Jazz records grab the online auction spotlight

By Susan Sliwicki

A trio of jazz records on the Blue Note label — some frequent flyers, some countdown newbies —  accounted for nearly 40 percent of the total auction dollars spent in this edition’s countdown. Might be time to add a little jazz to your collection …

10. $2,408.33 — The Beatles, “Eight Days a Week,” 7-inch acetate. If you’ve been hunting for a hard-to-find Beatles collectible, this one may well fill the bill. The seller believes this one-sided acetate was manufactured in 1964. To add to its rarity, the seller points out that this U.K. acetate was made for a song that never was released as single in the U.K., but was only available on the “Beatles For Sale” album; the seller’s research didn’t turn up any other samples of this song on an acetate; and that the acetate comes with the original yellow Dick James Music record sleeve, which in and of itself is a rarity. “Dick James acetates were, generally, poorly made and degenerated in quality more quickly than the released vinyl versions,” the seller wrote. “That makes this acetate even rarer still.” The seller stated the acetate was in very good condition, and that it plays with a clear, crisp sound. Seventeen bids were exchanged.

9. $2,450 — Lee Morgan, “Indeed,” LP. Thirty-five bids were swapped before this first-pressing copy of Blue Note 1538 — billed by the seller as “a museum copy of this impossible Blue Note” — found a new home. The seller called the spines and labels “perfect,” graded the cover EX due to some back cover wear, and pronounced the vinyl to be “very, very close to mint, perfect, sound really like new, stunning conditions.”

8. $2,550 — The Personation and Organization, “Future” b/w “Future II”, 45. This single on the CurriCane label earned a split vinyl grade of VG+/NM, due to some light paper scuffs and small pressing bubbles. “Really tough to find local funk record, ‘Future II’ was included on the ‘Midwest Funk’ compilation, and ‘Future’ on ‘Keb Darges’ Legendary Deep Funk, Volume III,’ the seller wrote.

7. $2,586 — Bruce Springsteen, “Point Blank” b/w “Ramrod”, 45. Snagging a copy of this Dutch-pressed Springsteen single (CBS A1489) with a picture sleeve  is to record collecting what spotting a pair of ivory-billed woodpeckers in America is to birdwatching. “This single is impossible to find, and this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance, since this copy is an astonishing EX/EX,” the seller wrote. Sixteen bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

6. $2,653 — The Three Ramblers, “If You Call That Love” b/w “Walking Talking Babydoll,” 45. The seller of this rockabilly single on the Ozark label (45-716-A/B) took a slightly different approach to grading: “The condition of this record is ‘pretty darn good for a 50-year-old,’” he wrote. Without ever assigning a formal grade, the seller stated that the vinyl is glossy, the labels have light wear and some crossed-out writing, and that one edge of the record is raised slightly when it’s placed on the turntable. The seller also indicated that he was parting with the record because the 2011 edition of the “Rockin’ Records” price guide finally listed the NM value of the single at $2,500 to $3,000. Twenty-seven bids were swapped before a winner was declared.

5. $2,750 — Michele Auclair and Marie-Claire Alain, “J.S. Bach Sonates Pour Clavier et Violon,” 2 LPs. A French-language listing didn’t discourage the sole bidder from seeking out the two-record set on the Discophiles Français label (DF 209-210). The seller indicated that there were small surface scratches and slight crackling evident in the record when it’s played, but that the overall sound quality wasn’t affected. The labels also were touted as “impeccable.”

4. $2,800 — John Lee Booker, “Mad Man Blues” b/w “Boogie Now,” 78. Nope, that’s not a typo. John Lee Booker was one of several pseudonyms used by bluesman John Lee Hooker throughout his career. Also on his list of aliases: Birmingham Sam, Boogie Man, John Lee Cooker, Delta John, Johnny Lee, Texas Slim and Johny Williams, according to “Blues Who’s Who.” This 78 on the Gone label (60/61) earned a grade of E+. The seller had precious little else to share, other than citing it as “the rarest Hooker!” This is one of roughly two dozen record labels, ranging from Acorn to Vee-Jay, for which Hooker is known to have recorded.

3. 2,999.99 — The Damned, “Neat Neat Neat” b/w “Stab Yor Back,” 45 with picture sleeve. This Japanese-pressed 1977 single on the Stiff/Toshiba/EMI label (20273) was withdrawn due to a misunderstanding about distribution, according to the seller. The 45s were only available for about a week, and it’s estimated that only 50 copies survived, making this a rare, in-demand Japanese punk record, the seller said. This EX copy features NM labels and includes the lyric insert (EX+). For comparison, a New Zealand pressing of this Stiff Records 45 (K 6735) sold for $1,040 in August 2009, according to popsike.com.

2. $3,650 — Jutta Hipp with Zoot Sims, “Jutta Hipp,” LP. This copy of Blue Note 1530 in NM++ condition — with a pristine cover to boot — came from a collection of records the seller received from jazz auctioneer Leon Levitt. “This extremely rare record almost never comes up for sale, and in this condition it is unheard of,” the seller wrote. From 2005 to present, this record has sold for anywhere between $1,325 and $5,205 at auction, according to popsike.com. Fourteen bids were exchanged before a winner was determined.

1. $5,600 — Hank Mobley, “Hank Mobley,” LP. The top lot this time around is a record that’s found its way into the Market Watch countdown a half-dozen of times since February 2010. But at $5,600, this NM+++, original mono copy of Blue Note 1568 (with the 47 W. 63rd St. address) sold for more than any of its predecessors, which ranged in price from $1,900 to $5,101. “The cover is absolutely pristine and perfect, as if it hasn’t ever been handled after leaving the factory,” the seller wrote. “The record looks unplayed and plays flawlessly.”

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