Collectors Corner You probably have a list of records which you would most dearly like to own an original of, the best possible copy. Mine is a half dozen titles long, and whenever I see one come up on eBay, it is always the same story. Final morning of the auction it’s sitting maybe just below the top of my price range. An hour before close it’s already double that. Only in the closing minute do the serious bidders show their hand, the trophy hunters: Tokyo is online, Berlin check, London calling, and the real action can take place… £500…£700…£1,000…over in a flash, bye bye!I was intruiged when a listing for a title in my list, 4045 Freddie Redd “Shades of Redd” appeared with a little “buyers dilema” thrown in: no cover. The last copy I saw of this from the Swedish premium seller Sweedee went for just short of £500 a few weeks ago. A desirable record, first press Blue Note, in VG++ /E- condition. What is its’ market value with no cover? More to the point, what is it worth to me? I wanted it! I already own a Japanese pressing by King, so I already have a cover at no cost. For me it’s a perfect upgrade.
The trophy hunters wouldn’t consider it. Cover or not, I have got to go for it, as there won’t be another chance to own this record at a reasonable price. The penny-ante punters were already bidding loose change. Serious bidders don’t show their hand early: why give away an advantage? Final morning of the auction it had reached the dizzying height of £18 from its opening £2.99. An hour before close it had jumped to £83, meaning it was never going to be a cheap upgrade. Be prepared to put up serious money to have any chance of taking it home.
I am not a poker player, but eBay has some elements of a poker game. There are bidders out there looking at the same screen, trying to guess the other players hands. At some point in the raising of bids, poker players say something like “Too rich for me” and throw in their hand. I saw that in a Western once. As the minutes ticked down, I updated the value of my snipe several times. Cue Serge Leone Ennico Morricone soundtrack: grizzled eBay bidders drew their weapons for the final shoot out. I gave it my best snipe and went off to make a cup of coffee, unable to watch the outcome and convinced it was lost. You can guess the result…because you are reading it here.
A good result in two ways – I collect to play and it plays lovely, and second, it came in at around two thirds of my maximum bid, so it’s a bargain for me. Another way to look at it, harking back to the Swedish £500 auction, is like this: “Blue Note Record: £100: Blue Note cover £400 . Can be purchased separately”. I am happy. (Anyone know anyone who wants to sell an original 4045 cover? No. Didn’t think so.)