Wonder why you keep losing bids on most wanted records?

Ahoudori1947, the bidder anonymised as a***4, is the Ebay identity of the Tokyo group of vinyl record stores “Disk Union”.  I estimate they spend over $1,000 a day every day buying premium collectible jazz vinyl on eBay: That is four wins a day every day, 120 wins a month. Always desirable rare and excellent condition, wherever sold, mostly US but  Europe, UK, nothing escapes their eye, or their deadly ninja snipe.

I lost an auction unaccountably recently, so I followed feedback and all roads lead to Tokyo.There I found under this buyer, a veritable Private Island submarine cave of every record I have ever wanted. Always original, always top dollar, an invincible auction opponent.  That Prestige original of Quiet Kenny? The original Sonny Clark Cool Struttin’? Sahib Shihab Oktav original “copy”? Bethlehem originals? Ultra-rare Blue Notes? Lexingtons? Every time : Ahoudori1947.

I have spent hours skimming through crates of rubbish 80’s re-issues, I have  mortgaged the farm and put the wife out to work the street to afford decent VG+ originals, and here is the gateway to every record you ever wanted – at a price.

They buy multiple copies of the same record, some high-end 60’s rock and pop as well as jazz, Disk Union record stores buy at whatever price it takes, to feed the appetite of wealthy Japanese record collectors, saving them the grief of bidding, postage and customs charges. I guess their philosphy is buy at any price, sell on at two to three times that.

Out of interest, I cherry picked the best of Ahoudori1947 scores in the three months to June 2012. See any desirables you were one of the twenty bidders for? I can see mine.

Collectors Corner

I sent out for Sushi.

What I want to know is how high he sets his snipes. This is a dangerous game if someone else puts in a blind high bid. He relies on the second placed bidder to set the price sensibly.

With his sucess rate he may well put in a fantasy bid of several thousand dollars every time, knowing it guarantees a win every time. I have seen people addicted to winning at any price, titled aristocrats that shower hookers with gifts of jewelrey, social media bubble multi-millionaires, footballers age 20 earning £100,000 a week, middle eastern princes that buy garages full of luxury cars they never drive. Not everyone in the world has a  “normal” sense of values.

Second, is there a treasure cave somewhere in Tokyo? I dream of going into a shop and seeing all these records on the wall and in the racks. Sounds like a dream come true.

Lastly, a note of respect, this man knows his jazz, knows the market, and has the swagger and style to deal for the finest jazz. He is the seller’s friend, always premium price. I am just annoyed that he stole a record right from under my nose. Money always has the final say, usually “bye bye”. That 1947 in his title. Usually that is a birth year. Makes him about my age. Respect. The only unanswered question, how would anyone find time to listen to such a quantity of records incoming?


33 thoughts on “Wonder why you keep losing bids on most wanted records?

  1. Well he’s never bought off me and I sell fair amount of high end jazz , hope he does. Just put up Garricks Home Stretch Blues , just waiting for his bid 🙂

    • Also, who is “k***8 (private)”? Quite a buying streak too, maybe they’re related. Makes you really wonder when something, er, fishy could be going on…

      • I get the feeling that more and more I’m biding against stores or other resellers and less and less again collectors. I could be wrong, but it seems like even the last 6 months or so prices have really jumped.

        • I haven’t really even been at it for that long and I think alot of it may have to do w/ available supply. During and leading up to the holidays there seemed to be a tremendous supply of records online (Ebay in particular) and so there seemed to be more deals to be had. That doesn’t quite seem to be the case as much anymore. Of course I’ll say that and immediately see what would appear to be a great deal ;*) Maybe others would know better than I would, but perhaps this is an annual occurrence and Januarys are generally much worse of a time to buy than December leading up to Christmas….

  2. At the (Disk Union) shops, “the good stuff” is on full and glorious display for all to see and mortgage for. One day would find a good portion of your to die for list well marked. No doubt they also have a cache of well-heeled private clients, as does a few shops around town. It almost takes all the scavenger hunt fun out of the whole enterprise. Almost.

  3. I’m quite late to this party, but based on my connections to the collectors and shop proprietors in Tokyo (formed during my time living there), “Ahoudori1947” purchases for Disk Union.

    • Welcome to the party. You have brought a bottle. Fascinating, Disk Union online seems mainly modern reissues and CDs, but perhaps “the good stuff” is behind the counter for private clients. I particularly liked this translation of their description of Mobley 1568 (Classic Records re)

      “Mobley 1568 that triggered the whirlwind of the weight of the manufactured board RECORDS MONO CLASSIC one thousand five hundred sixty-eight . Enter grooves so that the label was released from the candy then, is not this board grooves. As the number is far too little press work among various Blue Note, Original is very expensive. Coating has been faithfully reproduced jackets, address labels. Mono of course…”

      Of course. I like these guys.

  4. Interesting read, nice detective work 😉

    I bid on the Magnificent Thad Jones. And lost, obviously…

    • @Tony:
      Do you feel like that would be a sound investment? I know that’s not why we’re all interested in it, but the value is part of it.

      Let’s say $20,000 all spent buying $100-1000 top shelf NM LP’s–only going up, holding value but not far one way or the other, or losing value over time?

      Just curious what everyone thinks…

      • Here is my take.
        This week I bought around fifteen records, for the price of one “big ticket” item – over $250 in all. Among them were a few that turned out dogs, a couple very interesting, and a couple absolutely superb – among the best I now own, $15 dollars a piece. Real fun. Compared with one premium item, which can turn out quite disappointing, over graded, doesn’t live up to musical expectatons.
        Or not.
        If only life came with a guarantee.

      • If I had the cash I wouldn’t care. Life is too short. Just indulge you passions at whatever level u can afford. 20k is peanuts if u are loaded…

  5. I made a bid on Byrds word sold by the dutch seller and lost.
    Won an original UK pressing ( London records, mono pressing, superb sound)of this record a few days later for less than 10 Euro. Could not have been more lucky.

  6. useless to envy, keep serching: dirty hands in dirty shops. no bargains but that thrill when you see that record. I’ve got seven of the ones showed.
    Coltrane, 1991, Byrd (Beacon Hill), 2005, Griffin, 2003, Pepper, 2002, Monk 1997 (Amoeba,San Francisco, US 100,00), Monk himself 2002, Hubbard, 2006.
    shops closing down, prices goin’ higher: same passion.
    that single record is waiting’ for you somewhere.
    recent news: a 5-6000 record collection may see the light in the next future: I’ve been asked if interested in joint-acquire.
    from Switzerland.
    I’ll let you know.

  7. Great article and great diggin’. Could be a super rick japaneese company executive bidding as well. But then again why buy the same record twice or more times. Maybe he wants to keep the one in best condition and just forks out top $ to look for the best copy?

    There are collectors that are crazy in japan. Most of us must have looked at the crazy Village Vangueard site from Japan and the crazy house full of records and playing equipment. Or that insane korean guy who has a five story building full with high end gear and even has a full time “employee” just to take care of it all.

    Not all men are created equal. For some people $1000 is small change.Unfortunately these guys destroys the market for the average collector ;-(

    Even the sellers at flea markets complain and say that they don’t get to sell LPs anymore…..

    • Not just flea markets, the retail market too. Two vinyl shop managers I spoke with only yesterday were complaining the supply of records was drying up. They just can’t get hold of them any more. Good reason to buy what you can right now.

  8. The Sahib Shihab listing was descibed as a copy of Octav original,seems to me that it is most likely a Sawano reissue which is out of print but the price for it is rather high for a reissue,though if it is an original NM Octav Sahib Shihab which is usually in the price range of $1000-$2000 or higher than it is an absolute bargain.

    • Good catch! “Copy of Octav original” -. ” Copy of Original” or “an Original Copy? The more I think about it the less sure which he means. There were seven bidders and two hours before close it sat at $103, which is about the right price for the 2001 Octav japanese reissue, my copy here – for I paid around $120 (amazing record!) Or a Sawano.
      However no less than four dealers had snipes laid (three snipers with scores over 3,000, one over 1,000) so you figure they had a notion it was the original Oktav. Or they were willing to gamble, as the snipes were $155 (retracted) $222, $366 and the winning amount bid unknown incremented to $371, Mr Ahoudori1947.
      In this case its my guess that Ahoudori1947’s snipe was $400 or upwards – four times what was on the screen. but he got caught in the crossfire of other dealer snipers. What’s really scary is his snipe was timed to zero offset – auction close 16:04:26, bid made 16:04:26 – no latitude for server lag. That precision is what I call nerves of steel. Good sport!

  9. Wow–that’s a lot of top shelf purchasing. I wonder if there are any “keepers” or does it all go for resale as a dealer? Also, I figure they’re paying top dollar for all of the LPs–is there any room left to profit or is it more of an investment?

  10. Only one thing to do–contact Ahoudori1947, find out what’s going on, be very nice and friendly, then get written into the will!

    Excellent detective work, and a wonderful, if somewhat depressing, collage of a***4’s wins.


  11. What DO you get the man who has everything? Hmmm? I’ll wager he hasn’t got a mint copy of Hymns A Swingin’ by the Ted Taylor Organsound on Davjon…..

    • Thanks for bringing this down to earth – parish level – Simon. ( Do they do sushi in the Bull at Barnes?). Good news there is some Tubbylicious originals arriving tomorrow. Can’t wait, everyone out there will have to.

      • More Tubby? Yeah!! I can recommend a nice Ronnie Scott album if you can find it – Presenting the Ronnie Scott Sextet (Philips, 1957). The cheaper late 60s Fontana reissue pops up fairly regularly but the Philips original (with a great cover photo) is the one to get…

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