Rare Record Scarcity Index

The Frank Daniels Rare Record Scarcity Index

WHO IS FRANK DANIELS and what’s a  Rare Record Scarcity Index? I’ll answer that shortly, but first, howzabout a word or ten about Frank Daniels his very self? I have been dancing with Mr D for the past few years, mainly back-and-forthing on Facebook about politics, economics, and topics swept under the rug of ‘social studies’ in classrooms around the country.

We have solved several global crises, although no one has listened to us.


Frank has been contributing to my efforts on my two record collectors sites, (Elvis – A Touch Of Gold and Rather Rare Records) site for a while. He has been collecting records for a long time—since they were making one-sided 78s out of leftover Confederate currency.

Frank has also assisted several authors on their book projects, notably Perry Cox with his Beatles price guide projects.

So the dancing Mr D is hardly an unknown in the hobby of vinyl collecting.


Bruce Spizer’s series of books on the history of the manufacturing of the records of the Beatles in the United States is one of the greatest research projects in the history of record collecting. Each volume is packed with information and each book is manufactured with care using quality paper, image reproduction, binding, etc. And our Mr Daniels was a contributor to the project!

Real vs. perceived scarcity

Several years ago, Frank developed a Scarcity Index that addressed a record’s rarity—the real or perceived availability of the item—rather than its value (as all price guides do).

Frank’s index was initially used only for American-manufactured Beatles records (45s, PSs, EPs, and LPs), as the chart below will make evident. He was able to be this specific with the Fab Four discography due to the obsessively intricate and accurate pressing plant data found in Brice Spizer’s Beatles books.

Scarcer items do tend to be more valuable, but scarcity does not always directly translate into value.

As this kind of data is not available for more than 99% of the records in the world, using Frank’s Scarcity Index system is far less precise when discussing, say, Davie Allan or Aretha Franklin records.

Still, if you put the time into researching what is selling online via Collectors Frenzy and Popsike, you can get a feel for a record’s supply.

So now I end and Frank begins; the following was contributed by him to this site for my readers:


I have introduced a Scarcity Index (SI) to indicate the relative rarity of records. The rating ranges from 1 to 10, with 1 being very common and 10 indicating that fewer than 30 copies are known to exist. An SI rating roughly corresponds to the number of such items that are believed to be extant, and also to the frequency with which such items come up for public sale. These comparisons are shown in the following tables:

SIDescriptorFrequency of Sale
  1Extremely CommonTwice per week
  2Very CommonOnce per week
  3CommonOnce per 2 weeks
  4Relatively CommonOnce per month
  5AverageOnce per 2 months
  6UncommonOnce per 4 months
  7ScarceOnce per 6 months
  8RareOnce per year
  9Very RareOnce per 2 years
10Extremely RareLess than 1 per 2 years


The Scarcity Index for items made after 1980 may be lower than the true index because items that are new enough to be constantly up for sale may not have established collectable status. The frequency with which items come up for sale is also affected by scarcity.

Scarcer items tend to be more valuable. This may increase the desire of their owners to sell them, as it also increases the desire of potential buyers to own them.

Many items that came out during the ’60s were used by teenagers and destroyed. Therefore, while a record that ‘went gold’ in 1963 should be more common than one that did not sell well in 1990, it is possible that there are as few (or as many) extant copies of both records.

It is also the case that records from later periods are more frequently found in higher grades than are records from earlier periods. This phenomenon tends to increase the value of NM (and higher) condition copies of earlier records—even if those records originally sold quite well. Consequently, scarcity does not always directly translate to value.

Frank’s across the universe

To see Frank’s well-researched and easily understood work, click on over to The Frank Daniels Discographies & Labelographies Project. Artists covered include the Ames Brothers, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, The Who, and the inimitable Yogi Yorgesson.

Record companies include Atlantic, Capitol, Columbia, Decca, Essex, MGM, Philles, RCA Victor, Sun, United Artists, Vee Jay, and Warner Brothers with more to come.

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