I’ve Never Sold A Record
Am I a hoarder? Or, worse, just an amateur vinyl collector?
In Selling Your Records Will Ruin Your Life, Bethlehem Shoals (is that a person) ponders the problems of vinyl collectors in decoding when to prune.
Part of collecting is knowing when to let go. If you’re not willing to admit that something just doesn’t move you, or that dollar value sometimes takes precedence over the inherent value of good music, you’re a hoarder. Curation is an over-used word, but if you don’t curate your collection, you’re little more than a hoarder.
How true or assumptive is this? If I have never sold a piece of my collection, am I hoarding? Or if I have a collection that does not overflow a room, am I not a serious collector?
My vinyl collection is on a boomerang swing. My Mom passed away in 2011. When we cleaned her house out, I took home a footlocker full of the 1970's rock and roll stuff I had purchased as a teenager. Mom was my curator.
For a trivia quiz see of you can tell where I grew up from the bumper stickers I had plastered on the inside of the trunk. Take 10 points off your score if you have to google the answer.
I took these back home to Arizona, along with a box of other vinyl and even some 78s likely that were may parents or grandparent’s music that were on the shelf in her den.
Not long after I got home, a friend in Vancouver tweeted the availability of his turntable, a sweet Realistic Lab-400. Jason likely intended to sell locally, but he was willing to package and ship it my way. I then scored a Pioneer SX-2600 amplifier (with turntable input and pre-amp) at my thrift store for $25. This earned me the purchase of a pair of Andrew Jones designed Pioneer SP-FS52 floor speakers.
I am set.
I’ve added maybe 60 records to my collection since, all thrift and used record store purchases. I am not into prime condition or rare things. I do not anguish over condition or seek mint pieces wrapped in archival plastic. I just want to hear good music, pops and whistles and cracks and all. The most I have spent is maybe $10 on a record.
My collection numbers less than 200 records, not even one shelf long yet. There is stuff I never listen to, but each has some meaning. There is the Paul McCartney and Wings I liked in high school, but does not spin me much now; there are all the Herb Albert ones Mom loved, some ragtime piano and Sousa marches likely that were Dad’s, some old Yiddish comedy ones that I have not even tried yet. Just having what was on their shelf on my shelf makes me feel good.
I am not selling any records.
Of course, if my collection grows beyond that one shelf, perhaps my assertion goes out the window. But there are other ways to curate. I have given away maybe 15, some mailed to a friend in Chicago, others brought as gifts on a recent trip to Canada. I like gifting them much better than selling.
Or I will donate some to my local thrift store. Heck, I might end up buying them back. There is a precedent there.
The end result is, I guess, curation exactly as Mr/Ms Shoals suggests. And I am in line with the tagline “Part of collecting is knowing when to let go”
But it comes off a bit snobbish to suggest if we are not selling records that we are not into our music.
I do not foresee selling any of my records.
(this was written in response to Selling Your Records Will Ruin Your Life the format you get from the link in the original article seem more like a comment. Still trying to figure out my comfort zone on medium).
This was written while listening to JJ Cale’s “5” an album I got three days ago at an antique store in Payson, Arizona called “Granny’s Attic.”
Totally amateur vinyl collector. Happy too.