A Prestige-eous Day at Jazz Collector

Let’s look at a few from Prestige and related labels today, starting with Hank Mobley, Mobley’s Message, Prestige 7061. This was an original New York yellow label pressing listed as being in “pristine” condition from a reliable seller. The final price was $715.99, which strikes me as quite a bargain for this record in this condition. Or at least as much as any record for $715 can be a bargain. With this personnel — Mobley, McLean, Byrd, Barry Harris, Doug Watkins and Art Taylor — what would this record go for if it was on the Blue Note Label. I think we’d probably be looking in our metaphorical $2,000 bin.

This is another one I thought would fetch a higher price, but there seem to be extenuating circumstances: Miles Davis, The New Miles Davis Quintet, Prestige 7014. This was an original New York yellow label listed in M- condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. The final price was $220. You would definitely expect this record to go for a higher price in this condition, particularly in that it’s the first record on which John Coltrane gets a chance to stretch out and solo. The extenuating circumstances in this case are that the seller’s rating is not great, at 98.7%, and the pictures indicate that the condition of the cover is VG, at best. The combination of those two factors would probably scare off some serious bidders. As it was, the record only had one bidder.

Art Farmer and Gigi Gryce, When Farmer Met Gryce, Prestige 7085. This is an original New York yellow label. The record is graded in VG condition and the cover VG+, but, like the Miles record mentioned above, the pictures show that the cover should really be graded VG, at best, with a huge water stain on the back. The auction closes in five days and the opening bidding starts in the $120 range, but so far there are no bidders.

Finally, we have this one back for a return engagement: Sonny Rollins, Worktime, Esquire 32-038. This looks to be the same copy that sold a few weeks ago for about $270. Perhaps  there was an issue with the sale. The record is now back with a start price of approximately $100. The record is listed in VG+ condition and the sleeve as Ex. I still find the cover weird but cool and would like to own a copy. Perhaps this one.

10 comments

  • The Miles Davis 7014 looks painfully over graded. In the detailed description it’s described as having “clicks”, a “thud”, pressing bubbles and spindle marks. The cover has had tape removed from the bottom seam which is completely split, so no possibility of a VG+ grade. The 1st frame cover with the cursive Prestige is fairly hard to find in great condition…

  • That seller’s (main) problem is that he’s got a love affair with fonts! Good Lord! All the fonts, colors, sizes, bold, not bold, italic, pound signs galore, centered text! The listings are dizzying! It really works against him. Sure, he’s got a little Bob D hype issue, but look at one of his two negative feedbacks – the Johnny Hodges record. The buyer is complaining about a trashed record. But the listing clearly states (if you can get through it) that the auction is for the cover only, and the disc is just being thrown in as a freebie. He put the vinyl in the photo, and maybe he shouldn’t have included it at all. The dude’s own command of English isn’t that great, and yet he’s counting on a potential non-English-speaking buyer to not only somehow get through the font issue, but also make sense of the item description. The seller is a perfect example of where a well-done listing means everything and in this case it cost him at least one negative feedback and overall probably keeps him from getting the best prices.

  • ^ The Miles seller.

  • The “Art Farmer” LP description of the back cover “…reveals staining”. No – it’s not revealed, it shouts at you! The cover is pretty much ruined by the moisture damage. I certainly wouldn’t house the record inside. “G” to “VG-” at best.

  • I think Mobley’s Message has some of the finest Prestige cover art. The seller often gets a premium for some very nice records indeed.

  • The Mobley has a second press cover with GEM on the back. First pressing purists will balk at the cover, which might explain the relatively (!!!!) low price.

  • Mobley’s Message was a bargain in relative terms as Al says. Very Nice

  • never noticed that GEM script before.

  • Sorry, can someone please explain what GEM script is?

  • GEM was a printer for covers that Prestige used at some later point during the 50th St series. Mobley’s Message was one of the first releases that used this printer, but only part way though the print run. The earliest versions of the cover are thought not to have the GEM printer’s note on the back cover. Like a single sided deep groove on Drew’s Undercurrent, there is some debate on what makes a true first pressing, or if two pressings were simultaneous. For a vg++/m- copy of Message, $700 was a decent price regardless of press, at least based on previous auctions.

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