One of our readers sent me the following link: Kenny Dorham, Quiet Kenny, New Jazz 8225. This was an original purple label deep groove pressing. The record and cover were listed in M- condition and the seller used the word “pristine” in his description. The final price was $3,617. According to Popsike, that is a new high water mark for Quiet Kenny. The reader added this note: “Of course, this LP is superb music-wise and very rare, so in today’s market maybe the price is justified?” My answer, I guess, is yes, it is justified in today’s market. And, I have to say, every time I think the market has peaked, I am always proven wrong. So, who’s not to say that someday down the road, we’ll be talking about this purchase as a bargain?
This one also fetched quite a price:
Our friend Daryl Parks, who wrote a previous post on originals versus reissues, has written another piece, this one around the angst of both owning and selling original Blue Note records (and others) worth a lot of money. Here ’tis.
By Daryl Parks
Let me cut to the chase: I am selling first-press, holy grail Blue Notes this week. In our Jazz Collector community, we rarely discuss the emotions related to such sales, so I will. I’m not sure that I’m doing the right thing by selling these records. I am guess that your comments or bids will let me know.
I began to follow Jazz Collector some six years ago. A retired neighbor had given me a few pristine jazz lp’s worth a few dozen dollars, which caused me to learn as much as I could. Al and the JC family taught me more than I ever knew I wanted to know about jazz records: first editions, grooves, initials in the runoff, and more. As I knew I would never be able to afford the rarest of the rare first editions at the center of the site’s clamor (e.g., Blue Note, Prestige, New Jazz) I stood offstage with my re-issues and infrequent Impulse first presses for five years. I often dreamed about owning just one of the rare ones described and discussed. (Fast forward) Then, last year, out of the blue, I owned six. Read more
Merry day after Christmas everyone. It is good to be back. Let’s catch up on a few jazz records we were watching on eBay, starting with an old standby: Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, Columbia 1355. This an original white label promo copy. The record looked to be in VG++ condition and the cover was VG+. The final price was $496, which isn’t bad for a promo copy. We’ve seen them sell for more than $1,000 fairly consistently in nice shape, and one even broke the $2,000 barrier, according to Popsike. To me, this is a record where the condition of the cover would be important, since the black cover tends to fade and, for a promo copy, a nice, sharp, minty cover would be nice. Perhaps other potential bidders felt the same way, which kept the bidding at a reasonable level? I have a couple of original pressings of Kind of Blue, both in nice shape, but I’ve never owned a promo copy. Still don’t.
Back with another Esquire Prestige to start with, if you will all kindly indulge my new obsession: Donald Byrd, Kenny Dorham, Gene Quill, Phil Woods, Pairing Off, Esquire 32-026. This is an original UK pressing listed in VG+ condition for both the record and the cover. It’s a another cool cover, IMHO, illustrating the instruments of the two sets of pairs, the trumpeters and altoists. It’s quite a bit different than the U.S. version, which was released as a session led by Phil Woods. Bidding is in the $120 range with more than a day left on the auction.
Buy it now, just $1,200. There’s a copy of Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568 sitting on eBay now with a start price of $4,500 and a Buy it Now price of $12,000. It is an original West 63rd Street pressing and the obsessive collectors among us would argue that it is an original original, meaning it sports the inscrutable New York 23 label on side two. The seller starts off by saying he is not qualified to grade jazz records but he just lucked out and found a collection that included the likes of Hank Mobley Blue Note 1568. Funny, I’ve been collecting jazz records for nearly 50 years now and this particular little bit of luck has never befallen me. In any case, he offers some audio clips of the record that he recorded on a (gasp) Ion USB turntable, which is enough to scare some of you off right there. Read more
We were watching a bunch of items from the Jazz Record Center auction that closed yesterday and here are some of the results, staring with Clifford Jordan and John Gilmore, Blowing in From Chicago, Blue Note 1549. This was an original pressing. It was probably in VG++ condition for the record. The JRC doesn’t use our normal grades, just a description. This one had a single mark that is audible seven times. I know that precludes it from M-. Does it preclude it from VG++? Otherwise, the record sounds immaculate. The cover was probably VG+ or VG++, depending upon how you feel about a “professionally repaired” spine and bottom seam. Also, the picture looks more VG+ to me than VG++. The final price was $1,247. My sense is that a different seller would have been less meticulous in his description and received a higher price. In any case, I still don’t own an original copy of this record for any of you out there who may be interested in a trade.
Our friends at the Jazz Record Center have a very nice auction underway now, including: Hank Mobley, Soul Station, Blue Note 4031. This looks to be an original West 63rd Street pressing, probably in M- condition for the record and VG++ for the cover. The bidding is in the $700 range as I type this, and I would expect the final price to be quite a bit higher, much closer to the $2,000 bin. This is a record that I never owned in original condition until i was fortunate enough to get a copy in the Bruce M. West Baltimore collection four years ago (has it really been four years?). Anyway, like a lot of the records in that collection, I put them on the shelves and promised myself I would get around to listening to them one day. And, a few nights ago, I finally kept my promise with Hank Mobley Soul Station. And it was quite a revelation. Read more
Catching up on some email. Here’s the story of a fun score from a new reader:
“Hi, I am fairly new to jazz vinyl collecting and listening. I have been drawn to the 50’s and 60’s jazz and LOVE your site. Unfortunately so much of this vintage jazz is way out of my budget. I have been buying when and what I can afford. Wanted to share this: This past weekend I was in a vintage shop with my wife and wasn’t sure I would find anything. In the back was a small box with some records. I start flipping through them like I always do when I find records in vintage/antique shops. I run across a Donald Byrd – Royal Flush BLP 4101 original pressing. The vinyl itself is VG in appearance, plays somewhere between VG and VG+ and the cover is VG+. The price on the album was $10. I was elated and couldn’t get the money out of my wallet fast enough! Hope I didn’t bore you. Thanks for your site and keep the posts coming as it is helpful in my jazz education!” Read more
Sorry, again, for the long gap between posts. With Thanksgiving and an abundance of real work, time has just slipped away. I owe you an update on some of the auctions we were watching, so here goes. We’ll start with some of the records from the seller vinyl-house-uk, including Elmo Hope, Informal Jazz, Esquire 32-0139. This was an original British pressing listed in M- condition for both the record and the cover. It sold for a whopping $925. When we started watching this UK pressings a couple of years ago, the prices weren’t nearly this high. Hope we didn’t start a trend. There were a few other similar pressings in the same auction list that sold for high prices, including these Read more
The seller bluenote5 has some interesting and high priced records on eBay now including this one: Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section, Stereo Records 7018. So this is not the Contemporary version and it has the original loose plastic seal with a promotional card for the label inside. The seal is unbroken, so the record is in new condition and the cover is probably close to that as well. Here’s the conundrum with this record: When it was first issued on Contemporary it was 1957 and the labels weren’t producing stereo copies yet, at least not to my knowledge. This was probably the first Stereo release of this record, so in that way it is an original. But it was also probably released at least a couple of years after the original mono recording. You can see in the listing that it doesn’t have the red and blue writing on the back that would make it an original on the Contemporary label. I’m sure this copy is extraordinarily rare and nearly impossible to find sealed like this. As for me, Id rather have the Contemporary. BTW, my copy of this record was from the Bruce M. West collection in Baltimore and it also had the loose polybag cover the cover with the Contemporary promotional card inside. I removed the cover — after all, it was almost 60 years old and quite filthy — but I keep the promotional card inside. It was quite cool to see it in this condition, as if it were sitting on the shelf of a record store in 1957 The start price on the sealed Stereo version in this listing is $1,00. So far there are no bidders.