Just catching up with my eBay watch list after a lovely Christmas weekend here in the lovely Berkshires Mountains of Western Massachusetts, where I am looking out of my window at a frozen lake and a gorgeous winter scene straight out of Normal Rockwell. And, of course, there are also records to be perused and evaluated on eBay. Today we will start with The Paul Chambers Quintet, Blue Note 1564. This was kind of a weird pressing. It had the West 63rd Street address, the deep grooves and the Van Gelder stamp, but it did not have the ears. It seems like an early pressing to me, especially since this was not a record I ever saw issued once Liberty took over. It also had shrink wrap and a later “27 years of Blue Note” inner sleeve, which would place the issue at around 1966. In any case, this was listed in Ex condition for both the record and the cover. There was a start price of about $300 and there were no bidders, which surprised me.
Many of you have probably noticed that the seller manusardi1 has some nice items on eBay now, including Jutta Hipp at the Hickory House, Volume One, Blue Note 1515. This is an original pressing. The record is labeled “pristine” and the cover looks to be VG++ or so. The bidding is in the $900 range and there are still three days to go. For those looking to spend big bucks filling in big gap in their Blue Note collections, there is also the companion Jutta Hipp at the Hickory House, Volume Two, Blue Note 1516. This one is also listed in “pristine” condition for the record, with a similar condition on the cover, perhaps VG++, perhaps a little less. This one is in the $800 range with three days left.
I know I haven’t posted in a while when I start getting little love notes from our old pal CeeDee, with gentle reminders such as “you may have seen these by now, but . . . ” Anyway, these a couple of the ones being called to my attention, starting with Kenny Dorham, Quiet Kenny, New Jazz 8225. This was an original pressing with the purple label and the deep grooves. The record was graded VG++ and the cover was VG+. The final price was $1,752.
Then there was Joe Henderson, Inner Urge, Blue Note 84189. This was an original stereo pressing with the New York USA labels and the ears in the dead wax. The record was listed in M- condition and the cover was VG++. The final price was $383. High for a stereo pressing, but certainly not surprising, right?
I didn’t have either of those on my watch list, but I did have this one, which fetched quite a fetching price:
Whilst I have immensely enjoyed writing and sharing those personal essays, I know that most of you come to Jazz Collector for the really important stuff, which is keeping track of record prices and sales on eBay, so we can all marvel at how smart and fortunate we were to have bought our records below market value, or we can lament the unfortunate reality that buying the top rare jazz collectibles at today’s market prices is beyond the capacity of many of us, either from a financial perspective or because it offends our basic sensibilities to pay top dollar rather than keep hunting for a bargain, even if it may mean never owning an original pressing of a record that we covet deeply. The point of that rather long sentence is that it is time to get back to business, and since so many of us have a soft spot for Blue Notes, I have decided that today will be a Blue Note day here at Jazz Collector, starting with Wayne Shorter, Ju Ju, Blue Note 4182. This looks to be an original pressing with the New York USA label, Van Gelder and ear. The record and cover are both listed in Ex condition. The price is now close to $400 with more than a day left on the auction. As we have all seen, the price of these later era original pre-Liberty Blue Notes has risen markedly over the past few years. If we haven’t seen these break into the $1,000 bin yet, it looks like that is just a matter of time.
I actually have more I want to say about the Coltrane documentary, which I will do in a subsequent post, but today I promised Jazz Collector readers a regular post and that typically means looking at some rare jazz records on eBay. As I type this I have a random playlist on in the background and Bird just came on playing “Confirmation.” So let me pause for a moment. Okay, back with you all.
Well, perhaps there is something in the air. First record I went to on eBay is: Charlie Parker, Bird Blows the Blues, Dial 901. This is an original pressing with the red vinyl. I believe we have established here on Jazz Collector that this was the first 12-inch vinyl record ever? I add the question mark because I’m still not sure. Anyway, I have never owned a copy of this record, and won’t own this one. The starting price is $1,500 and it’s only in VG condition. Even worse, the seller doesn’t include an original picture. That very clear, really enticing picture accompanying the listing, and accompanying this post, is actually copied from a book. For $1,500, I personally wouldn’t mind seeing the real deal, not that I would ever pay $1,500 anyway.
Now that I have no election to obsess over, and I don’t yet have the appetite to read about what will happen next to my wonderful country, I have more time to listen to records, read about jazz and look at the always interesting activity on eBay. So, perhaps, I will do more Jazz Collector posts and finally set aside time to put into the Jazz Collector Price Guide, which can really use an update. Look for the silver lining, as the wonderful song says.
Anyway, here are a few of items that recently sold on eBay, starting with Jutta Hipp with Zoot Sims, Blue Note 1530. This was an original Lexington Avenue pressing listed in VG++ condition for the record and VG+ for the cover, with some visible staining on the back cover that could be a turn off for some buyers, but obviously was not that big a turn off for the buyer of this copy, who paid $2,850.88. In fact, looking over the cover pictures again, it looks like VG+ is a pretty generous grade. I have an absolutely clean version of this record that I purchased from the Bruce M. West collection in Baltimore, thoughts of which always put a smile on my face.
Anyway. Here are some of the rare jazz records we are watching on eBay, starting with Tadd Dameron, Fontainebleau, Prestige 7037. This is an original yellow label pressing with the New York address. The record is listed in M- condition for the vinyl and Ex for the cover, with a promo stamp and some damage on the back. The bidding is in the $225 range with more than four days left. Although this is a nice record from the early Prestige 12-inch catalogue, it’s never been one that has been overly attractive to collectors, although it looks pretty good to me. Here’s another Prestige from the same seller that most collectors will find to be quite a bit more enticing: Hank Mobley, Mobley’s Message, Prestige 7061. This is also an original New York yellow label. The record is in M- condition and the cover is listed as M-, although I may slightly quibble and push it down to VG++ based on the picture. The price is in the $560 range, also with four days left on the auction.
Here zre are some of the rare jazz records that have been sitting in our eBay watch list, starting with Eric Dolphy, Outward Bound, New Jazz 8236. This was an original pressing with the purple label and the deep grooves. The record was listed in M- condition and the cover was Ex, equivalent to VG++, according to the seller’s description. The final price was $837. High, but certainly not surprising for an original classic such as this. From the same seller, there was Kenny Dorham, Quiet Kenny, New Jazz 8225. This was also an original pressing with the purple label and the deep grooves. The record was listed in VG+ condition, as was the cover. The final price was $1,083. And one more from the same seller, this one a tease for me, but not in a comfortable price range, although certainly a fair price range based on the final bid:
One 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? Read more
Greetings again from the world of collectible jazz vinyl – I’m glad that Al stepped in with a mention of that Coltrane test pressing. I’d sent it to him, as others did, out of curiosity but in the final few days wasn’t expecting it to do too much damage. While to some $300 might be a steal, to others (myself included) that seemed to be just about right for a stereo test disc in VG condition and without the iconic artwork/label design. Everyone has different ideas about these things I guess.
One that surprised me today was this copy of trumpeter Don Cherry’s second LP as a leader and first for Blue Note, Complete Communion. It’s a classic mid-60s avant-garde jazz album with Cherry’s music played beautifully by Gato Barbieri, Ed Blackwell and Henry Grimes. That said, $678 for a mono copy in presumably VG++ condition for the record and cover seems downright ridiculous. I’ll happily keep on trucking with a $25 stereo early edition in similar shape.
The same seller, our old Italian friend bullsite2000, got a cool $350 for the very rare Sun Ra/LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka) LP A Black Mass, issued privately on Jones’ Jihad imprint in two small runs with color or black and white printing around 1968. The b&w copy he had was listed in probably VG– condition for the record and I’d say VG for the cover. Truth be told, examples in better condition almost never show up, but that’s still a chunk of change for a mere play copy.
One that I’m watching and that may enter the $1,000 bin (and thus outside of my price range) is a fantastic LP led by alto saxophonist Marion Brown for French Polydor, Le Temps Fou, an unused soundtrack for a Marcel Camus film. The personnel include members of his working European band at the time such as Gunter Hampel, Steve McCall, Barre Phillips and Ambrose Jackson. There is one ostensibly “funky” track but the music is generally pretty far-out. The bidding is already over $250 with a couple of days left in the auction. The LP itself is probably VG+ or VG++ and the cover looks to be about a VG++ and you don’t see it often in any shape.
In any event, happy bidding and happier listening!