by Greg Dale
Here’s the simple answer. It isn’t. It’s ridiculously cheap.
A private posting on a website this week gave me pause, and it has stuck with me all week. An obviously irate vinyl buyer/collector/dealer, I was unsure which angle the person was coming from as they were rather distressed, posed the question, in a few extra words, why has second hand vinyl become so exorbitantly expensive? He blamed unscrupulous dealers, Discogs, Popsike, well everything short of El Nino, for the horror, yes the Horror, that has become the used vinyl world, and I think he meant specifically locally, and probably more specifically the social media vinyl sites.
So to delve deeper into this, I decided to find an average vinyl price on just one site, my default site, and use that as the yardstick of just what used vinyl actually costs. Just as a background to my test sample, this site, and others like it, in my humble opinion, has a very good range of excellent quality records available most days, and a very good ratio of import pressings to local pressings. It could rightfully be considered a good example of well-graded good quality albums bought and sold by a knowledgeable, honest, and frankly friendly lot.
A few minutes of work, and here it is. Over a 48 hour period this week, the average price of a second hand VG+ graded record, which I consider to be just perfect for inclusion in either a listening or collecting collection, was ……..
A whopping R88-13.
I had intended, once I had the average, to list hundreds of items below that are equivalent or more expensive to my average, but I really hadn’t expected the figure to be so bloody low, so that completely nullified the need for didactics. But as a starting point, I used the same method to average ‘new’ pressings, ie, re-issues, sealed or not, on the same site, over the same period.
That figure, R230-00.
In short, buyers are willing to part with 300% more for a record that was pressed more recently, yet are incredibly picky about the plant, country of pressing, pedigree of older records, and are increasingly vocal about it.
I’m going to stop there for this entry, leaving the figure of R88-13 hanging, and end by saying that in my current reckoning, the only people getting screwed in this transaction are the sellers, maybe they should bump up anything over VG+ to the price of its equivalent reissue and see how that goes for a week.
Now I’m going to go and slide my treasured (used) Dollar Brand out of its rice paper inner, and spend another precious hour with a pristine 40 year old record that cost more to Postnet to myself than it did to buy. Why are goddam second hand records so cheap?