“And how would sir like to pay – cash, cheque or Blue Note?”

Ebay record auctions are a measure of the world’s pulse on collectible jazz. Three or is it now seven trillion people on the planet, and only a few hundred collectors and traders in the whole world set the current “going rate” and confirm how desirable some of these records are.

Ultra-rare records have always earned their premium – the mint Mobley 1568, or 1538 Jutta Hipp whatever, and other entries in the famousJazz Collector  $1,000+ bin. Cheap compared to a Ming vase or Picasso, but expensive to us ordinary mortals. I am more interested in the going rate for “bread and butter” collectible jazz, Blue Note being among the most collectible. I am usually interested first in the home UK sellers to avoid postage premium, shipping delays, customs charges, or problems with dispute returns.In the last week I have noticed a new benchmark for these “mid-field” collectibles:

A handful I was bidding on all went through the roof. What would have sold for £100-175 a few months ago seems to have risen to now £200-275.

Ebay allows you to check back on the location of auction winners via the feedback listing of sellers. In the past when I have followed up high prices in Blue Notes  the South East Asia connection has been strong. Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. This time my interest picked up, in addition to our German friends (lots of “Musik” in the history)  an unexpected number of Russian Federation buyers, and damn it, UK audiophiles (buying history includes lots of tubes and components) . I guess if you are going to spend £20,000 on a turntable, £250 on  record is no big deal.

While the whole world is downloading and sharing for free, those of us who want “the real thing” are going to have to tighten our belts, remortgage the house, or just turn our sights on the “less collectible”.