Back in action, feeling a little bit less burdened. To be clear: I have not lost my passion for collecting jazz vinyl, nor have a lost my passion for buying jazz vinyl. And certainly not for listening to jazz vinyl. I was never that much into selling jazz vinyl, so that was the real impetus of the last post. Just to be clear for anyone who may have had a different interpretation. In fact, I spent some time on eBay yesterday, perusing the listings and getting the same old rush of adrenaline. And, of course, the first record that caught my eye is one that I don’t own in an original pressing and have sought for many years: Lou Donaldson, Quartet, Quintet, Sextet, Blue Note 1537. This is an original Lexington Avenue pressing that looks to be in M- condition for
Spent the day in Brooklyn yesterday with a table at the WFMU Record Fair, which is being held at the Brooklyn Expo Center in lovely downtown Greenpoint, where my father spent his youth and learned to love jazz. It was a weird day, a bit unlike the other record fairs I’ve attended. Usually, there’s a ton of action before the doors open, with a lot of transactions between dealers, but even more among the dealers and heavy-duty collectors who don’t have tables but purchase expensive early admission passes or pretend to be with dealers that have tables. There was none of that yesterday, and not even a lot of action when the doors opened for early admission at 4 p.m. There was a full crowd at 7, but not a preponderance of jazz collectors.
Let’s catch up on some rare jazz vinyl we’ve been watching on eBay, starting with Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, Columbia 1355. This was an interesting one because it looked to be an original first pressing and the record had never been played. When this album was first issued, Columbia used a plastic inner sleeve that had a seal. I know that from a couple of albums I purchased in the Baltimore collection. On this particular copy of Kind of Blue, the seal had never been broken. The cover also looked to be quite pristine and was graded in M- condition. The record wound up selling for $510, a fairly hefty price for the highest selling jazz record of all time. The question is, what will the buyer do with the record? Will he/she open it and play it, thus potentially lowering the value? Or will he/she put it on the shelf for posterity and listen to a different copy of the record, which is so readily available?
Here’s another one from my want list, and this one may even get a snipe: Lou Donaldson, Quartet, Quintet, Sextet, Blue Note 1537. This is an original pressing with the Lexington Avenue address, deep grooves, ears, etc. The record is listed in M- condition and the cover is just fair, with seam splits. The cover condition doesn’t bother me so much, but the price may. So far this is at about $250 with more than two days left on the auction. We’ll see. I would love to fill this gap in my collection, and I do love this record.
Here’s another one from the same seller: Dexter Gordon, Our Man in Paris, Blue Note 4146. This is probably an original pressing with the Van Gelder in the dead wax, although there is no mention of the Plastylite ear. The bidding is a bit more than $110 and there are also two days left in this auction. If I were to bid on this, which I won’t, I would at least inquire about the ear. Never hurts to ask.
One more Blue Note, while we’re on the subject:
If I had a want list, this record would be at or near the top of it: Lou Donaldson, Quartet, Quintet, Sextet, Blue Note 1537. This copy was an original pressing with the Lexington Avenue address that looked to be in M- condition for the record and probably VG++ for the cover. A very nice copy, indeed. When I first put the record in my eBay watch list, the price was less than $400 and I very briefly considered a snipe. But I knew that my highest bid wouldn’t even put me close. And I was right. The record sold for $1,437. So I will save $1,437-plus and also have my Japanese pressing for listening pleasure, so I have no complaints.
I’m surprised this one isn’t getting any more action with just one day left on the auction:
Oh, those Blue Notes. Look at this one: Horace Silver, Blowin’ the Blues Away, Blue Note 4017. This was an original pressing with the West 63rd Street address, deep grooves, ear, etc. It was listed in M- condition for the record and M- for the cover. It sold for $355 with only four bidders. This is a great album, one of Silver’s very best, but I’ve never viewed it as a top-shelf collectible only because it seemed to be more available than many of the other Blue Notes. Perhaps I had an assumption that because Silver was one of Blue Note’s most popular artists they would have printed more copies of his records. Plus, this one had what would prove to be a jazz classic in Sister Sadie. I realize I have not been diligent in updating the Jazz Collector Price Guide, but still the highest price we had recorded for this record was just about $200. Does this new high-water mark surprise me? Not at all. Hey, it’s near mint, it’s a great album, it’s an original Blue Note. Nothing would surprise me. As they say in the commercials: “Priceless.”
I had my eye on this Blue Note beauty, but wouldn’t pull the trigger:
The final batch of records has arrived. The guy from the shipping department in the building just brought them up on a hand truck. Three boxes – those banker’s box file boxes, the brown and white ones you get in Stapes. They’ve never been good for storing or transporting records, but hopefully this batch made it through safely. Opening the first box. There’s a sheath of what looks to be sheepskin or some kind of cotton on top. Nice. The records seem safe. On top, an Errol Garner record. No big deal. Going through the records. Each has the same type of soft plastic cover: I have a feeling these were the original covers on the records. In the 1950s and 1960s they didn’t use what we have come to know as shrink wrap, but they used a cover and it fit loosely over the records, just like these. They certainly seem old enough, and dirty enough, and covered with enough dust to have been original covers from the 1950s. No matter. Getting through the box, one by one, record by record.
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
There were several things that struck me about the latest note from my new friend in Toronto, the one with the 25 Blue Notes he was looking to sell among a batch of other jazz records. One was that he had taken the time to do the research and come up with some potential values for the records. Two was that he had taken the time to catalogue them and even listen to a few. And three was that he was asking if I knew a Jazz Collector who might be interested in the collection. I liked that he capitalized Jazz Collector, because that would be me and not just any jazz collector, and he said that his dad would have loved for these records to go to a real collector who would appreciate them. I took all of this as an indication that, all things considered, he would like to sell the records to me.
Let’s update some of the records we were watching on eBay, starting with: Tadd Dameron and John Coltrane, Mating Call, Prestige 7070. This was an original New York yellow label pressing. The record was listed in M- condition and the cover was just a shade below, probably VG++. The record sold for $393. I listened to this recently and had forgotten just how good it is. It was released before Coltrane’s first record as a leader on Prestige, but his playing is much more confident and assured than on the earlier Miles record or even the contemporaneous jam session records such as John Coltrane, Hank Mobley, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, Tenor Conclave, Prestige 7074, which was sold by the same seller in the same lot. This one was in M- condition for both the record and the cover. It sold for $420.