Buy it now, just $1,200. There’s a copy of Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568 sitting on eBay now with a start price of $4,500 and a Buy it Now price of $12,000. It is an original West 63rd Street pressing and the obsessive collectors among us would argue that it is an original original, meaning it sports the inscrutable New York 23 label on side two. The seller starts off by saying he is not qualified to grade jazz records but he just lucked out and found a collection that included the likes of Hank Mobley Blue Note 1568. Funny, I’ve been collecting jazz records for nearly 50 years now and this particular little bit of luck has never befallen me. In any case, he offers some audio clips of the record that he recorded on a (gasp) Ion USB turntable, which is enough to scare some of you off right there. Read more
We were watching a bunch of items from the Jazz Record Center auction that closed yesterday and here are some of the results, staring with Clifford Jordan and John Gilmore, Blowing in From Chicago, Blue Note 1549. This was an original pressing. It was probably in VG++ condition for the record. The JRC doesn’t use our normal grades, just a description. This one had a single mark that is audible seven times. I know that precludes it from M-. Does it preclude it from VG++? Otherwise, the record sounds immaculate. The cover was probably VG+ or VG++, depending upon how you feel about a “professionally repaired” spine and bottom seam. Also, the picture looks more VG+ to me than VG++. The final price was $1,247. My sense is that a different seller would have been less meticulous in his description and received a higher price. In any case, I still don’t own an original copy of this record for any of you out there who may be interested in a trade.
Our friends at the Jazz Record Center have a very nice auction underway now, including: Hank Mobley, Soul Station, Blue Note 4031. This looks to be an original West 63rd Street pressing, probably in M- condition for the record and VG++ for the cover. The bidding is in the $700 range as I type this, and I would expect the final price to be quite a bit higher, much closer to the $2,000 bin. This is a record that I never owned in original condition until i was fortunate enough to get a copy in the Bruce M. West Baltimore collection four years ago (has it really been four years?). Anyway, like a lot of the records in that collection, I put them on the shelves and promised myself I would get around to listening to them one day. And, a few nights ago, I finally kept my promise with Hank Mobley Soul Station. And it was quite a revelation. Read more
Geez, did you see the final price on that Here Comes Louis Smith record we were watching the other day? It was an original pressing in VG++ condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. We predicted it might make it to the $1,000 bin, but didn’t expect it to get into the $2,000 bin, which it did at $2,027. That would make it the highest price we’ve seen for this record, according to Popsike, which, interestingly, already has it posted on their site. So, with a VG+ cover this copy received a price that was more than $500 higher than the previous top price. Not bad.
Meanwhile, I was watching this record and it didn’t sell at all: John Coltrane (et al), Tenor Conclave, Prestige 7074. This was an original New York yellow label pressing, listed in VG+ condition for the record and VG for the cover. The start price was about $400 and there were no bidders.
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.
For those of you in the U.S., the documentary Chasing Trane will be on television at 10 p.m. tonight as part of the Independent Lens series on PBS. Here’s a video clip they posted on the site. It’s hard to believe that it was already a year ago that I had my mini breakdown as a result of the Presidential election and wrote the essay about how Chasing Trane helped me to cope. I wish I could say that my fears were unfounded but, unfortunately, they weren’t. They may take away the pillars of our democracy and our society, but they can’t take away our music. Or our heroes. Watch it. I will, even though I’ve seen it twice already.
Back to eBay. The other day I mentioned the seller Keca222 and that $4,049.99 copy of the 12-inch Kenny Dorham Afro-Cuban on Blue Note. The seller also had this one: Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568. This was a pressing that did not have the New York 23 on one side, which, to some collectors, diminishes its value, although I’ve never seen a clear explanation why that is the case. But, as we know, we collectors can be a bit strange in our predilections, don’t you think? Anyway, this was in VG+ condition for the record and probably EX or Ex+ for the cover. There was the dreaded phrase “feelable scratches,” yet it still sold for $3,650, which is quite a hefty some for this record in that condition, New York 23 or not.
Back on eBay again after yet another unexpected absence, which are becoming all to frequent, unfortunately. Anyway, here’s some of the jazz vinyl we’re watching, starting with a pair of Byrds: Donald Byrd, Byrd in Paris, Brunswick, 87 903. This is an original French pressing listed in VG+ condition for the record and VG+ for the cover. Actually, the seller lists the record in VG++ for the record, but states that the audio quality is just VG+ with some background noise. Somehow, for me as a collector, I’d prefer that the record sound good as opposed to look good. Anyway, this one has a start bid of $349 and a buy-it-now price of $500, which is the top price we’ve seen for this particular pressing on Popsike. I don’t own this particular record, but I have a beautiful pressing of the other Byrd in Paris Brunswick record, the one with the picture of Byrd on the cover eating French Fries. That one has already broken the $1,100 bin. Not sure if it’s the music that is more enticing, or the cover.
The other Byrd is Byrd’s Eye View, Transition 4. The record looks to be in VG++ condition, based on the seller’s description, and the cover looks to be about VG+. There is also the booklet, which is described as being in “perfect” condition. Bidding is in the $525 range and, by the time most of you read this, the auction will probably be closed. This one is a regular visitor to the $1,000 bin, so I certainly won’t be surprised if this copy ends up there as well, considering the condition.
Thanks to all for keeping the site current during my unexpected and prolonged absence. More than 60 comments and counting on the last item is quite impressive. I will try not to do that too often, but I was able to get a much-needed break from life and work and spend some time with The Lovely Mrs. JC in beautiful Provincetown, Ma., where we got to sit on the beach, view the eclipse, eat lobster and marvel at the beautiful sunsets and scenery. Now that I am back I feel compelled to at least catch up on some of the ongoing conversations and items I was watching before I left.
Let’s start with the riff on listening or not listening to our records. I don’t begrudge anybody their preferences on how to collection. As far as I’m concerned, it’s your money, your time, your enjoyment. Do whatever you want. As for me, I find that, in reality, my approach is somewhat mixed. I have no problem at all putting any of my records on my turntable and, in fact, take tremendous pleasure in listening to the real rarities in their original form and format. Just the other day I put on my beautiful mint original pressing of Saxophone Colossus, poured a glass of Porter and listened from beginning to end. Sheer ecstasy. And a few days before that, I took my portable Califone record player out to the porch here in The Berkshires and brought out a bunch of original 78s — Fats Waller, Louis Jordan, Charlie Parker, Billie Holiday and Lester Young. Again, sheer ecstasy.
Promo records have never seemed to be a big thing in the Jazz Collector world, at least not compared to other genres, but there are some promo records that seem to catch collector’s eyes, including Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, Columbia 1355. This looks to be an original mono pressing with the red and white promo labels and the 6-eyes. The seller talks about the record being in “nice shape” but doesn’t actually give a grade and mentions a scratch that cuts across side B. All of that would be somewhat OK for gamblers, but it is also a seller that does not accept returns. A lot of risk to ask, IMHO, for a record that has a start price of $600. So far there are no takers. A quick view over at Popsike shows that a promo copy of Kind of Blue recently sold for $2,700, so the seller is probably not coming from left field with that price tag. We’ll keep a watch and see if it sells. My bet? Yes, it will.
Catching up on my watch list after a few days off eBay, starting with Hank Mobley and Lee Morgan, Peckin’ Time, Blue Note 1574. This was an original West 63rd Street pressing listed in M- condition and Ex for the cover. Looks like there was a three-way bidding war for this LP and it wound up selling for $2,700.
Here’s one for those of you who like to use the term “Holy Grail,” although it is a term I normally avoid, except for a few seconds ago: Jackie McLean, The New Tradition, Ad Lib 6601. This one is listed in Ex condition by the seller and, based on his key, that seems like it would be a very strong VG+ using standard Goldmine grading. This one is already in the $1,360 range with more than a day left on the auction. It will at least join Peckin’ Time in the $2,000 bin and will probably sell for quite a bit more, based on past history with this record. Read more