When it comes to setting the mood for any occasion, many music fans turn to their turntables. Record collecting remains extremely popular even in the era of CDs and iPods. Buying rare records, though, requires research, and it all starts with price guides for rare records.
Print Price Guides
When it comes to rare records, a host of print guides offer collectors pricing information. None is more authoritative than the Goldmine magazine price guide series published by Tim Neely, who has more than 30 years of experience as a record collection. His personal collection includes more than 20,000 albums. Neely wrote the Goldmine Record Album Price Guide, which comes in paperback. The world's best-selling record price guide, published in 2007, features 688 pages of information on 70,000 vinyl albums recorded between 1948 and 2007.
While Neely's guide, one of many he has written, provides information about both common and rare records, another print guide covers only the rare breed. The Rare Record Price Guide, published by Record Collector Magazine, features more than 1,400 pages dedicated to rare record pricing. The publisher releases a new guide each year in both paperback and limited-run hardback.
While not officially a price guide, many collectors gauge the value of their records by following auction sales of identical and similar records. Rare records often sell through auction houses, but online auction sites such as eBay are extremely popular sources of information on what collectors are paying for certain records. In August 2009, eBay listed more than 25,000 records under the search terms "rare record." The bid reserve price on many started at more than £650.
Online Price Guides
Many record collecting websites also offer price guides for rare records. For example, the website Popsike--www.popsike.com--provides a searchable database of thousands of online auctions, including many that take place via eBay.
Popsike members rate the auctions based on winning bid prices. Members can choose from five different responses: very high price, high price, average price, low price and very low price. As the site says, the most meaningful auction results are those that receive the greatest number of votes. The site notes that the prices might not reflect a record's true value, bu tit does show what collectors are paying for certain records at a given time.