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4.5 - Determining A Vinyl Record’s Condition And Value

Another worthwhile aspect of record collecting to lean into is the potential each record holds for resale. A record’s value often increases over time due to the collectible nature of physical copies of popular albums. This provides a partial explanation for why many vintage records sell for hundreds, thousands, and even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Two of the most important steps you need to take are appraising each LP and determining the condition the records are in. A record’s resale value can be determined based on its cosmetic condition, whether all of its components are present and intact, and whether the vinyl itself is damaged.

Many vintage records undergo cosmetic wear over time. An older LP’s jacket may start tearing a bit at the edges. The inserts may get wrinkled or torn. At worst, the record’s jacket or inserts may be ruined or go missing. Any cosmetic damage or missing elements will depreciate the value of an older record. However, some records are so rare that they continue to have high resale value even when damaged.

Just as important, if not more, as a vintage record’s cosmetic condition is the playability of the vinyl. If a record is scratched and dirty, it will play noisily, might skip, and in some circumstances may not play at all. It is always wise to do any restorative work possible to make sure that it’s in the best shape that it can be.
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