So, you have inherited a collection of old records as part of your inheritance from your parents or you want to buy some for your private collection, how do you know what those old records are worth on the market? There’s a place on the internet where collectors, ethnomusicologists, and crate diggers can calculate the accurate worth of their old vinyls and correctly price them, in case they are planning to put them up for sale on ebay or any other record-vending site – or to avoid being overcharged when buying. Reason being some rare vinyl discs fetch as much as $200, while others sell for as little as $0.9. The place this collector will want to go to is the Discogs website, where, among other things, the following is what they will need to know about their rare record:
1. Identify the Vinyl release
You’ll need to look for the Catalogue Number (CN) on your record, which may be on the album sleeve or pressed on the inner ring of the vinyl disc. If the record has a barcode number it is even easier. Also note the label that released it, and the track titles, usually listed on the vinyl.
2. Navigate to the Discogs Release Page.
Armed with the above information go to the Discogs website and type the record’s Catalogue Number, barcode number and any other details into Discogs’ search bar. You can also scan the barcode with the free Discogs app which can be downloaded in the Apple and Google Play app stores.
Navigate to the ‘Master Release’ page on the website where all releases are lumped in their Database. Next use the “Find Your Version” function to locate your release.
3. Find Prices in the Statistics section
You will next go to the ‘Statistics’ heading, which is located on the right-hand side on a desktop. On your phone, you’ll have to scroll down. Here you will find the lowest, median and highest prices that the release has been sold for on Discogs.
If you click on the ‘Last Sold’ date, you’ll find further information, including the average price for your vinyl. On the Discogs app on the phone, the info will be labeled ‘Sales History’.
This information should enable you to calculate the worth of your new gem on the market and keep you from being duped in a transaction.
Determining the Condition of your vinyl.
When you put your record up for sale or are purchasing one, especially online, it is important to know the accurate condition of the record, which will accompany the advertisement. This ranges from Mint(perfect) down to Poor/Fair (badly damaged). Discogs uses the Goldmine Standard to help you determine this.
In grading the record under the Goldmine Standard, you must first inspect it to determine how it looks and how it sounds. Here you will be inspecting the sleeve for general wear, discolouration and seam splits. You will also inspect for scratches on the vinyl.
Next you play it to determine if it sounds perfect to the ear.
The Goldmine Grading Guide on their website will help you grade it accurately. If the record is fairly new and the sleeve has never been opened the most common grade you would give it when advertising is ‘Near Mint’. That is because ‘Mint’ (new) is rare, if not impossible to find! If the sleeve is faded but the record has never been played then you will grade the sleeve as ‘Very Good’ and the record itself as ‘Near Mint’.
The more of these details that you list will show that you understand vinyl, and will help you seal a deal with a buyer quickly.
The standard grading you will meet on a record-vending website are – in descending order: M (Mint); NM (Near Mint); VG+ (Very Good Plus); VG (Very Good); G/G+ (Good, Good Plus) and at the lowest end will be P/F (Poor, Fair) for those that are cracked, warped, or won’t play through without skipping or repeating.
The Discogs website also has further information on how to clean your salvaged dusty records. The tip here for collectors being to always hold your clean record by the edges or the middle section to avoid transferring dirt from your fingers onto the grooved area.
Armed with this information, you are now ready to start that side hustle as a used vinyl dealer!