How to Sell Collectible Phonograph Records

By Steve Brachmann

Although phonograph records are not the most popular choice for collectors, enough hard-core music fans exist to make selling your collectible vinyl records an exciting pastime. However, determining the value of your collectible phonograph records requires a large amount of research that must be completed prior to your sale. Fetching top dollar for your phonograph records on the open market starts with competent storage procedures and market pricing research.

Search through your house to locate all phonograph records. Store them in such a way that you can easily search through them to locate a particular artist or piece. Keep records away from humidity, smoke and other environmental contaminants at all times. Good storage spaces include bookshelves or cardboard storage boxes.

Digitally catalog your records into a list of all pertinent information. This information generally includes the album name, artist name, record format and catalog number. Download phonograph record cataloging software from the Internet, or you may create a generic catalog on your computer with spreadsheet software. Popular cataloging software for vinyl records includes Music Catalogue Master by KIX Software and Music Organizer by PrimaSoft.

Study record price guides to determine general collector’s market pricing. Popular pricing guides include the annual Goldmine and Record Collector Magazine guides. Scarce records, records from popular artists or records with ties to historical events contain the highest collectible value. Collectible value increases if the record still includes its original packaging, including the paper sleeves and plastic cover.

Inspect the condition of the records you wish to sell. Poor condition can drastically reduce the value of a phonograph record as a collectible. Mint (M) records have never been opened; near mint (NM) records have been opened, but show no wear; other record grades range from very good plus (VG+), which show few visible signs of wear, to poor (P), which indicates advanced wear leading to persistent cracking and skipping during play. Include condition information in your record catalog.

Research collectibles markets. Find records of recent sales or auctions pertaining to records you wish to sell. Recent sale prices are a better guideline than published pricing guides. Online collectors directories and forums, eBay and local collectibles shops are good sources of information about recent record sales.

Locate a buyer for your collectible phonograph record or list the record for sale. Find prospective buyers through want ads on collectors’ forums on sites such as recordcollectorsguild.org, or vinylfanatics.com. Post a sell ad for your phonograph record in the appropriate collectors’ forum if you cannot locate a buyer; make sure to list your record at an appropriate price. You also may list your phonograph for sale through an auctioning service, such as eBay.

Ship your collectible phonograph record to the buyer in the appropriate packaging. LP record mailers and filler pads can be purchased through your local post office or an online packaging retailer; one such retailer is Vinyl Revival, and can be accessed at vinylrevival.com/packing. Establish with the buyer ahead of time whether the money or the record will be shipped first.