Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Readers' Poll: Best Bargain Find

This week's Readers' Poll question takes a detour from the usual "reference recording" to ask you:

Which album in your collection would you consider to be your greatest "bargain find"?

Is it that $1 blue-back original wide-band Decca found at the used book sale?  Blue and silver Columbia SAX for less than 1 GBP at the local thrift shop?  We've all had at least one of these hidden treasure discoveries and we'd love to hear about yours!

40 comments:

  1. A few instances come to mind:

    Stone Ridge used book sale 2003, where arriving early at 5:30am with my buddy Eric in the cold and rain paid off. Found an ED1 copy of Decca SXL 2011 for $1. NM copy of RCA LSC-2330 shaded dog also for $1. I know Eric also walked away with at least one Decca and one EMI white/gold for $1 apiece.

    Chicago Midwest Record Collectors Show 2003 or 2004, when I found a NM copy of Columbia SAX 2588, semi-circle first pressing, (Klemperer conducting Stravinsky's Pulcinella and Symphony in Three Movements) for $5 at a jazz dealer's table.

    Ebay, 2013, when stumbling through a rock/pop dealer's listings, I found a copy of Columbia SAX 2264 (Oistrakh and Fournier performing Brahms' Double Concerto), blue/silver pressing, in NM condition for $3 as a buy-it-now.

    2004, while at a friend's relative's home who was selling off records, there just happened to be a copy of Kenny Dorham's Una Mas (Blue Note 4127), mono NY USA pressing in excellent condition, for 75 cents.

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  2. Maybe Philips 412 414 5LP/Digital - Mozart Sonatas Grumiaux/Klein - NOS.
    Less than 50c...<$1000 currently - let me know when this Investment Opportunity is $10,000.
    Also, it's not some dodgy old 'NM' LP - repeatedly played on an Autochanger @ 6+grams - then newly 'cleaned' using Isopropanol

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    1. Very nice find, Tin Ear! Dodgy old or not ... that's a rarity and a gem in just about any condition.

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    2. Haha and you're complaining about UK album condition. Autochanger at 6 grams is the standard playback in the US!

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  3. My best buys that really stand out have generally been new material that has appreciated. Its hard to judge on this, but I can say right now that I am kicking my own behind on some of the Chesky material and the Classic Records Mercury reissues.

    A most satisfying recent buy has been much of the World Record club albums of EMI material that AndyW, Tin Ear, and Aqlam helped on.

    I've not written on it, but some of the Nonesuch releases are quite astounding records and I'm inordinately pleased with a number of them.

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    1. Didn't you buy all those Classic Records RCA issues when they first came out? I believe you are sitting on a Royal Ballet Gala somewhere ...

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    2. Yes those and some Reference Recordings have some value.

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  4. Depends if monetary or musical value. For the former I picked up at a charity shop Sibelius VC with Ricci, LSO and Fjeldstad on a grooved WB Decca SXL 2077 in near mint condition. The Bloch VC is a discovery I much enjoy, Menuhin with Philharmonia and Kletzki. A mono HMV release ALP 2035.

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    1. Gosh, I would've loved to find that Ricci Decca in a charity shop. As you might imagine, it's quite a bit rarer to stumble upon these in the US. The only Deccas I've found for a dollar were at used book sales in more affluent towns in the US.

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  5. On a cold and dark February afternoon a couple of years ago, I made a stop at one of the local thrift shops on my way home from work. A very nice place that lights candles and offers hot coffee during winter time. I immediately noticed the LP boxes of recent arrivals were filled and started flipping slowly through the rows with great excitement. I really love this part of record collecting.

    A few albums in and the distinctive red letter gold stereo sticker appeared, a blue silver SAX 2345 Mahler/Kletzki in excellent condition. I have a special love for Mahler's music and a still growing Mahler collection, so this put a huge smile on my face.

    Then I looked down and right behind the SAX I saw two porcelain figures staring at me alongside the words 'Bach', 'Mozart' and 'Gioconda De Vito'. Black letter stereo at the top. I carefully looked at the back of the cover and sure enough, HMV ASD 429. Original innersleeve, cream gold label. Excellent condition as well.

    I left the shop with these two gems along a few other collectibles all for the price of a candy bar. I don't think I'll ever top that day for 'greatest bargain find'.

    I also often think back to a great find the following month that same year, when I left a charity shop with four of my now favourite records all for a buck each, blue silvers SAX 2342 Mendelssohn/Klemperer and SAX 2406 Mozart/Civil/Klemperer, gold cream ASD 388 Bizet/Lalo/Beecham and Nonesuch H-71291 Varèse Percussion Music.

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    1. Thanks for the stories -- I love them! I think it would be hard to beat that Giaconda De Vito discovery. There's something about finding these rare and priceless albums for less than a dollar that seems to make the finds even sweeter. It's far more satisfying than dishing out dozens to hundreds of dollars on the flea-bay.

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    2. Wonderful stories. So is your nonesuch US pressed? The ASD Bizet, my semi is stampers 8/10, what is yours?

      I remember finding a nice record at an odd thrift store in a neighboring city and then going back and never finding the place less than a year later. Still bugs me.

      ASD 429 might be worth $5000! In the US such a find is really not possible as UK incredibly rare here.

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    3. In 2002, I flew to New Orleans for a conference and discovered a charming bookstore there called Beckham's Books, which happened to also stock used classical records. Found a few inexpensively-priced items there on that trip, but when I called back one year later, it happened to be just after a local collector had decided to unload his classical collection onto the shop. I was able to phone-order about 40 of the rarer RCA shaded dogs, Mercury Living Presence, and London bluebacks, all in excellent condition. Unfortunately, I haven't touched base with them since then, but I was very happy to hear that the shop survived Katrina in 2005.

      When I lived in Chicago, there were some really great record stores there, too. Many of them still exist, though a few have since closed their doors. Chicago's a great record town.

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    4. My Varése Nonesuch is a US pressing, sterling stamped and pressed at Specialty. I have a number of Nonesuch in my collection, all found at thrift stores and flea markets. All are US pressed. I wonder if all Nonesuch in Europe are in fact imported US pressings? The ones I own all have very good to excellent sonics, some of them at an audiophile level.

      Looking at the g/c ASD Bizet and it has the same stampers as yours Meles, -8/-10. Mother/stamper numbers on mine are 2R and 1R.

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    5. Wow. Thanks for the Bizet intel and more evidence of EMI reusing stampers. I'll have to check that one out more closely. 2A/1P on mine. Looks like mother 1 on side 1 did not make it to production. GRAMOPHLTD very similar to BUCKINGHAM lettering so R is very good and denotes the 2nd stamper made from the mother. Mine are back a bit, but no guarantees on which might be best as the 1xt record of the later stamper could beat the last record off an earlier stamper. This is why if you've got a record you really like, it can be quite dubious to chase a better pressing by the numbers. You've probably already got a "hot" pressing which it sounds like is the case for you. The G stamper might have had issues and never made production and so you might very well have the best sounding copy in the world! Haha. Enjoy.

      I collect Nonesuch and those are US pressings and very audiophile level. Nonesuch is consistently pretty good much like Decca, but maybe not to the level of the Lyrita efforts as a whole. The earliest glossy Nonesuch can be quite interesting especially if the cover says virgin vinyl on the back. These are miraculously quiet (unlike the RCA surface) and have some zippy treble signature much of the time, but very effective tube sound done by American Decca with typeset matrix lettering (no relation to British at that point whatsoever.) A lot of these are French Club Francais Du Disque recordings and it would be interesting to hear the original French records if they even exist.

      Most of the later Nonesuch after about 200 are cut by the great Robert Ludwig, first with Sterling Sound and later Masterdisk. Look for the initials RL by the respective logos. I generally favor the original pressings, but some of the reissues done in this range might have some merit especially for H70125-200 range (originals hand written lettering), but I've not really done the comparisons to form a great conclusion.

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  6. There's probably too many to list here but I have good memories of the first quite valuable one I found which was SAX 2323 and cost £1.
    A surprise find was SAX 2566 and SXL 6426 for £1 each in an upmarket antique shop where prices for everything else were crazy
    33CX 1878 for 20 pence was another good find given how much the stereo version SAX 2521 goes for and with Chopin's preludes I think the mono is preferable

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    1. Those are indeed some great finds. The Kogan SAX is such a rare and expensive item. Kogan is my favourite violinist and the Tchaikovsky VC is at the top of my personal 'dream' wish list.

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    2. Was that Kogan the blue/silver pressing?!?

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    3. Yes, blue and silver label with big wonky Stereo on the cover. Record is near mint but cover has a little water damage

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  7. The biggest find I have so far in my 29 years of collecting is a Mint Copy of RCA LSC-2436 Pines of Rome 1S/1S and a Mint Copy of Mercury's SR-90006 Love for three Oranges Suites FR1/FR1 for a total of $2. That might not be the biggest catch I have in the past but by far the most exciting one - I just can't believe my luck.

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    1. I've got the original Mercury. You should get on ebay and look for seller Postitos. He has the great classic reissue for $20 new the last I looked.

      1S Pines is huge. I've never fallen in love with the Classic reissue so that one is quite the catch.

      Haha. You need to sign up for Blogspot user as we seem to have several anonymous posters!

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    2. Holy smokes ... the 1s/1s and FR1/FR1 in mint condition for $2? You hit the jackpot that day! I'm scared to hear what was your biggest catch!

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  8. My best find was a perfect, unplayed copy of the Accardo Rossini 6 Sonate A Quattro 2LP box (Philips 6769 024) on a bottom shelf at record shop in Salem, OR. Paid $3 (full price!). Sold for $1,200 a few weeks later.

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    1. Haha. Not an RCA, so you cashed in. Its a smart thing to do if you just don't love a record, but I must say things change with equipement changes. I've never been much of a seller, but planning to fire up on that soon. With 10,000 LPs its just too much.

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    2. I sell the expensive stuff so I can justify buying all the cheaper records I want. I'm sure I will miss some titles as my tastes and system evolve, but quality of sound and performance can be found at all price levels (e.g., Mercury Golden Imports, RCA Reader's Digest, WRC, Nonesuch, Everest, Philips, etc.). If you can find the time, you'll get way more money selling the really good stuff one-by-one sooner rather than selling an amazing collection later (you can't take it with you). Also, I don't have to worry about scratching a $1K record if I don't have any :).

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  9. Hi,

    When I was working at a university in south Wales I used ta do my regular "chuck out" run back to my parent's home in Liverpool.

    It started at Paddy's Market in Cardiff and travelled through the stunning Brecon Beacons to Hay-on-Wye, the world's capital of second hand books, where there was the "Performing Arts Bookshop - they didn't know the value of vinyl - mostly classical, all priced at £1.25. Here I would purchase vinyl at a yard a go. I would reckon I must have purchased at least 10% of my 5,000 vinyl collection here.

    After this stop I would then travel on through the stunning Welsh borders to the beautiful little town of Bishop's Castle where I would visit Yarborough House - unfortunately, they knew the value of what they stocked. Would always look in the "chuck out box" - invariably find some obscure titles that no-one wanted and that I had not heard of. A bit of hit and miss, but very educational.

    These purchases kept me going for a month or two, then another visit back to Mum and Dad would restock my shelves - oh happy days.

    My most treasured purchases were of Reader's Digest albums of classical and light music which could be purchased in excellent condition at prices as low as £1.00 per box set of 12 discs. I treasure these because I was always hankering after them when I was in my formative years of collecting, and could't afford them then.

    Happy memories.

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    1. I'd like to get my hands on some Decca pressed Reader's Digest. We may have to do a thread on that some day. The US pressings are quite good from RCA, but Reader's Digest may be the cheapest way to compare the whole Decca recording/US Pressing versus Decca/Decca UK RCAs.

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  10. Again,

    Any readers located in England, near to Shropshire and want all of my duplicate vinyl? Currently I have 80 LPs with a high % of WRC, mostly stereo in good condition. I would cherish giving them to someone who will value the vinyl, as I have done over many years of ownership. Do not ask for a listing - just take a chance! Very little or no Bach and mostly orchestral.

    I have only got to Mahler in my traversal of my 5,000 LPs, so I know many more duplicates will become available for someone to collect.

    As they say, WATCH THIS SPACE!

    Cheers,

    Douglas (UK)

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    1. HAHA. Sign me up, I love my most recent WRC haul, but we'd have to figure out shipping to the US. I might be able to reciprocate with some US stuff. I've got a lot more than 80 doubles. There are shipping options where 40 records or so might go cheap enough to the US from the UK.

      It would be nice if you got a local collector going.

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    2. Hi Meles,

      So sorry Meles, I do not want to get into the hassle of shipping to the States - also do not want anymore vinyl - I have much too much now - a "millstone around my neck".

      I prefer digital or CD versions now - less space and (for me) better sound and convenience.

      Hopefully there are some readers of this blog in the UK who will respond, otherwise it is the amenity dump!!

      Very much appreciate your reply.

      Cheers,

      Douglas (UK

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    3. I know the feeling. Selling records is a lot like work. Charity donations are great in the US as you can write them off taxes. Your kind of returning the fish to the thrift stream for others to discover.

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  11. I have spent years trawling through thrift stores, so many of my great finds were $1. I think the three most exciting: A stereo copy of Royal Ballet, the Furtwangler Urania issue of the Eroica, and my favorite Bach album -- Agnelle Bundervoet on the Ducretet Thompson label. (93051). As I recently turned 50, I have decided that spending time crawling on dirty floors and inhaling moldy dust is not how I most enjoy spending time. :)

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  12. My best bargain. For one euro in a charity shop in Aix en Provence south of France I found a mint record cited in the divinity by A Salvatore fourth anf fifth brandebourg on timegate recording with pete mcGrath as sound engineer with mark levinson equipment. Not the best version but amazing sound.

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  13. A couple of mine...
    Once I walked by a public library about 10 years ago and they were basicly unloading records and shoving them in boxes on the ground outside! I ended up with about 500 lps of early music, Musique de la Grèce antique was one of them, about 300 very variable turnabouts, loads of decca lxt not many sxl sadly, but the real biggy was at a car boot sale I came across an old hmv gramophone and under it were 3 huge boxes of 78s, 4 national gramophonic set, long playing ravel, probbably 30 menuin 78s and that wasn't even counting all the classic album/book sets...

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    1. It sounds like you hit a jackpot that day. Our public library here does sell LPs from time to time, and it is fun to peruse. I used to hit the local Friends of the Library shops, which often had large stores of used records. The trips were hit or miss, but every once in a while, a gem would pop up.

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  14. Ironic thing! Just scored a dozen UK WRC Classical LP discs in splendid condition. And once cleaned, should play beautifully. Made up for spasticity being less than good, myself being very stiff and crouchy gait wise. Worth the gimpy hike for this haul, paid $12.50 for all.

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    1. Congratulations on the finds! We'd love to hear you report back on the titles you purchased and your thoughts about the music and sound quality.

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  15. I collected classical LPs when I was a student in the 80's, spending far too much time in Gramex in London, and Rare Records/Gibbs in Manchester. I had to sell most of my collection when I moved to France in 2000 as I simply didn't have the space to take it with me. Fifteen years later I found myself in a 'kringloopwinkel' (2nd hand shop) in Amsterdam, casually browsing the 2nd hand records, for old times sake as much as anything else. I had no plans to buy anything, when suddenly I came across the name Gioconda De Vito, a name which I hadn't heard of since my collecting days. The record in question was her recording of the Cesar Franck sonata (10 inch BLP 1087), which I knew was quite rare. I also found int the same shop a Dutch pressing of Johanna Martzy playing the Brahms Concerto (33CX 1165). This was a pivotal moment for me as it got me collecting again, and 2 years later I am once again running out of space!!! Delighted to find your blog!

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    1. Dear Jonathon,

      Thanks so much for checking out our blog and sharing your story! Both of those records are amazing "bargain bin" finds! How's the record scene in France these days?

      Sincerely,
      AQL

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  16. Don't have much time to check out the scene in France, though did come across a shop in Paris near Chatelet that was stacked wall to ceiling with records, it was almost impossible to move! Sadly didn't have time to really investigate their collection, but when I'm back I will check it out properly. Still hunting in Amsterdam and back in the UK!

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