Goldmine’s Price Guide to Collectible Record Albums
Krause Publication, 1989 (first edition)
I CONFESS that I allowed myself to be wooed by Krause Publications. This was 1988 and it was a reasonably easy decision. Along with a book division, Krause publishes Goldmine magazine, then the number one record collectors magazine in the world. Goldmine and Umphred seemed natural, right. And so it was!
After O’Sullivan Woodside closed its doors for business, I foundered for a while. I considered self-publishing more price guides, but this was difficult as such an endeavor was a rather expensive proposition prior to the Internet and Print-on-Demand. 1
So a conversation with Krause served both our interests at the time.
Unfortunately, Krause allowed me no say on how the cover for my book would look. Hence this rather pedestrian design. The good folks in Iola finally gave me input on the cover for fifth (and final) edition of my book, discussed below.
KP and I agreed that the flagship book had to be one focused on LP albums, easily the the most collected format. The first edition of Goldmine’s Price Guide To Collectible Record Albums was the result.
Like my OW book, it covered many musical genres although it favored rock and related genres. Also like the OW book, the Goldmine book only listed records manufactured in the United States.
And like the OW book, I continued in the same directions by adding new titles and pressing variations to existing artist discographies, while introducing new artists. And of course I continued with my ‘pricing’ system, although I felt less concern for any sticker-shock that this new book might cause my readers. Still, I constrained myself a bit.
Consequently, while common records again saw their assigned values lowered modestly, I adjusted the values of the rare and desirable items to whatever I believed best represented their real market value.
Collecting record albums
Here is the opening paragraph from my introduction to this book (found on page 6):
“As anyone who has been active in the field of record collecting in the past few years will attest, there is a real need for a single book addressing the general state of the current market. That is, a book that covers the major portion of field and provides reasonable discographical information with accurate prices.
Goldmine’s Price Guide To Collectible Record Albums was created for that general market: included here is virtually every genre of collectible records with the exception of instrumentals (most pop and all jazz) and classical music, each of which requires a book of its own.” 2
Of course, I should have worded that differently: the first sentence should have read, “As anyone who has been active in the field of collecting record albums.” Obviously, the people who collecting 78s or 45s exclusively
What’s here and what’s not here?
A few paragraphs into the introduction I asked this question: So what’s not here? I answered it with one word: Lots.
“There is no attempt at completeness: rather, the reader will find approximately 20,000 listings that cover, more or less:
1. the most collectible records in the business (excluding promos);
2. those records that change hands the most often; and
3. those records most in need of attention at this time.”
The book also included an article titled “Gold And Platinum Record Award Collecting” by Christopher Chatman. This was the first article to to explain to the average collector the intricacies of buying authentic RIAA Gold and Platinum Record Awards. In some respects, this was the most important single feature in the book!
A second article titled “How Much Is It Worth?” by Gary Johnson of Rockaway Records addressed basic questions of supply, demand, and condition in assessing value to a record.
Top 10 most valuable albums (1989)
I also included a list of “The 100 Most Valuable Albums” that were listed in the book. Here are the Top 10 as I found them then:
Yesterday And Today (Capitol ST-2553)
Stereo. First state butcher cover 3
The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (Columbia CL-1986)
Mono. Original pressing with deleted tracks 4
Diamond Dogs (RCA APL1-0576)
Stereo. The Bowiedog’s genitals are visible on the cover 3
The Beatles And Frank Ifield On Stage (Vee Jay LPS-1085)
Stereo. Rainbow label with Love Me Do and ad-back cover 3
Introducing The Beatles (Vee Jay LPS-1062)
Stereo. Rainbow label with Love Me Do and ad-back cover 3
Aloha From Hawaii Via Satellite (RCA VPSX-6089
Quad. Chicken Of The Sea “Sneak Preview” sticker on jacket
Ike & Tina Turner
River Deep, Mountain High (Philles PHLP-4011)
Mono. American pressing withdrawn shortly after release
The Beatles Vs. The Four Seasons (Vee Jay DXS-30)
Stereo. Double-album 3, 5
Yesterday And Today (Capitol T-2553)
Mono. First state butcher cover 3
Introducing The Beatles (Vee Jay LP-1062)
Mono. Rainbow label with Love Me Do and ad-back cover 3
Billy Ward & The Dominoes
Billy Ward & The Dominoes (Federal 295-94)
Mono. Ten-inch album
The last twenty-six records on the list shared a value of $300. Today, a list of the one hundred most valuable albums such as this one would all top the thousand dollar figure.
The book was an immediate hit
Krause was a bit uncertain about the waters into which they were about to wade, so this first edition was a slender one—a mere 384 pages in length. Due to this limitation, I was not able to include a section at the back of the book for the most collected rock soundtracks and various artists albums.
Goldmine’s Price Guide To Collectible Record Albums was published in 1989 and was an immediate hit, selling considerably more copies than the people at Krause had anticipated.
And that was that for then . . .
My fifth and final edition
By the time that I did my final edition for Krause, a lot had changed: the book was now more than 600 pages in length and I was given control of the cover!
Click here to read more about that book.
After the huge sales of this book, they saw the error of their ways and the second edition was 606 pages.
About my other books
There are eight articles on this site explaining the various books I published for record collectors. They are best read in the following order, which is roughly chronological:
1 “Print-on-demand is a printing technology and business process in which copies of a book (or other document) are not printed until an order has been received, allowing books to be printed singly, or in small quantities. While build-to-order has been an established business model in many other industries, POD developed only after digital printing began.” (Wikipedia)
2 I did get around to doing a jazz album guide for Goldmine; you can read about that on this site also.
3 Factory-sealed copies of this album were worth considerably more than the listed values!
4 A minute first pressing of THE FREEWHEELIN’ BOB DYLAN included Gamblin’ Willie’s Dead Man’s Hand, Let Me Die in My Footsteps, Rocks and Gravel, and Talkin’ John Birch Blues. All subsequent pressings replaced these with four different tracks. In 1989, stereo copies of this album (Columbia CS-8786) with the four original tracks were not known to exist. They do.
5 Vee Jay 30 was issued with a large, fold-open poster that is worth hundreds of dollars separate from the album!
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