UK auction, Blue Note Mobley 1568 sets new price benchmark

An occasional post, tracking a significant auction outcome which should be of interest to all collectors and sellers. 1568 ending 0 Whoa!! For a premium record that in tip-top condition often settles around the $5,000 benchmark, the most coveted and collectable record in the jazz pantheon, Hank Mobley 1568, sets a new benchmark of £7,300 ( $11,175)

A UK auction, you have to ask, what goes on here? Often it’s not gigantic market forces, but just two people jousting. Ebay’s  bid history sheds a little illumination on who, how and when:1568 new record £7300 The price setter that crystalized the £7k+ price-tag? Second-placed bidder with an all time track record of only six wins in all time, l***l., who made about 50 bids in the last month

For someone who placed such a massive bid on 1568, he doesn’t seem very successful with his other bids. Only six wins in all time? Only asking. Perhaps he’s just starting out. Perhaps. Let’s take a closer look at the second-placed price-setter’s  recent history.

The second-placed bidder is the determinant of the final price, and smokes out anyone who recklessly places an XXXL-bid in the hope that someone sensible will set the final price. That £3,950 “sensible” bid turned into a £7kplus auction in the closing seconds. This is the history of the bidder that did it, l***l:

1568 mysterious price-setter locks in winner with XXL bid l***l has placed lots of bids, but  isn’t successful, most of the time, based on his (6) score total. I’m baffled, but fascinated.

My Mobley 1568 is a Japanese King pressing. I leave it to the big game hunters to fight it out over the ultimate trophy record. “Stunning”? I’ve just upgraded my turntable to an Avid Acutus Reference SP. We could discuss the meaning of the word “stunning”. This really is.

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61 thoughts on “UK auction, Blue Note Mobley 1568 sets new price benchmark

  1. The truth is out! Just wrote to Popsike to say that this is currently being relisted, with the seller freely admitting that the buyer did not complete. We can safely say from your above that the underbidder chose not to accept the second chance offer. It stank of shill bidding, but lets see what it goes for this time, with the bid histories being watched by us all. Dare I make a cheeky mention that I have a near number to it up in a true 50s pressing this week, BLP 1521, the Art Blakey Quartet, doing a mere £52 compared to 1568’s £2k, which we all expect to go over £3k.

    • As best I recall this auction went through VinylHouse (UK), a British jazz and classical vinyl selling co-op, who sent me an explanation about two former DJ brothers fighting it out. Not for me to question it, but the relisting adds grist to the mill.

      Because eBay auctions are global, and there are collectors in remote locations with no conceivable access to physical copies except through auction, prices can go skee-wiff just on a whim of two people (of world population three trillion) trying to occupy the same space.

      Prices are driven by scarcity not quality, and the idea of being one of the few people that own a rare record (that no-one bought at the time) doesn’t score high on my priorities. That said, I just spent a small fortune on a couple of ’60s British jazz albums that just popped up.

      Watch this space.

      • £4220, with a weak pound. Popsike have left the fake high price up. This discredits them as a resource. I suppose we also now need to see if this buyer completes (taking a peep at the feedback)

  2. There are so many people watching this listing. I even placed it on my watch list. Lol. Sorry but you must be a dumb ass to buy this record at this price. I don’t understand the rarity. There is always one for sale.

  3. What I find more disturbing is the seller (Vinyl-House-UK) and what seems an ENDLESS supply of scarce big hitting Jazz and Classical Stereo titles!!

    Have they invented a time machine???? You just DO NOT find original American pressings that consistently in the UK – and nine times out of ten it will be in VG condition with the cover falling to pieces!

  4. I’ve got the Japanese King mono pressing of 1568 which is just lovely sound-wise. But owning the original in mint condition would make me feel happier because I would immediately put it up for auction.
    And that is because, although I like to have a niece collection of jazz vinyl, I am by no means a true collector or completist.
    Maybe that choice is about finances but, as LJC says, I would rather reinvest in my music system than have a museum piece that would be best left unplayed.
    Incidentally, I noticed that Spotify does not carry a stream of 1568 but has many other Mobley albums.
    Obviously most people are utterly obvious to the significance of the record.

  5. For a lot of people, 7300 Quid is something they have to work six months for. But, as they always say, if you have money to burn and you make a few million a week/month, then 7300 is chump change.

    In any way it’s out of my league to fork out such an amount for this Mobley. I have a 10 Euro Scorpio pressing of this beauty and it’s in stereo, too. Quite interesting to play with your balance switch and focus on Mobley’s solos; left channel, more or less canceling out the others that thump along in the right channel 😉

  6. It’s an insane price for this record. This LP is not so rare as people think either. I’ve seen lots of copies of this one, both with and without the NY23. The Jackie McLean on Ad Lib is much rarer for example and almost never comes up for sale, and there’s plenty of other Blue Notes that are much harder to find in great condition, for example Lee Morgan Indeed! BLP 1538, Lee Morgan Vol.3 BLP 1557, Lee Morgan City Lights 1575 with a NY23 label, John Coltrane Blue Train with a NY23 label, Dizzy Reece Blues In Trinity BLP 4006, Tina Brooks True Blue BLP 4041 and so on… other LP’s much harder to find are Byrd Blows on Beacon Hill on Transition 17, Art Pepper Modern Art on Intro, Art Pepper on Tampa 28 and RS1001, Dexter Gordon on Dootone, Red Rodney on Signal, the list is endless.

    I’m of course talking about original 1st pressings with all the trimmings, the usual stuff + specials such as red wax, music sheets, booklets. The person who paid this kind of money for the 1568, not the most coveted version with the NY23 (which I consider the 1st pressing), has made some really bad business I believe. It’s not worth that kind of money. Maybe 3500-4000 usd would have been a good deal. With the NY23 label in that condition, maybe 5000-5500 usd.

    • I’m beginning to believe there can be two versions of a true first pressing, and one is simply a variant unintentionally created by the manufacture. It’s rarer and therefore commands more money, but it isn’t really different than someone chasing a piece of limited colored vinyl when there is an identical copy in black. Do I need a copy of “Out To Lunch” with DG on one side? No. Do I want it? Yes 🙂

      • One can’t be sure, but Fred’s book is the only tangible source written on the subject that I know of, so I follow it. He says that the W63 both sides version is a 2nd pressing so I go by his words.

        • From page 76 of Cohen’s book:

          “Collectors tend to prefer any indication of an earlier pressing. The presence of a NY23 or NYC or deep-groove label will invariably be assumed to be original.”

          “…it can probably never be known whether, in many instances, a matched or mixed label pressing was the first to be manufactured.”

          I have a tremendous amount of respect for Cohen’s painstaking detail regarding this matter, and though he democratically made the choice to give precedence to mixed labels and one-sided deep grooves in his guide based on collector consensus, I think it was noble of him to note that this assumption–technically made by the majority of collectors, not the author–has no hard evidence.

          So it appears that Cohen is not dogmatically proclaiming mixed label copies are originals. (I also think it makes sense to document the mixed label occurrences because it’s easier to infer the existence of unmixed label copies that use the later label of the two from that information.)

          • so, what matters most? rare OR original? in the whole 1500 series there are only three numbers with split labels.
            1568, Hank Mobley: NYC side one, NY 23 side two.
            1575, Lee Morgan City lights: NY 23 either side one or two, NYC on the other side.
            I’ve seen a few copies, very few, all with NY 23 on side one only, never on side two. is this more original than NY 23 side one?
            1577, John Coltrane Blue Train: NY 23 either side one or two. mine is NY23 side one but NY 23 side two exists. I’ve a double NYC Blue Train too, but I consider original NY 23, which is much, much rarer.

            • Well, as you know, later pressings of 1500 series Blue Notes often have split labels, like a copy of 1504 I have with 767 side 1/W 63rd side 2. 1568 and 1577 both are more commonly found with period correct, matching W63rd labels, just not matching short lived earlier NY23 labels. Since some titles around this time are never found with the NY23 labels the inference could almost be made that since copies of 1568/1577 with matching labels are more plentiful that they are the true originals and mismatched labels are from a later run using left over labels. I personally disagree they are from a separate run (as we have been told by Michael Cuscuna that 1568 only had one pressing) and that the NY23 labels were used at the same time, but if it was at the beginning of the run or the end we will never know.

              • 1577 is the last NY 23 known, the first being 1544.
                but, among these 24 numbers there’s the appearance of 47 West 63 NYC: 1560, 1564, 1566, 1567, 1569. from here on NYC is the rule, NY 23 the exception and, exception among exceptions, 1576 is double NY 23.
                about split labels, what we know about NY 23 is:
                1568 was printed for side two only.
                1575 printed for both labels although I never saw NY 23 on side two but Fred says it exists.
                1577 surely printed for both labels but NEVER found on a single copy.
                my question: why, if printed, don’t use BOTH for a single copy?
                we could assume that at least one copy of 1575 or 1577 is in existence with double NY 23 somewhere.
                I wonder how high the top bid could be…

                • The reason 1577 has never been seen with NY23 on both labels is indeed a mystery. If they intentionally made sure that every record had at least one newer W63rd label, why would they have printed labels for both sides with NY23?? If the use of the old NY23 labels was purely random, one would think there would be an occasional copy with NY23 on both sides. So the use of the old NY23 labels on one side only must have been intentional, right?? But that being said, who knows where the mixed label copies occurred in that first run, and it still seems plausible that some amount of copies with unmixed labels would have also been part of the first run.

                  • “…one would think there would be an occasional copy with NY23 on both sides.”

                    I’ve wondered this as well. Assuming a copy was found I would assume it would become the new default for original and command even more money. Perhaps one day. 🙂

                    • Since not a single NY23/NY23 copy of 1577 has surfaced in the nearly 60 years since it was released I highly doubt any were made. It is interesting to speculate if there was any logic to Blue Notes with split labels or if it was all just up to what was on hand to slap on the biscuits at Plastylite that day.

      • Hello all at LJC, I am one of the Vinyl House collective,nicknamed the “General”because of my order barking demeanour.
        In response to the comment “endless supply”,we have a stock of 100,000 and an archive of 15,000.
        As for the “Mobley” auction;The winner is from the UK and the Under bidder France. The winner placed a bid that would ensure a market close-out,we then took around 50 choice condition pieces in exchange.If he grants us permission we will do a story on our blog.
        We invite any member of this forum to visit either our studio or storage facility by prior appointment.
        Should anyone wish to see or hear some of the greatest recordings of all time,please get in touch.We are not elitists,snobs,sexists or racists.We are music worshippers that have joined together to do our best.We do not make it up and we do not shill.Read our most recent blog post for an individual who decided that he would research his price limitations AFTER bidding,go figure?
        Some bidders over bid to ensure acquisition then attempt to pay less,30%less.
        We never comply as that would be an insult to the rest of the genuine bidders in that particular auction,as they are not privvy to any retrospective price corrections.Should this pattern become the norm we will be forced to sell “Buy-it-now”only,this would be a shame as we prefer the thrill of the chase.
        KIndest regards,peace and love VH.

        • Evening to all at LJC and ‘The General’. Lucas here from the Vinyl-House team, aka ‘Bobby Spanners’. There was a time not so long ago when Hank Mobley was an unknown entity to me, having fed my teenage ears with ‘Prog Rock’ (one shudders at the thought of the then musical and cultural naivety) my own journey has been one I could have barely imagined. Bop was my gateway.

          As a 23 year old most jazzers look down on my inexperience and with the age gap I am certainly not adverse to saying or doing something typical of my generation, hence the nickname. What we are is a group of genuine music enthusiasts, devotees of vinyl with an emphasis on shared knowledge, preservation and all round good karma.

          Any questions, please feel free to get in touch on here, eBay or our blog. We live and breathe what we do and welcome the chance to reach out.

          Long live the new flesh.

        • According to an entry from another user with name “ebiye” on June 22 at the jazzcollector blog it seems like the final bidder did not pay for the item? Here is the post quoted:

          “Dear sirs, I do not profess that one variant supercedes another,where labels and miss-prints are concerned I merely suggest that the academic pedantry involved is the preserve of collectors only.
          I do however posit the fact that 1568 has only one ,first press run.
          As a music devotee my interest revolves around interprtation of score,musical performance and audio presentation.
          I have no idea why two individuals would bid such an amount,but until the transaction is complete it is not real.To the farcical extent that I have paid over $1000 in fees for an as yet,un paid for item.
          Like others ,I own both label versions of 1568 and to me they sound identical.
          The undisputed ,flop,has found a place in jazz history that will always touch the souls of those that are impervious to reviewer tastes and social mores.”

      • I don’t mean to be argumentative with Fredrik, as I have a great deal of respect for him, but I agree with you, GST. Indeed, it seems that mixed label copies of these records are rarer and likewise command higher price tags, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for copies with unmixed labels to be originals. On the contrary, it makes good sense that at least some of these unmixed label copies were pressed at the same time as the mixed label copies. (It also makes sense when an owner of a mixed label copy argues that mixed label copies are the sole first pressings, which certainly adds to the allure and value of the record in question.)

  7. I wonder whether one of the London based followers of LJC is close enough to seller Vinyl-House-UK to find out if the deal has been consummated.

    • Oh how I wish this were true as I’ll never own an original and just have the King reissue.

      But sadly Music Matters are concluding after this year. Too many headaches with pressing plants compared to when they started (and people returning vinyl).

        • Also, hope this is not true. Far and away the top source for reissues…if there have been legitimate issues with printing presses that’s one thing. I just hope that a few perfectionist whiners are ruining it for everyone when they receive a vinyl with a few little ticks (gasp!).

        • LJC I have been a long time reader of your blog, and it annoys me too to write this, but I will just say that people have to see once and for all with the December 2015 reissues. I’m sorry I can not say more and I would not grudge anyone in the least if no one believed me or replied to my entry with skepticism.

  8. Without wishing to lower the tone of this discussion to one of vulgar enquiries about price, isn’t that Avid Acutus Reference turntable substantially more than the Mobley LP? I could only find one reference to prices when I searched – presumably on the basis (oft-quoted but nonetheless true) that if you need to ask, then you can’t afford it…

    Right now, a dirt cheap HMV mono MONEY JUNGLE is playing on the Pro-Ject. It probably sounds like shit but fortunately between age and tinnitus my ears don’t seem to care too much. And this peculiar meeting between Duke, Mingus and Roach was never an audiophile’s dream in any case…. (Yes, I know it’s only Friday and decent hard-working families – now beloved of all the mainstream parties – are all at work, but I wagged a day off to play records. It may be why I’m listening on a Pro-Ject and not an Avid…) 🙂

    • Now that you’re mentioning such things as age and tinnitus, Alun: I sometimes wonder about the average age of audiophiles, I really don’t know. But then again, there might be blind art collectors, who knows?

      • Hi Eduard. Well, in the sense that the term ‘audiophile’ is generally meant (ie on audiophile websites and forums), they are generally older people, and almost invariably men. Fifty-plus, I imagine, and perhaps sixty-plus. Posts I read elsewhere always seem to be about ‘how do we attract a new generation of audiophiles who wish to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on proper audiophile equipment?’ They’re dying out, and those still alive – the younger ones – have no room, can’t afford to buy houses, and listen on headphones so that they don’t wake their children/neighbours/spouse/partners….

        I’m not an audiophile and never have been. Most of the stuff I read about audiophile equipment I don’t even understand. I’m just a child of the fifties/sixties, and of a certain type – for as long as I have had any disposable income, I have only ever wanted to spend it on books and records. I grew up regarding books and records as ‘the good life’ and have never wavered from that view.

        Failing hearing and tinnitus are just that – a product of ageing. I’m aware of both these problems but they don’t generally interfere with my listening pleasure – at least, not usually. A few years ago my tinnitus was very pronounced and for a short period – I don’t think I was entirely serious about it – I considered selling all my records and CDs. I didn’t. Actually, I sold about half – perhaps more than half – of my record collection (everything that wasn’t jazz went, and some jazz too, now I think about it) and I switched to listening almost exclusively on good quality headphones. I found this offered me not just a better listening experience but was preferable to loudspeakers.

        At some point I imagine it’s possible that listening to music will become such a trial that I won’t bother. If that does happen it will be sad, of course, but on the other hand if that’s the worst that ageing brings then I shan’t mind too much. 🙂

        • No consolation but I also have mild tinnitus – which I consider a sign of growing up. I just crank the hi-fi volume up a notch to show who’s boss.

          I also have around 10% hearing loss on the left side, legacy of a motorcycle accident some years back. I always thought this a disadvantage until I started listening to Van Gelder early stereo, with its placement of the lead instrument hard on the left channel. If you adjust your listening position carefully on the sofa, it’s a bonus, cancels out the worst of it.

          My mum used to say, there’s always some thing good comes out of something bad.

        • Oh sorry, Alun, I probably didn’t take your first mention of tinnitus too literally. (It’s a problem not entirely unknown to me – but no exchange of hospital stories here.) Thanks for providing background info on the typical audiophile who, just as I expected, would be very likely to be a person whose hearing, especially of upper frequencies, is more or less impaired due to his age. Let’s leave it to everyone to draw conclusions.

          • A 70s vintage pressing of Bill Evans’ EXPLORATIONS seems to be punching through the tinnitus quite successfully this morning — with the volume cranked up a couple of notches as per LJC’s strategy 🙂

          • Inaudible High-Frequency Sounds Affect Brain Activity

            “Although it is generally accepted that humans cannot perceive sounds in the frequency range above 20 kHz..(insert lots of neurophysiology laboratory research) ….Psychological evaluation indicated that the subjects felt the sound containing an HFC (High Frequency Components) to be more pleasant than the same sound lacking an HFC. These results suggest the existence of a previously unrecognized response to complex sound containing particular types of high frequencies above the audible range.”

            Tsutomu Oohashi , Emi Nishina , Manabu Honda , Yoshiharu Yonekura , Yoshitaka Fuwamoto , Norie Kawai , Tadao Maekawa , Satoshi Nakamura , Hidenao Fukuyama , Hiroshi Shibasaki

            Journal of Neurophysiology Published 1 June 2000 Vol. 83 no. 6, 3548-3558 DOI

            Full text here:
            http://jn.physiology.org/content/83/6/3548

            High frequencies you ostensibly “can not hear” measurably affect your brain activity and response. This is the sort of research I like!

              • BTW, anyone who is into that hypersonic stuff should consider this:

                There is a dramatic difference in the frequency range of vinyl depending on outer grooves or inner grooves. So, the better your reception of (hypersonic?) subtleties, the bigger the difference in quality you will notice between outer and inner groove. Ah, you don’t notice/care about the difference? That’s right. Why bother.

                With master tapes, the problem just doesn’t exist. It doesn’t exist with CD’s either. Only with vinyl.

    • If you pay muchwonga for the Mobley, you have added one record to your collection, to play on your compromise turntable. However the other way around, I have got 1500 records that now be heard to their fullest potential. That is a much better return on investment. Even better, the improvement in the source signal is allowing all the other components to show how good they are, getting more out of them at no cost.

      Rather than carry on making incremental improvements year after year, I decided to do it all in one go. There are people driving around in cars costing double, whilst mine is seventeen years old and still has a radio cassette player in the dash.
      It’s about priorities. Mine is music (though not in the car. I am just grateful when that starts)

      • You’re right, LJC – it is always about priorities and trade-offs: what we are prepared to do without (even renounce) in order to have the things we really value…

      • LJC said: “If you pay muchwonga for the Mobley, you have added one record to your collection, to play on your compromise turntable.”

        True, of course… But perhaps the lucky (or just rich) owner of the Mobley also has a turntable one wouldn’t necessarily consider a “compromise”… It is just possible 🙂

    • Hey – what a spectacular album. Never heard Ellington play angry before. One of the greatest sessions in my book. Too bad the records of this session all sound pretty poor. But even then, the music shines through

      • Hi Boukman, You mean MONEY JUNGLE? You’re right, Duke does sound in a prickly mood, but Mingus sounds completely pissed off. It’s a strange date. MYbe none of that really wanted to do it? Cook and Morton say that perhaps Mingus was experiencing one of the periodic “huffs that Ellington was to recount later”.

  9. Bizarre – and way beyond my level of understanding. Who would suddenly decide to jack the price up by 3050.00 GBP? And why? Who would want a record so badly – and yet, as LJC has pointed out, have virtually no history of previous similar purchases. A strange sub-world, but an interesting one…

  10. Outrageous, especially for a supposedly “ultra-rare” title that seems to show up on eBay at least once a month.

    I’m a bit confused by your analysis though. Wasn’t it the eventual winning bidder that jacked the price from £3950 to £7,000? What am I missing?

    • This is my understanding (welcome to be corrected)

      The final price of £7.3k for o—o is one Ebay increment above the bid of £7.2k from l—l .

      Though o—o initially pushed the price from £3.95k to £7.0k it was the presence of l—l’s £7.2k bid that sealed the final price. If l—l had not placed that bid, o—o would have won the auction at an increment above l—l’s £3.95k bid

      We will never know what o—o’s final bid was, though his expectation was probably that it would close at around £4k, which is the going rate for a top copy of this LP. The bids over £7.k were probably never intended to materialise.

      Clash of the Titans? What I don’t understand is bids of this value from Ebayers with such low scores. I mean six? sixteen? What kind of person who would appreciate and desire Mobley 1568 would have a score history of six? Six hundred maybe, but six I can’t figure.

      • Assuming it׳s a legit bidder he׳s probably going for quality rather than quantity. With this kind of bids it make sense that he׳s only aiming at big price records few times a year. Btw UK jazz auctions usually tend to end up more expensive than similar US auctions, less supply this side of the pond i guess.

      • I always thought, and I certainly could be wrong, that the history showed “actual” bids rather that “max” bids, meaning that the £7,000 bid was the winning bid until someone outbid him (or her).

        I do agree that the final bidders seem a bit shady, and I also agree with jazzcollector’s hypothesis on his post today that the LP may eventually end up going to a***u at £3,333, which is high but not nearly as stratospheric as the current winning bid.

  11. LJC, I can’t understand why anyone, even a billionaire, would drop $11k for any vintage original record. Even the famous Hank Mobley, Hank Mobley. I gave up a couple of years ago and settled for a Music Matter’s 45rpm mono. I love life and have a few dollars still in my pocket.

    On, the other hand, I can clearly understand why you acquired the beautiful, and I am sure, sweet performing and sounding, Avid Acutus Reference SP. I recently sold my Avid Ingenium in hopes of scoring a used Volvere. That deal fell through. But, I am happy still. I run 3 tables – the sweet sounding Nottingham Space Deck with 12 tonearm, a big VPI Classic and a middle of the pack Clearaudio. The Nottingham is mounted with a Miyajima mono Zero Cartridge, a nice combination to enjoy my growing collection of vintage mono Blue Note, Prestige, Impulse, Riverside, blah, blah, and blah. Hey and guess what – much I what I have collected recently was inspired by the discourse in this group.

    Keep up the great discussion guys and girls – loving it

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