MY SECOND BOOK for record collectors was the 1985–1986 edition of the Elvis Presley Record Price Guide. Published by O’Sullivan-Woodside, it was the third Elvis price guide under the OW imprint. Except my book was radically different from the earlier editions: I assigned values to the records that actually reflected what they sold for in the marketplace!
The Elvis Presley Record Price Guide boasted one of my favorite covers on any price guide. The records were laid out on a huge roll of gold paper: the space that you see on the cover was approximately 6 x 10 x 12 (six feet wide, ten feet high, and twelve feet deep).
The Elvis Price Guide
The Elvis book did not have the first problem: the previous editions had done an excellent job of documenting most of the variations on American pressings of Presley records. The problem with the Elvis book was almost entirely with the ‘prices.’
The majority of the values were excessive. For the most part, the values seemed to reflect prices from two sources:
A. The panic-buying in the wake of Elvis’s death in 1977. Anyone reading this who was involved in record collecting in the late ’70s will attest to buyers willing to pay any price to get their hands on any Elvis records.
B. Many of those panic-buyers became active Elvis collectors, but they had little interaction with the rest of the world of record collecting. This led to specialized ‘Elvis dealers’ who realized these inflated prices by selling almost exclusively to these inexperienced collectors.
Fortunately, this was a relatively easy issue to deal with in most cases: as I said, I simply lowered the assigned values of hundreds of overpriced titles! Most of these ‘real’ values were easy to ascertain, as they were records that were bought and sold on a regular basis.
As with the OW album book, I was loathed to cause too much sticker-shock with the lowering of values. For the most part, I stayed with the system that I had used with the LP book and cut the values of the overpriced Elvis records by no more than half (50%).
Finding reasonable market values for some of the truly rare and obscure promotional items from the 1950s was a different matter. As part of my research, I bought a few of these high-priced records and then tried to resell them for ‘book value.’
For example, I found a copy of RCA Victor SP-33–10‑P, an untitled promotional sampler from October 1958. This record included King Creole and was therefore of interest to some Elvis completists, although it was of little interest to most Elvis fans.
I found the record at a collector show in Los Angeles in early 1985. Dealer Kip Brown had it displayed on the wall behind his table with an asking price of $400. Kip told me that he really wasn’t sure of its worth, but he did what we all did back then: he took the OW book value, cut it in half, and bargained from there.
The previous edition of the OW Elvis book had SP-33–10‑P listed at $800, so Kip was asking $400. But he had had the record for a while and no one was interested, so he offered it to me for what he had paid for it—a mere $100!
This is how this article opens on all six of my blogs. But having duplicate pages on blogs is a no-no when it comes to Google’s ranking process. To avoid that, I have to send you to another page to read my hopefully entertaining look at my first all-Elvis book. To read the entire article, click here.