Money up your sleeves
Alternative investments: most vinyl is now worthless, but scarce items can fetch thousands
Sunday 29 October 1995
"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guide to old records, the Rare Record Price guide (edited by John Reed, published by Record Collector), is already out of date.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.
- 1 Cyclist who knocked down three-year-old girl says his life has been 'destroyed'
- 2 A politically correct lefty goes to see Top Gear live – you'll probably believe what happened next
- 4 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...
Day In a Page
On the market for the first time in more than 50 years, this six-bedroom home is a project with vast potential - spread over three floors of living space.
This five-bedroom home comes with a range of outbuildings including a large barn which could be converted into a self-contained granny-flat or rental.
Surrounded by rolling countryside, this four-bedroom barn conversion comes with a self-contained, one-bedroom annexe that could serve as an office or a holiday let.
Located near Harrogate town centre, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is arranged over three storeys while a current study serves as an optional sixth bedroom.
A ground-floor flat in a country house, located a mile from Sway; this two-bedroom home would make an ideal weekend retreat on the edge of the New Forest.
On a popular residential lane in Caterham on the Hill, this four-bedroom family home offers a secluded garden and a convenient location for local schools and public transport.
Just a short walk from Westerham green, this three-bedroom cottage has a light kitchen with exposed brickwork and double doors that lead to a south-facing garden.
In a prime spot opposite the River Thames, this one-bedroom flat has an 18sq ft reception room with glass doors that open out to a private terrace.
Set in the hills above Llanwrda Village, west Wales, this 18th-century three-bedroom farmhouse has holiday-let potential from a separate barn conversion and annexe.
This charming end-of-terrace townhouse is arranged over three floors, with two double bedrooms and a private courtyard garden located at the rear of the property.
This four-bedroom Edwardian home offers a combination of original features and contemporary design after a renovation by the current owners.
Located in the University area, this semi-detached five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors - there's even a rear garden and off-road parking too.
Only a few minutes' drive from the charming town of Marlow, this two-bedroom home sits on the private riverside estate of Harleyford.
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.
In a row of eight detached Georgian residences, this five-bedroom home offers views of The Sound, Mount Edgcumbe and Cornwall from its impressive veranda and full-length balcony.
If you love cooking for friends this two-bedroom flat - complete with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station and an open-plan kitchen/dining area - will go down a treat.
Located above Grasmere village, this five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors and offers countryside views across Grasmere Lake towards Silver Howe.
Surrounded by the Western fells, this five-bedroom Georgian home retains many original features including panel-plastered ceilings, sash windows and fireplaces.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B, subject to change of use permissions.
A former period coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
This four-bedroom home has exposed brick chimneys and a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining - the doors open to the patio and garden.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof