Most of us record collectors out there accumulate our albums because we love the sound of our favorite artists and songs charmingly played by the needle of our home record player. But if you've been collecting records for some time, have been given an old family vinyl collection, or maybe even have gotten lucky at a thrift shop or estate sale, you're maybe curious how much your current collection is really worth. But how do you know a vinyl record's value?
If you’re interested in a quick number, the average new record costs between $20-$30. You’ll see this when you browse through all of our selection of vinyl records from new releases to our exclusive collection. But if you're considering the possibility of selling any of the records you own, those could be worth more than the price of some new albums. So if you’re wondering how much are vinyl records worth, let’s take a look!
First off, there’s a whole art and science to the pricing and appreciation of vinyl records. That being stated, the most valuable records are among the rock 'n roll, blues, soul, and jazz genres. Among these genres, records that were produced in the decades of the 1950s and the 1960s have the highest value. Although older records may intrinsically hold some level of value, it's not necessarily the age of a record that makes it worth more than others. The value of vinyl records is attributed to a fairly unique combination of multiple factors.
Probably the most important of these factors is the condition of the record itself. An original vinyl copy of an older album that is sealed will have a significantly higher value than one of the same albums that have already been opened. Maybe that's a bit obvious. However, if you combine a record in excellent condition with a special factor such as an autographed copy or a limited release, the value continues to rise.
Another factor of a record’s worth is how rare it is. If you happen upon an album by a legendary artist recorded before they became famous, you might have a gold mine. A rare record by Elvis Presley, original pressings by the Rolling Stones, or an original copy by Pink Floyd could be sold for very high prices. Sometimes even whether an album is a mono or stereo version can attribute to its rarity. The most valuable vinyl records are those that are unique, one-of-a-kind pressings or releases. Colored vinyl, picture discs, limited editions, rare picture sleeves, and test pressings from record companies tend to be more valuable than the regular black mass pressings found in many record stores and those played on radio stations.
Judging a Record's Condition
Although judging the condition of a vinyl record can be somewhat subjective, there is a standardized rating system to help buyers and sellers be more objective. This system is helpful to those who buy and sell used records online from retailers like eBay.
Vinyl records are rated based on their condition from poor condition to mint condition. If a used record is given a poor (P) rating, it means it most likely has significant wear and tear, will probably skip, and could even damage the needle of a record player. A good (G) rating means the record is probably a bit worn but should still play decently and shouldn’t skip. A vinyl that has been cared for well will get a very good (VG) rating although it could have some minor scratches but wouldn’t affect the quality of the sound. Finally, for an album to be considered in mint (M) condition, then it essential should be a pristine and near-perfect record.
Evaluating a Record Collection
If you’re curious about how much your vinyl records are worth, try using Discogs. They offer a record price guide to help you estimate the value of your vinyl collection. You’ll begin with the Catalog Number on a record–find this on the album sleeve or pressed on the inner ring of the vinyl. From there, search for a barcode number which then helps you find out the specific release version of an album. Next, access Discogs data for the prices that copies of your specific records are going for and even the likelihood it will appreciate over time.
You could, of course, seek a professional appraiser to determine the value of your record collection, but that will likely cost you more money than it's worth, especially if you're a new collector or have a more modest collection.
Valuing Your Records
Ultimately, unless you are an avid buyer and seller, what makes a vinyl record valuable to you is up to you. Whether a record is worth something is more than just how much you can sell it for. A record might be valuable to you because it was a gift from a friend, it was purchased at a live concert, or it was passed down from a family member. If you enjoy listening to any of your vinyl collection, it has value!
With record sales increasing, it's a great time to continue growing your collection, and if you’re not sure what to buy next, look up what your most-listened to albums or artists are. If you want to be the first to own a new album, check out what’s available from our pre-orders. And if you really want to collect some amazing exclusive vinyl, join The Magnolia monthly vinyl club to receive new records on your doorstep every month.