Back with another Esquire Prestige to start with, if you will all kindly indulge my new obsession: Donald Byrd, Kenny Dorham, Gene Quill, Phil Woods, Pairing Off, Esquire 32-026. This is an original UK pressing listed in VG+ condition for both the record and the cover. It’s a another cool cover, IMHO, illustrating the instruments of the two sets of pairs, the trumpeters and altoists. It’s quite a bit different than the U.S. version, which was released as a session led by Phil Woods. Bidding is in the $120 range with more than a day left on the auction.
Sorry for the long unexpected hiatus between posts. Been very busy with work and time just slipped away. Glad to see no one was worried about me. 🙂 Anyway, let’s look at where we left off with our eBay watch list, starting with: Sonny Clark, Leapin’ and Lopin’, Blue Note 4091. This was an original New York USA mono pressing. It was listed in M- condition for the record and VG++ for the cover. It sold for $908.76. We don’t recall ever seeing this record sell for more, but Popiske has a record of a copy selling for $1,144 in 2014. Wow. I guess it won’t be long before copies of this record will eventually be regulars in the $1,000 bin. First the ones in M- condition, then, over time, those in not-so-mint condition, if past patterns continue to hold forth in the future.
Perhaps this next one is also destined for the $1,000 bin. It keeps getting closer:
The Jazz Record Center had an auction last week and I was keeping tabs on a few of their records, including: Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin’, Blue Note 1588. This was an original pressing with a weird variation: Both sides had he same label (Side 2). To me that would diminish the value, not sure why because the music is the same, but it just would. This one looked to be in M- condition for the record and probably VG++ for the cover. The final price was $2,500, so perhaps the label aberration effected the price, since we’ve often seen this record sell for more than $3,000 and occasionally more than $5,000. It used to be that the Jazz Record Center would get a premium on its records because of it’s reputation, but I find that is no longer the case. I had thought, perhaps, it was because they didn’t take Pay Pal, but now I notice that they do take Pay Pal. The action also included a bunch of 10-inch Blue Notes, which I love, including:
We are watching some real heavy-duty collectibles on eBay now, starting with Hank Mobley, Blue Note 1568. This is one of those quasi-original originals depending upon your point of view. Translation: It doesn’t have the New York 23 on one side of the label. Whether that makes it less original is probably not the point. What we have learned over the years is that it makes it slightly less valuable to collectors. No tears are being shed for this seller, however. The record looks to be in around VG++ condition and the cover is M-. The bidding is more than $2,600 with less than a day left. This copy has been around the block a few times, and is the same one that ostensibly would have sold for more than $11,000 back in 2015 but obviously did not actually sell at that time. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the goings on at eBay, even for someone like myself who follows things fairly closely.
Many of you have probably noticed that the seller manusardi1 has some nice items on eBay now, including Jutta Hipp at the Hickory House, Volume One, Blue Note 1515. This is an original pressing. The record is labeled “pristine” and the cover looks to be VG++ or so. The bidding is in the $900 range and there are still three days to go. For those looking to spend big bucks filling in big gap in their Blue Note collections, there is also the companion Jutta Hipp at the Hickory House, Volume Two, Blue Note 1516. This one is also listed in “pristine” condition for the record, with a similar condition on the cover, perhaps VG++, perhaps a little less. This one is in the $800 range with three days left.
One of our readers, with a sense of wonder, sent me this link: Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin’, Blue Note 1588. The record was listed in M- condition. The cover was maybe VG+ at best, depending upon how partial you are to having the word “Super” written in dark red marker across the back of your records. The final price was $422, which at first glance one might attribute to the condition of the cover. Except for one thing: This was a Liberty pressing, not just the label, the cover, too. So now we have third, fourth or whatever generation Liberty Blue Notes selling for more than $400. Oh, the humanity! If I had known, I would have saved them all, and I had a lot of them, including Cool Struttin’. I was happy, at the time, to get $20 or $30 apiece. What is going on? Read more
I missed this one last week: Sonny Clark, Cool Struttin’, Blue Note 1588. This was an original West 63rd Street pressing that looked to be in M- condition for both the record and the cover. The final price was $4,054. You don’t find many records breaking into the $4,000 bin, but certainly more than there used to be. Then again, there was that copy of John Coltrane, Blue Train, Blue Note 1577, that sold for $4,717.89 a couple of weeks ago. Amazing. Then there was The Return of Art Pepper, East West JWLP 10. We were watching this one the other day and there were no bids at a start price of about $500 with just a couple of days left on the auction. I predicted it would sell, which was not that hard to do. But I would not have predicted that the price would have been $2,026.01. Amazing. It was also noteworthy that there were only three bidders and three bids, and they all came during the auction’s closing seconds, the winner and second place finisher presumably using some kind of sniping software.
Catching up on a few items still lingering on the Jazz Collector watch list, starting with Jackie McLean, The New Tradition, Ad Lib 6601. This was an original pressing that was listed in VG- or worse condition for the record and VG- for the cover. Despite the condition it sold for $711.80. I have a bit of a hard time relating to a collector who would pay more than $700 for a record that (1) may not even be playable and (2) has a damaged cover that may not even look so good on your shelves. You may recall that I briefly owned a copy of the Jackie record a couple of months ago. That one was in VG condition for the record and VG- for the cover. I wasn’t happy with it and, in the context of the overall package of records, I would have paid less than $711 for it. So maybe the woman who reneged on the deal will do better selling it in that condition to another collector willing to simply own a copy of a really rare record without worrying to much about listening to it. That ain’t me.
Whilst I’ve been away, a friend sent me this link: A Recital by Tal Farlow, Norgran 1030. This was an original pressing listed in M- condition for both the record and the cover. It looked pristine, probably with the original inner sleeve. The final price was $121.49. Is that high, low or just right? It seems original Norgrans in this condition are quite hard to find, but the demand is nothing close to the original Blue Notes or Prestiges. For my money, Farlow was the best of the bop-oriented guitarists, but his records rarely sell for high collectible prices, particularly in today’s market as we are seeing prices of some records rising to staggering levels. Is it a question of label, race, style of music, era, artist, instrument or some combination of all of the above? It would be easy to suggest it is race, but then someone sent me this link as well: Art Pepper, Modern Art, Intro 606. This was also an original pressing and it was also in M- condition for the record and the cover. This one sold for $3,506. Pepper was iconic because of all the other stuff in his life, so well told and chronicled in his book Straight Life so maybe I’m just stretching a comparison, but it’s interesting to ponder what makes collectors interested in one set of records or artists, versus others of the same era. Hopefully we can generate some interesting discussion.
The funkyousounds auction from the Dr. Herb Wong collection seems to have been brought out the Charles Mingus fans. Here’s Charles Mingus, Mingus Ah Um, Columbia 8171. This is an original stereo pressing with the six eyes. The record and cover are both in M- condition and there is some shrink wrap, which for some reason seems to be an enticement to some collectors, although I cannot fathom the reason. This one has more than a day left on the auction and the bidding is now over $400. I resisted the urge to put an exclamation point after the $400, but only barely. The old newspaper editor in me, I guess. Here’s another one worthy of an exclamation point, from the same auction: Charles Mingus, Blues and Roots, Atlantic 1305. This is also a stereo pressing, but not a first press. It is also in M- condition for the record and the cover, and it also has shrink wrap. This one is in the $300 range! BTW, did I ever mention the time I was writing about Mingus here and I left out the “G” and wrote it as “Charles Minus.” I did that and one of our French-speaking readers chastised me with the term “Sacre Bleu!,” which is one you don’t hear very often these days, but was certainly well deserved in this particular instance, don’t you think?