E-baying: Newk, Jackie and a Bix 78

Sonny Rollins Jazz Vinyl

Catching up on some more jazz vinyl we’ve been watching on eBay, starting with this from the seller bill-sf, who is a regular reader and commenter here at Jazz Collector: Sonny Rollins Plus 4, Prestige 7038. This was an original pressing with the yellow New York label and the first cover. The record was listed in a strong VG+ condition with an Ex cover. Surprised to see this one sell for Just $249.99. To me it’s one of the classics of the era and kind of a “must have,” if there is such a thing. When I compare this price to the price of some of the other records of this era, it looks like someone got a great bargain. To wit, as someone else mentioned, that copy of Jackie McLean, The New Tradition, Ad Lib 6601, which was in VG+ condition for the record and VG for the cover, sold for $2,400, nearly 10 times the price of the Rollins. For what it’s worth.

Although I collect 78s, I don’t write about them often here. However, I’ve noticed lately we have a few commenters who have a particular expertise, so perhaps I can find out more about this one by The Wolverine Orchestra featuring Bix Beiderbecke. This was Oh Baby/Copenhagen on the Gennett label. The seller is a known expert on 78s. This one sold for $241.50. Insight, anyone?

6 comments

  • geoffrey wheeler

    John Tefteller, seller of the Bix disc, is a very careful grader. If he says it’s “E,” it’s E and should be a decent looking and playing record. The gold-and-black Gennett label is quite handsome. Whether it’s worth $241.50 is up to the prospective buyer, of course. Mr. Tefteller’s name and renown goes a long way in giving credibility to a 78 offering. Seldom does he offer jazz items, however. Gennett jazz in good condition will likely command a good price. Frankly, I wouldn’t pay $241.50 for this item because only the “Oh Baby” side offers enough Bix to satisfy. “Copenhagen,” which should be a hot one, has more ensemble than solos, and Bix is barely heard from. The two sides on the above disc were recorded May 6, 1924 and are among the earliest of Bix recordings. That alone makes them valuable. Even more valuable would be the same tunes paired on the Claxtonola label, which is rare indeed.

  • John is the man when it comes to 78’s. He is great guy and when it comes to being fair , he is really the gold standard. Considering the garbage that sells for so much more than this record,I can guarantee a very pleased buyer. Finding an “E” Bix on Gennett, what’s not to like!

  • I think the price of the Rollins fit nicely into the pricing pattern I found on Popsike. I listed it previously for $50 more because of the great cover condition, but I got no response at all. I don’t know why this piece isn’t more expensive. Certainly the Jackie isn’t ten times as good or ten times as rare (or is it?).

  • Sonny Plus Four- Collectors Frenzy shows prices of $400-$500 between 2013-2015. But overall price range for this title is extremely wide. Lots of copies in circulation and several reissues available may be partly responsible. Regardless- I love this title and it will be pried from my cold dead hands. I purchased my VG++ NYC copy about 20yrs ago for about 10% of the linked auction.

  • I’ve thought for a few years that “Plus 4” and some of the other Rollins originals on Prestige are selling for bargain prices (the exception of course is Saxophone Colossus). Whoever bought the example above got a great deal!

  • The $400-$500 range was for NM or VG++ condition. Mine was a strong VG+. One thing I always have trouble with is the eBay condition grid which undermines the old Goldmine standard as there was no VG++ in Goldmine. I believe this causes a lot of confusion both with older collectors who have experience with the old Goldmine standards and newer collectors who distrust anything below VG++, and might even hurt some sellers who adhere to the Goldmine standard. I also use a (+) in some grading to show that the record plays at a higher grade then it looks, but it is very hard to be completely precise in any visual description of a VG+ record, even though it is in collector’s condition. Any way you look at it, VG+ is a most subjective grade and suffers because of that. Auction bidders are sometimes hesitant to commit big bucks on a rare record in that condition unless they have had experience with the seller and are confident in the seller’s grading. That being said, it did not seem to bother the Jackie auction very much.

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