Money up your sleeves

Alternative investments: most vinyl is now worthless, but scarce items can fetch thousands

THOSE embarrassing record purchases of the 1980s, the Wham and Dire Straits singles and albums that are no longer played, can be consigned to the dustbin. They are as good as worthless - no one else wants them and there were too many pressed and sold.

"Speaking as someone who has been in the trade for 15 years, I can tell you that very few records have any value now," says Mark Hayward, proprietor of Vinyl Experience, an upmarket second-hand record shop just off London's Oxford Street. "Singles are dead - they went the same way as 78s. Dire Straits can go to the trash can, and so can any middle-of-the-road-vinyl."

Compact discs are the killers. Mr Hayward says that the bottom has dropped out of the second-hand record market over the last two years - so fast that this year's definitive guide to old records, the Rare Record Price guide (edited by John Reed, published by Record Collector), is already out of date. Records that were listed as selling for pounds 2 to pounds 5 may now sell for a few pence. Adrian Neervoort, the manager of England's largest second-hand record shop, Beano's Records in Croydon, which has records from 10p to pounds 10,000 in stock, makes a similar point. But he stresses that the right records will attract an ever-increasing price: "The rarities are getting more valuable, and the more common records are getting more difficult to sell." In other words, while rare records represent a strong collectors' market, the ordinary music listener is now a convert to CDs.

Mr Neervoort says: "A lot of material I sell is going abroad. It is under- appreciated by the British public. It goes to Japan, Scandinavia, America. People not born when the Beatles came out want the original item. I used to see a lot of these [in-demand] records, week in, week out. Now I don't see them more than once a year. Some records are becoming a dramatically good investment."

As with any collected item there are three elements to a record's value - condition, quantity and demand. There are some records that are in great demand, classics such as the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Elvis Presley. To sell for a decent price, they must be in mint condition, hardly played, with sleeve as new, and all the inserts, such as photos, posters and lyric sheets, still in place. And it is the early records of each artist, few copies pressed before they became famous, that attract the real money.

Good condition Beatles albums always sell:

q Let It Be boxed set, with book, in excellent condition, would sell for pounds 150 a couple of years ago but now attracts pounds 400.

q Please Please Me LP, stereo version on the black-and-gold design on the Parlophone label, can sell for pounds 1,300, but the slightly later black- and-yellow label may go for just pounds 50.

Details like these about label design matter because most record collectors are "anoraks" - people who spot and buy the unusual. Slight variations may not sound important but they represent all the difference between selling a record for a small fortune, and having to give it away. They must be first pressings, not later copies - a distinction that is only obvious to the real expert.

Collectors specialise, not necessarily on artists, but on types of music, or on record labels. Motown and other black recording labels have retained their value against the market trend. More recent records may also sell well. The Sex Pistols' God Save the Queen single on A&M label is in demand (not the reprint on the Virgin label, which is almost worthless) and Beano's has just turned down an offer of pounds 2,000 for a copy.

But the large money goes on more original material - while records sold for hundreds of pounds at Sotheby's auction last month, a Paul McCartney handwritten lyrics sheet for Getting Better sold for pounds 161,000.

Bonham's annual Rare Re- cord Auction takes place on 2 December at the Wembley Arena, and while there are many rock, soul, jazz, country and cajun record collections with guide prices in the thousands, it is the demo tapes, acetates (the raw recording before it is pressed) and the test recordings that the serious collectors want.

Records with signed covers are another big-ticket item, though authentication of handwriting is always a problem. So many pop stars spent the 1970s in a drugged state that even they might be hard-pressed to recognise their own scribbles.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

Arts and Entertainment
TVShow's twee, safe facade smashed by ice cream melting scandal
News
newsVideo for No campaign was meant to get women voting
News
A photo of Charles Belk being detained by police on Friday 22 August
news
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    C# Developer (C#, ASP.NET Developer, SQL, MVC, WPF, Real-Time F

    £40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...

    C# Swift Payment Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC, Authorize.N

    £45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...

    DevOps Engineer - Linux, Shell, Bash, Solaris, UNIX, Salt-Stack

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: A fast growing Financial Services organisation b...

    Trade Desk FIX Analyst - (FIX, SQL, Equities, Support)

    £50000 - £60000 per annum + excellent benefits: Harrington Starr: An award-win...

    Day In a Page

    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
    Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

    What is the appeal of Twitch?

    Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
    Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

    How bosses are making us work harder

    As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
    Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

    Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

    As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
    Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

    A tale of two writers

    Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
    Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

    Should pupils get a lie in?

    Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
    Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

    Prepare for Jewish jokes...

    ... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
    SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

    A dream come true for SJ Watson

    Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    10 best cycling bags for commuters

    Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
    Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

    Paul Scholes column

    Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
    Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

    Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

    A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
    Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

    The science of herding is cracked

    Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
    Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

    This tyrant doesn’t rule

    It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?