Wednesday, March 23, 2016
RECORDS FOR SALE
I’ve heard that vinyl records are becoming popular again with audiophile purists. I don’t understand it, but people are buying up the old albums and some new music is also being sold on vinyl. It reminded me of a story.
Sometime in the 80’s I had an artist friend at work, Ernie, who was very into vinyl records. I learned through him that some records from back in the fifties and sixties were valuable. There was no EBay, but he knew how to advertise through various collectors magazines.
I was in need of some extra cash just to make ends meet, so I was very interested. I did not have a big collection of old records, but I had some interesting ones. He suggested that if I had some that turned out to be valuable, he could help me sell them and we could split the money 80/20.
I went through my small collection and found a Jimmy Jones LP from the early sixties. In the fifties and early sixties, LP’s (Long Play albums for you young people) were not very popular. Most records sold were 45’s with one song on each of the two sides. Jimmy Jones had two big hits in 1960, “Good Timing” and “Handy Man.” Both songs were on my LP.
Ernie thought this album might attract some interest. He listed the record in various magazines, or whatever it was that he did to attract interest and we waited. In less than a week bids started to come in.
Apparently Jimmy Jones had a large following and the album was rare.
We received a bid of fifty dollars, and before we accepted that bid someone came in at seventy-five dollars, then one hundred dollars, and one hundred and fifty dollars. It was all very exciting. We finally accepted a bid of two-hundred dollars for an album that I actually never bought. It was left behind in the fraternity house by a graduating brother. I grabbed it because I liked those two Jimmy Jones songs, but I never did play the record.
Fresh off the success of the Jimmy Jones album I brought in an old 45 record by John Zacherle, a Philly DJ and host of “Chiller Theater” a local Saturday night TV horror movie show. Zacherle was famous at one time in the Philadelphia and New York area. His record had two silly spoof songs, “Eighty-eight Tombstones” and “Lunch With Mother Goose.” Both were done with a Boris Karloff imitation style similar to the more famous hit by Bobby "Boris" Pickett, “Monster Mash.”
Ernie thought this record might generate some enthusiasm and listed it for sale. Within a week he came back with some information that apparently there were only eight know copies of this 45 in existence.
We braced ourselves for a large windfall.
After two weeks, the highest offer we received for the record was $20.
“Ernie, what the hell! Twenty dollars, I thought there were only eight other copies of this record known to exist.”
“That was the good news; the bad news is that only nine people give a shit.”
We took the $20 offer.