There are some that say there are people who ‘know the price of everything, but the value of nothing’ (I believe it was from Oscar Wilde), but it’s that first bit that intrigues me. What is the price of something? Who determines what anything costs? Why is the price this & not that? Y’know, those kinds of questions….which got me thinking….It’s a subject that frequently rears its head…….VINYL. The pro’s & con’s err, the value, it’s relevance in the digital age etc. Headlines like ‘Vinyl is making a comeback (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/10/arts/music/vinyl-records-are-making-a-comeback.html?_r=0) would give the impression that we are on the precipice of a new musical revolution – though actual figures to justify this, are very hard to find. It’s also a subject we frequently discuss on the radio, being as I have to deal with Audiophiles (Frank Jochemsen) & have to operate in both fields of analogue & digital, so I decided to perform an experiment. A total ‘one-off’ singular experiment – to answer hopefully the question ‘So how much is an old piece of vinyl actually worth’?
I decided to sell a record on an on-line auction. I won’t mention names here, but it wasn’t ebay! A well used site nonetheless. The choice? It would have to be collectable, desirable, good & with a twist, to give it a broader appeal to the music lover & collector. I chose ‘Before & After Science’ by Brian Eno – the twist being, it was the original version, with the limited edition ‘prints’ by Peter Schmidt. All rather desirable – to the right person. So, after finally working out how it all worked, (or so I thought) the record was placed in the action – highest bidder wins. So, what was the highest (of the 6 bids) then? Well the 1st bid was €1 & the final & winning bid €9. After taxes were paid, sellers fees included – & my postage & packing was returned, I earned from the whole deal €7.64 in total. Excluding all the time I actually put in to the actual selling (a dozen emails/packing the record/time listing the record, photographing the item etc) doesn’t work out to a great profit. Well, of course I didn’t actually earn money, I lost a great record from my collection. But that was part of the experiment.
So, what did I learn from this? Actually not very much – tread carefully though, people out there, I know some records, to the right person are worth a small fortune, but never expect your vinyl collection to be all worth big money.