting the real deal.”

    You can easily find sealed Classic versions of that Mobley LP for $100-125, and NM versions go for $80.

    I think in a case like this it was up to the seller to intervene and say “you DO know what you’re bidding on, don’t you?” Wouldn’t that have been the ethical thing to do??

    Otherwise we see the results: some bidders who were oblivious to the description went into full throttle competitive mode for what they must have thought was the bargain of a lifetime on a $5K LP.

  • A year ago I sold a NM copy of the Classic Records 1568 and it went for $30, sealed copies are as low as $70 on Discogs: https://www.discogs.com/sell/release/2132255?ev=rb

  • stop the world i want to get off!

  • I only try to buy 1st or early RI´s of jazz records. Why? Because of the fun factor which is called DYNAMIC ! Once in the groove it doesn´t get lost !!!
    “Classic Records” or others RI-Labels are dead concerning the dynamic!! As replacement the sound enginers
    make an artifical “room” with reverb and so on…boring !! The original mastertapes are meanwhile about sixty years old and they even don´t get better !!
    It doesn´t make fun to me to buy dead copie cats…

  • I don’t think it would make much sense for the seller to get into the fray and remind people that it’s a reissue and to reread the (obvious) description. We’re also assuming it gets paid for, which it may not…

  • Cool Struttin 1588 Liberty Stereo is common and sell for less than $100.
    It’s the Mono pressing that gets high price since Mono was rare at the time of Liberty pressing.
    One can verify that with Popsike..

  • Hi JOK. Mode, Tampa, and Bethlehem are indeed interesting labels with some great stuff. Reading your comment reminded me that years ago I was asked to review a soft-bound printed list of a collection and suggest a $$$ value. The collection was being put up for sale. The deceased owner lived in Japan (it may have been Manek Daver.) It was an utterly amazing collection. I had never seen anything like it. A number of labels were represented by complete catalogs in M condition. Mode was one of them. I am a fan of the Mode label. Some people were suggesting the value of the collection was upwards of a million $. The value I suggested was $350,000, which was about what it sold for.

    In the early 1950s, Daver was a student at University of Bombay where he and about six or seven other students formed a jazz club. They would sponsor occasional live-music events, one of which was held at the Taj Mahal Hotel and featured Victor Feldman. This was an extraordinary event held in an extraordinary venue. A 78 recording was issued of one of the tunes. I have been told less than 100 copies were pressed. I have one.

  • Geoffrey, I noticed the Modes have been going for more money here in the Northwest. But I can still find them in really good condition for about $20-$30. I think some store owners don’t know who these musicians are and may think it is a cheap label, so I’ve found some under $7.

    I’ve been able to comply an impressive Tampa collection, and have thought about going for all the variations, but that could be a bit zany.

    I have 3 of the 4 Dootone jazz titles, the one I am missing is the key, Dexter Gordon blows Hot and Cool. I have had a chance to buy it several times, but condition has been a huge factor in me passing.

    It’s always a bonus to have a rare record. Nice.

  • I’ve known Cecil (Pretovelho) for many years, as well, and he is totally honest and a very nice guy. We met through a mutual acquaintance, another jazz collector whom I’ve know for close to 20 years. I have never seen an instance where I thought Cecil was ripping anyone off or even being remotely unprofessional. I’ve purchased from a great number of schmucks on eBay and Cecil isn’t one. I chalk this huge overpayment up to two buyers who are idiots.

  • The folks paying $400 for Liberty Blue Notes won’t be happy when the prices return to the $50 range, which will probably be by next summer. This whole situation reminds me of the W.C. Fields line… “Never give a sucker an even break or smarten up a chump.”

  • i LOVE Mode. nice!

    to be clear, i have also purchased from pretovelho before and been happy, but i feel like it is the responsibility of both the seller and the buyer to be clear and informed about the product. and i think we all know 700+ is not the price that a buyer would pay for that record knowing what it was. and it is not entirely pretovelho’s fault, but he didn’t exactly go out of his way to be particularly clear about it, either. “fine print” method, so to speak. also, the word “classic” applies to the recording as much to the brand of the pressing, possible source of confusion for buyers.

  • This is an interesting debate about obligations of buyers and sellers. I give much credit to Cecil (Pretovelho) for publishing the response to a question from a potential bidder who asked whether the item was a first pressing, stating specifically that the record was a reissue (he did not have to do that, but he did). The listing also was clear (in my opinion) that the record was the Classic Records 200 Gram pressing, which is clearly a reissue.

    What more should a seller do at this point? Contact the bidders and ask, do you really want to bid $500 on this item? Send the bidder a link and say “Here’s a link to another copy for sale on Discogs for $50”???? If someone is bidding more than $700 on a record, then perhaps that person should read the “fine print” (which wasn’t really fine print here – it was language in the listing). The seller seemed more than fair with his listing and actions in response to the question about the particular pressing (my 2 cents). Also, I do not know the seller personally and have no financial interest in this auction.

  • This somewhat amazes me. Particularly because I had this lp and sold it decades ago, by mistake and was desiring to get it aain. Oh well, cd for me I guess

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/122200287420?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

  • (again not aain aaarrggghh typos)

  • To answer your question Al re: Cool Struttin’ – I have no idea what’s going on except that it was MONO!!! ( I think the Classic re-issue is mono too).

  • price seems fair…..it is a first issue of the reissue! 🙂
    Seller should communicate again with buyer before shipping to make sure they knew what they were buying–this is such an anomalous prince that any seller should assume there is a strong probability that the buyer, for whatever reason, is confused.

  • Hi JOK! You have certainly posed a challenge for yourself trying to get a great copy of the Dexter on Dootone at a price that is acceptable to you. I have only two–the Carl Perkins and “Jazz West,” a compilation released in the ’70s.

  • …You can buy them here for $39.95 !

    http://store.acousticsounds.com/d/11489/Sonny_Clark-Cool_Struttin-200_Gram_Vinyl_Record

    …Most seasoned eBay buyers know to read between the lines on most postings. They also know to do their research and ask questions prior to bidding. Obviously, the folks bidding on this one didn’t read the description carefully enough and were unaware of how similar the Classic Records LP’s look against an original pressing.

    That being said, not showing the back cover is a bit suspect in my mind, as this would have been a sure “tell” that it was a recent re-issue. Almost as though they were banking on buyer ignorance here. I predict this will most likely be a return.

    Let that be a lesson to all of us when investing in rare vinyl, its best to do our homework as “a fool and their money are soon parted”

  • The fact that the word, ”Records”, in ”Classic Records” was spelled with a capital R makes or breaks the exact detail being correct. In this case it indicates a proper name, or a business, in this case Classic Records, clearly stated. Any record buyer with $1k to drop on an LP should know the existence of this company.

  • I wonder how many bidders used their cell phone to bid, and based their bid on an image seen on a 5-6inch screen ? Failure to see fine print should be the least of their concerns.

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