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.




New vinyl acquisitions

My wife and I went out to estate sales this morning as we often do on Saturday mornings.  After buying some books, a tripod for six dollars to act as a temporary replacement for one I just broke, and an expired  4-pack of Kodak Max 400 film for a dollar at the first sale, we headed to the second sale.  In a corner of the garage was a bin with record albums.  On top were things like “Songs of Christmas”, The Captain and Tennille, and Sonny & Cher.  Another boring 70’s lot of records.

Being the optimist that I am, I decided to dig a little anyway.  Not far down was a group of Billy Joel.  Then I found a few titles from The Who.  Then some Frampton.  Then led Zeppelin.  Then Paul McCartney.  Then the Beatles.  Nobody seemed to be interested or noticing the albums.  They also weren’t priced, and I don’t recall them being listed in the ad for the sale. In fact, the main reason we came to the sale was to check out a player piano, and also because once one musical or art/photography item is listed, I often find other music or photography related items are included.  They just can’t list everything.

These albums were in amazing condition to be found in a bin in the garage and treated as an afterthought.  Many covers were almost new, and the few I looked at looked pretty much unplayed.   So before drawing much attention to them by dragging them out to really get a good look at them, i decided to try to buy the entire lot for one low price.  I estimated there were 80 albums, so I found the guy that was running the sale.  “How much for all the vinyl albums?”  “What vinyl albums?  You’ll have to show them to me.”   He glances at them, and says they normally charge $2 each.  I ask again for the buy it all price, and he asks how many.  I said about 80 – and he said he needed to make a call.

I looked through the rest of the sale, and showed one of the workers how to operate the player piano.  It was a cool Wurlitzer, but we really don’t need one, and definitely don’t need one at $500.  I get back down to the garage where the check-out is, and he tells me there’s actually only 74, which at $2 each would be $148, and he could do $115 for all; otherwise $2 each.

Now I felt that some of the titles were definitely worth $2, even if I was going to flip them because they were duplicates.  I’m getting a little backed up on vinyl listening, so i decided to see if I could find 25.  After my first pass, I had 27, so i picked two – Billy Joel The Stranger and Steve Miller Fly Like an Eagle to put back in the bin.  Then i carried the 25 out of the corner and into the light to check them out, and a few guys took notice.

About a third of the way through my stack, one guy comes over and asks if there was anything good in there.  I replied “I think they’re all good, which is why I’m checking them before i buy them.”  I was nice, but he was clearly getting ready to start going through the ones I had just inspected.  He replied “Oh, you’re planning on buying all of them?” and stood and watched for a few more seconds before shuffling away.  This guy was obviously interested in records, but couldn’t be bothered to really look for the other 50 albums over in the corner, in a bin.  Which still had another 20 or so really good titles in it.

About 75% of the way through the stack, a real treasure emerged:  The Beatles, 1967-1970.  Purists might be saying “That’s not even a real Beatles Album” or “So what?  It’s a greatest hits album.  Big deal!”   And I have a great copy, and might even have another still in the ‘to be listened to’ stack.  I think i have a copy at the office too.  But at $2, i could flip it to buy other vinyl or photography items, so it was in my stack.

As soon as I slid the first album out of the sleeve, my wife gets all excited and starts excitedly whispering   “Put it back!  Put it back!  Hurry up and put it away!”  Even she knows something sort of special when she sees it these days.   What in the world would get her so wound up?  It’s the kind of find that keeps us going to sales.  Here’s what we found:

Beatles Blue Album – on Blue Vinyl

It’s the UK release of the Blue Album on Blue Vinyl.  I was aware it supposedly existed, but hadn’t searched it out, and certainly had never seen it. The bright, translucent blue almost glowed even in the subdued light of the garage.  It’s actually playing as I write this, and it sounds incredible.  When Revolution started at the end of Side 2 the guitars were piercing and gritty!  It felt like I was playing my Casino in the room, except I can’t play that well!  When I cleaned it before sitting down to write, my wife realized it was actually two albums – both blue.  Ironically, the next album in the lot was the Red Album, 1962-1966.  For a moment, I thought “Maybe this is on red vinyl!”  No such luck.  Just a regular album.

A couple of albums later was a copy of Styx’s Paradise Theater with the hologram on side 2.  I had sold a copy a year or so ago, and sort of wish i had it back.  This copy is a little nicer than the one I had, and I had actually looked at it before starting the pricing discussion, so i knew which version it was already.  I didn’t bother to inspect it again.

After buying those 25, we headed to a third sale, by the same estate sale company.  I found two Jackson 5 albums there.  Not in the same condition, but worth a shot at $2 a piece.  They might have a little noise, but I don’t expect and big skips or pops.   So, I picked up 27 albums today.  Here’s the list:

  • Beatles / 1967-1970
  • Beatles / 1962-1966
  • Styx Paradise Theater
  • Paul McCartney Pipes of Peace
  • Wings London Town
  • Cyndi Lauper She’s So Unusual
  • Culture Club Colour by Numbers
  • Jackson 5 ABC
  • Jackson 5 Lookin through the Windows
  • Michael Jackson Off the Wall
  • Michael Jackson Thriller
  • The Who The Kids are Alright
  • The Who Face Dances
  • The Who Secret Policeman’s Ball
  • Steeley Dan Aja
  • Peter Frampton Frampton Comes Alive
  • Styx The Grand Illusion
  • Eagles Greatest Hits 1971-1975
  • ELO Out of the Blue
  • Eagles The Long Run
  • Billy Joel Turnstiles
  • CSNY Deja Vu
  • Boston
  • Foreigner Double Vision
  • Led Zeppelin IV
  • Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy
  • Led Zeppelin In Through the Out Door

Some of these, like the Jackson 5, Cyndi Lauper, and Houses of the Holy, I’ve never seen on vinyl – again – I buy my vinyl second hand, and rarely at stores, and definitely not at retail, so I’m not saying they’re rare, just that i was excited to find them.  Others, like Frampton Comes Alive and The Grand Illusion, I’ve probably had well over 10 copies already in less than 18 months.  But I really like the albums, and if I find one in good condition at a cheap price, I buy it because at the very least I can make a few bucks off of them after I clean and listen to them.  And occasionally I find a better copy for my personal collection.

It was a great way to start the weekend.



Vinyl DISCoveries 5.15.15

Thanks to some wireless speakers we found for $12 at a church rummage sale, I’ve been listening to some more vinyl even as we spend time outdoors.  I’m not sure what the range is on them, but I haven’t found a spot yet on our property that I don’t get a strong signal.  Is the sound as good as my primary system?  Uh, no, not even close.  But it’s still good enough to make me stop what I’m doing and just listen every once in a while, and if I’m really intrigued I’ll play it again in the evening when I can just sit and enjoy the music.

So here’s this weeks voyage through the vinyl collection, which now stands at 974 titles with some recent additions, and another 60 or so my sister found at an auction for $3 waiting for me to pick up and catalogue.  That was $3 for ALL OF THEM, and includes some early Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, and Elvis, among others.  Silly how cheap some of these are, which is why I’ve bought so much I guess.  🙂





Kiss: Alive

This double album contained virtually no songs I was familiar with aside from Rock and Roll All Nite.   If this was my first exposure to Kiss, I wouldn’t be anxiously waiting for the next release.  Of course I’ve never been a big Kiss fan anyways.



Peter, Paul, and Mary: Album 1700

Maybe I’m just getting older, but I really enjoyed this album.  Leaving on a Jet Plane  is still a great song, but the first 3 tracks of side 2 were what made me sit down and just listen.  I Dig Rock and Roll Music is just pure late 60’s to me; like it could be in any movie that is set in the late 60’s.  If I had Wings was also a nice song, then it’s followed by  I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog, which is hilarious while seemingly taking a stab at some of the racial tension of the era.  The more I listen to this trio, the more I appreciate their contribution to folk music.



Kiss: Alive II

This album seemed livelier, and even the stage explosions sounded better than the first Alive.  The songs were a little more familiar, and I overall enjoyed the album more than the first one.  I still get the feeling it was more about the theatrics and the performance art than the music though…..



I had been putting off listening to some of the Double Albums for a while, so I covered 6 this week (two were badly warped…Sweeney Todd and TV Classics II).  I’ve seen the movie Grease a few times, and this album was very good.  I started to realize just how much music is int he movie, because I almost watched the movie mentally as I listened to the album.  A couple songs I didn’t recall – like It’s Raining on Prom Night, but overall it’s a pretty solid album.  Yeah – I just wrote that…



The Ritchie Family: African Queens

This is what I’m enjoying most about the foray into playing vinyl – previously unknown-to-me groups and albums.  Here’s a classic example.  After a quick check, this group was assembled by the creator of  The Village People, which probably explains why  I found this relatively unsuccessful album in a  lot with Macho Man.  It’s essentially disco meets African tribal music, and I think if it was re-released in the late 80’s in might have done better.  It has some pretty good dance beats, and one great long medley, but I couldn’t name any of the songs.



Kansas: Point of Know Return

I really like some of the creativity in their titles; this one is right up there with “Leftoverture”.  I think this is 4 consecutive albums from 1977.  But this one is basically like new.  Exceptionally clean amazing sound.  Maybe not their best album, but this is a very good listen.



The Who: Tommy

Some people love this album, including people I know.  One guy listed it in his top 10 ever, so I was pretty curious to finally give this  a listen.  It was OK – and I probably understood the lyrics of Pinball Wizard better than ever before (maybe because I was actively listening) , but I just wasn’t that impressed by this album.  And I know there’s at least one more copy in the collection which will eventually work it’s way onto the turntable.  This is the London/Decca release, so not sure if it’s original, but I’d guess it’s also from the mid-70’s since it’s part of the same collection as the previous albums.



Hooked on Classics II

OK, I almost couldn’t make it through this one.  To me it was sub-par recordings of great classical pieces paired with an annoying drumbeat that didn’t seem properly mixed into the levels.  I’m not going to say much more; I just didn’t get it.  Next!



The Village People: Macho Man

Ok, this is really more EP and LP for me.  5 songs, about 25 minutes of music instead of the normal 40 minutes or so.  I think I’ve listened to 12″ singles that are longer than this!  I guess Macho Man was their first hit, so maybe releasing this light album and the single was the right thing.   Not that I’m a huge fan anyway.  Key West was an OK song too, and I guess overall there’s a sort of Gay Pride theme to the entire album, or at least you could see it that way.  I don’t think this will make it back into the rotation any time soon.



Richard Pryor: Who Me? I’m Not Him

Somewhat what I expected, and thankfully not as raw as I feared it might be.  Still not a family-friendly album, and not the type of stuff I listen to routinely, but there’s still some funny stuff on here.  His perspective on curfew as a child reminded me of my childhood, as we also had a curfew in our town, and the cops would stop you if you were out after hours.  Of course the album plays the race card often, but much of the humor applies to people of all backgrounds.   But it’s just too much negativity and profanity for me. So adios, you’re definitely not him (for me). It’s also on the Laff label, which was new to me.




Peter Frampton: I’m In You

When I first heard Frampton Comes Alive, I was blown away.  It is still one of my favorites, and I have at least 4 copies, so it will be one of the most frequent albums as I work through the collection.  I’ve even played it a few extra times, and it’s probably right behind Hendrix’s Are You Experienced for the number of times it’s been on the turntable.  This album,however, was exactly what I expected when I thought of Peter Frampton.  It’s just soft and uninspiring.  FWIW – also from 1977.



America: A Horse with No Name

As an initial album, this was a pretty awesome start.  It’s amazing to see how young these guys were writing this music.  They look even young than the 20-22 years old they were!  Side one is hard to beat if you like acoustic guitar.  Sandman has always been a favorite, and Three Roses is incredible and new to me.  Somehow it didn’t make the America Compilation CD’s I have.  I’ve listened to this side of the  album three times this week.   Truly an awesome musical experience to just chill out to with a glass or two of wine.



Little River Band: Greatest Hits

This was my mother’s favorite album when i was a kid.  I still know probably all the songs.  I have it on CD too.  I was thrilled to find this in my new acquisitions this week, along with America and J. Geils – so I pulled them to the top of the rotation.  It’s a Long Way There, Reminiscing, Down on the Border, Happy Anniversary, Cool Change;  this is probably the anthem of my childhood from age 10-15.  I still think it’s great music, and it sounds better than ever.  



The J. Geils Band: Freeze Frame

I never owned a copy of this album/cd/cassette, but always loved the song Centerfold. So I was thrilled to find this LP.  Freeze Frame is also a hit from my youth, and Rage in the Cage was a pretty awesomely odd song.  I liked this album so much I started looking into what else they recorded.  This was their 12th album!  I have yet to find another, but I’ll be looking.



The Beatles: Sgt. Peppers

I have almost everything  fro the Fab Four on CD, but apart from hearing them played at one of my parent’s friend’s house and a few 45’s, this is my first Beatles album on Vinyl!  It’s a little beat, so there’s some static throughout, but for less than $1 I’ll take it.  🙂  Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Fixing a Hole, and Lovely Rita all sounded better than ever.  Not much else I can say.  I mean it’s the Beatles, it’s one of their best albums.  One day I’ll get a better copy, but it’s a start.



The Peanut Butter Conspiracy: The Great Conspiracy

How is it the Monkees got a TV show and The PBC didn’t?  I mean come on, how great of name is this?   I guess this group was around for about 4 years in the late 60’s.  I mentioned it to my Mom expecting her to wax fondly about her memories of this group, and she was clueless.  I mean, she knows the New Riders of the Purple Sage, but doesn’t know a group called The Peanut Butter Conspiracy?  This was actually an earlier acquisition that just kept getting stuff put in front of it as I got it cleaned – same for The Beatles, unfortunately.

The music is sort of Mamas and the Papas meets The Byrds, but  a little more psychedelic.  I guess both had an influence, judging by the essay on the back of the album.  It includes songs such as Captain Sandwich, Pleasure, Ecstacy, and Invasion of the Poppy People, and I think it’s a great artifact from the late 60’s.  I’m very happy to have this and their first album in the collection.  Even better – they were free, as part of 5 boxes of vinyl a lady just wanted to get rid of; in fact she said she should pay me for taking them!   I’ll wait to uncover the other album, but I’m looking forward to hearing The Peanut Butter Conspiracy is Spreading….

Thanks for reading.  I’ll work on getting through some more classic vinyl in the coming weeks.