What’s A Signature Worth, And What If It’s More Than Just An Autograph?

Joe Henderson AutographHere are a few odds and ends from the Jazz Collector in box. Mark sent us this link: Joe Henderson, In ‘N Out, Blue Note 84166. The back cover is all messed up with writing all over it. Except, here’s the explanation from Mark: “So the seller claims the notes and signature are by Joe..an inquiry made to the seller revealed that this album came from the collection of a fellow who booked shows for the Left Bank Jazz Society in Baltimore.  Apparently there were many signed albums in his collection along with a photograph of Monk and Wynton Kelly sitting on his own couch! Anyway..interesting piece…” I kind of have a soft spot for memorabilia such as this, although I don’t actually collect it. The record and cover looked to be an original stereo pressing. The final price was $275. Not sure if the writing and signature ensured a higher price, or whether it actually diminished the price. I would guess a stereo copy would get less than $275, so someone probably through the writing was worth something. That’s how I would view it.

There was also this signed record, noted by one of our readers:

The Magnificent Thad Jones, Blue Note 1527. This was an original Lexington Avenue pressing that seems to have Thad’s signature on the upper back on the left. The record and cover were listed in Ex condition and the final price was $1,875.50. Again, not sure if the autograph had a positive or negative impact on the price.

Finally, my friend Jud weighs in with a huge batch of Mosaics that he is selling on eBay. You can check out the listings here. Lots of nice vinyl for auction or very reasonable buy-it-now prices. I still love the original vinyl Mosaics.


  • That Joe Henderson LP is from the collection of a gentleman named Bob Richards – a large batch of nice jazz LPs from his collection were sold to various Chicago record stores 2-3 years ago. I know, because I bought quite a few (from the stores). Those are his notes, which frequently appear on the back of his records. He also often wrote his name on the back as well next to the release date and location. In addition, he also taped the seams of a quite a few, the ironic result of which was tape residue, but also completely preserved seams! The notes are actually rather touching, because of the very personal way Mr. Richards enjoyed his music (he wrote on more than one, of those that I own anyway, that “this record is an absolute b!%ch, baby!”). The photograph mentioned is not a surprise, because he has contributed at least one photo to the U Chicago jazz archive: http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/scrc/collections/jazz/

  • Richards’ Henderson LP is really interesting.

    I find a Thad Jones signature less interesting and was actually a little surprised that The Magnificent went for such a high price. However, that guy seems to have done well with all of his auctions (didn’t even get close to winning that Exciting 6 LP).

  • What I find interesting with that Thad Jones LP is how much it sold for, considering it’s not an actual first pressing, as it has the raised lip and a later cover (non-kakabushi).

  • The Henderson LP looks like it’s super clean other then the writing, and New York USA copies are tough to find..especially with the plastylite stamp which this copy had.

  • Hi, this is also a nice price ( 575 $ )for a second pressing of 4051… ( p.s. one of my favorit BN´s ) Jackie & Tina is
    a dream team…


    cu Horst

  • …It’s always great to see what other BN collectors had signed over the years.

    The Joe Henderson looks like a really late signature compared to his early autographs.

    As for the Thad Jones signature, this one appears to be spot on (IMO) compared to most I’ve seen over the years. Sometimes the actual writing instrument can be a “red flag.” if you’ll pardon the pun… In this case, assuming it was a sharpie, the red Sharpie was first available in 1979, and Thad was with us until 1986, so this one seems legit. (Trivial Note: Sharpie first introduced the black Sharpie back in 1964)

    Personally, I always prefer to get the original first pressings signed whenever possible, but then again the hard-core BN collectors among us may see any defacing of original first pressings as a “sacrilege”. Reserving only second pressings (and beyond) for the privilege of being held, and signed by the original artist first hand.

  • Yearsandyearsandyears ago( I seem to often start my posts here that way) when I owned a record store in Chicago, I went to look at a collection, located in the South Shore section of town of a man, John Alexander, who was a DJ. He had 100’s of records, all marked as this Henderson record shown. 78’s, lps, etc. I asked about the markings, for they were a grading system of some sort. Never got a satisfactory answer which led me to believe that perhaps he didn’t make the markings.
    Joe L. seems to have shed some light on the source.
    It seems lots of cats back then marked their records in some way to show ownership. Spinning in clubs often meant you needed to make sure your records didn’t walk. A name, tape applied n various manner, all ensured you knew, and others did too, what was yours.

  • lennib – wish I had known you back then! I can’t say for sure that Bob Richards himself sold the LPs, only that many have the name Bob Richards written on the back in the same handwriting.

  • Joe L, seems like it’s one of those mysteries. Perhaps if my memory was better, I’d recall more of that visit. Mr. A, was somewhat reclusive and did not offer much information, “look at my records, pay and get out” sort of occasion.

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