Home Sell Us Your StuffSell Us Your Stuff Case Studies Selling a Vintage Vinyl Records Collection? We’re Listening!

Selling a Vintage Vinyl Records Collection? We’re Listening!

Remember that dealers have to consider value and our time

by Christopher Lancette
Published: Last Updated on

A Virginia woman called us five years ago asking us if we wanted to buy her deceased husband’s record collection. She said he had “a lot” of vintage records and CDs. The Front Royal widow said that she was interested in selling such a vintage vinyl records collection only in bulk. She had no interest in having a dealer cherry-pick the best records and already said no to several dealers before she found us. That would leave her with a collection no one else would buy in one shot. She had no interest in paying to move the collection when she downsized into a smaller house, either.

The seller quickly made it clear that “a lot” to her qualified as “a lot” to dealers like us, too. She estimated her husband had at least several thousand records and who knows how many CDs. From ABBA and the Beatles to the Yardbirds and ZZ Top, he had it all. He also collected a number of beautifully framed Elvis posters, a few Elvis busts, and an assortment of rock and roll memorabilia.

The possibility of purchasing the collection definitely sounded like it was worth us making the drive from Silver Spring, Maryland to her Front Royal home.  Antiques and collectibles dealers like us rarely get our hopes up when we accept an invitation to view someone’s treasures. Most people over-hype what they have. We tend to pass on visiting those kinds of sellers when we hear the hard sales approach on the phone. The smart person selling a vintage vinyl records collection or other great stuff knows a hard pitch isn’t required. Let the stuff do the talking. We’ll know right away if it’s worth our time and money.

The Front Royal seller nailed it. She spoke confidently and without hyperbole, and she delivered. Her husband’s record collection was every bit as large as she described, and the condition even better.

The sight of so many Elvis records also brought back childhood memories of my mom crying when Elvis died.

Large records collection poses challenges for us and the seller

There are always pros and cons of selling in bulk. Same for buying.

Our first concerns weren’t even about the potential sales value of the collection. With that much volume in condition that good, we knew there had to be a sizeable sum in there.

A lot of low-dollar, slush records, to be sure. But there are often a few nuggets of gold in massive collections.

Packing and transporting that many records would be a Herculean feat. The seller’s house sat atop a mountain that we could barely reach in our car. Taking that rollercoaster ride with our moving trucks? Dicey. Would the records all fit in our basement full of inventory or would they have to invade our living space?

We couldn’t even begin to calculate the staggering amount of time it would take us to sell such a massive collection. We could play the short game and try to flip the whole collection quickly and make a nominal profit. Or we could play the long game and sell the records, CDs, and memorabilia one at a time or in small batches on eBay. We could sell in antique malls, sell some to our loyal following of buyers, and hit record shows. We could sell select batches at auction.

Generally, we opt for the quick sale to make a smaller profit and move on.

That many vintage vinyl records plus the CDs and nifty memorabilia including old concert tickets? That could be fun. We would get to listen to a lot of the music while we worked, and maybe keep a few records for our own enjoyment.

Were we willing to do massive amounts of work selling a vintage vinyl records collection?

We honestly weren’t sure. A lot would depend on how much money the seller wanted for the collection.

The negotiation dance began. She didn’t want to throw out a number for fear of scaring us away. We didn’t want to put out the first number for fear of insulting her. We also sensed that if we couldn’t strike a deal on the spot, the next dealer who walked in might make her an offer she couldn’t refuse — leaving us kicking ourselves.

How much of our time and money were we willing to risk to buy a large records collection in bulk?

We asked the seller if we could step outside to talk about it. She said she also needed to step off the haggling dance floor.

Won-ok and I vainly attempted to make some crude estimations of value with pencil and paper based one walk-through. Estimating the labor cost of having our crew and largest truck help us pack and move the collection was easy at least. The amount we decided we were willing to pay felt more the result of a drunken throw of a dart than shrewd business calculation.

It looked like the seller was ready to put her cards on the table, too. We told her that we recognized the collection was the best we had seen and that the condition was fabulous. We don’t try to beat up antiques and collectibles we genuinely want to buy. She told us that she recognized that she had to be willing to give someone a good deal to make it worth all the work.

After a seemingly interminable silence, the seller gave us her number.

Won-ok and I let the number sink in for a minute, recognized that it was a very fair offer and that we wouldn’t feel right about trying to shave off the small difference between her offer and the amount we had in our heads.


Results of selling a vintage vinyl records collection?

A good deal usually results with everyone walking away feeling they gave and they got. We promptly returned with our crew and a large truck that almost toppled off the mountain on the way down. Our purchase of the heaviest and hardest items to deal with in her home enabled her to quickly put her house on the market. A nice deposit in her bank account also helped.

We would end up spending a few years with the collection.  The process took even longer than we expected but we loved the work. We often studied the biographies of the artists while we toiled away. By the time it was all over, we generated multiple times the return on our investment. That had to be a prerequisite for any job that big.

And we’re still rocking to some of those records even as we write this case study!

Contact us today about selling your vintage vinyl records and all kinds of other high-demand collectibles.

Learn more about how to Sell Us Your Stuff 

Find out everything you need to know about selling entire estates in our Estate Liquidation and Downsizing Guide








Related Posts