Leon Leavitt, legendary collector and trader of rare jazz records

(an occasional post prompted by the interesting exchange regarding said gentleman)

What Leon Wanted (1980)
Browse through Leon Leavitt’s Wants List, circa 1980 (Wants List courtesy of DottorJazz – click to enlarge). It’s like reading pages from TheJazzCollector’s $1,000 bin. Next time any one asks you for a copy of your Wants List – here is a good starting point. The last time I gave a dealer a copy of my wants list, they just laughed, pityingly. I imagine a copy of Leon’s list would send them into hysterics.

Leavitt-p2-1920px

leavitt-p1

(List and scans courtesy of DottorJazz)

Many of us wouldn’t have the knowledge to even compile such a list let alone the effrontery to circulate it to other collectors, but this is the rarefied world of the super-collector. Think big. Now think bigger.Then bigger still. No, still not big enough. Originals only, no reissues or second pressings, and Excellent to Near Mint. Now you are getting it.

At today’s prices, it would set you back a half to one million dollars to secure one copy of each, if you could find them, let alone the four or five of each Leon reportedly amassed in his collection. Not a lot of money to some people, Sir Paul McCartney, or Bonio, but the people who can easily afford them rarely have enough taste to want them. That is the curse that falls on the shoulders of the rest of us, outside in the cold, noses pressed up against the glass, seated below the salt, or pecking for the crumbs.

Of course they weren’t as rare thirty years ago, so it is was not as impossible a task. The leap is from the idea of collector to that of trader in high-end artefacts. By the time you have amassed five top copies of Coltrane’s Blue Train, buy one here, sell one there, what’s one copy more or less? Collectors drawn like moths to the flame.

I’ll repeat here for those who may have missed the comment thread, the story on Leavitt posted in 2004 on an Organissimo thread (added new postscript):

Garth, Houston Tx., posted 28 November 2004 – 07:07 PM

In 1995 I was lucky enough, through the good graces of a West Coast intermediary, to be invited to visit Leon’s air-controlled mini-warehouse to see his collection. I had made occasional purchases from him in the past, but I was even then growing weary with the prices for quality used vinyl. (I also had a lot of “stuff”). I was not prepared in any way with what I encountered. I am not sure exactly how many LPs were in that specially built facility, but I would venture somewhere in excess of 75,000 LPs (almost all jazz) were neatly arranged on industrial-strength metal shelving. The filing system was pretty basic, mostly by artist’s name. I was overwhelmed, literally. (My friend told me a story of a Japanese visitor who had a heart seizure while wandering among Leon’s holdings, and had to be removed my ambulance .. he swore it was true.)

I had several “test” records in mind that I wanted check to see the extent of his holdings. One of these was a very elusive copy of Hal McKusick’s “Cross-Section Saxes” (Decca 79209) … I looked for it, found it, and he had FOUR copies!! Another was Lars Gullin’s “Modern Sounds:Sweden” (Contemporary 2505 … a 10″) … he had 3 copies! ….. and so it went for everything I searched for.

I stayed for about two hours, and left deflated. I was depressed (I could understand that heart seizure), because there was no way that I, or anyone else for that matter, could ever manage to even get close to that collection. As Jim and I settled in to our dinner drinks that evening, I expressed to him my feeling that somewhow, for me, much of the fun had been removed from the joy of “the search.” I now knew that whatever I ‘really’ wanted was available merely by contacting Leon, and paying a large enough price.

I really stopped seriously collecting vinyl after that… I began to replace my favorite albums with CDs …and sold my collection.

Leavitt’s collection must have been broken up – I am guessing he is no longer with us – to judge from the appearance on Ebay of records claiming Leavitt provenance on many high-end auctions, the outcome of a dozen of which can be seen here (thanks to Popsike). The spiel is similar on each auction:

“This jazz record is from the personal collection of legendary collector Leon Leavitt, who auctioned jazz records to the world and established a reputation as the foremost purveyor of superb jazz records in the world. We became close friends in the 1980s, and he allowed me to visit his home and warehouse in Sun Valley on a regular basis to choose the best copy of each record and album cover in his extensive archives”

(Seller unknown to me – you may recognise the fingers.  He knows his jazz and his sales spiel, but I could give him a short tutorial  on record photography)

Auction results (click to enlarge):

leavitt-ebay-collection

Read and weep. Do the sums. All that now remains is for a collector to establish a complementary  source of funds. Think big. No, bigger…

..
LJC says…

ljc dunce 120pxTHERE are two kinds of obsessive record collectors: those who buy original pressings of rare old LPs because they’re rare and old and they enjoy the searching and collecting, and those like me who buy them because they sound good. I guess Garth from Texas  was the former, evidenced by his final act, to sell off the vinyl collection and replace his favourites with CDs (shakes head)

Snap LJC Polls

1. A look in the mirror…

Which sort of collector are you? Do you collect records mainly because you enjoy collecting the artefacts or mainly because of the way vintage records sound? I know for many of us its a bit of both, but I am going to ask you to dig a little deeper within.

If you have any confessions to make about your collecting habit, the comments floor is yours.

2. A gaze into the future…

Many collectors probably see a time when they will get rid of their lesser records and down-size to the best. That’s too easy for a question. The more telling question is what you see as the future of your “best” or “favourite” most valued records.  Do see a time in the future when you will probably cash in and sell off the best of your collection (The Shrewd Investor Option) – are you hard enough? or do you intend to keep your best and most valued records indefinitely for yourself (and ultimately your estate’s inheritors, but if you could “take them with you”, you would: The Tutankhamen Option)

Again, if you have any ideas about the future of record collecting, personal or generally, LJC’s the place to comment. The floor is yours.

Come back often and see how the sides are lining up. And if you have any super-collector stories to tell, I am sure people here would like to hear them.

LJC

Postscript

If you are one of those who simply love the musty smell of fifty year old record jackets and vinyl, LJC has introduced a new line of fragrance which is bound to appeal to the discerning record collector.

BlueNote_For_Men_Aftershave-old-vinyl-edition_1000_LJC

Available from second hand record shops everywhere, it has the “ear” on the cap, and the trademark “R” beneath NOTE. Special Edition without the “R” also available (price on application. No time wasters)

NEW! Latest in the RVG range of fragrances for discerning record collectors is Hackensack, for men.

RVG-Hackensack

Popular with collectors of early recordings,  this exciting new fragrance evokes the era of  Fifties New Jersey.  Hard to find compared with  RVG’s more popular Englewood Cliffs range, Hackensack can be found only on auction at Ebay.  Bid with confidence. Do not post to Italy.

46 thoughts on “Leon Leavitt, legendary collector and trader of rare jazz records

  1. I was a customer/friend of Leon’s for years (until the turn of the Century anyway) and I was SO saddened to hear of his passing. I called him for years acquiring rare/NOS pressing of Maynard’s/Buddy Rich’s and Woody Herman’s rare recordings and he was always so “unassuming” and modest. I’d ask him about something and he’d say, I have to go check and I’d presume he meant, you know, in his listening/audio room, where we keep our collections. it wasn’t until I read about his passing that I realized his collection occupied a WAREHOUSE. After that, I stopped bragging about the size of my recordings collection. It’s big, but not THAT big. If he could be humble about it, it taught me a lesson about doing likewise. R.I.P. Leon. Please know that YOU ARE MISSED.

  2. For what it is worth, I found correspondence with Leon Leavitt between August 1982 and February 1993. I have seen Leon once in L.A. when he delivered items I had won in his last auction at the door of my hotel room. He was in a hurry obviously, shaking hands, the parcel and good bye.
    Another character, Raffe Simonian, who literally obliged me to cancel my hotel room in the Four Seasons in Chicago at 6 p.m. and come to a Chicago suburb in a commuter train to stay at his place and “discuss” business. He had a sizeable collection of doubles in his basement.

  3. I am the Japanese. Do you want a copy of last invoice that I have got from Leon ?
    Last number is 5404.PAGE 120.
    I have all the invoice but this number does not include very important Blue Note and whole 10inch.
    I have Leon’s nuce picture when he was in good condition.
    I made book of 1001 Banjo book. i am serious on that way.

    • Send me pictures as best you can whatever you have (email in Contact LJC on the banner) , I will see to expand this section, as a virtual archive of things that would otherwise be lost to the world. We need to preserve them and make them available. I always tag everything so anyone searches online will find them. One thing I have never found online is a picture of said gentleman, for completeness.

  4. I have fond memories of visiting Leon Leavitt at his place in the Fairfax district on Crescent Heights Boulevard, and later at his place in Sun Valley, but by then he had begun losing his sight and was very depressed about it, and had a relative grading the records for him.. When you walked into his place, it had the great smell of vintage cardboard, that alone was to die for.. I didn’t spent big bucks since I never really had any and I was going to college, but I did find a piece or two that I still have to this day. Back in ’80s they were much less expensive than today, holy moly!.. Exclusively a bop trumpet collector, I came away with some Clifford Brown, Fats Navarro, Miles Davis, Kenny Dorham, etc 10″ LP and EP’s.. But I miss having a connection whom I could call whenever I got a little extra money and ask about a certain item, he’d quote it, I’d send him a money order, and have it in my hands in a couple of days..

  5. I met Leon through a phone call to inquire about an album I’d played as a DJ years before but didn’t own. I asked if he might have a copy of Bobby Hackett’s Columbia album “The Most Beautiful Horn in the World”. Leon thought for a few seconds: “Oh, yeah, Columbia CL 1729, I think. I have several copies.” A few days later, in Leon’s backyard “warehouse” for the first of many hours there, I found five or six copies of the LP.

    Leon became a friend, my LP collection grew as a result. In the years that followed Leon took up collecting CDs and my CD library would probably be a couple hundred bigger if I still had all those I sold to him or traded for LPs.

    I miss Leon and I miss spending hours perusing the the shelves, too.

  6. Suffice to say Leon did have some awesome records. I related him for over 10 years from 1980-1990. I was a fanatical collector of records for purely music first. I play various instruments and am extremely proficient at it. I love rvg sound. Leon and i often got together to buy sell and trade. I had some great connection and gave him some extremely rare records. One of them being mal waldrons left alone w jackie mac in mint* – i have never seen another copy in any shape. Had a record store in glendale, ca for 5 yrs. Finally i sold my entire collection of 3k to leon due to divorce and drug addiction for 5k. He got a deal, yeh. Peace out

  7. This “want list” really pulls no punches. The records in my collection that I am most proud of, based on age and condition…are not on here. The ones that I do have were only acquired in the last month or so – I picked up a bunch of west coast stuff that seemed like it had been used for a radio station, and in the stack of 20 records I picked, I found two nice Phil Woods titles: Woodlore on prestige, and Phil Talks With Quill on Epic, both original pressings. Can’t say I have any of these other heavy hitters, besides the Booker Little on Time. Oddly enough, my average across those three titles is about $13 per record. I guess you take what you can get (or find) and keep searching.

  8. Earlier in this thread, LJC said, “I have totally lost interest in ‘collectable’ Blue Note. There are many much more interesting records at a fraction of this cost: musical adventures galore to be had.” I couldn’t agree more.

    Here’s an example. I have been delving back into Dollar Brand’s late-60s and early-70s solo recordings:

    African Sketchbook (Enja, issued 1974, recorded 16th May 1969).

    African Piano — recorded live at Jazzhus Montmatre Copenhagen 22nd Oct 1969 (issued in 1973 on JAPO, the early incarnation and/or subsidiary of Manfred Eicher’s ECM, but actually a reissue of the original 1970 Spectator Records pressing, an even smaller Danish label).

    The two-volume set African Portraits and Sangoma on the tiny Toronto label, Sackville Records, both recorded in one mammoth session at Thunder Sound, Toronto on the 18th Feb 1973 and issued the same year.

    Four records picked up at various times — the Sackville discs about nine or ten years ago. All together they cost about £20, perhaps a touch under. The Sackvilles were £3.99 each, I know, because the secondhand stickers are still on them.

    But the pleasure they have given me — both in their content and in the detective work involved in placing the sessions in their historical context — is worth as much to me as any high-price Blue Note. Jazz records don’t need a four-figure price tag to be precious.

  9. First off, this has been my favorite LJC post to date. Great job and WOW what a list! It’s part prophesy and part time capsul. I can relate to the frustrating experience of seeing a collection so grand, it would really take the air out of your whimsy.

    As for the poll, I cannot vote. I don’t think either option best describes me. Like many, I buy for the music/sound, but, I will admit to have been bitten by the collecting bug and given the opportunity, I will certainly go for the gusto on an original for both reasons. Either is sufficient. Both are relevant.

    I will likely sell my collection when I can no longer steady the stylus, but perhaps my son will enjoy the music and want them. (He’s due to bIf not, I’d like to see them dispersed for others to discover while enjoying the hunt.

  10. I am not sure what to add right now other than saying this post / thread is truly awesome.

    Ok. I’ll add a little. For me, I always try to get a combination of the best I can afford mixed with the best sounding. My most recent example being Hank Mobley 1568. I know I can’t afford the original so I did a bit of research on what may be the best alternative. A CD is out. The Classic Records LP is out considering my poor luck with sound quality of others. I settled on finding an early 80’s Japanese King. Voila! Sounds wonderful. Better than I expected actually.

    Miles Davis Kind of Blue is another example, yet different. I first simply assumed I would never be able to afford a pristine original copy so wondered what re-issue to get. Bought a Classic Records for around $75 which turned out scratched and the seller wouldn’t return it claiming how is he to know it’s the same record as he didn’t notice it scratched. Ugh. I then did more research and saw that occasionally US Columbia originals can sometimes go for around $100. I studied ebay for a while and then scored a NM mono for basically $100. Yay! It sounded good, but it lacked something. Then had to find the stereo and came across a NM stereo for about the same price. Yay and much better! My point is, originals or early second pressings may not be too far off these “audiophile” reissues in price to begin with. And if you’re getting something you hope will last a lifetime, isn’t it worth spending a little more?

  11. Bringing to light that Open Sesame auction really has me stewing about ebay bidding habits, LJC!

    So a “responsible” bidder will do one of two things: 1. enter a max bid at any time during an auction in hopes that no one will walk up their bid (in a juvenile act of impulsivity and impatience), also possibly so they don’t have to worry about forgetting to bid at the end of the auction, or 2. wait until the last second to enter a max bid so no one can react to their bid and in turn they won’t have a chance to impulsively react to another person’s bid and spend beyond their means. (this is what I do 😉

    Now, inexperienced, immature bidders who act like kids in a toy store who MUST have what they want and who are prepared to spend beyond their means behave in the following way: walk up bids over and over again until they have an item at what they believe is the minimum cost without there being any risk of losing it by entering a bid at the last second.

    I used to think that rich people bid differently than poor people on ebay, but when you think about it, there’s always (usually) a bigger fish in the sea, so rich people are tied to these rules of responsibility for bidding too. (in my book, anyway!) It doesn’t upset me that someone has more money than me. I just don’t like when two irresponsible idiots get involved in an auction for something I’m interested in and unnaturally make the price skyrocket.

    I’m a true believer, LJC, that good things come to those who wait. If we’re patient, we will eventually come across those auctions where everyone bids responsibly and the item goes to the person who is simply willing and able to pay the most for it, not the most impulsive, irrational person, and maybe one of those times it will be me!

    • One could write a book about bidding behaviour (my first attempt was here, no doubt you have seen it, but in case others haven’t, includes my “stealth-system” for closing-seconds control.

      https://londonjazzcollector.wordpress.com/buying-records-online/tips-on-buying-records-online-successfully/

      Whilst in theory all good things come to those who wait, some of us are able to wait longer than others.

      OK Doc, give it to me straight – how long have I got?
      Ten.
      Ten what? – Ten years, ten months?
      Nine … eight … sev……

      There have been times I have thought I’d rather have a record in this life than the next. Youngsters can wait.

      Mostly I am happy to lose, because I never bid more than a record is worth to me, which is a very personal thing which has taken me quite a long time to arrive at. I should qualify, I am happy to lose to another collector who values it more than me. That’s right for sellers, without whom we would have nothing.

      I’d rather have ten interesting records than one very expensive one, but I recognise other collectors are in a different place. I console myself there is sometimes a good reason why some records are “rare” – they didn’t sell, because they weren’t very good. Not always true, but makes me feel better.

      I must say I do enjoy looking at the bid history of winners I have lost to. Always interesting. What sort of life is it to make 800 bids a month?

    • I see no sign in slackening of demand for “collectable” vintage modern jazz vinyl. The audiophile equipment industry isn’t going away (unlike retail cd) – and the interest in the music is worldwide, even if counted in only thousands of people .In my judgement, modern digital technology has (so far) failed to reproduce vintage quality, and the less-evil vinyl disc remain the new antiques.

      Records I would have expected to get at auction for a £100 a few years ago now are selling at double. The new generation of collectors are “impatient” – expectations are high in all walks of life today, and money guarantees speedy acquisition. The Russians and Far Eastern collectors have no local supply so fuel demand through the Internet.

      Supply remains the problem – records that find their way to Russia, Japan and beyond never come back onto the Western market. Collectors here, like everyone, are living longer. When demand exceeds supply, prices increase, simples. For how much longer? Who knows.

      • Supply is the big issue. Within the jazz ‘niche’ we are already seeing what happened with classic rock and progressive music in the 1990s repeat itself. Then, Vertigo ‘swirl’ label, Harvest, pink rim Island and many other highly collectable rock labels all but disappeared from this country as Japanese collectors (especially) hoovered them up at inflated prices throughout the very late-80s and 90s.

        Some stores and dealers I have spoken to made killings — but paradoxically also saw their premium trade disappear as the labels which historically had been their most valuable items migrated overseas, never to return to the UK secondhand market. I remember one dealer bemoaning the fact that he no longer saw a decent original Island or Vertigo any more, and was left with stuff he couldn’t make any money from. That store closed down three or four years ago.

        One jazz dealer told me just a month or two back that a Japanese dealer had booked an appointment, flown over, and paid cash for over £5,000-worth of his highest priced originals. Good money, of course, but these items will never come his way again.

        Anyone who simply loves to play good jazz on vinyl should be praying for a vigorous reissue market….

        • Another factor to consider, though perhaps more of a state-side issue, is that local record stores never put their good stuff out anymore. I travel for work and visit lots of stores and rarely see anything interesting to buy, regardless of price. When I ask if there is any collectible stuff in the back, the answer is always that the good stuff goes to eBay right away where it can command top money from these overseas markets. I can’t fault them for doing what they need to do to keep the lights on, but supply is very tight.

          • So true. The only good originals you will find on the shelves in record stores (NYC included) is stuff that isn’t in that great condition. Most decent originals will always fetch more money on ebay than with a fixed price in a store. The only shot is to have an “in” with the store owners and hope they will do you a favor by naming a price instead of putting something on ebay.

            • FREDDIE-HUBBARD-OPEN-SESAME-BLUE-NOTE-4040-RVG-NM- 13 Oct, 2013 16:07:28 BST Winning bid:US $1,125.00 Approximately £705.46 [ 41 bids ] Item location: Bangkok, Thailand

              http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/200971877380?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

              No ear FFS! Its a Liberty reissue.

              This is what you are up against. It’s like being a Bugatti Collector: a complete waste of time for people with a “normal” budget. I have totally lost interest in “collectable” Blue Note. There are many much more interesting records at a fraction of this cost: musical adventures galore to be had.

              • They’re so beautiful, though *blushes*. I can’t give up hope. Someday, someday…

                But yeah, the most collectible stuff–the rare titles, the good titles, the Blue Note, the Prestige, the mono–all that stuff has people watching like hawks, some wealthy and within their means, others not so wealthy but with credit cards and no patience.

              • Holy crap–just noticed that it’s not an original(!!) If you look at the bid history, not only does the winner have a relatively low feedback score but they also bid about a hundred times…amateur city. This round goes to the inexperienced, impatient novice collector (and the seller!). Sometimes I wonder, though, if experienced collectors want these repressed just as bad as originals because they’re still pressed from mono RVG lacquers and they’re in such great shape…? (This doesn’t seem to be that case though, this seems like a couple inexperienced collectors).

                • A large proportion of the bids are from u***1, who I believe is the nom-de-guerre of the Japanese record shops Disc Union, that resell at many multiples of the price to lazy Tokyo collectors. The guy that won it has an extraordinary history of over 800 bids in the last month, but a score a little over a hundred. The Ebay market is distorted by crazies.

              • Ok, I stand corrected: that u***1 seems like an experienced, regular bidder on rare, in-demand pieces.

                BTW: did you notice that 2***2 was bidding *every second* for a period of about 20 seconds, then stopped once they became the high bidder? Seems like they might be using some sort of automated system to bid just above the current high bid. I don’t see any point in doing this six hours before an auction ends though, since anyone that comes along can just outbid you with the next highest increment.

              • “This is what you are up against. It’s like being a Bugatti Collector: a complete waste of time for people with a “normal” budget. I have totally lost interest in “collectable” Blue Note. There are many much more interesting records at a fraction of this cost: musical adventures galore to be had.”

                *two thumbs up*

      • Agreed that the vinyl equipment industry isn’t going anywhere, though I find this comment interesting:

        “In my judgement, modern digital technology has (so far) failed to reproduce vintage quality, and the less-evil vinyl disc remain the new antiques.”

        I don’t think compact discs will ever be as collectible as vinyl, so yes, vinyl is the champion of the antique physical music formats in that sense. But digital music does have an advantage over the analog formats in that it is essentially permanent. From what I understand, no analog format can reproduce the exact same sound indefinitely in the same way as digital. No matter how light the tonearm weight is on a turntable or how often a tape machine is demagnetized, over a long enough time the fidelity and the material will deteriorate (I consider myself lucky to be living in a window of time where these analog mediums still sound pretty darn good). In this sense, in terms of practicality and everyday use, digital is and will be the champion of these “antique” music formats. But who knows? Maybe something will come along and bump digital out.

        This does not take into consideration analog (vinyl) “reissues”. It remains to be seen if vinyl reissues continue to utilize original master tapes or if those tapes will eventually deteriorate and wear out, in which case digital masters might then be used…but wouldn’t that defeat the purpose?? Let’s admit though: there’s a number of reissues out there (many? most?) in both analog and digital formats where the master tape has in fact deteriorated over time and they just don’t sound as good as an original vinyl copy in near mint condition.

        I guess my point is: be careful with that tonearm weight! 😉

        • I also wanted to add that I think the current strength of the vinyl equipment market has a lot to do with the demand for vinyl reissues. In light of my comments above, it’s possible that the vinyl equipment industry would shrink considerably if vinyl reissues are no longer in demand at some point off in the future. (I just don’t understand the vinyl reissue thing, it doesn’t interest me at all, collectibility-wise or sonically; how hard should I have to listen to hear a difference between a vinyl and digital reissue?)

          • I had a discussion with a dealer and he thought some of the demand in Jazz right now was some want trend based and that it could fall off at some point. He said this happened with Doo wop records. I am a fairly new collector. I really started with in the last 10 years.

            • The demand for everything falls off – eventually. The question is when? Those who make this prediction never tell you “when”.

              Personally I don’t care when, it just means I will pay less for the music, I don’t collect for investment, I collect to play.

  12. I just wanted to add something I failed to mention in my first comment: though I chose the “collecting” choice in the first question above, make no mistake about it: I don’t think a record is worth owning if I can’t enjoy listening to it.

    • Extremely rare record pressings often have hiss and fidelity is not as clear, so they’re not the best listening experience. Like coin collecting, they are to collect and admire but not to spend. For ex I have the first Art Farmer 10″ LP on Prestige, with its incredible David Young artwork, a pristine copy, it is so beautiful, and it is now personally autographed to me by Art Farmer, but I would never play it.

  13. Difficult questions here, reminds me of endless debates with Mrs Mattyman… 😉

    Interesting post, though. There have also been many stories about Leon Leavitt in the comment field of Jazzcollector.com and they’re always interesting and make for a great read. I am curious if there are any visitors of LJC present who can share a story or two here.

    The story above about the collector who lost all his spirit to collect records after he wandered through Leavitt’s warehouse, that’s the kind of stories I’d love to read.

    Last but not least: I think I’ll eventually sell my gems. First of all I have a 70s funk collection that’s much larger than what I have in Jazz, but I do know that my wife really doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the records. So to prevent my records from ending up in the nearest landfill, I’d like to know before it’s too late that they’ll find a new home with a collector who, naturally, is willing to pay a good price for my babies. But that’s what I say now – ’cause right now I can’t imagine that my records will be gone, so I guess it’s going to be a matter of years before I can live with the thought that I’ll eventually ‘get rid’ of my records 😉

  14. it’s not easy to tell you how many hours I spent on this list that, when Leon gave me, was only a dream for me: I hadn’t even one, in original shape.
    but, with passion, travels and m…., now I can count over 60 in my collection.
    I’m not interested in them all but 25-26 more are in my viewfinder.
    in the last 33 years, in a way or another, I can say I have seen them all.
    some I’ve acquired, some where too expensive, others in bad conditions.
    I’m always in search but hope not to find them all: as I wrote in the past, if you complete your collection, what else to do?

  15. I heard the Polo is also developing a new fragrance: RVG. It recreates Van Gelder’s parents living room circa 1958, complete with the smell of Lucky Strike cigarettes, Francis Wolff’s phosphorus flash bulbs, and well, you get the hint.

  16. it strikes me that it must have been a more exciting prospect to distribute your wants lists back in the pre-internet days. mainly due to the fact that most of the value and knowledge on pricing was shared between a much smaller network of people so the chances of someone like Leon landing a copy of a super rare and ‘not’ paying through the roof might have been higher…
    just speculation…

  17. It is my feeling that Leon’s wants list from the early eighties, as shown, was a wants list for his business activities, not a personal wants list. There are items on the list which I bought from him in the late seventies, e.g. the Studio 4 – J.R. Monterose. So, that would not make sense.
    I am still collecting (buying) a bit (rare pressings), but selling much more. So, there is a nett outflow. I told myself (and promised my wife) to slim down, but will keep the bare essentials and leave them to my heirs. I voted in that sense.
    I found out that my contacts with Leon were interrupted from 1980 to 1990. I had frequent business dealings with him before 1980. From 1990 only sporadic until 1993. He then tried to buy my collection, in vain.

  18. Here’s the ultimate question::
    when you are deceased what will happen to your collection?
    A-I’ve willed the entire collection to a friend/family.
    B-I’ve willed specific titles to friends.
    C-i’ve instructed the executor of my estate to sell everything and give the money to my spouse, other family members or a charity.
    D-I forgot that you can’t take it with you when you go.

    • That is indeed the big question, Andrew. The sad fact is our carefully curated collections (of whatever) will in the main look like intractable junk to the dear ones we leave behind. And for the record, I have no idea what will happen to my modest collection of not-very-valuable records or my thousands and thousands of books…. And as I am currently my father’s executor, I would also be very wary of making undue demands on a future executor of mine (who will in any case almost certainly also be a bereaved family member….). Grim thoughts.

  19. That was a tough poll! I’m about as evenly split as I think one could be for the first question, and for the second question I don’t think I fit quite perfectly into any of the categories. Indeed, I love the tangible traits of vinyl–I love those heavyweight pressings, the sturdy, glossy jackets, etc. But, I also love those old mono mixes, which one often cannot obtain in any kind of reissue format. All other things equal though, I guess I have to admit that I do dig the “warmth” of vinyl =P

    Regarding the second question, I think I’m a unique sort of collector in that I have always kept my collection at an efficient, small size. If I buy a record and it sits without me listening to it much for a while, I’ll sell it. But I do intend to always keep my most cherished vintage records.

    As for the future of collecting, it would be AWESOME if people got less and less interested in it over time, just so the prices would come down. Buuut I don’t think that’s gonna happen wah wah.

    Those lists are a real trip to look at…I love how they’re typed with a typewriter. And it was so funny when the original poster said they looked for this obscure record and the dude had four of them haha.

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