So you've finally decided to part with that dusty crate of college records. Don't expect sales proceeds from your Creedence Clearwater Revival, Eagles or James Taylor LPs to replenish your stock portfolio. A rare Van Morrison 1968 Astral Weeks album, however, could finance a nice lunch.
The good news: Vinyl is hot with teens and 20-somethings who hang out at used-record stores flipping through stacks of classic rock, punk rock, jazz, funk and soul formerly owned by baby boomers. If you want to sell, store owners will quickly assess your music. They usually pay $1 for what they can use; most of it they can't. The value comes from the number of records produced — or whether the music is obscure and never released on CD.
"The average collection is a box or two full of Elton John, Billy Joel, that kind of stuff," says Johnson Lee, who runs Joe's Record Paradise (www.joesrecordparadise. com) in Silver Spring, Md. "Most of the 1970s albums were so popular they printed millions of copies, but it's weird: For almost every artist there is one specific album that's worth something."
Covers matter. James Brown's 1950s Please Please Please, with the legs on the cover, has sold for $400. (Not many were cut.) The Rolling Stones' 1971 Sticky Fingers album with the zipper on the cover (about $8 to $25) is always popular. Also, says Josh Harkavy of Red Onion Records & Books (www.redonionrecords andbooks.com) in Washington, D.C., college students love putting 1960s and '70s album covers on their walls.
If you hoard cassette tapes waiting for them to go up in value, forget it. At best, they might be worth 10 cents each.
Jura Koncius, Washington Post