Over $3,000 worth of vinyl for $475

An incredible Saturday 180 gram Vinyl Score!

Ever since I was a kid I would go to garage sales and flea markets with my Nana.  It was always exciting to find something that was an incredible deal, or just something cool for a price that is well below what I’d be willing to pay for it.  It didn’t happen every trip, but the sort of euphoria that I felt when I made a score continues to drive me even today to keep hitting estate sales and flea markets on a regular basis.

Then there’s Craigslist, which is sort of a virtual flea market.  Several times per week I do a quick search for my favorite things:  Film, Cameras, Wine (I haven’t found anything yet, but some day it will pay off), and vinyl records.   The middle of this week, I found a post for vinyl records that seemed like a good deal, even if it was more than I normally pay. It was for 95 albums, including a few box sets.  Some of the albums I was sure were 180g albums, and the listing said they were the original owners of all of the albums.  So I sent an email asking how many were 180 gram pressings.

The reply:  All but a couple, one of which was a 200 gram pressing.  So 95 titles, mostly 180g, some limited release, some box sets.  The asking price of $475 was fair, but I like to feel like I’m getting a deal, so I offered $450.  Now that’s still a lot of cash to drop on records at one time, and some of you might be thinking what my wife said:  “WHAT!?!?  Holy Cow!  That’s a lot of money for records.”  I agree.  But basically I took my money from selling fifteen or so cameras this month and bought albums with the intent of keeping some and selling the rest after I listened to them.

However, my plan fell apart when i went to go pick up the albums.  The seller had neglected to mention one key point:  virtually all the albums are brand new!  Unopened, still in the shrink wrap, never listened to 180 gram vinyl!  For $4.75 an album!  Now I was the one thinking “Holy crap!  What a score!”

The guy was so nice, he threw in the rack they were in, a Blu-ray of the Beatles 1, and a framed original Mott the Hoople album because I offered to come to his house and load them so he wouldn’t have to transport them.   Realizing the incredible deal I was getting, I told the guy i was going to give him his asking price of $475, and he refused a little, but accepted the extra 425.  So i handed over the money and loaded the car.  I immediately called my wife, and she said “maybe you should have paid him more.”

They’re worth more, but I paid they guy what he was asking.  He bought them thinking he’d enjoy collecting vinyl again, and most of them came with a digital download.  He didn’t want to bother with selling them individually.  So he figured this price got rid of the vinyl and he still came out ahead vs buying just the digital.  But I can’t see how that math works, and here’s why: After I pull out the ones I’m thinking of keeping, which is 40 of the 95 albums, I think I’ll still triple my money when i sell the other 55 albums, even after paying selling fees wherever I sell them.  I’ll certainly recoup the $475 rather quickly.  If I find any of these are not sealed, I’ll throw them into my listening queue.

Then i considered how much it would cost me to buy the 40 albums I’m considering keeping:  $1067 from Amazon. More from Music Direct if they’re available; the Cream box set is $200 on it’s own.   Some of these were $50 and $75 albums I drooled over from Music Direct, but couldn’t bring myself to spend the money for one album. One of them i almost bought at B&N last week:  Mumford & Sons Sigh No More.  I’m listening to it as I type this, and I’ll essentially be getting it for free if you ignore the opportunity cost of not selling it.

I’m not going to list every album that was in the lot, but here’s what I decided to pull to contemplate if I want to keep it or at least listen to it before selling it.

  • Mumford & Sons Sigh No More
  • Cream 1966-1972, which is a box set of  all 6 Cream albums
  • Black Sabbath Paranoid
  • Black Sabbath
  • Black Sabbath Master of Reality
  • Black Sabbath Bloody Sabbath on Red Vinyl
  • Black Sabbath Vol. 4 on orange Vinyl
  • T. Rex Electric Warrior
  • Frank Zappa apostrophe (*)
  • Neil Young Harvest
  • Jefferson Airplane Volunteers
  • Them Crooked Vultures (just opened and now playing as I write – It’s a double album!)
  • ZZ Top Tres Hombres
  • Neil Young After the Gold Rush
  • Van Halen
  • Neil Young Crazy Horse at the Fillmore 1970
  • Hozier
  • Clutch Psychic Warfare
  • The Beatles Help!
  • The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • The Beatles “White Album”
  • The Beatles Abbey Road
  • The Beatles Revolver
  • Deep Purple Machine Head
  • Grand Funk Closer to Home
  • Grand Funk We’re an American Band
  • Free Fire and Water
  • The Rolling Stones Hot Rocks 1964-1971
  • Paul McCartney and Wings Band on the Run
  • Jethro Tull Thick as a Brick
  • Jethro Tull Aqualung
  • Jimi Hendrix Electric Ladyland
  • Derek and the Dominoes Layla
  • The Doors Strange Days
  • The Doors Morrison Hotel
  • The Doors LA Woman
  • The Doors Waiting for the Sun
  • The Doors
  • Eric Clapton Slow Hand 35th Anniversary edition
  • Eric Clapton 461 Ocean Boulevard Limited edition
  • Jimi Hendrix Are You Experienced
  • The Best of Procol Harum

All but the last four I think are 180 gram pressings.  The last two are definitely not, and only the Procol Harum and Grand Funk’s American Band album are open as far as i can tell, because in addition to being new, they’re also in protective sleeves!  Some are special editions, like LA Woman and Band on the Run each being 2 LP offerings when the originals were only one album.

Oh, wow!  I just took We’re an American Band out of the sleeve:  It’s 180 gram gold translucent vinyl!  I’m loving listening to it as well – never heard the entire album before.  Creepin is an awesome song.


When I add it all up, this was over $3,000 worth of vinyl.  It also adds up to me keeping over $1,000 worth of vinyl for free.  I just can’t figure out why nobody else was on this posting.  One guy apparently offered the seller $100, and another guy wanted them shipped to San Francisco.   I just feel fortunate to have been in the right frame of mind to look at the post, and admittedly I was shocked they were mostly unopened when i arrived to pick them up, but this was still a great deal.  This may be the score of the year for me, and definitely my best lot since I picked up 150 or so vintage albums last June, of which i still have about 30 to listen to!

If I keep all 40 of the albums I’ve pulled from this score, my personal collection is at around 175 albums counting those that are at the office.   Considering at least 3,000 have passed through my basement since I started last spring, that’s not a high percentage of keepers.  I also didn’t listen to all of them, but I’m probably close to 1,000 that I have listened too, simply because I sold a lot of 1200 and a lot of about 700 that hadn’t been listened to simply to make space.  Also – about 10% of my collection are Beatles albums, and it gets more skewed if we count solo albums from the Beatles.


Every so often, somebody will tell me I’m lucky.  Lucky to find the cameras if find, or the albums, or the whatever it is I bring home.  While there was definitely a component of luck involved, most days that I’m searching for deals I find nothing.  There are weekends of hitting estate sales where we come home with nothing.  Sometimes I can hit a dozen garage sales and find a few books in total.  We spent nearly a year looking for the right buffet for the dining room.  It reminds me of the old quote “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”   So while I don’t ever expect to replicate my finds like the Hasselblad in June or this latest vinyl score, I’ll keep working hard at uncovering the next great deal.

Others tell me I’m lucky to have had the career and the experiences I’ve had.  I firmly believe my diligence and persistence creates most of my luck.  Consider this vinyl score:  it has been 16 months in the making, developing the awareness and knowledge of what these titles were and what they were worth when nobody else on Craigslist seemed to see it, as well as routinely checking Craigslist for postings.

Good luck to you in uncovering a great score of your own.  Start working now, and start improving your luck.




This Week’s Vinyl

I’ve been listening to a few albums each day as I work.  Most I don’t have great listening notes for, but here’s what’s crossed my turntable this week:

IMG_3719[1]REO Speedwagon: Good Trouble

Nothing special about this album.  No memorable songs; just a good old 70’s rock album.  Maybe the biggest disappointment of the week, other than Bon Jovi New Jersey which has a defect that causes a skip in Track 1 – at which point I turned it off and put it at the back of the line.


I was pretty excited to listen to this Mint Japanese pressing of this somewhat legendary Jazz recording.  While the recording was phenomenal, the music was not all that inspiring to me.  Just not my kind of jazz, I guess.  I’ll take some raw New Orleans jazz over this any day….



John Cougar Mellencamp: Scarecrow

This was a great album.   In addition to Rain on the Scarecrow, it has Small Town, Face of the Nation, You’ve Got to Stand for Somethin’, and R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.   This was probably what i would consider almost one of the Anthem Albums of my youth, even though I never owned it.  I grew up in a small town, and all my friends were so small town…

Pretty solid dynamics on this one as well. IMG_3721[1]

Peter, Paul, & Mary: In the Wind

Great musical talent and some real classic songs.  Most striking was the Christian Hymn All My Trials.  Just incredible to hear that type of song from a main stream artist.  Perhaps more impressive was this 62 year old album was in amazing shape.  It’s probably a reissue, but it was with a lot of 60’s contemporaries, so it has still held up very well.  In “Vitaphonic Stereo”, and Made in U.S.A.  Sweet.  IMG_3722[1]


Robin Trower: In City Dreams

Trower is known as a guitarist, and while there is some nice music in here, it’s not the same impact as say Clapton, Santana, or even Frampton.    But, it’s sort of cutting edge, because I thought for sure it was an early 80’s album, but it’s from 1977.  I guess the cover art scream late 70’s… cool album. Glad I stumbled across it.    

The Byrds: The Notorious Byrd Brothers

Ok – this one’s from early in the week, and I honestly don’t remember it much, so i guess that says something about this album, at least as far as my musical tastes goes.  In fact, I remember what the physical condition of the album looks like, but not the music.  Notorious?  hardly.  How can you be notorious and not be memorable.  Maybe it’s notorious because it isn’t as memorable as some of their other work?  Anyway, not much more to say.



Jethro Tull: Thick as a Brick

If you like the title track, you’ll love the album; it seems to show up t least three times in various forms.  It’s not really a collection of songs as much as it is a musical storyline.  And the album cover and insert are just as enjoyable as the music.  I’ve got another copy of this in the playlist somewhere; this one’s a little rough, but playable.  Looking forward to the next one for a second listen.


Peter, Paul, and Mary: (Ten) Years Together

Classic folk music.  But what I came to appreciate during the course of this album was their amazing harmonies.  Sometimes I feel like perhaps I was born too late.  I’m not a huge fan of these three, but I can appreciate their music, that’s for sure.


Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life

Holy Cow!  This was an amazing 2-album set!  I didn’t really know any of the songs, but Mr. Wonder is truly a musical genius.  I found it most interesting that I heard many riffs and little melodies that have been sampled by other artists through the last 20-30 years or so.  I’m looking forward to hearing this one again some day.


Kansas: Leftoverture

Well, the title of the album is really creative, and luckily the musical content holds up as well.  Carry On Wayward Son is a rock classic, but unfortunately this album seems to be less highly regarded.  But it’s a great musical experience.


Fleetwood Mac: Fleetwood Mac

This 40 year-old album is in great physical condition.  Songs like Rhiannon and Landslide made Stevie Nicks’ career, but overall this was an ok album.   Most impressive was the condition and clean sound.



Lynyrd Skynyrd: Street Survivors

So this album came out when i was about 5 years old, but I really enjoyed it.  Half the songs are very familiar, and as a guitar player I really appreciated the music on this album.  It’s also in really great condition – looks almost new.  I really dig the tube socks and jean shorts, too….


Pretty good album.  Heat of the Moment was the most familiar song.  I listened to this earlier in the week, and here a few days later it just hasn’t left much of an impression upon me.  IMG_3731[1]


Neil Young: Everybody Knows this is Nowhere

Every once in a while, there’s an album that just captures my emotions, so I pull it aside and put it in my favorites collection.  This one joins Frampton Comes Alive,  Are You Experienced, Boston, and Willie Humphries New Orleans Clarinet in that small grouping of albums that just blew my mind.  This is one incredible album that I’ve never heard of.  I’ve heard some of the songs, but almost every one of these is extremely well done.  This 40 minutes just flew by, and i listened to side 2 twice….  I know there’s another copy in the collection somewhere, but I probably won’t wait for it to surface before I spin this one again.

IMG_3717[1]Kiss: Dynasty

I know my cousin Tim has some Kiss albums growing up, and I’ve heard a few of their songs before, but this is virtually my first Kiss album.  It was really enjoyable, and I could see why people are such fans.  I Was Made for Lovin’ You is an awesome song that sounds incredible on vinyl.