Prestiges, a Blue Note, Baltimore Nostalgia

Jackie's Pal copySorry. I haven’t been on eBay in so long all of the auctions I was watching have already ended. Good thing I wasn’t looking to buy anything. Here are a few to share: Jackie McLean, Jackie’s Pal, Prestige 7068. This was an original pressing with the yellow labels and New York address. The record was listed in VG++ condition and the cover was VG. You can see cover wear in the picture. The record sold for $295, which still seems pretty low to me in spite of the cover. If I didn’t have a copy, I’d probably take it for that price. Of course, I do have a mint copy now, courtesy of my excursion to Baltimore two-and-a-half years years ago. There was also this one from Jackie: Jackie McLean, Swing, Swang, Swingin’, Blue Note 4024. This was an original West 63rd Street pressing listed in M- condition for both the record and the cover. It sold for $1,125. I wish this one had been in the Baltimore collection, but, alas, my own copy is not an original and it is not in great shape. Not that I would spend $1,125 to replace it.

I must have been in a bit of a Prestige head when I was looking last time, because there are a bunch of nice Prestiges in my queue, including: Elmo Hope, Informal Jazz, Prestige 7043. This is another one from the Baltimore collection, which will always be a highlight of my record collecting experiences. This was another original pressing with the New York address and yellow labels. The record was listed in M- condition and the cover was probably VG+ or VG++. This one sold for $430, which seems low to me, considering the presence of both John Coltrane and Hank Mobley as sidemen. What gives?

And, while we’re having a Prestige moment: Webster Young, For Lady, Prestige 7106. This was another New York original. Tough to gauge the condition from the description. It was certainly no better than VG+ and might have been VG for the record. The cover was listed in Ex condition. The final price was $456.78, which sounds about right considering the condition of the vinyl. Great record, by the way. Two underrated soloists in Webster Young and Paul Quinichette.


  • While I like Tom/JRR a lot, the grading scale has always struck me as a bit strange. EX is closer to a VG(+) and EX– seems about like a VG.

  • Many of the sellers on eBay have odd grading scales. I think that is, in part, why Funkyou got so much money for his records: when he says m- the record is m- and when he says vg+ the record is at least vg+. My biggest problem with eBay is trying to decipher what the grades of individual seller mean in terms of my understanding of what the grade means. I always learned the “Goldmine” system. I sell on eBay about once or twice a year to get rid of duplicates and records I no longer listen to and I, without bragging, don’t get many “not as described” returns – maybe one or two for every 50-100 records sold. Either I’m really picky (which is possible) or most buyers on eBay just don’t know/care. That said, as a buyer I return something like 30-50% of everything I buy since the description just doesn’t match the grade. My wife is probably very (unknowingly) happy with this situation since I’d spend much more money if I didn’t send so much back…. Another thought: returns aren’t considered in any of those Popsike and Collectors’ Frenzy tabulations we all read.

  • I guess I’m also used to the Goldmine grading system, which is probably why I really dislike grading systems that include EX. When I see VG+, I instinctively think this should be the grade just below NM. These days with the different grading scales used, VG+ could mean almost anything.

  • I was the seller of the “Jackie’s Bag” record. Having one of my sales featured here, sort of makes me feel like I’ve made the big leagues. I guess the price was a bit low. It went to Japan to one of the top dealers there and I have to think it was for resale.
    I am surprised by the number of Ebay sellers, that seem to attract high bids without explaining what their grading system is and most importantly stating if they ever played the record. I don’t think anyone, no matter how experienced or how bright the light they use, can tell you for certain every time how a record will play by looking at it. As a buyer, before I spend serious money on the record described “M- with a few non feelable hairlines” (is “hairline” a euphemism for “scratch”?”), I’d like to know that the seller played the record and that the “hairlines” do not affect play.
    Thanks to all for a great site.

  • I use EX instead of VG++…I like using it for records that are just shy of NM, and I only use NM for albums that look hardly touched or played. But yes I’ve bought my share of records graded as “ex” that were more like VG. Maybe some people used EX as in “excccceelllleeennt maaan”?

  • EX is normally my lowest level. I then expect not a perfect looking record surface but only superficial marks etc that DO NOT Sound or lessen the listening experience.
    VG+ usually have marks and scratches that sound so I usually stay away.

  • The few times I’ve sold albums I stick with VG+ as my usual “best grade” nm and ex are tough calls and pretty rare in the used vinyl market, for the good stuff anyway. Better to be conservative I say.

  • Gregory the Fish

    i rarely sell on ebay, though i am readying a decently-sized auction that will be of little interest to those here (not very rare stuff, mostly in VG or less condition), and even if a record looks mint, i am always very nervous to go above VG+. it just makes me worry that i’ve missed something.

  • Hey Fish I am really intrested by your last post, for somebody who only buys the cream of the crop in super clean condition how did you acquire these records you are letting go? Are they non worthy jazz because of content or is it condition? Just asking!

  • I have always found that conservative grading is the way to go for ebay, and the more collectible a piece is, the more detail I, as a seller, include in the description, along with a play-grade. Some pressings may look EX or NM but are noisy, and some pressings look VG and play NM. Always best to spin the good stuff on a ‘table so the buyer knows exactly what he or she is going to be listening to when it arrives.

  • DiggerMark: if all eBay vinyl sellers would follow your example, then it would be a superb marketplace with less confusion and returns.

  • Anders Wallinder

    Good Digger Mark,
    We collectors like play grade. And even better are soundclips from the actual Record.
    I like Stereo clips best even if the record is mono.
    Just my 2cents….

  • Gregory the Fish


    I don’t know if I only buy the cream of the crop in terms of rarity, as I buy records I like (I just got a sealed Art Pepper “The Master” on Muse for 6$! It’s from 1980 but it KILLS!), but I do strive for top condition… these days. Just starting out I was much more forgiving, and so I have upgraded several copies of things along the way, weeded out some non-originals, etc. About 30 records or so are also from a friend who just wanted to get rid of them.

  • Mr Fish, thanks for your response. I get it. Do you know the record New Sounds from New Orleans Patio records mil-1 ?It has jack Martin and mouse Bonati on it.

  • GregorytheFish

    Hey art. No I don’t know that one.

  • I use the Goldmine grading scale, but I have found that the gap between NM- and VG+ can be quite wide. For example, a record that has been played a few times, has one or two paper scuffs, but actually plays closer to NM. I would be hesitant to describe the record as NM, but what if it looks and plays better than VG+ ? In this instance I would describe the record as VG++/EX with details regarding play grading. On the other hand, I tend to discount condition by 1 grade level when buying. If a record is described as NM, I assume it is VG++ to VG+ and so on.

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