Both buyers and sellers have an interested in the “market price” for Blue Note records, and though there are several services that can help, such as Popsike and Goldmine, there is an absence of factual analysis of the collectability of specific artists and titles. Enter LJC, with a little help from the Jazz Collector Price Guide .
Auction outcomes included in the Jazz Collector Price Guide do not claim to be comprehensive but include the outcome of “premium” auctions on Ebay of original vintage collectable Blue Notes graded mainly Ex or Mint. It excludes later reissues and records in lesser condition, which dilute average prices. The results below are an analysis of 1,760 “premium” Blue Note auctions between 2008 and 2013, with an average auction price of $546.
Health Warning: Auctions can be unpredictable, often consist of no more than twenty bids, of which only a handful are serious. Since the final selling price in an Ebay auction is set at an increment above the second highest bidder, what the final winner bid remains undisclosed. High-end record collecting is not for the faint-hearted. However, it is good fun to watch, from a safe distance.
My thanks to Jazz Collector for the valuable work they do and excellent forum they provide, which was the original inspiration for my own site.What appears below is an original “value-added” statistical analysis of their price guide, not something that appears on their site. (We don’t do plagiarism around here, unlike most of the internet).
Ebay database sources are not corrected for retracted and fraudulent sales. The gigantic scam by disgraced Ebay seller Nautiluso are still reflected in published auction results. Prices are expressed in USD, but they should perhaps be expressed in ¥.
The Guide is based on how the records were described in auction. I have cleaned the original data of numerous artist miss-attribution, name and title miss-spelling and spelling variations. I have also merged mono/stereo editions into one title to make the sample size more robust.
The Jazz Collector database is I believe based on auction of authentic original copies, and excludes reissues, which otherwise reduce average values
1. Top Ten Blue Note Artists commanding the highest maximum price at auction (all titles)
|Artist||Number of Auctions||Highest Price (USD)||Average Price (USD)|
2. Top Ten Blue Note Artists ranked by average price at auctions (all titles)
|Artist||Number of auctions||Highest Price (USD)||Average Price (USD)|
3. Top Ten most valuable Blue Note records at auction (specific titles)
|Blue Note||Title||Count of Auctions||Maximum Price USD||Average Price USD|
|1530||With Zoot Sims||16||3,650||1,853|
|1557||Volume 3 Lee Morgan||12||3,000||1,296|
|1538||Lee Morgan Indeed!||18||2,927||1,386|
Value is dependent mainly on scarcity and to a lesser degree on sentiment. In the case of the most valuable, there may be only a few hundred copies of investment grade quality in existence, perhaps less. However, to put it in perspective, even the most expensive Blue Notes are relatively cheap compared with the most rare and collectable rock and pop, or indeed, some reggae singles.
4. Guide to individul Blue Note title values – full catalogue at auction
(Caution: some titles are very small samples, the price is merely indicative)
|Blue Note||Title||Number of auctions||Highest Price USD||Average Price USD|
|1501||Miles Davis, Volume 1||7||1,007||372|
|1502||Miles Davis, Volume 2||9||766||309|
|1503||The Amazing Bud Powell, Volume 1||3||345||225|
|1504||The Amazing Bud Powell, Volume 2||3||255||179|
|1505||The Eminent J. J. Johnson, Volume 1||8||1,507||356|
|1506||The Eminent J. J. Johnson, Volume 2||8||1,507||393|
|1507||Cafe Bohemia, Volume 1||10||517||250|
|1508||Cafe Bohemia, Volume 2||14||836||264|
|1510||Genius of Modern Music, Volume 1||3||449||275|
|1511||Genius of Modern Music, Volume 2||2||208||191|
|1512||A New Sound, A New Star, Volume 1||4||855||318|
|1513||Detroit New York Junction||9||987||656|
|1514||A New Sound, A New Star, Volume 2||3||1,074||472|
|1515||At the Hickory House, Volume 1||8||1,800||914|
|1516||At the Hickory House, Volume 2||4||900||459|
|1517||Patterns in Jazz||2||480||368|
|1518||And the Jazz Messengers||4||561||230|
|1519||The Herbie Nichols Trio||8||877||358|
|1521||A Night at Birdland, Volume 1||9||1,181||342|
|1522||A Night at Birdland, Volume 2||8||1,179||330|
|1523||Introducing Kenny Burrell||10||450||271|
|1524||‘Round Midnight at the Cafe Bohemia||14||1,335||869|
|1525||The Incredible Jimmy Smith, Volume 3||4||1,525||784|
|1527||The Magnificent Thad Jones||12||1,154||502|
|1530||With Zoot Sims||16||3,650||1,853|
|1531||The Fabulous Fats Navarro, Volume 1||7||711||264|
|1532||The Fabulous Fats Navarro, Volume 2||4||223||157|
|1533||Introducing Johnny Griffin||6||2,651||1,514|
|1534||Whims of Chambers||11||1,625||398|
|1536||J. R. Monterose||12||2,358||1,007|
|1538||Lee Morgan Indeed!||18||2,927||1,386|
|1539||Six Pieces of Silver||5||999||318|
|1540||With Donald Byrd and Lee Morgan||11||2,382||998|
|1543||Kenny Burrell, Volume 2||13||1,350||591|
|1544||And His All||9||680||442|
|1545||Wailing with Lou||11||1,025||554|
|1546||The Magnificent Thad Jones, Volume 3||12||1,136||513|
|1547||A Date with Jimmy Smith, Volume 1||2||203||148|
|1548||A Date with Jimmy Smith, Volume 2||2||792||481|
|1549||Blowing in from Chicago /John Gilmore||13||1,692||639|
|1550||With Farmer, Silver, Watkins, Blakey||21||2,325||884|
|1551||At the Organ, Volume 1||2||522||309|
|1552||At the Organ, Volume 2||1||66||66|
|1554||Orgy in Rhythm, Volume 1||2||298||234|
|1555||Orgy in Rhythm, Volume 2||1||287||287|
|1559||A Blowing Session||10||1,426||844|
|1562||The Stylings of Silver||11||250||151|
|1566||Swing and Soul||9||544||347|
|1569||Bass on Top||12||2,024||675|
|1570||Dial “S” for Sonny||12||2,100||1,362|
|1571||Bud! [= The Amazing Bud Powell, Volume 3]||12||305||165|
|1572||Bone and Bari||10||1,789||689|
|1573||With Kenny Burrell||13||2,025||949|
|1581||A Night at the Village Vanguard||12||456||290|
|1583||Curtis Fuller/Art Farmer||21||1,467||513|
|1584||Here Comes Louis Smith||14||1,420||689|
|1585||Groovin’ at Small’s Paradise, Volume 1||1||153||153|
|1586||Groovin’ at Small’s Paradise, Volume 2||1||164||164|
|1587||Back on the Scene||7||749||416|
|1591||Lou Takes Off||8||850||370|
|1596||Blue Lights, Volume 1||13||810||404|
|1597||Blue Lights, Volume 2||8||537||351|
|1598||Time Waits [= The Amazing Bud Powell, Volume 4]||13||291||179|
|Blue Note||Title||Number of auctions||Highest Price USD||Average Price USD|
|4004||Holiday for Skins, Volume 1||1||104||104|
|4005||Holiday for Skins, Volume 2||1||57||57|
|4006||Blues in Trinity||9||1,358||736|
|4007||Off to the Races||9||380||195|
|4009||Volume 5 The Scene Changes||9||2,125||573|
|4010||Walkin’ and Talkin’||8||272||197|
|4012||Lou Donaldson with the Three Sounds||10||531||238|
|4015||At the Jazz Corner of the World, Volume 1||2||165||134|
|4017||Blowin’ the Blues Away||5||202||131|
|4019||Byrd in Hand||11||637||244|
|4021||At the Five Spot||8||393||248|
|4024||Swing, Swang, Swingin’||16||1,025||582|
|4025||The Time is Right||6||820||267|
|4027||Music from “The Connection”||9||333||183|
|4028||Movin’ and Groovin’||5||723||353|
|4029||The Big Beat||3||300||189|
|4032||Out of the Blue||9||998||343|
|4036||Sunny Side Up||13||660||350|
|4043||Speakin’ My Piece||7||610||274|
|4045||Shades of Redd||19||1,282||736|
|4046||Flight to Jordan||9||761||539|
|4047||A. T.’s Delight||9||345||242|
|4048||Byrd in Flight||6||1,912||519|
|4049||A Night in Tunisia||5||257||120|
|4055||Meet You…, Volume 2||2||129||107|
|4060||At the Half Note Cafe, Volume 1||6||166||114|
|4061||At the Half Note Cafe, Volume 2||1||153||153|
|4064||Grant’s First Stand||2||268||213|
|4065||Comin’ Your Way||1||269||269|
|4068||Face to Face||2||151||140|
|4069||Up at Minton’s, Volume 1||2||280||182|
|4070||Up at Minton’s, Volume 2||1||213||213|
|4074||On the Spur of the Moment||5||570||325|
|4075||The Cat Walk||4||365||246|
|4076||Doin’ the Thing||2||56||54|
|4082||Up and Down||4||657||260|
|4084||Stop and Listen||1||405||405|
|4085||Ready for Freddie||3||172||147|
|4087||Let Me Tell You ‘Bout It||2||152||112|
|4089||A Fickle Sonance||4||278||190|
|4091||Leapin’ and Lopin’||8||430||193|
|4092||The Golden Eight||1||125||125|
|4094||Hootin’ ‘n’ Tootin’||7||346||210|
|4096||That’s Where It’s At||5||126||88|
|4097||The African Beat||1||41||41|
|4098||Blue and Sentimental||2||637||364|
|4105||It Might as Well Be Spring||8||387||218|
|4106||Let Freedom Ring||4||145||108|
|4108||The Natural Soul||1||104||104|
|4110||The Tokyo Blues||2||56||43|
|4111||The Latin Bit||2||100||86|
|4113||Down to Earth||1||80||80|
|4114||Bossa Nova Soul Samba||3||270||136|
|4119||Bossa Nova Bacchanal||8||333||162|
|4126||My Point of View||5||214||128|
|4128||Mo’ Greens Please||2||150||104|
|4129||Never Let Me Go||1||126||126|
|4130||Along Came John||2||112||94|
|4132||Feelin’ the Spirit||1||104||104|
|4133||A Swingin’ Affair||7||305||214|
|4135||Here to Stay||1||236||236|
|4137||One Step Beyond||1||144||144|
|4139||Am I Blue||1||355||355|
|4144||Little Johnny C||3||156||143|
|4146||Our Man in Paris||6||549||304|
|4147||Inventions and Dimensions||3||280||179|
|4149||No Room for Squares||9||1,009||314|
|4150||A Chip Off the Old Block||2||163||117|
|4163||Out To Lunch||8||1,524||422|
|4166||In ‘n Out||8||896||340|
|4167||Point of Departure||2||47||44|
|4169||Search for the New Land||2||95||73|
|4176||One Flight Up||6||416||240|
|4177||Some Other Stuff||1||896||896|
|4178||The Thing to Do||3||258||151|
|4184||Fuchsia Swing Song||1||278||278|
|4185||Song for My Father||2||405||370|
|4194||Speak No Evil||1||101||101|
|4202||I Want to Hold Your Hand||1||415||415|
|4208||The Night of the Cookers, Volume 2||1||77||77|
|4214||Down with It||1||75||75|
|4219||The All Seeing Eye||3||106||69|
|4220||The Cape Verdean Blues||4||271||126|
|4227||Mode for Joe||3||83||76|
|4230||A Caddy for Daddy||1||171||171|
|4239||Let ‘Em Roll||2||68||63|
|4242||Of Love and Peace||1||58||58|
|4253||Street of Dreams||1||128||128|
|4262||New and Old Gospel||2||52||44|
|4276||Introducing Duke Pearson’s Big Band||1||107||107|
Please remove if not allowed!
Education allowed. $3,200 invited for a record graded Good plus? That’s like booking a plush stateroom, on the Titanic.
That listing is all over the place. The Blue train is a 70s issue, so a very strange lot altogether. If someone is hoping to make thousands, they ought to understand that such an amount requires a bit of work for it. For example; I’m about to list a scarce Joe Harriott Lp and I spent over an hour just cleaning the sleeve. I also video’d me playing the lp after the wash and vac of the surfaces to add a youtube clip because it is a high book price (£750) lp but not in mint condition. It will owe me 4 to 5 hours of work by the time it goes up, plus the purchase price, so anything over a fair hourly rate plus costs is fine.
What about 4052
plastylite mono test pressings were created, and do still exist, but they are exceedingly rare (understatement). Only 25, I believe, were ever produced of Tina Brooks Back To The Tracks. It was never released at that time.
wow that would be amazing. got a link. would love to see a picture.
Here you go: https://www.popsike.com/TINA-BROOKS-BACK-TO-THE-TRACKS-BLUE-NOTE-LP/270114538577.html
Came across your website and looked at my collection…. found a Coltrane 1577 Blue Train that has the original sleeve… based on info on discogs it would seem to be a 1959 3rd pressing… my question is how to determine condition… it seems to be no less than VG, … has some , not many, soft scratches, but nothing deep, has minor seam tears that have been taped, lamination raising slightly at opening for about 1 inch….I wonder if this could be graded VG+ for cover and media…. any thoughts? and what is present price level…. could this be priced $250?
Hi, I can’t grade a record on hearsay, you have to nail your colours to the mast, declare the condition, the purchaser has to decide if the condition is acceptable, or send it back. Fine superficial scratches can be insignificant or a real pain. The classification VG covers a lot of bases. The “VG plus” is a very subjective grading. there is a big distance between Good and near Mint!
Hard to find anything on 2 albums I have orig bluenotes by baby face willette. Any info?
Originals seem hard to come by.
Hello. I have an LP on blue note titled Dig This! Bobbi Humphrey Plays. LP condition very good. Original inner sleeve Cover fair spine is rough but no tears. I am not a collector but know of the Blue Note lable. I know this is one of the later lps and sure it’s NOT a Coltrain. Was just curious if ithis lp had any value?
1972, electronic instruments, jazz funk. In top condition, £20 – £30 plus postage seems to be the asking price.
I think you put an incredible amount of valuable work into your website, including this foray into sales prices of 12-inch Blue Notes. I am also a regular reader of Jazz Collector–not just for the record sales news but for the humor you both express, especially yourself! I have some Blue Notes but I am not a collector of them. In fact, Blue Note is not one of my jazz favorites. If I didn’t buy a particular album when it was released at $5.98, my tough luck. I do buy certain reissues and I do buy audiophile pressings. Thank you for all your incredible work! I’m now going to eat breakfast, which Ahnold rightly says is the “most important meal of the day!”
Here is another one of my eccentric essays on the price point for authentic Blue Notes. If anyone doesn’t like poorly worded, run on thoughts, change the channel now.
I was just minding my own business and thinking about the massive run-up in Blue note record prices due to certain players in Japan, when I thought went up my mind, to borrow a phrase from the great poet, Emily Dickinson.
Does anyone remember the run up in silver prices in the 1980s. Investigations subsequently led to the source. Some very wealthy investors known as “The Hunt Brothers” were manipulating the silver market so they could dump their silver holdings at the market peak. The whole thing inevitably crashed when news came out that they had been arrested. It crashed because it wasn’t a free market based on supply and demand. Well, what if…. you get my point. It may not be illegal to manipulate the “Blue Note” record market. But watch out below when and if they cash in. Anyone crazy enough to compete with the big Blue Not cartel is going to get hurt. Of course, this is all speculation, (No pun intended.) and opinion. But putting large sums of money into Vintage Blue Note records seems, to this writer, more risky than putting your whole life savings on the roulette wheel.
As a regular Ebay bidder, with a historical sense of market values, I find myself second-placed in many auctions – ie, the price setter, not the winner. Its mildly irritating but there seem to be a lot of collectors in a hurry throwing money at things. The market is never wrong, but only one wealthy hipster is all it takes. As bidder on UK sellers, I can’t help but notice a few German bidders on UK auctions (history lots of Musik). Even more irritating. However all is fair, it’s the market, and no one has come up with a better way of distributing scarce resources.
Great blog as always – thanks to one of your posts I have delved into Cecil Taylor and found both BN’s sealed at resonable prices – I owe you one!
Hi LJC, phew, quite some effort has gone into compiling this analysis. Well done and thank you.
Speaking as a mathematician, I would like to sound a note of caution about placing too much faith in the source data from Jazz Collector. It seems to be highly selective about the auctions that it has included and it’s not at all clear what those selection criteria are or over what time frame they have been applied. In many cases only one or two auctions seem to have qualified, which effectively means that the sample size is too small to be statistically valid.
Let me pick out an example: Horace Silver’s Tokyo Blues (4110). Only two auctions included with a high price of $56 and an average of $44. Compare with Popsike which shows 179 auctions using the search term Horace Silver Tokyo Blues. Of course, many of these are later reissues and poor condition items but there are still 9 auctions at or above $100 which all look original and in sufficiently good condition to deserve to be in the Jazz Collector data set.
Lastly, I note you’ve merged mono and stereo data. In my experience there is a price differential between the two with a lot of collectors placing a premium on mono.
That’s not to decry all the effort you and Jazz Collector have put into this data. It tells us a lot of interesting things and gives Blue Note collectors plenty to debate over a quiet pint!
A mathematician eh? Crikey! Someone who knows what they are talking about alert!
I spent some years as a data analyst, different trade. I dealt with dirty numbers (like these) with mistakes, missing values, inconsistent formats, rather than nice clean ones.I felt quite at home doing a bit of data cleansing. It’s basically a bit of fun, but with a vein of truth, no more.