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Nice guys finish first in Goldmine's Market Watch auction countdown

Jazz records take honors for most dominant genre on this week’s countdown. As far as format is concerned, it’s a collector’s paradise. We’ve got the usual LPs and 45s, plus a rare 1960s acetate, a modern test pressing and a set of glow-in-the-dark vinyl 7-inch records you’ve got to see to believe.

By Susan Sliwicki

Jazz records take honors for most dominant genre on this week’s countdown. As far as format is concerned, it’s a collector’s paradise. We’ve got the usual LPs and 45s, plus a rare 1960s acetate, a modern test pressing and a set of glow-in-the-dark vinyl 7-inch records you’ve got to see to believe.

Quiet Kenny On New Jazz

10. Kenny Borham's "Quiet Kenny"

10. $2,007 — Kenny Dorham, “Quiet Kenny,” LP.

While this record on the New Jazz label looks nice-enough, and we know that Kenny Dorham is one heck of a jazz artist, we’ve kind of scratching our heads as to why it’s on our Market Watch countdown.

“Stunning original, beautiful condition. Deep groove,” the seller wrote.

Near Mint, mono copies of NJLP-8225, which was pressed in 1959 and has purple labels, are valued at $80, according to Goldmine’s Record Album Price Guide, 6th Edition. There’s nothing that we can see about this record that sets it apart or makes it unusual from that listing, other than mention that it has RVG stamped in the dead wax. It’s got all of those same attributes, and both the vinyl and sleeve earn a grade of VG++.

A quick check of reveals that a copy of this record with all the same attributes and a grade of M- sold for $2,325 at auction in 2006. However, also shows nice copies selling for about 10 percent of that amount. Five bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

Sonny Clark Sextet Blue Note

9. Sonny Clark's "Dial S For Sonny."

9. $2,039 — Sonny Clark, “Dial S for Sonny,” LP.

Our second jazz record of the countdown features Sonny Clark along with Hank Mobley, Art Farmer, Curtis Fuller, Wilbur Ware and Louis Hayes on this mono, deep-groove copy of BLP 1570 that bears the “47 West 63rd NYC” address on the label.

“The playing surfaces do not show the usual luster of Blue Note pressings, but there appears to be no groove wear and the sound quality is bright, crisp and undistorted throughout,” the seller wrote.

NM copies of this record are valued at $400, according to “Goldmine’s Record Album Price Guide.” The last time this album was on our Market Watch countdown, it brought $3,379 for a NM copy.

The seller didn’t provide a specific grade for this copy, but he did indicate that the vinyl on Side 2 has a few non-repetitive tics, and the laminated cover shows some shelf wear and has a 1.5-inch seam split on the top and wear on the spine.

Seven bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

John Fahey on Takoma

8. John Fahey's "Blind Joe Death."

8. $2,137, John Fahey, "Blind Joe Death," LP.

Here’s another one of those auction blips that makes us wonder whether buyers are getting as much as they should for their money.

The photos provided by the seller make it very hard to tell much at all about the record —the overall shots are so far away you can read little except the record company’s name, and the close-ups are so out of it’s impossible to read anything — which makes us wonder if this buyer is just inexperienced or was intentionally trying to hide something.

The buyer’s 31-word descriptor helps even less, and it misspells the record label’s name: "Vintage John Fahey Blind Joe Death album from Tacoma K8OP-4448. Pressing numbers are K8OP-448-1 and K8OP-447-1. In excellent condition 9 out of 10. See picture. Buyer to pay postage of 4.00."

The top-value copy of this record identified in "Goldmine’s Record Album Price Guide" is $200 for a NM copy pressed in 1959, which would have been one of about 1,000 pressed. The guide also notes that the cover has no writing other than the artist’s name on one side and the album name on the other; this auctioned copy appears to match that description. We saw a range of prices for this album, its second printings and its subsequent reissues on, but even those topped out at $417.

Five bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

Third Man Records 2009 Halloween Records

A set of nine glow-in-the-dark 45s from Jack White's Third Man records purchased in 2009 brought nearly $2,000 in a recent online auction.

7. $2,196.43 — Group of nine glow-in-the-dark Third Man Records Halloween singles, 45s.

Third Man Records Glow In The Dark 45

7. Third Man Records' glow-in-the-dark 45s.

What do glow-in-the-dark records sound like? Well, you’re probably not going to find out from this lot, which was posted in Mint unplayed condition and is likely to stay that way

“Here is a super-rare complete set of 9 Third Man Records glow in the dark 7-inch singles which were only available from the Third Man pop-up record store in Shoreditch Church, Londing, on October 30th and 31st, 2009,” the seller wrote. The pressings (TMR-001, 003, 004, 007, 009, 011, 012, 013 and 016) were limited to 100 copies worldwide, the seller wrote.

Featured artists included a solo Jack White performing “Fly Farm Blues;” a trio of 45s from The Dead Weather, one of White’s side projects, with “Hang You From The Heavens” b/w “Are Friends Electric,” “Treat Me Like Your Mother” b/w “You Just Can’t Win,” and “I Cut Like A Buffalo” b/w “A Child of A Few Hours Is Burning To Death;” Mildred and The Mice performing “I Like My Mice,” Dex Romweber performing “The Wind Did Move” b/w “Last Kind Word Blues;” Rachelle Garniez’s “My House of Peace;” Transit’s “C’mon And Ride” b/w “After Party;”and Dan Sartain’s “Bohemian Grove” b/w “Atheist Funeral.”

Two bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

Brahams on Decca

6. Agnelle Bundervoet, Johannes Brahams recital.

6. $2,213 — Agnelle Bundervoet, Johannes Brahms recital, LP.

The pressing on the Decca France label (FAT 173732) features “Variations et Fugue sur un theme de Haendel, “Rhapsodie en Si,” “Rhapsodie en Sol” and “Rhapsodie en Mi bemol.”

The seller billed it as a rare classical record and described it as an “exciting and touching record form an unique collection, sleeping since 60 years, is in a marvelous shape and was perhaps never played.” However, the seller gave both the cover and record grades of E+, which seems a bit inconsistent with that glowing description. The seller goes on to disclose that there is wear on the cover, as well as a pressing bubble, tics and pops on the record.

Twelve bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

Beatles Emidisc Acetate

5. The Beatles' "Hard Day's Night" acetate.

5. $2,225.99, The Beatles, “A Hard Day’s Night,” 12-inch Emidisc acetate.

Here’s a fairly rare Fab Four find: a 12-inch, double-sided, mono acetate for The Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” album.

It features all 14 songs included on the final album. The seller graded it VG to VG- and says the acetate is free of skips and jumps, but it has some pops and background noises and a lot of light hairline marks all over. (If I was going to have a rarity like this, I’m not sure I’d ever want it to be played more than once to record a copy on CD or MP3.) The seller had little else to add, other than the lot included a certificate of authenticity from Beatles expert Perry Cox.

Seven bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

Kenny Dorham Quiet Kenny

4. Kenny Dorham, "Quiet Kenny."

4. $2,380.99 — Kenny Dorham, “Quiet Kenny,” LP.

OK, are the same people who are doing all kinds of crazy futures buying in the petroleum market trying to do the same thing to the record market? It just seems weird to go for years on end without Kenny Dorham cracking our countdown once, only to see him twice in one countdown now.

Like its countdown predecessor, this copy also features the purple and silver New Jazz labels, but this one appears to be in a bit better shape.

“The playing surfaces are mint, with a high luster; perhaps played once,” the seller wrote. “Except for a 5/8” chip at the top of the spine, the laminated cover is extraordinary condition: clean and unworn throughout.”

If anyone knows legitimate reasons why this record suddenly is commanding this tier of pricing (other than “some other guy paid this much, so it must be valuable,”) we’d love to hear it.

Six bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

Al Williams Northern Soul

Al Williams, "I Am Nothing" b/w "Brand New Love."

3. $2,396 — Al Williams, “I Am Nothing,” b/w “Brand New Love,” 45.
Ah, Northern Soul, we’ve been missing you lately on Market Watch. But if this seller’s story is true, we expect we’ll be seeing you back here quite a bit in the months to come.

This NM single is one of about 500 being sold from the more than collection of a soul, R&B and jazz radio disc jockey who worked in the Washington, D.C., area from 1962-1970.

“Each record was an original that he collected weekly during New Product Meetings at Washington’s Schwartz Brothers Distributors as well as from smaller independent labels,” the seller said. “He would play them once, at most, to see if he would add them to his play list. Then, they were just filed away, thus their amazing grading condition.”

Most of the time, the deejay received a single copy of a record, but he sometimes received duplicates of those that the labels thought were “sure hits,” which is now what is being liquidated, the seller said.

Four bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

MC5 Japanese Pressing

2. MC5, " Back In The USA."

2. $2,499 — MC5, “Back In The USA,” LP.

Sometimes, it seems, less is more with buyers.

This seller’s listing for this Japanese was very sparse, sharing only the group name, album name, catalog number (MT 2020), vinyl and sleeve conditions (VG++ and EX respectively) and a single statement that this lot had a “very rare original obi with hoju.”

That was more than enough information to sway a single bidder to snap it up.

1. $3,350 — Fleet Foxes, “Helplessness Blues,” double LP test pressing.

Fleet Foxes test pressing

1. Fleet Foxes, "Helplessness Blues."

Who says good guys finish last? This vinyl test pressing from Fleet Foxes dominates our countdown, both in its sales price and for its good-deed status.

In conjunction with Global Giving, 100 percent of the final sale price was donated to support the Japan earthquake and tsunami relief fund.

“These things are quite rare and the record isn’t even out yet, so it seemed like the most valuable album we had that we could auction off,” the seller wrote. “Thanks for looking and thanks to everybody, musicians and otherwise, doing what they can to help the situation over in Japan right now.”

In addition to a warm, fuzzy feeling for doing good, the winner received a note from the band that includes the tracklisting and other information. Fifty-six bids were exchanged before a winner was declared.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Goldmine compiles its Market Watch countdown from eBay auction results and seller descriptions. Any images shown with Market Watch stories are the same ones that appeared with the seller’s description of the piece.