Blue Note auctions: Price Guide

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. High-end record collecting is not for the faint-hearted. It is however enormous fun, to watch, at least.

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).

Technical Note:

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.

 

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)
Mobley, Hank 141 5,600 989
Clark, Sonny 52 3,750 1,284
Hipp, Jutta 28 3,650 1,385
Brooks, Tina 15 3,250 1,740
Morgan, Lee 116 3,000 850
Coltrane, John 26 3,000 662
Reece, Dizzy 30 2,948 636
Griffin, Johnny 31 2,651 949
Jordan, Cliff 35 2,444 970
Monterose, J.R. 12 2,358 1,007

2. Top Ten Blue Note Artists ranked by average price at auctions (all titles)

Artist Number of auctions Highest Price (USD) Average Price (USD)
Brooks, Tina 15 3,250 1,740
Hipp, Jutta 28 3,650 1,385
Clark, Sonny 52 3,750 1,284
Monterose, J.R. 12 2,358 1,007
Mobley, Hank 141 5,600 989
Jordan, Cliff 35 2,444 970
Jenkins, John 13 2,025 949
Griffin, Johnny 31 2,651 949
Smith, Louis 28 1,825 855
Morgan, Lee 116 3,000 850

 3. Top Ten most valuable Blue Note records at auction (specific titles)

Blue Note Title Count of Auctions Maximum Price USD Average Price USD
1568 Hank Mobley 17 5,600 2,908
1588 Cool Struttin’ 11 3,750 2,560
1530 With Zoot Sims 16 3,650 1,853
4041 True Blue 15 3,250 1,740
1576 Sonny’s Crib 14 3,050 1,043
1557 Volume 3 Lee Morgan 12 3,000 1,296
1577 Blue Train 26 3,000 662
4023 Star Bright 12 2,948 755
1538 Lee Morgan Indeed! 18 2,927 1,386
1590 Candy 19 2,905 1,410

 Comment

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)

1500 series

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
1509 Milt Jackson 7 375 226
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
1520 Sabu 4 681 429
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
1526 Memorial Album 5 1,281 546
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
1535 Afro Cuban 11 1,802 1,242
1536 J. R. Monterose 12 2,358 1,007
1537 Quartet/Quintet/Sextet 14 1,881 696
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
1541 Volume 2 12 1,510 677
1542 Sonny Rollins 15 2,025 710
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
1557 Volume 3 12 3,000 1,296
1558 Volume 2 13 1,260 515
1559 A Blowing Session 10 1,426 844
1560 Hank 13 2,480 982
1561 Palo Congo 4 908 407
1562 The Stylings of Silver 11 250 151
1564 Quintet 13 1,358 762
1565 Cliff Jordan 11 2,444 1,184
1566 Swing and Soul 9 544 347
1567 The Opener 11 1,925 909
1568 Hank Mobley 17 5,600 2,908
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
1574 Peckin’ Time 15 2,605 1,229
1575 City Lights 16 1,200 634
1576 Sonny’s Crib 14 3,050 1,043
1577 Blue Train 26 3,000 662
1578 The Cooker 11 910 487
1579 Trio 7 1,525 875
1580 The Congregation 15 1,875 793
1581 A Night at the Village Vanguard 12 456 290
1582 Cliff Craft 11 2,303 1,147
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
1588 Cool Struttin’ 11 3,750 2,560
1589 Further Explorations 2 104 77
1590 Candy 19 2,905 1,410
1591 Lou Takes Off 8 850 370
1593 Blues Walk 8 998 302
1594 Smithville 14 1,825 1,022
1595 Somethin’ Else 15 1,352 481
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
1599 Soul Stirrin’ 4 250 200

4000 series

Blue Note Title Number of auctions Highest Price USD Average Price USD
4001 Newk’s Time 16 598 316
4002 House Party 1 66 66
4003 Moanin’ 7 1,125 309
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
4008 Finger Poppin’ 9 248 128
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
4013 New Soil 6 338 190
4014 Bottoms Up 2 305 229
4015 At the Jazz Corner of the World, Volume 1 2 165 134
4017 Blowin’ the Blues Away 5 202 131
4018 Davis Cup 14 2,000 783
4019 Byrd in Hand 11 637 244
4020 Good Deal 1 136 136
4021 At the Five Spot 8 393 248
4022 Profile 6 452 355
4023 Star Bright 12 2,948 755
4024 Swing, Swang, Swingin’ 16 1,025 582
4025 The Time is Right 6 820 267
4026 Fuego 9 317 191
4027 Music from “The Connection” 9 333 183
4028 Movin’ and Groovin’ 5 723 353
4029 The Big Beat 3 300 189
4031 Soul Station 16 1,465 910
4032 Out of the Blue 9 998 343
4033 Soundin’ Off 9 799 378
4034 Leeway 18 847 386
4035 Tender Feelin’s 7 675 409
4036 Sunny Side Up 13 660 350
4037 Us Three 10 1,725 964
4038 Capuchin Swing 10 561 310
4039 Look Out! 12 354 235
4040 Open Sesame 15 1,591 851
4041 True Blue 15 3,250 1,740
4042 Horace Scope 5 158 103
4043 Speakin’ My Piece 7 610 274
4044 Moods 1 204 204
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
4051 Jackie’s Bag 16 702 331
4053 Lightfoot 6 355 158
4055 Meet You…, Volume 2 2 129 107
4056 Goin’ Up 10 1,259 379
4057 Blue Hour 3 128 118
4058 Roll Call 8 1,511 499
4059 Undercurrent 14 1,203 537
4060 At the Half Note Cafe, Volume 1 6 166 114
4061 At the Half Note Cafe, Volume 2 1 153 153
4062 Headin’ South 6 549 358
4063 Whistle Stop 6 1,137 715
4064 Grant’s First Stand 2 268 213
4065 Comin’ Your Way 1 269 269
4066 Here ‘Tis 1 41 41
4067 Bluesnik 6 236 177
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
4071 Green Street 3 304 190
4073 Hub Cap 6 241 145
4074 On the Spur of the Moment 5 570 325
4075 The Cat Walk 4 365 246
4076 Doin’ the Thing 2 56 54
4077 Doin’ Allright 9 510 289
4079 Gravy Train 2 114 82
4080 Workout 11 370 236
4081 Dearly Beloved 1 76 76
4082 Up and Down 4 657 260
4083 Dexter Calling 7 1,045 415
4084 Stop and Listen 1 405 405
4085 Ready for Freddie 3 172 147
4086 Grantstand 1 90 90
4087 Let Me Tell You ‘Bout It 2 152 112
4089 A Fickle Sonance 4 278 190
4090 Mosaic 1 51 51
4091 Leapin’ and Lopin’ 8 430 193
4092 The Golden Eight 1 125 125
4093 Heavy Soul 1 100 100
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
4099 Sunday Morning 2 283 219
4101 Royal Flush 2 150 130
4104 Buhaina’s Delight 6 172 79
4105 It Might as Well Be Spring 8 387 218
4106 Let Freedom Ring 4 145 108
4107 Preach Brother! 2 80 64
4108 The Natural Soul 1 104 104
4109 Takin’ Off 7 251 138
4110 The Tokyo Blues 2 56 43
4111 The Latin Bit 2 100 86
4112 Go 12 500 173
4113 Down to Earth 1 80 80
4114 Bossa Nova Soul Samba 3 270 136
4115 Hub Tones 6 603 231
4119 Bossa Nova Bacchanal 8 333 162
4121 Elder Don 1 186 186
4123 Midnight Blue 5 175 125
4125 Good Gracious 3 146 115
4126 My Point of View 5 214 128
4127 Una Mas 5 283 163
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
4138 Steppin’ Out 2 373 282
4139 Am I Blue 1 355 355
4140 Page One 8 2,000 482
4144 Little Johnny C 3 156 143
4145 Shoutin’ 2 83 76
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
4151 Black Fire 7 338 170
4152 Our Thing 2 130 117
4154 Idle Moments 4 1,025 339
4157 The Sidewinder 1 154 154
4158 Good Move 1 100 100
4159 Judgment! 3 125 101
4160 Smoke Stack 1 100 100
4161 Soul Stream 1 78 78
4163 Out To Lunch 8 1,524 422
4164 Prayer Meetin’ 1 696 696
4165 Destination… Out! 3 141 125
4166 In ‘n Out 8 896 340
4167 Point of Departure 2 47 44
4169 Search for the New Land 2 95 73
4171 Extension 3 103 81
4172 Breaking Point 2 136 118
4173 Night Dreamer 4 896 335
4175 Empyrean Isles 5 149 114
4176 One Flight Up 6 416 240
4177 Some Other Stuff 1 896 896
4178 The Thing to Do 3 258 151
4179 It’s Time! 2 170 118
4181 Trompeta Toccata 1 139 139
4182 Juju 3 537 365
4183 Talkin’ About! 1 373 373
4184 Fuchsia Swing Song 1 278 278
4185 Song for My Father 2 405 370
4186 The Turnaround! 5 212 114
4187 Into Somethin’ 1 206 206
4189 Inner Urge 4 225 186
4191 Wahoo! 4 123 103
4193 Indestructible 3 105 78
4194 Speak No Evil 1 101 101
4195 Maiden Voyage 5 405 231
4196 Blue Spirits 1 115 115
4198 Dialogue 3 171 117
4199 The Rumproller 1 42 42
4202 I Want to Hold Your Hand 1 415 415
4203 Andrew! 1 81 81
4204 Gettin’ Around 2 327 187
4205 Basra 6 494 166
4206 Contours 4 135 102
4208 The Night of the Cookers, Volume 2 1 77 77
4209 Dippin’ 4 140 117
4212 The Gigolo 1 46 46
4213 Components 1 123 123
4214 Down with It 1 75 75
4215 Right Now 2 141 102
4218 Action 1 73 73
4219 The All Seeing Eye 3 106 69
4220 The Cape Verdean Blues 4 271 126
4221 Unity 5 358 196
4222 Cornbread 2 75 64
4227 Mode for Joe 3 83 76
4230 A Caddy for Daddy 1 171 171
4231 Happenings 4 409 227
4239 Let ‘Em Roll 2 68 63
4242 Of Love and Peace 1 58 58
4243 Delightfulee Morgan 1 57 57
4253 Street of Dreams 1 128 128
4256 The Spoiler 1 38 38
4257 Boss Horn 1 50 50
4262 New and Old Gospel 2 52 44
4273 Hi Voltage 1 157 157
4276 Introducing Duke Pearson’s Big Band 1 107 107
4284 ‘Bout Soul 1 40 40
4289 Caramba! 1 41 41
4293 The Phantom 1 79 79
4312 Charisma 1 178 178

Technical Note:

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Blue Note auctions: Price Guide

  1. 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!”

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s