Question: First I would like to say I love the rag. I am not sure about the new format yet, however.
Now my question, I just picked up a copy of the Charlie Parker 45 box set “Charlie Parker with Strings” number C509 on Mercury label. In the current Goldmine price guide it lists only one of the three 45s in the box set. They are red vinyl and look to be in VG++ condition. Can you please tell me about them and give me a value?
— Matt, via e-mail
Answer: “Charlie Parker with Strings” might not be the rarest of his Mercury releases but, as many collectors will tell you, finding any “complete” album is considered a stroke of luck. Too often, packages like this became separated over the years, as discs either broke or else went AWOL.
Boxed beneath a very striking red and yellow David Stone Martin illustration (his art also graced albums by Art Tatum, Billie Holliday and Count Basie), “Charlie Parker With Strings” was released in 1952, and the copies I have found online seem to be selling for around $400 apiece in VG condition.
Oddly, none have mentioned the red discs, however, so maybe there are some Charlie Parker specialists out there who can add some further information?
Editor’s Note: Readers, we would love to hear any more information you can share with Matt about his Charlie Parker set! Please drop us a line at Goldmine, Attention: Sound Advice, 700 E. State St., or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.