IN REAL ESTATE, the mantra is Location! Location! Location! It has been associated with that business for so long that it feels like it was invented along with the concept of the realtor. And of course, while the location of a house isn’t everything, it can seem that way when assaying property values or checking out a place to raise one’s family.
In one of my books—all price guides for record collectors—from waaay back in the 1990s, I remarked that a similar mantra could be adopted by collectors: Condition! Condition! Condition!
While the condition of a record isn’t everything, it can seem that way when assaying the relative values of the same record. The original O’Sullivan Woodside price guides for record albums—from way back in the primordial ooze of the 1970s—gave a ratio of 1:4 between records graded VG and graded NM.
Prices being paid for NM records in NM jackets is considerably greater than the prices being paid for lesser condition records and is growing daily.
That is, according to original authors Bruce Hamilton and Jerry Osborne, a VG copy was considered to have one-fourth (25%) the worth of a NM copy of the same record.
By the time of my Goldmine guides of the 1990s, I had widened the gap to a ratio of 1:5. That is, a VG copy was considered to have one-fifth (20%) the worth of a NM copy of the same record.
But the gap between the lesser copies and “top copies” has been growing steadily over the years and has escalated considerably since the introduction of the World Wide Web. At the same time, the definition of Mint has been sharpened considerably by discerning buyers.
Expectations are higher, consequently, the prices being paid for nearly mint records in nearly mint jackets is considerably—and exponentially—greater than the prices being paid for lesser condition records.
RCA Victor LPM-1254 was the most important and influential album of the ’50s—perhaps in rock & roll history. Copies can be found with the title on the front cover in varying shades of pink and green. The top copy above has a pale pink ELVIS and a dark green PRESLEY. The bottom copy has a dark pink ELVIS and a pale green PRESLEY. We are uncertain as to whether this is a variation in first vs. second printings or simultaneous printings by two different printers in two different locations. 1
Elvis meets the Beatles
Let’s use the first LPs by the reigning champs of record sales, Elvis and the Beatles as examples: in today’s Internet market, a first pressing of either ELVIS PRESLEY (RCA Victor LPM-1254 from 1956) or MEET THE BEATLES Capitol T/ST-2047 from 1964) graded VG will not sell for 20% of a NM copy.
Rather, a VG copy of either might sell for perhaps one-tenth (10%) that of a NM copy. That is a 1:10 ratio—and that ratio will continue to grow until a chasm exists between NM and VG.
These same records in VG+ condition might sell for two or three times the VG price, meaning that VG+ has a ratio of 2:10 or 3:10 to a NM copy. This is striking as most of us think of VG+ as being worth approximately half of NM, meaning a ratio of 4:10/5:10.
Similarly, when I researched the article “The haircut picture sleeves of the sixties,” I discovered that while VG+ copies of these sleeves usually sold in that range, a couple of the harder-to-find sleeves (Indescribably Blue and Long Legged Girl) were reaching the 1:10 ratio with collectors paying ten or more times the VG value for truly nearly mint copies. This larger ratio has been true for the rarer Beatles picture sleeves for decades.
Capitol T-2047 (mono) / ST-20467 (stereo), Meet The Beatles, was the most important and influential album of the ’60s—perhaps in rock & roll history. While not as complicated as the Presley album above, copies can be found with BEATLES in the title on the front cover in either brown print or green. 2
Dissemination is the name of the game
Now, what in Grommett’s Wholly Name got me thinking about the above? Well, for those of us writing blogs with small audiences (all three of mine), our mantra might be Dissemination! Dissemination! Dissemination!
Merriam-Webster defines disseminate as “to cause (something, such as information) to go to many people” and that is exactly what each blogger has to do every day. One of the ways in which I attempt to disseminate my writing is via Facebook: I have a regular Facebook page under my name (nealumphred).
A second Facebook page is elvis-atouchofgold and is there to simply to post links to the Elvis articles that I post here. That way, I hope to attract casual Facebook readers to my sites, where they might register as regular readers.
Two of my blogs are set so that whenever I post a new piece on the blog, a link with a teaser paragraph is automatically sent to and posted on Facebook.
HEADER IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page is from the 1970 documentary movie Elvis – That’s The Way It Is. This blue image is actually a form of computer wallpaper, free for the downloading at the Wallpapers Wide website.
1 The color variations also occur on EPA-747 and EPB-1254, the seven-inch EPs that were issued commercially concurrently with the twelve-inch LP. The same exists for the covers of SPD-22 (a two-record set) and SPD-23 (a three-record set) that were given away with the purchase of RCA’s Elvis Presley record players. All of these albums were titled ELVIS PRESLEY.
2 Granted this an article for an all-Elvis site, but by including the Beatles in the article, I pick up extra hits from the search engines, helping to disseminate my writing to an audience that might otherwise remain forever (blissfully?) unaware . . .