How to Determine Value of Record Albums

The same albums you once loved might be valuable to someone else today.

They may be in your attic, basement or bedroom, but there may be gold in those old stacks of vinyl. Old records (you remember them) can be worth thousands of dollars, but there are a few caveats that go along with getting the cash. Here are a few tips.

Check to see if they've been played. The surface of that old LP will turn grey after many turns on a phonograph. Unfortunately this greatly reduces their value.

Check to see if the record still has its original cardboard cover and protective sleeve. The protective sleeve is usually made of paper and protects the LP from scratches and abrasions when it's pulled out of its cardboard cover. Both should be in good to excellent condition for the LP to be worth anything.

Check the surface of the record for abrasions or scratches. If the surface is less than pristine, it isn't worth very much.

Check the album cover for any writing (other than the artist's autograph, which increases the value), fading or damage. This can also have a big effect on its value.

Selling your collection to a dealer can result in either a ton of cash (for albums that have never been played or abused) to a few cents apiece (for those that are "used"). Unfortunately, once a record has been played, its value drops dramatically. Dealers often sell records classified as "used" for $2-to-$4 apiece, so it would be wise to shop around for the best offer.

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