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Passed Away Grandmother's Vinyl Collection
Hey Guys,

My grandmother died not too long ago and she left me her Vinyl collection. I put it up on eBay, but I'm starting to have second thoughts about it since it such a big collection: link removed

What's the best way to sell them in your opinion? I just don't want to get taken advantage of since I've rarely done something this big before. Any tips or tricks?


  • Last Edit: 28 August, 2013, 04:19:41 AM by Frank Bicking

  • mjb2006
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Passed Away Grandmother's Vinyl Collection
Reply #1
Interesting assortment, especially for a grandmother...Sinatra, Devo, Richard Pryor, ELP, Stockhausen, Klaus Schulze...

Well, prices online are going to be for copies that are in good enough condition to be bought, and probably inflated a bit depending on how long the seller minds it sitting around waiting for the richest/dumbest buyer.

You need to indicate their condition, and to do that, you should just get someone who knows what they're doing to grade them; if they're beat to hell, most of them will only be worth $1 each, tops.

One thing you could do is pick 35 of the records at random and take them to a record shop that buys vinyl. Get a quote for cash, not trade, and then tell him you'll think about it and check around some more, and thank him for his time. Assume he offered you no more than 30-40% of retail value for the lot. Don't try to get prices for individual records. He is estimating based on what he thinks he will ultimately get for the lot, on average, which is not the same thing as the prices he will put on all of them at first (some of the records will end up being sold for less if they sit around too long).

Don't be surprised if you are offered a very low number. Don't argue with him about how people are selling this one or that one for $X online; he knows this already. You can, however, ask for some tips on evaluating the condition, using a couple of your records as examples.

I used to work at a used record store, 20 years ago. People would get upset when I offered them $1-3 per LP, but we could only mark it up to $5-9, usually, and for every gem we could sell for $10-$25, there'd always be a dozen that were trash. A lot of the time, the low offers we made were just because the records were very common; everyone thinks their Pink Floyd LPs are worth something...99% of the time, they're not. And sometimes records would look clean at first glance, but when you look really carefully, you can see some wear and tear that cleaning won't fix; when you played the records just to be sure, there it was, snap-crackle-pop... I sometimes would just play the beginning of one for the person just so they knew I wasn't BS'ing them.

Another option for you might be to use Discogs. You can create an account there, then find the exact edition of each record in the database and add it to your Collection via a button on the release page. Then when you view your collection, click on the statistics button and you can see what prices those exact editions have sold for, with low, median and high values. You can also look on the release pages and see what current prices they're going for. This won't help you grade the records, but will give you a better idea than looking up all the "close enough" editions on Amazon.

If the vinyl looks pristine, I would just try to pick out the most valuable, unusual ones to sell individually through Discogs, and unload the other 90% at the local record store for whatever they will give me.

Also, don't stack the records up in a big pile like you have in your eBay photo; they will warp. Store them vertically, like books on a shelf.
  • Last Edit: 28 August, 2013, 04:25:13 AM by mjb2006

  • cliveb
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Passed Away Grandmother's Vinyl Collection
Reply #2
I don't have any advice about where to sell them, but I do have one comment. The picture on your eBay listing shows the LPs stacked up in a pile. This is the worst possible way to store records, and any collector who might otherwise be interested will be put off. Have they been like this for long? If they have, then the damage is probably done. If not, get them stored on edge and with slight sideways pressure to keep them upright.

Passed Away Grandmother's Vinyl Collection
Reply #3
You'll get the most value if you sell them individiually on Discogs and/or eBay (Buy-it-now, not as an auction), carefully grading each record according to the Goldmine grading standards and identifying the exact version. (E.g., an initial release may sometimes go for ten times as much as a recent reissue. In any case, collectors will want to know the exact version.)

If you price them at close to the average sales prices (given condition), expect that it'll take you at least a year to sell them off. You'll make a LOT more, though, by selling them individually. Generally speaking, rare and much-wanted releases sell off relatively quickly. Records which are in ample supply sell off slower, even if you priced them more aggressively.

If you don't have the time to ship off close to 375 packages (if you list the vinyl individually, most of your orders will consist of a single item), you can do a combination of individual sales and bulk sales. Basically, list all items individually for some time (note that sales are cyclical, peaking in the fourth and first quarters of the year). What doesn't sell within that time frame, you package by genre or release date into groups of 5-25 records and auction off on ebay.
  • Last Edit: 28 August, 2013, 04:16:56 AM by aztec_mystic

  • 2Bdecided
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Passed Away Grandmother's Vinyl Collection
Reply #4
You'll make a LOT more, though, by selling them individually.
Only if the monetary value of your time is zero.

Bulks lots on eBay go for silly low prices, unless you've adequately highlighted the desirable items and reliably described their condition.


Passed Away Grandmother's Vinyl Collection
Reply #5
You'll make a LOT more, though, by selling them individually.
Only if the monetary value of your time is zero.

When I said "you make a lot more," I meant that the revenue will be higher. I didn't suggest his utility will be higher (although I guess one could read that into my post). Obviously, if you list single items, you need to reserve an hour or so a week for shipping (shipping once a week is fine for private sellers on Discogs). You'll also need to reserve some time for order processing. But that's not as time-consuming as it used to be, nowadays even Discogs can calculate postage and send invoices automatically.

In any case, your statement is wrong. It isn't hard to find a counterexample where the value of your time is strictly positive but small enough such that it is optimal to sell individual vinyls. In most models, to a first approximation, the value of your time equals your wage. So if the extra revenue you get from selling individually rather than in bulk is relatively large, and your wage is relatively small, selling piece-by-piece will be optimal.

  • gottogo99
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Passed Away Grandmother's Vinyl Collection
Reply #6
Having sold hundreds of records in the past couple years on eBay, I recommend that you first check their completed listings for some of the titles you would like to sell.  Most common LPs aren't worth much.  How much is ~20 minutes of your time per LP worth to properly photograph it, write a description, package it, and mail it?  $10?  If you have a lot of free time and want to spend it selling records, go for it.  Otherwise haul them off to the local used shop for whatever they will give you.

Probably the best approach is to determine if you have anything valuable per eBay completed listings or and sell those on eBay.  Take the rest to a local records store and take whatever they offer.