- 🤔 Have you found vinyl records in your basement or attic?
- 🤔 Have you inherited a collection from your cool uncle?
- 🤔 Are your parents moving and asking you to sell everything on Kijiji or Marketplace?
The following article will be useful as we will be answering these questions and more.
Perhaps you’ve heard that vinyl records have made a comeback and some items are worth a fortune 💵
You may even be pretty excited because you think you may have hit the jackpot 🧐
Indeed you’re right to ask yourself these questions before mindlessly throwing your vinyl records away because 1) that’s not very eco-friendly, and 2) you might make some cash with of it.
Below are the basics on how to sell old vinyl records – in four easy steps:
🔍 Step 1: You need to start by knowing which artists are popular or not.
❓ What are the titles and artists in the collection you have? That is the first question. Some music styles are more valuable than others, and certain titles can be more sought after.
Slightly more sought-after styles include:
1️⃣ Classic Rock and Prog from the 60s-70s: Pink Floyd, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Rolling Stones, and Beatles. These artists generally sell well, and some albums from these groups can be very valuable ($20, $30, $50, and sometimes even more).
2️⃣ Heavy Metal: Black Sabbath, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Dio, Motorhead, Judas Priest: cha-ching! That’s really cool, even more than the previous selection. It’s definitely more “niche”, but these records are usually highly sought after, and collectors are willing to pay.
3️⃣ Rap and Hip-hop: Rap and Hip Hop records are often very sought after because there were often NOT millions of copies produced, making them harder to find. Moreover, it’s a music style that started at the same time vinyl was replaced by cassettes and CDs later on. So, if you have old school Rap and Hip Hop, that’s excellent.
4️⃣ Pop and Soft Rock: Slightly less sought after – in part because there’s TOO many of them going around – but you can still have some very good titles that – when well-preserved – can be quite valuable. For example: Prince, Michael Jackson, Madonna, George Michael, Billy Joel, Elton John, and Bryan Adams are very good sellers, and we sell hundreds of them every month.
5️⃣ New Wave and Post Punk: There are also some more obscure and “niche” categories that can be a hit or miss: Post-punk, New wave, Alternative, Experimental, etc. For this, you have to look at each one because some are very hot, and some are so unknown that no one wants them (even though it’s often very good stuff!). But let’s say if you see things like The Cure, Joy Division, Talking Heads, XTC, and Depeche Mode, you’ve got something solid.
6️⃣ Disco: Again, it can be hit or miss. It sells, yes, but let’s say it’s more niched, and it appeals less to collectors in general: Donna Summer, Village People, Abba, Bee Gees, Kool and the Gang. Here we buy your Giorgio Moroder albums (we’re big fans!).
For everything else, it’s not necessarily ready to be trashed, but you do need to manage your expectations 😬
💀 From our experience, there are a few artists that tend to subtract value from your collection instead of adding to it. For example: James Last, Nana Mouskouri, Gilbert Becaud, Engelbert Humperndick, The Everly Brothers, Alain Morisaud, Shakin’ Stevens, and Barry Manilow, to name a few.
🔍 Step 2: You need to know the condition of the records.
Some questions to ask yourself:
❓ Are the records stacked on top of each other, or are they standing, well sorted? Records can bend over time if they were stored incorrectly – and a bent record is difficult to straighten out 😢
❓ Are the covers damaged? If they were protected by an outer plastic case, that’s a very good sign (the person took good care of their treasure).
❓ Are the inner sleeves present? If the answer is yes, there’s also a good chance the records are in good condition. Otherwise, there’s a good chance the records aren’t very nice, but they need to be inspected one by one.
❓ Is the record beautiful? Like new? Shiny and glossy with no scratches present? Great, it’s NM (Near Mint). This is the highest grade you can give it unless it’s still sealed in plastic and it’s never been opened (then we say the record is Mint or M).
*See the end of the article for explanatory photos.
Let’s do a recap of the “gradings” (grades):
👉 After NM explained above, there’s VG+ (Very Good Plus): That means almost perfect with some visible marks to the naked eye but not big enough to affect the sound quality significantly. You are not supposed to hear surface noise – or if you do it’s very low.
👉 Then there’s VG (Very Good): it means there are marks and some scratches, but the record will still play with some audible surface noise but it’ll be an acceptable flaw.
Below VG, there’s G+ (Good Plus), G (Good), F (Fair), and P (Poor). In all these cases, don’t bother because they’re not worth much (except to do arts and crafts projects).
In summary: if you have VG records and above, there’s potential.
🔍 Step 3: You need to know the format of your records.
❓ Do you have 33 RPM (12-inch) albums, or are they small 7-inch ones where the record contains one song on each side?
33 RPM (full albums) are much more in demand than the small 45 RPMs for their practicality.
Some small 7-inch records can sell among DJs, but generally, they are ignored by most vinyl record consumers.
Records could also be 12-inch 45 RPM records (DJ format, for instance) that – again – can sell in some circles, but will be much less sought after except by some niche collectors and DJs.
🔍 Step 4: You need to know the pressing.
The first 3 points give you a good idea of how to begin selling your old vinyl records and give a rough idea of their potential value.
But if you want to go further and really see the details of your record, you need to look at the pressing.
Is it a Canadian pressing? Japanese? European? Is it a limited or numbered pressing (where the quantity in circulation gives it more rarity $$)?
The pressing can also influence the value of your records. Most collections we’ve bought contain Canadian pressings, which are highly rated but are less prestigious than, say, Japanese pressings.
So, it’s a matter of supply and demand, to which you need to add the condition of the media and the condition of its cover, and all that.
It’s a rather complex but incredibly fascinating science 😺
If all of this seems complicated or intimidating, you can consult a specialist who will give you the straight facts.
You can do Google searches in your neighborhood and city or even in classified ads or simply search for something like: “vinyl record appraisal near me” – or visit a local vinyl record shop to ask them if they offer this service.
If all of this seems like too much work: you can contact us if you have questions on how to sell old vinyl records.
It will be our pleasure to guide you and assist you in making the right decisions.
You can take some photos and send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We will offer you the best options.
And if you are in Montreal, Canada – or nearby – we can potentially come to you.
Why choose us? Because at Johnythecat Records, we can afford to be generous, unlike physical stores, we don’t pay for sky-high rent 😺. We have been operating this business with pleasure and passion for 4 years now, mostly from our living room.
Most stores offer 20% to 30% of the actual value of your records. Here, we are happy to give you 40% to 50% of their value in exchange to save you the hassle of Kijiji, Marketplace, Ebay and other online business platform.
You might not want to deal with overly eager collectors who harrass you for that one Black Sabbath record in your collection, only to show up late or not at all 😳 (true story).