Back in part 1 of this series, I mentioned that when it comes to the second-hand market it’s always been about wanting a particular record and me being happy enough to pay a price which I think is reasonable and fair.

Sometimes I look at a price and think, ‘no way’, and that a record isn’t worth it.  That’s why I’ve shied away from ever getting into a bidding war for a copy of Falling and Laughing, the first single on Postcard Records, and the only one I don’t have,

As for today’s purchase, which was made in September 2020, it all boiled down to the fact that I bought all the very early singles by The Twilight Sad on vinyl, but the albums were CD purchases.  The later albums were bought on vinyl, and that led me to begin to look for original copies of the band’s first two albums to complete things.

I spotted this during the COVID lockdown when holidays weren’t happening and money wasn’t being spent in the normal way.  As such, I didn’t hesitate to fork out £55, plus £5 for P&P, for what the seller said, and was truthful about it, was a near mint vinyl copy of Forget The Night Ahead, the second studio album.

The vinyl version is spread across two records and is housed in a gatefold sleeve. It’s a far cry from the CD version.  I’m thinking it would maybe have been £20/£25 tops when it had been released on Fat Cat Records in October 2009.  If it hadn’t been the case that there was some spare money floating around, there’s no way I’d have paid £60 for it.  But I made the call that it would be worth it just to be able to put the needle into the grooves of a song like this:-

mp3: The Twilight Sad – Reflection Of The Television

I’m fully acknowledging everything Fraser said in his guest posting last time out in this series, and the tremendous contributions that came in via the comments section.  I know full well that a purchase such as this doesn’t help at all with the issue we all have about the cost of vinyl; if anything, it only adds to the problem in that neither the band nor the label gained financially from the transaction.

I really am uneasy about paying such high prices, but this was a rare instance when ‘the collector’ in me came to the fore.  It was inevitable that, at some point, I’d look to pick up a copy of Forget The Night Ahead, and it really was about hoping to do so without, in future years, feeling I had paid too much.  So, the question most relevant to this posting is whether I’d have been better to wait things out.

There are, as I type this, three copies listed on Discogs.

One can be shipped from America for $99.89 plus $28.50 shipping, (approx £106 at the current exchange rate) with all the customs nightmares such purchases entail these days.

Another can be sent over from Italy for 110 euros plus 16.90 euros shipping (approx £112 at the current exchange rate)

The third is via a UK seller, not linked to a shop, who is asking for £100 plus £6 for P&P.

In other words, if I was on the market today, I’d be expected to pay almost double what I did just two-and-a-half years ago, which just seems ridiculous.The average selling price or the album on Discogs over the past 18 months or so has been £50-£60, although not all these have been rated as mint copies.  The highest price achieved by a UK seller has been £75 in November 2021.  A copy, where the sleeve was described as having a split to outer sleeve at top, with a small corner dink, went for £50 in late December 2022.

I’m therefore feeling OK about what I paid.  I’ll finish up with the observation that as I now have just about everything I’ve really been looking for via the second-hand market (I picked up a second-hand copy of the Twilight Sad’s debut album in a shop), I can’t see me paying that much for any such record ever again.

I won’t ever stop browsing, mind you.


10 thoughts on “THE INSANE COST OF SECOND HAND VINYL? (Issue #5)

  1. That price probably reflects the fact that there just aren’t that many copies around. Can’t imagine they pressed up huge volumes. Anyway, at the other end of the scale, I picked up a nice old Emmylou Harris LP in a bargain bin at Portobello (the west London version, not Edinburgh seaside) for £2.50 on Monday. (If I had been into the Carpenters, Leo Sayer and Jim Reeves, I could have amassed a substantial collection for about £30).

  2. Individually, we pay what we feel comfortable paying.

    A few months back I decided, for no reason that I can fathom, that I ‘needed’ Milk and Kisses (Cocteau Twins) on vinyl – the original vinyl. I immediately hopped onto the usual online sites to find the LP fetching very healthy prices – between £80 and £140, in varying conditions.

    I own most Cocteaus on vinyl but stopped buying the vinyl releases and every version of every single (even on CD) due largely in part to the career wrecking Fontana release machine.

    Milk and Kisses stands out as it’s the only LP by the band I don’t own.

    Despite my ‘need’ I decided I didn’t feel comfortable paying the prices being asked. I didn’t buy a copy. I don’t regret my decision.

    The truth for me is… I don’t need a copy. I could’ve bought a reissue – wow! the price of those.

    Collecting has always been about buying what I like when I can afford it – and even in those heady days paying too much for some releases.

    If music is not about the joy it brings regardless of format or cost – what is it about? But, that joy can be enhanced, can’t it?

    To all the collectors out there… do what makes you happy.

  3. As George Harrison sang……”All things must pass” – and that includes (one way or another) the propensity to collect 2nd hand vinyl. It has passed for me, although I occasionally purchase but not to complete gaps in a collection, and now I am more interested in streamlining the amount of vinyl I have.

    If you are in Collector Mode, then price becomes less relevant and emotion can take over. In the past, I have experienced this on ebay both as a buyer and seller. Regarding ‘Forget the night ahead’ – a vinyl copy (Mint/Mint) went on ebay in Dec 2022 for £49.45 – but then you would have had to wait 2+ years for this potential saving of……£10.

    Perhaps in the longer term, the price of 2nd hand vinyl will fall (aside from the specialist, very limited items) because the cohort of potential buyers will diminish (again….all things must pass). Who will be buying 2nd hand vinyl in 2050? A very niche group I suspect. It is though a long time to wait!

    Meanwhile, and to come full circle, if you want the band to benefit financially there is always the possibility of purchasing a print by Andy McFarlane of……….George Harrison ‘Trying to ski’ (£45 + postage). 🙂

  4. Bump on what Middle Aged Man said above. Would love to see The Twilight Sad continue to grow in popularity (one of Robert Smith’s favorite bands too). Of course, that might mean they’d re-release their albums thereby undercutting your investment. I’ve done some vinyl collecting myself, though my main focus has been on 5.1 surround sound mixes which are mostly in CD, SACD, DVD-A, and Blu-Ray formats. I applaud your sense of taste.

  5. As for ChatGPT, I just asked to write a piece on vinyl, in the style of Shakespeare. It came up with this (in 2 seconds) including commentary on the price of vinyl!

    O, what enchantment lies within this grooved disc
    A marvel of sound, a relic of the past
    A treasure trove of music, a thing of bliss
    Aye, verily, the vinyl record is cast

    This wondrous creation, a thing of might
    Once thought to be consigned to history’s page
    Has risen up, restored to glorious sight
    And now reigns supreme in this modern age

    The warmth of its sound, a thing divine
    A sound that soothes and calms the savage breast
    No digital coldness can this sound outshine
    Nor rob it of its grace, its depth, its zest

    For music is not mere sound, nor just a beat
    It’s the soul of man made manifest in art
    And in the vinyl record, this truth is sweet
    A work of art that truly sets apart

    The crackle and hiss, a part of its charm
    A sound that speaks of years and memories past
    A sound that speaks of a time now gone
    But forever enshrined, in this grooved cast

    And yet, for all its majesty and grace
    The price of vinyl is now a thing of woe
    For what was once cheap, now takes a princely place
    And so the collectors must now pay the dough

    But fear not, dear friends, for though it costeth dear
    The joy that comes from this, a thing of pride
    A thing that speaks of the music that we hold dear
    And so the vinyl record shall forever abide

    O, let us celebrate this thing of might
    This grooved disc that brings such joy and cheer
    For in the vinyl record, a wondrous sight
    A thing of beauty that we all hold dear.

  6. And to show it is not just a one trick pony, here is the Robert Burns poem (it took a bit longer – about 5 seconds):

    O vinyl discs, sae fine and rare,
    Thou bringeth back auld memories fair,
    The crackling sound that fills the air,
    As needle meets the grooves with care.

    The spinning turntable, a sight to see,
    The arm it moves sae daintily,
    To lay upon the record free,
    And play the notes sae merrily.

    The music flows, the sound sublime,
    From Patsy Cline to Auld Lang Syne,
    And as the needle reaches its time,
    The magic ends, but memories shine.

    O vinyl discs, how we adore,
    Thy vintage charm and sound galore,
    For though technology may soar,
    Thy warm embrace we’ll aye implore.

    PS All I requested was “write a poem about vinyl records in the style of Robert Burns the Scottish poet”

  7. Nothing wrong with being a collector, JC, especially when the things that you buy are loved and used as intended. Just be grateful you’re not a completely obsessive completist. A few years ago there was a Japanese artist who released a CD in an edition of one copy only. That copy was in the CD player inside a brand new locked Mercedes Benz car. To hear the CD you had to buy the car…

    As a postscript to my recent post, one of the items I got at the record fair was an almost mint original Australian copy of the soundtrack to Local Hero by Mark Knopfler (don’t laugh, it’s really good!), cost $10. On Tuesday I was killing time flicking through the vinyl bins in a JB Hifi store and came across a new copy, ‘half speed remastered’ (you need ears like a dog to tell the difference), 180gsm (yadda yadda), no extra material, just the same track listing – yours for $75! :^D

    PS That ChatGPT, not sure if it’s McGonagal or Shakespeare, but it’s bloody scary…

  8. It is a double-edged sword out there in the vinyl markets for sure.
    Sometimes we need some perspective on this. We are now in the realms of costless streaming, cheap new CD’s and a 2nd hand CD market which makes amassing vast and comprehensive CD collections cheap, cheap, cheap. Embarrassingly cheap. This has made us look at vinyl and its spiralling prices without anything ‘real’ to measure it by. Back in the late 80’s and early 90’s CD’s cost a fortune. £14.99 for a new CD album? Oh yes! Back then some CD re-issues of Stones and Beatles albums on CD cost a penny short of £20 new (and they were not the expanded editions full of extras we see now). CD’s promised better sound, easier storage and damage-proof discs plus CD’S had been strongly marketed to oust vinyl… and it pretty much worked as many people dumped their vinyl and replaced it with CD copies of those same albums. If CD prices had held and moved with inflation we would now easily be seeing CD albums at £30+ as a kind of standard. File sharing, Streaming and iPods simply totalled that CD side of the music sales market. Killed it dead.
    I have a vision of an imaginary coffee shop. Somewhere in Edinburgh. Full of guys aged between 35 and 65 in darned and loved old Benetton jumpers and well-oiled beards. Sitting at individual tables poring over their vinyl collection lists as spreadsheets on their smartphones. Tracking discogs market prices of Canadian Clash 12″ ers and Wreckless Eric Stiff singles. And weeping into their cappuchinos about why they missed that 2017 Fruits de Mer Sun Ra Arkestra 7″EP. And looking around to see if they can spot that (now much older) chancer who borrowed their vinyl copy of “Chill Out” 1992 and never returned it.
    The current vinyl market is a farce and silly money has always chased desireable vinyl. It always will. I was recently offered £60 for a (charity shop find) mint unplayed Purple Vinyl Blur ‘Song 2’ 7″ single. Guess what? I took the money! I might treat myself to an unreasonably priced slab of vinyl with the cash!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.