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> Any Rhyme Or Reason to Classical 78 Values?
Heypally
post Jul 22 2010, 12:06 AM
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I have come into the possession of what seems to be a ton of classical & opera 78s...singles and sets. I have always heard that they are worthless as far as monetary value. I have looked at completed listings on eBay and have seen some sell rather well and many not sell at all with really low prices.

I personally collect early jazz, blues and hot dance but I couldn't bear to watch these large shiny (E+ condition for 99% of 'em) discs be trashed.

My question is...is there any site or guide as to why some people will pay $30 for a Caruso Victor and another one goes unsold for $1? (Or a set of Stokowski, Kreisler or Heifetz?)
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victrolajazz
post Jul 22 2010, 04:26 PM
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I think the reason lies in the fact that the value of any vintage item (record, book, automobile, etc) is determined more or less upon what someone is willing to pay for it. I know there is the random individual who will pay $30 for the same Caruso that many others won't touch for little or nothing. But taken altogether, there are far more of these records still available, even 90-100 years after their pressing, than there are people who want them. However, you are not going to find this kind of random valuing for instance on a Wolverines Gennett--there are very few of them available and there are so many people who want them to the extent that ANY which become available are going to command a king's ransom without exception. It really is the principle of supply and demand working and also proves that the market works even if we don't always like the results.

Eddie the Collector

This post has been edited by victrolajazz: Jul 22 2010, 04:28 PM
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Heypally
post Jul 22 2010, 05:24 PM
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Thanks for the reply.

I am learning all about eBay and supply & demand right now.

I have a 78 auction on eBay as I type and have had several offers to end it and sell it for upwards of $500. (I just didn't know what I had)

I will not end it as I know it is unethical but I really wish I had started it higher. laugh.gif
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victrolajazz
post Jul 22 2010, 07:01 PM
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QUOTE (Heypally @ Jul 22 2010, 12:24 PM) *
I am learning all about eBay and supply & demand right now.


I have had the same experience, both as buyer and seller on eBay that illustrates my point.

From the point of view of the seller, by all means don't end your auction early for what appears to be a generous offer! Also, it doesn't really matter at what price you start your auction, if the item is something in great demand, the market will work it out to your advantage. In fact, counterintuitively, starting an item at a very small price often ensures that it will be bid much higher than if the bid is started out high. I've told this story before in this forum, but I'll tell it again. I bought a record by the Tar Heel Rattlers in 2005 in an antique shop in Decatur, TX. It's a 20's hillbilly trio of violin, banjo and guitar--I thought I could get close to $100 for this but started it on a 10 day auction at $9.99. On the last day of the auction it was at $250 20 minutes before the auction ended. When the auction ended, the final bid was $2,901! Not only that, the next highest of 13 bids was $2,880 and the one below that was $800, then much lower ones. What I had was the sixth of what had previously been only five known discs to exist of this particular coupling Sally Aim/Got No Sugar Babe Now, recorded in 1927 but issued in a quantity of only 400 in 1932. It went to a big collector in North Carolina. If I had been offered $800 to close the auction, it would have been an awul temptation, and a tremendous bargain for that buyer.

From the point of view of a buyer, a couple of years ago I had been looking for a long time for the California Ramblers Columbia from 1928 The Pay Off. I found it on eBay about three days before an auction ended and it was already at about $50. I was willing to pay a good price for it so entered a snipe of $137.77, thinking it would come in far below that price. When the auction ended, another bidder, one among 12, sniped it away from me for over $200! I was astounded, never imagining a California Ramblers could bring so much money and figured that was my last chance. Amazingly, only about three weeks later I found another copy also in E+ condition listed--again I entered a snipe for $137.77. In a 10 day auction, it only received two bids and I won it for $39! Neither auction "proves" what the value of The Pay Off is, it just shows that certain bidders were looking at it at a particular time and the first time someone wanted it intensely. This would never happen in the case of the Wolverines Gennett because they are so universally desired by so many that even if started at $9.99, the final bid would only be very high or higher.

Eddie the Collector (victrolajazz)

This post has been edited by victrolajazz: Jul 22 2010, 07:02 PM
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Heypally
post Jul 23 2010, 12:35 AM
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I really enjoyed your first story as I am originally from NC and have just barely started seeking old time music such as Charlie Poole and the North Carolina Ramblers. (I'm a sucker for the NC / Tarheel tag)

I search the net constanly looking for those special record hunting stories that makes the jaw drop when they pull out that certain treasure. (I can't tell how many times I have read or watched Joe Bussard finding those Black Pattis) After 15 years of collecting 78s, I finally had my 'jaw dropped' this past summer (twice!) while scouring an old 2 story antique store on the main street of Albany, GA. The owner is trying to sell all of his LPs and 45s so 78s weren't of much interest to him except for Gene Autry and Roy Rogers.

I found a stash of old blues and gospel stacked together in an old felt sack under a table...like they may have been dropped off by an African American family getting rid of "Grandpa's" records.

I was headed to NC on vacation when we stopped and a month later, on our return journey, we stopped again only to find MORE records from obviously the same batch. I need to write it down as a story so I don't forget the goosebumps and palpatations I got when I pulled out that first one.



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