Jazz Vinyl Countdown: Sonny 10-Inch Prestige

How do you place a value on an album like this: Sonny Rollins Quartet, Prestige 137? Here’s my story: I purchased a copy of this record about 25 years ago as part of a large collection. It is quite, quite rare, Sonny is one of my favorite artists and it has this great cover picture of him from the early 1950s with slicked-back hair and a wisp of a mustache. A real beauty, right? However, the copy I owned was in pretty poor shape and a few years ago I picked up a near mint copy on eBay for $200. Actually, it was advertised as near mint and it’s not near mint, but that’s another story. So I’ve been sitting with two copies of this record, one in poor shape, and as I’ve been trying to weed doubles out of my collection, I’ve put this one aside and avoided making a decision. For some reason, this week

I’m forcing myself to decide. I put the double in a pile to sell and as I was taking the picture this morning, I noticed the sticker on the front: Dayton’s $1.39. Talk about nostalgia. Dayton’s was one of the first stores in New York to recognize the jazz collectibles market. They had a store on 12th Street and, when I was starting out as a collector, there was no way to purchase records there: The prices were just too high. If I recall correctly, they were selling used Blue Notes for more than $50 and $100 back in the 1970s, when you could just go into a store and buy a later pressing new and sealed for just $5. How little I knew, unfortunately. They also had an outlet store on 8th Street but, even there, the prices were high or the quality was poor. So, to see a 10-inch Sonny Rollins LP with a Dayton’s price tag and a price of $1.39, well, that would be quite unusual. But then again, I do have two copies of the record, and the one in the Dayton’s cover doesn’t play well. I could swap covers, but the other cover is much cleaner. What to do, what to do? I just decided. I’m doing nothing: Keeping both records for now. What’s the rush? There are plenty of other records to sell and I have plenty of time to decide. There, that was easy. If I change my mind, I’ll let you all know and perhaps offer the duplicate copy for sale on Jazz Collector.

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