Promo Day

Promo records have never seemed to be a big thing in the Jazz Collector world, at least not compared to other genres, but there are some promo records that seem to catch collector’s eyes, including Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, Columbia 1355. This looks to be Β an original mono pressing with the red and white promo labels and the 6-eyes. The seller talks about the record being in “nice shape” but doesn’t actually give a grade and mentions a scratch that cuts across side B. All of that would be somewhat OK for gamblers, but it is also a seller that does not accept returns. A lot of risk to ask, IMHO, for a record that has a start price of $600. So far there are no takers. A quick view over at Popsike shows that a promo copy of Kind of Blue recently sold for $2,700, so the seller is probably not coming from left field with that price tag. We’ll keep a watch and see if it sells. My bet? Yes, it will.

Our friends at the Jazz Record Center have a fairly impressive jazz vinyl auction closing tomorrow with a batch of nice Blue Note and Prestige Records including, tada, Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568. This is a promo copy, yet it does not have the New York 23 label on side two. Yet, as the listing describes pretty clearly, it should still be regarded as an original first pressing, although die-hard Blue Note-ites will probably always prefer the New York 23. Anyway, this one looks to be in M- condition for the record and the cover, perhaps VG++ for the cover. The auction closes tomorrow and the bidding is already close to $4,000. We can do another over/under pool. I’ll start with $5,650.

63 comments

  • In regards to the Kind of Blue, why don’t more sellers PlayGrade the albums, especially when they list “scratches” on their albums? A true collector/lister should have xome means of playing rheir listed albums.

  • Caroline Somerset

    Hi Al: Recently (in the past six months) I purchased both the mono and stereo promo versions of “Kind of Blue” from two entirely different sources. I had been looking for a while, and by chance it just so happened that they were available, almost one after the other (when it rains, it pours, I guess!). Anyway – I paid $999 on eBay for a very lovely (VG++/NM- LP with a VG++ cover) “KoB” mono promo back in May, and was quite pleased. So maybe that $2700 result you mention is a bit of a weird outlier? Very best, Caroline

  • even one K seems to be a bit much to me, caroline. no judgement, i’m just surprised! i have a VG+/VG+ stereo copy that I paid $40 for, but then again i am one of the few jazz fans who doesn’t care much for KoB.

    to your credit, this album has been skyrocketing in value unlike even some blue notes, so it’s probably best to secure one now in any case.

    i’m going for $5405 for the 1568 pool, btw.

  • My bet is that it goes for $5750…I’d love to have this back in my hands!!!!

  • I’m going lower on this one…$4,875

  • Also i think promos and test pressings will be more sought after in the future as they are rare and seen by some as having higher audio quality.

    Some what related side note…has anyone seen a test pressing of Dolphy’s “Out to Lunch?” It’s number one on my list right now.

  • Pretty sure promos and test pressings vary widely in quality just as regular issues do. A label or artist may reject a test and who’s to say that test might later end up on the used market? On the other hand, I’ve never noticed any discernible difference between white label and regular issues except in the instance of a mono-only radio promo of an otherwise stereo record (certain Liberty BNs, I think a few Cotillion titles perhaps, probably others).

    also that $600 KOB promo is probably pretty iffy in the condition department. I would not take the gamble.

  • If you enter “Kind Of Blue Promo” on popsike 185 items are listed. If this is the number that Popsike has been able to document there could be possibly a couple of hundred more that have never auctioned off. The executives at Columbia Records must of decided to put a lot of effort in marketing this work of art.

  • I’ll go $5150 on the Mobley.

  • I have a kind of blue record in the plastic , 33-1/3. It’s an CS 8163 . Is it worth anything ?

  • I think the 1568 will sell for $5618.88.

  • I’m betting the 1568 will break $6000. Seems to me there are way to many copies of KOB to justify the price. I love WLP copies but all I would see when I pulled it out was a scratch across side B.

  • I think it will only go for $4539

  • Caroline Somerset

    Didn’t even crack $5,000… GST is the winner :-)) Congratulations!

  • The “scratch that cuts across side B” evoked a larger question of interest (and comments?) for me, one of “filling a void in my collection at a lower price” vs. “purchasing the VG++ record I genuinely want to listen to until the grave.” In our JC family, do you sometimes buy the low(er)-priced, scratched record to fill the spot in your collection until the VG+ and beyond can arrive? Stories, plz.

  • Daryl I’ll always buy albums with condition issues as long as –
    1) nothing really nasty like a deep gouge or it skips or has consisten nasty surface noise or a cover that has major water or mold damage.
    2) it’s priced accordingly. It has to be cheap enough to warrant purchasing the lesser copy otherwise best to save the money for a better copy.

  • I m tired of Blue Note 1568. I want a NM copy of “Locking Horns” on Rama instead. Far much rarer, and at least to my ears, far better.

  • Daryl, I don’t go for “fill” copies, as my audio OCD tendencies just won’t allow me to overlook the visual and auditory defects (I’ve tried, but wow, it’s difficult for me). I need to have the best obtainable copy from an appearance and play standpoint. So, that means I buy fewer LPs, but enjoy them more. But I don’t disrespect those who make the choice to take a lesser copy and enjoy the music anyway. Perfectionism is a curse generally. But I digress. πŸ™‚

  • I’m with Michel.

  • daryl:

    i am very willing to forgive issues with the cover to get nice vinyl, and i concern myself only with how the record plays, not how it looks. that being said, visual inspection is accurate to determine audio performance the vast majority of the time. and i never buy filler copies i know i won’t enjoy. because that is just money i could spend on a nicer record.

  • Thanks Caroline! I guess I spend too much time on this site reviewing prices πŸ™‚

    As far as filler copies are concerned I’m not really interested in them. I would never buy a filler online, but if I run across an album locally I’m more forgiving of the condition, particularly the cover.

  • I buy based on return on investment only. I don’t even listen to my records. To me they are a investment and a piece of history. I stream music if I want to listen.

  • Not to be a jerk but the above comment by KB has to be the saddest comment I have ever read on this website. If you dont listen to your albums you may as well search out some other worthwhile passion. I mean, do you think you are running a museum? I don’t know about the rest of you but I play my albums, quite a bit in some cases, play burn be damned.

  • To each his own, but I buy and collect LPs to play, and that’s the way I enjoy them. I keep them in as best shape as possible, but if I didn’t play them, what’s the point? We aren’t talking about Rothko’s or Van Gough’s here. If my LPs are worth less because I’ve played them and enjoyed them, then I suppose my son will have to deal with that when they are his someday. And if they are worthless 40 years from now, so be it. At least I have enjoyed the wonderful music in their grooves! And I doubt my Ortofon needle tracking at 1.5 grams is causing much harm in the grand scheme of things. πŸ™‚

  • @Ethan I take offense to your comment. There’s nothing sad about collecting with a different perspective. I value having my own “museum”.

  • wow — I initially thought KB’s comment was a joke. Well, people can do what they want I guess but it’s not my approach. And I assume KB is not the only one out there collecting for this reason.

  • i’m all for listening to my records as well, but most museums don’t follow the “use it or lose it” philosophy, and it makes me feel fairly secure that someone is keeping their records pristine. beatles collectors don’t wear john lennon’s clothes, for example. they display them.

    begrudging someone else their hobby particulars is not something i’m interested in.

    KB, make sure your collection gets appreciated for it’s fabulous condition someday! a real museum would probably kill for what you’ve got. you do your thing.

  • I do listen on occasion. And when I do, it’s a ritual. I find myself pulling out the Hard Bop like Moanin and Blue Trane.

    Glad to see some support here for my hobby particulars. We need for diversity these days, not less..

  • I thought KB’s first comment was a joke too; when I first read it I felt it was quite a cold capitalist/corporate angle to this jazz hobby of ours haha…

    I think everybody’s collection here could be considered a museum and/or investment, but personally I just don’t see the point of buying records simply to let them collect dust and (possibly) profit off of them in the future. To each his own though!

  • Caroline Somerset

    Actually, I’m in the middle on this question. I have good quality original first pressing ‘play copies’ (VG+ or E) that I listen to (regular cleaned and carefully handled) – but if I find all original first pressings that are truly NM-/M for both the cover and LP, those are shelved and never played…

  • Regarding KB’s rationale for buying records, collectors collect what they collect, and who’s to say there is any “wrong” way to collect. Besides, it’s their money to spend as they choose. I once asked a prominent New York auction seller what he thought buyers of expensive records do with them. He told me, many buy for investment. He will often find an LP he sold to someone come back for auction resale. For such a “collector,” a rare record is a commodity to be bought and sold, not played.

  • I think I should add that a big reason why I like to collect original first issues of records is for sound quality…the first pressing is closest to the original master tape. So this is all the more reason why I actually enjoy and play my albums…

  • Listen to what you want, how you want to listen to it. Jazz or whatever. Same goes for collecting. The whole point of music is listening (aside from those involved in its creation or performance). I’d be the first to admit that there’s plenty of stuff I fire up solely as an MP3, just because it is convenient.

    One thing I’ve been constantly surprised at on this website and in the jazz record collecting community at large is the attitude of some commenters that “I only listen to Blue Note” or whatever. When I was a music student, we started at the beginning of jazz. When learning a new tune, especially a standard, we were always told, “Check out as many versions of it as you can listen to, especially from different eras. See how it sounded in the swing era. See how a big band arranged it. See how a free ensemble or one of the Miles quintets deconstructed it or turned it inside out.”

    Every time you hear a different recording of a tune, someone is going to bring something different to the table. That’s the beauty of the classics, and the beauty of music. Even classical music, which is much less open to interpretation, still has that room for artistry.

  • BTW, has anybody ever had the experience that they see one label of WLP over every other? For me, it’s Atlantic. I have some DJ copies of jazz stuff that I picked up in college, which I thought was an outlier. But even when working at a used bookstore that did some business in records, I used to see WLP 45s of Atlantic soul and r&b sides fairly often.

  • This conversation reminds me of a classic Simpsons scene:

    Agnes Skinner: I collect pictures of cakes that I clip out of the magazines. It all started in 1941 when “Good Housekeeping” featured a photo of a lovely cake. *opens album*

    Bart Simpsons: You wouldn’t happen to have any real cakes around here, would you?

    Agnes Skinner: Oh, my, no. I don’t care for cake, too sweet.

  • mark, i think that rationale could be argued, but i imagine you are right most of the time in any case. sun ra’s self-released work comes to mind as a possible counterexample.

    i collect first pressings because i like them. i am not an audiophile, but perhaps close to one. i like the earliest documents of the records, before they became legendary. it’s fun for me. that’s all, really.

    caroline, you must have quite the collection! have any pictures of shelves or anything?

  • KB, I think you are seriously missing a point about collecting these wonderful tactile things.
    Yes hose records are history, history to be enjoyed, smelt, touched and PLAYED!!
    Traded like stocks and shares isn’t anything to do with the ethos of the ‘product’ you have collected.
    It’s sad you don’t enjoy them for what they were truly meant to be. Enjoying them because they give you financial returns IS, IMHO, pretty SAD. I hope you one day sell them to someone who will love and play them and you can invest the money into something you can actually enjoy, properly.

    (wishful thinking) I hope the bottom falls out the market and you are left with financially worthless beauties that you have to find another way of extracting enjoyment from them! Like playing ’em!

  • Anders Wallinder

    Interesting discussion! I think most collectors of collectable records do it for playing. If there is a bonus of increasing value – so be it. It’s a plus for all the records we’ve bought and a minus for the ones we want. In any case I will not play my Lee Morgan Vol3 everyday. On a daily basis I would stream or listen to my ripped CD but it is nice to give it a spin on special occasions. For display only sounds a bit boring but on the other hand I collected MIB Corgi die-cast cars for a while and never actually played with them πŸ˜‰

    The often used argument on sound quality I can understand, but not every first pressing sounds the best – in fact only on rare occasions IMO. A later pressing or a CD can indeed do justice to the music.

    So where will the market go for collectible jazz? Who knows – but it looks very strong so far. New buyers have come in from several countries like Korea, Russia and I’m kind of waiting for India to kick in but I’m not sure if they have started to move yet?

  • @ Adamski – is this truly your hope?

  • KB’s comments remind me of my own collecting of scotch. Some I drink, some I keep unopened. Maybe someday I’ll have a dram of my Port Ellen or Karuizawa, but not at the moment. To each his/her own, I say. But … I do play my cherished LPs, even the rarest ones (but not quite as often … and they sure do sound heavenly accompanied with a fine scotch). Lagavulin anyone?

  • Well, to each their own. But what I dislike is those that want, no demand, you sell something they “collect” so they can turn around and make a profit. Several years ago, I bought a really nice Scott 299B amp for $475. I used it for two years and then not so much, but it’s so nice, I really like it. Well, some guy goes on Craigslist saying he wanted to buy a Scott 299b, and I contacted him and told him I would sell it to him for what I paid for it. He contacted me and said “no, I can’t buy that for the price you’re asking because I can’t make any money off of it”. Well, fuck me I was offended. Unfortunately, I find “dealers” who do the same thing with records, they want me to give them a deal so they can make the money. To them, it is an investment, to me, it’s a passion. Huge difference. I try not to be offended, but don’t ask me to underwrite one’s “investments”.

  • This is way off the subject but I know you all are jazz freaks and record lovers so I will ask for info from the knowledgeable. I am going to move from SF to Nashville area and have approx 3500 jazz vinyls. I’m very concerned that the standard van lines do not have a way to cool off the inside of the van storage trailer that they tow and I don’t want my lps to warp. Has anyone had the experience of moving a large collection a long distance. Are there any specialized moving companies that know how to handle a collection of this size without damaging it. There is no way I can fit all this into a rented uhaul because I have no one available to help me load and unload. The inside of a uhaul has no ac in it to cool things down. I have to cross AZ<NM<TX<OK<Arkansas to get to Nashville on Hwy 40 and it's hotter than Hades out there. Help anyone? I'd appreciate any ideas or input
    Regards,
    Brian R anderson

  • Hey Brian this is what worked for me; I packed my l.p.’s in heavy duty 121/2 x121/2 x 24″ moving boxes. All upright and filled the boxes very tightly. No wiggle room = no warp. They were packed into commercial moving van. I even packed my 78’s in a smaller boxes. All made the journey from California to Texas in perfect shape. I hope this helps!

  • do wine or champagne collectors drink their bottles? if positive what’s left? an empty bottle, useless in any collection. and do stamps collectors use them for sending a postcard? or coin collectors to buy a newspaper? I understand KB’s view. I do listen to my originals and have pleasure everytime. KB has simply chosen to give up this pleasure.

  • Recently I went to pay homage to a 72 years old collector of jazz and classical music. I asked him if I could have a look on his records, he told me to use any attention, to my surprise many records were sealed or re- sealead to prevent cover damages. I asked him why he kept the record sealed, he told me “they are too rare to risk any damage”!!! KB in my opinion simply had the courage to show an aspect of collecting things that rarely emerges.

  • @Brian, I moved from Austin to NYC in the heat of early August several years ago. I used a Penske truck that was un-air conditioned and packed 13x13x13 uHaul boxes very tightly with boxed sets and gatefolds on the ends, rarer / more valuable stuff in the middle. Had no problems except when moving, dinged a box with some H’s and have a few bent corners. Otherwise a-ok. I did not double box, which I would do in addition when I move again someday.

  • To Art & Clifford: Thank you so very much for the information RE: moving a record collection. Your input has helped me immensely and is much appreciated.

  • Gregory the Fish

    brian: i know your concern has been answered, but as someone who has moved 1000 or so records through hot situations as well: if you pack them well and deal with them expeditiously upon arrivial, you will likely be fine. i always worry and i rarely need to.

    adamski: that’s pretty mean-spirited.

  • Brian, I’m not sure if uHaul still has 13in cube boxes but Home Depot does….

    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Plain-Brown-Box-13-in-x-13-in-x-13-in-25-Box-Bundle-PRA0071B/203578087?cm_mmc=Shopping|THD|google|&mid=skqUxOzUB|dc_mtid_8903rn225192_pcrid_171990442072_pkw__pmt__product_203578087_slid_&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI4Z2m_rvr1QIVCoh-Ch3X3Q7LEAQYAiABEgItYfD_BwE

  • “each to his own” Let us know when your ready to sell KB. Sounds like you have some collectible records that would be fun to watch. Let the bidding begin! LOL

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