WFMU Record Fair: A Brief Report

So I did go to the WFMU Record Fair on Sunday. I’ve attached a picture to prove it. I didn’t buy any records. My goal with Record Shows has traditionally been to find bargains. You often get dealers who don’t know anything about jazz vinyl, and sometimes they under-price the records, and sometimes they are just trying to get rid of records, and sometimes they are happy to bargain so they don’t have to take the records home. There have also been many times where I’ve met collectors who really didn’t know the value of their records, and they underpriced everything that they had. I’ve written here about the guy who had a bunch of original Blue Notes and Prestiges and just priced everything at $5, including a mint copy of

Tina Brooks True Blue. Which is all a long way of saying that the real way to work these record shows is to get there hours before the show opens and walk around as the dealers are setting up. This works best if you get a table as a dealer and sell some records yourself. I would normally do this, but I had to be out of town on Friday and Saturday. So, by the time I got to the show when it opened on Sunday, I assumed ¬†that the early birds had already scooped up all of the bargains, and there would be nothing worthwhile left for me. And, I was right. There were still some sellers with some nice records, but they had lasted through the weekend because the prices were out of whack. I saw a copy of Charles Rouse, Yeah on Epic for $1,000 and it wasn’t even in M- condition. I saw a lot of other records where the price didn’t match the condition, or the condition didn’t match the price. So I passed.

Among the people I asked about the show, the consensus was that it was pretty much business as usual. There were definitely fewer sellers than in past years, and attendance on Sunday seemed to be down. One seller said the Sunday attendance was the worst he had remembered in four years of attending the show, but Saturday was perhaps the best attendance. There were a lot of jazz records in general at the show: In fact, just about every table had some jazz. But there were only a few tables — perhaps five or six — that had any worthwhile collectibles and by the time I got there they were probably cleaned out of the ones that were realistically priced. Anyway, I would have preferred to have been there on Friday when the dealers were just arriving and unpacking. If anyone was there during that time and would like to share his or her experiences, please feel free to comment on this post. Oh, there were a couple of people interviewing and filming people for a short documentary about vinyl collectors. Who knows if this ever see the light of day, but I was among those they interviewed. I’ll keep you all posted if anything ever comes of that.


  • Interesting report. In France, record fair are no longer of any interest. Most of the sellers are profesionnals, and they tend to overprice the records (same as your example of a 1000 $ Charlie Rouse)…same old story…

  • Rudolf A. Flinterman

    I once went to a record sale organized by the IAJRC (International Association of Jazz Record Collectors) in Sarasota, FL. The best moment indeed was when the vendors were installing their stands. I got to know Euclid there and I had my pick before the official opening.
    I think all over the world garage sales offer opportunites for the tenacious collector, with a chance of one on a thousand to find something of interest.

  • I agree. Yard sales and flea markets seem to offer the best opportunities for treasure hunters. But even here people seem to know the value of Blue Note/Prestige and tend to overprice in regards to condition, pressing, etc. My biggest scores have been with the lesser known labels (for non-collectors)i.e. Norgran, Storyville, Dawn, etc.

  • Al, did you buy that copy of True Blue?

  • If I could have, I would have but, alas, someone beat me to it. I did write the story once. Here’s the link:

  • I recently found an original Horace Silver Tokyo Blues in a women’s vintage clothing store (ahem. my wife was shopping) that had a crate on the floor. Everything was priced at $2.

    Not a supercollectible, and maybe only VG-, but a nice find for 2 bucks. So add misc. second hand stores to the list.

  • Hi:

    I just bought a copy of Walter Benton Quintet, Jazzland JLP 28
    Out of this world: If anyone is interested in purchasing this. album please call (973) 509 8921.

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