Old Records – Do they have any value?

Old records – Junk or treasure?

One of the services I provide is to go to a client’s home and help them determine what has value, what can be sold, what can be donated etc. It’s especially beneficial in situations where someone is clearing out someone else’s home (such as family) in estate situations. It also helps lifelong collectors who are downsizing and have lost track of which of their collectibles have stood the test of time. Something many homes have are records. Here’s an email I received from a reader:

My Mother recently passed away and I now have a lot of her things including records from the 30’s and up. They are 78’s and they are breakable. There are about 100 of them all in albums. A couple of the artists that I noticed are Caruso and Nelson Eddy. Also, there are movie magazines from 1935 and different movie books and pictures from the same year and older. I was wondering if there was any value to these or where I could go to find out.

My comments ?

Records, like anything else, can be collectible – but in terms of value may be quite different.Whether a record is an original recording or a re issue, its condition, its marketability and popularity of the singer, its rarity (how many were made),whether it has its own, original cover and its condition, and the general as well as local market for your particular records – there are lots of variables. Spend some time surfing the net to get this information. There are a lot of excellent specialty web sites on this topic.

TRIVIA Nugget: Did you know Enrico Caruso was the first recording artist to sell a million records?

You can do some general research by familiarizing yourself with the market by reading books and checking out the price guides on line. It’s a good idea to do this whether you intend to sell them or keep them – that way you will have at least a general idea of their value. however, if you find there is a big discrepancy between the price you expect and the price you are being given (keep in mind you will only get approximately 40- 50% of the value if you sell to a reseller for obvious reasons), ask them about it. There may be some information that you were not aware of that determines a much lower price.

The same goes with magazines and books. If this sounds like too much work for you the best thing to do is to go to a dealer in your area that you trust and ask their advice. If you don’t know someone, ask for referrals. If they are interested in buying, and they seem honest to you – then sell the items.

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