What’s going on with promo jazz records? I was just perusing eBay and came upon this number closing later today: Donald Byrd and Gigi Gryce, Modern Jazz Perspective, Columbia 1058. This is a mono pressing with the six-eye white promo label. It is listed in M- condition for the record and the cover and it certainly looks nice. But the condition doesn’t explain the bidding, which is now more than $200. I’ve seen this record so often for $20-$30 even in nice condition, it’s hard to rationalize such a high price for a promo copy, but perhaps things are changing and, for whatever reason, these white promo Columbias are suddenly in greater demand. We’ve certainly seen a big price increase over the years for promo copies of Kind of Blue and Dave Brubeck’s Time Out. Maybe this is just an extension of the interest? The seller must have run into a collection owned by a former Columbia employee, at least that’s what he suggests, because he has many of these white label Columbia pressings on eBay this week. There are Read more
Sorry to leave you all hanging there, but the meat of the story has been told. At the time, because I thought I was writing a chapter for a book that has still to be written, I wrote one more entry, which was this:
It’s time to starting moving the Blue Notes off the temporary shelf and into the collection. What does this entail? Well, first off each record needs to be washed and cleaned on my VPI record cleaner. Then, I’ll look at the inner sleeve and determine if it needs a new one. I’ll try to listen to each record, or at least one side, before it does into the collection. Then, if it’s new to the collection, I’ll put a sticker on the plastic outer sleeve with the name of the artist, the catalogue number, the condition and probably the value. Something like:
Blue Note 4048
Original West 63rd, DG
Why do I do this? Well, not to be morbid about it, I do this so that when I die my family will know what the records are actually worth. I’ve seen too many circumstances where people got ripped off because they had no idea about the value of the records. Heck, I may have done some of the ripping off myself.
So we are now in late December 2011 and I am going through the box of records that was delivered to my apartment in New York City and I am recording my discovery in real time for posterity. Here goes:
Let’s keep digging.
Another beauty. Donald Byrd, Byrd in Flight, Blue Note 4048. This is another one I’ve never owned, certainly never an original pressing which . . . this is! Sweet again. I just did a post on this record on Jazz Collector, just a week ago. A copy in near mint condition sold for more than $1,700 on eBay. This one is also in near mint condition, at least it is for the record. The cover is at least VG++, perhaps even M-. Perhaps this won’t top the market, but it’s got to be worth at least $1,200 in today’s market. Will I sell it? Will I sell the Griffin? Not a fucking chance. I’ve been waiting more than 40 years to get original copies of these records for my collection. And now . . . finally. They are mine.
Let’s keep digging.
A bunch of Blue Notes all in a row: Read more
What’s the saying: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing? Unfortunately, I was the inadvertent cause of my own undoing, at least temporarily. By publishing a price guide on Jazz Collector with very specific details on pressings and condition, I was able to provide enough knowledge for my new friend in Toronto to be a little bit dangerous, at least dangerous to the prospect of my ever getting my hands on his records. I will spare you all the grim details, but we went through several weeks of negotiations and couldn’t agree on a price. I still hadn’t seen the records, but I had pulled enough information that I had a good sense that most of the Blue Notes—but not all of them—were original pressings, including Cool Struttin’ and Byrd in Flight, among others. And I was promised that the records and covers were in excellent condition.
I step away from eBay for a few days and come back and my watch list looks like it has exploded with records in the $1,000 and even $2,000 bin. First there was this from our friends at Euclid Records: J. R. Monterose, In Action, Studio 4 100. This was an original pressing listed in M- condition for the record and VG++ for the cover. It sold for $2,175. We have seen this one sell for more than $2,000 in the Jazz Collector Price Guide, but this is a new high for us. To me, it’s almost always a surprise when a record sells for more than $2,000. You’d think I’d be used to it by now.
Speaking of $2,000 records, there was also Johnny Griffin, A Blowing Session, Blue Note 1559. This was an original pressing listed in M- condition for the record and VG++ or M- for the cover. In a previous post I admonished the seller for the poor quality of his picture. Turns out the seller is one of our regular readers and, in fact, someone I have had very pleasant dealings with over the years. So I will be a little bit more circumspect in some of my comments. Although, it really was a poor picture. No matter. The record sold for $2,181.
How desperate are you for one of the rarer of the Blue Notes, Lee Morgan, Candy, Blue Note 1590? This looks to be an original pressing with all sorts of issues. The cover is VG and the record has two skips. Hmm. Someone has bid $300 for the record but the seller has a reserve price that has not yet been met. Seems like the seller can’t afford a camera so perhaps that’s why he’s holding out for a higher price.
Here’s another one with camera issues: Johnny Griffin, A Blowing Session, Blue Note 1559. This looks to be an original pressing with the New York 23 labels. The record is listed in M- condition and the cover is listed as VG++ or M-, although it would be hard to tell from the cover picture, which seems as if it was taken in a coffin. This bidding has topped $500 for this record, but, alas, it has also not reached the seller’s reserve price.
The same seller put up a fine picture of this record: Donald Byrd, Byrd Jazz, Transition 5. This is an original pressing
I am going to get through my Watch List and update the Jazz Collector Price Guide. I really am. I think. I will post a few more in a second, but first I want to point everyone’s attention to the comment from the buyer of the Hank Mobley Blue Note 1568. Perhaps we will less ready to throw stones, those of us who who live in vinyl houses. It is also not often that we get comments from female readers, so welcome to Caroline.
Now, onto the Watch List and the Price Guide:
Art Farmer, Donald Byrd and Idrees Sulieman, Three Trumpets, Prestige 7092. This is an original New York pressing that looks to be in M- condition for the record and perhaps a drop less for the cover. It sold for $338.58. I happen to have a spare copy of this record sitting in my closet, if anyone is interested. I also have a spare copy of this one: Lou Donaldson, Swing and Soul, Blue Note 1566. This was an original pressing listed in VG condition for the record. The cover looked like it was probably VG+. The record sold for $127.50.
This one fetched quite a nice price, breaking into the $1,000 bin:
Before posting the previous video, I did have a watch list of nice jazz vinyl on eBay. So let’s see how some of those auctions turned out:
There were those nice items from Euclid records, including The Unique Thelonious Monk, Riverside 209. This was an original white label pressing listed in VG++ condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. It sold for $463.50. Also, Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins, Prestige 7075. This was an original New York yellow label pressing in M- condition for the record and VG++ for the cover. It sold for $768.88. One more: Donald Byrd, Byrd in Hand, Blue Note 4019. This was an original West 63rd Street pressing in M- condition for both the record and the cover. It sold for $515.
This one sold after several attempts:
Here’s another selection of jazz vinyl we are watching on eBay, starting with Johnny Griffin, A Blowing Session, Blue Note 1559. This is clearly marked as a United Artists pressing. The seller lists it as a 1968 pressing, which I think he’s just making up. As far as I know these United Artists Blue Notes were originally issued for the Japanese market in the late 1970s or early 1980s. In any case, this is in VG++ condition for the record and the cover and is currently at a price of $78. Is it possible that these United Artists Blue Notes are increasing in value to the point where they are becoming collectibles? Or is it perhaps an aberration, some bidders not knowing, some not caring, some not reading the listing carefully enough?
Our friends at Euclid Records have some very nice records on eBay now, including The Unique Thelonious Monk, Riverside 209. This is an original white label pressing listed in VG++ condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. This one is already in the $250 range with nearly four days left on the auction. Here’s another: Read more
Back in the business of watching eBay — not much of a business, is it? — and here are some items on the watch list, starting with Kenny Dorham, Quiet Kenny, New Jazz 8225. This looks to be an original pressing with the purple labels and deep grooves. The record is described as VG++. The seller loses a little credibility when he describes the cover as “VG+ to maybe VG++” when it is clearly VG+ at best. There’s a bit more than a day left in the bidding and the price is only in the $560 range. I say “only” because this record will likely get bids over $1,000 if, indeed, the bidders believe the condition is really VG++. In any case, the price will have to get higher, as it has yet to reach the seller’s reserve.
Here’s a nice one from Atomic Records with a $1,000 starting price: Hank Mobley With Donald Byrd and Lee Morgan, Blue Note 1540. This is an original Lexington Avenue flat-edge pressing with the frame cover. It is quite a beauty, in M- or VG++ condition for the record and M- for the cover.
Here are a couple of nice 10-inch Blue Notes priced somewhat optimistically, at least from the sellers’ perspectives: