By Dave S.
“Honey, how much money do we have in our bank account? I want to buy some jazz records.” That was what I asked my wife, the darling Mrs. JC-A, two weeks ago.
There was a rumor circulating around town that there was a pretty nice collection of records up for sale by a private seller. Seems he had spoken to all the record stores in the area. A few of them had been out to his house to inspect the collection, but no one was willing to either commit to what he was looking to get for the records or had turned him off. Imagine that. A record store employee with an attitude. A friend of a friend who worked at a local record store finally squeezed a phone number for the seller out of his boss at the store, when they also decided to pass. Over a thousand records in the collection, but no way for a record store to quickly get in and out of the transaction was the explanation. Atlanta is a mediocre jazz record town, with rock and southern blues (think the Allman Brothers) being the local taste. People like you and me are certainly the exception.
Just checked my eBay watch list and came right up with a pair of high-priced items that we had mentioned here before, starting with Tommy Flanagan Overseas, Prestige 7134. This was an original deep groove New York yellow label listed in M- condition for the record and Ex for the cover. When we first saw this record, the bidding was more than $1,000 and it hadn’t reached its reserve price. The record eventually surpassed the reserve price and beyond, selling for $3,938.
This one sold for more than $2,000 but, frankly, I thought it would sell for more, given it’s rarity: Kenny Dorham, Harlem Youth Unlimited, Jazz at P.S. 175. This was an original pressing listed in VG++ condition for both the record and the cover. I asked in the previous post: Is this the rarest of them all? No one seemed to say no, so I’m assuming perhaps it is. It did not get the highest price of them all, although the price was quite high, $2,225, in fact. I would LOVE a copy of this record, but not at $2,225, thank you.
Let’s check out the e-mail bag:
Thanks to Lennib for spotting this one: Thelonious Monk Plays, Prestige 189. This was an original 10-inch pressing, listed among the very nice 10-inch records we mentioned the other day. This one was also very nice, probably in M- condition for both the record and the cover. Even in this condition, the price was quite a surprise, selling for $1,136.11. That has to be the highest price we’ve seen for a 10-inch Prestige and, frankly, there’s no explanation we can come up with, other than the likely reality that two people really, really wanted this record and the bid the bidding up. From what we can see, the other records in this batch sold for prices that you would typically expect, given the titles and condition, including:
Perusing eBay this morning and came upon this very interesting, and very expensive, item: Miles Davis, Kind of Blue, Columbia 1355. This is described as a limited edition pressing of Kind of Blue, with the back blank. The seller says this was issued for record executives and promoters, which seems possible, although I’ve never seen one before, and I’ve been looking for 45 years. The thing with this one is that the back isn’t exactly blank — it’s been signed by Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Paul Chambers, with a “Best Wishes” thrown in by Trane. It looks pretty authentic, although I’m not an expert on autographs. It is listed in VG++ condition for the record and the cover looks pretty nice, although not actually graded. The seller says it came from her husband’s collection and original priced it at $25,000. It is now up for auction with a start price of about $5,000 and a buy-it-now price of $12,500. Who among us wouldn’t want to own this one? But at what price?
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?
I think my work workload is slowing down so, not making major promises, but I think I’ll be back to posting more regularly. At least I certainly hope so. In the meantime, it’s nice to see everyone commenting and keeping the action alive. I was able to swing over to eBay and add some items to my watch list. This is a great record, and one that has certainly gone up in value in the past few years: Miles Davis, Relaxin’, Prestige 7129. This is an original pressing in M- condition for the record and the cover. The seller was able to get some great pictures, which aways helps. The bidding is now in the $440 range and the auction closes later today. I had Miles on my mind because I was just taking a walk in my neighborhood and passed a street called “Miles Davis Way.” Yes, I live near Miles Davis Way. Nice, huh? 🙂 It is a single block — 77th Street between West End Avenue and Riverside Drive on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Miles had an apartment there at 312 West 77th Street. Apparently there was something of a battle to get the street named after Miles, who lived there for about 25 years and enjoyed hanging out on the stoop and chatting with neighbors. Miles? Man, I would have loved to have seen that. Next time I pass the sign, I’ll take a picture and post it here.
As I’m cleaning out my watch list, I’ve come across several more of those Esquire Prestige pressings with the very interesting covers that are new to me. Here are a few:
Miles, His New Quintet, Esquire 32-021. This is the U.K. pressing of the first of the Miles Davis Quintet records featuring John Coltrane. This copy was in VG+ condition for the record and the cover. It sold for $145.44.
Miles Davis, Relaxin’, Esquire 32-068. This was also an original U.K. pressing in VG+ condition for the record and VG for the cover. This one sold for $77.44. I will say that the cover on this one is slightly less appealing, for whatever reason.
Then there was this one, from a different seller:
I was watching that Clifford Brown autograph (as well as Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, et al), but didn’t have enough interest to actually bid on it. To my surprise, there were only five bidders altogether, which would seem to indicate minimal interest at that price, which turned out to be $482.11. I did casually mention when I wrote the earlier post that Clifford was probably among my top five musicians of all time and that I would ponder that and do another post on it this weekend. Sometimes, as we all do, I say and do stupid things. It was stupid to even suggest that I could create a list of top five favorite musicians, when there are so many musicians I love and each musician brings something different and special to my life and my enjoyment of music. Last night I was listening to the Dexter Gordon record, Getting’ Around, Blue Note 4204, and I was thinking about how much I love Dexter and how much I treasured seeing him as often as I did in the early and mid-1970s, particularly his very first club date when he began playing again in the United States. And, goodness, what an amazing ballad performance on “Who Can I Turn To.” And then I put on two Miles Davis records, Kind of Blue and Sketches of Spain, and I thought
Today we have a couple of updates for the $1,000 jazz vinyl bin and a bit more on promos, including the WLPs (white label promos) that are apparently a common term that is new to me after 45 years of collecting. First, for the $1,000 bin there is Eric Dolphy In Europe, Debut 136. This is the original Danish pressing and the record and cover both looked to be in M- condition. The record sold for $1,026.
This one is left over from New Year’s, but CeeDee had sent it to me and I had forgotten to post it: Hank Mobley, Soul Station, Blue Note 4031. This was an original West 63rd Street pressing listed in Ex condition, which sounds like VG++ based on the grading system we use here at Jazz Collector. It sold for $1,605. I happened to be perusing my collection late last night and came upon this record and almost forgotten that I had it: Almost, but not quite. I’ve only had it for a little more than a year, since the Baltimore score of a lifetime. I think I will listen to it later today.
Back on the promo front there was this:
It wasn’t until early January that the second batch of records arrived. As I did with the first batch, I recorded the unveiling for posterity. This is what I wrote:
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.