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Estimating the value of your records

There are various methods in which you can estimate the value of your vinyl recordings. Some are simple, others require a certain amount of leg-work. Whether you are buying, selling, or just curious about the value of your collection, it's important that you take the time, and do your homework. After all...the more research you do now, will either save you or make you money in the long run.

Price Guides

Using published record price guides is perhaps the most common and easiest method for establishing the value of your recordings. Available from a number of sources, price guides can be obtained at full retail price, discounted price, or used for free.

Local book stores will usually offer a number of price guides and collector's catalogs. If you find that the selection is limited, they will order a specific guide for you...if still in print. The major advantage of purchasing a book from the local book store is the ability to actually view the item that you are about to purchase. You may decide that, after flipping through the pages, the guide is not suited to your needs. Where as by buying off the internet, you don't have that luxury.

Online book outlets make it easy, you just let your fingers do the shopping! Plus, they usually have a far greater variety of price guides and collector's books to choose from. Because of low overhead, or their cost to operate a business, they can often offer merchandise at a discount. Additionally, if the company is operating outside you own state, the sale is usually "tax free". Although any tax benefit, may be offset by the cost of shipping.
Two of the largest online book stores are and Barnes and Noble.

The library will sometimes carry a price guide or two. If they don't have the book you want, perhaps they can have a copy transferred from another library within the region. Although the guide may not be a current edition, it's use is free.

Record Stores

The local record store may be an excellent source of information. Either by browsing the bins, looking for the same or similar discs that you have in your collection. Or just by asking the salesperson behind the counter.

The online record store may offer similar advantages as the local record store. Most frequently, online dealers will have a listing of the records that they have in stock. Or, if their collection is extremely large, they may even offer a search feature.
And like the owner of the local shop, the online dealer may offer a free quote.
Two great places to find online record stores are the Record Collector's Webring and the Cyber Musicsite Webring.

Online Auction Houses

A extremely popular method for the buying or selling records has been the online auction house . There, you can check the final auction price that the record has brought. Although this might not be a true indication of the record's real value, it does show what collector's are paying for certain discs.
There are a number of online auction houses to choose from. But most certainly the largest is

Online Price Guides

Even easier than using published price guides and certainly cheaper, is the use of a online price guide. The only guide that the R.C.Guild is familiar with is Recordmaster.Com.
Using their own words:

"...the Intenet's first music price guide! With over 500,000 listings, this is one of the largest music databases ever written. Thousands of quality cover photos to help determine the exact recording you own. Searchable by song title!"

Although, when visited by the Guild, the listings were a little thin at times, it's still a super easy way to gather information.

The Bottom Line

As with all price's a ballpark figure! A lot has to do with the physical condition and demand for the disc.
The bottom line, as with all collectibles, is that the value of the item is based on what the market is willing to spend. Hopefully, by using some of the sources included on this page, you will be able to establish a fair market value for your disc or collection.

This information was compiled and presented by the Record Collectors Guild.