Music Article

Record Keeping: Should You Unload Your Old LPs?

Should you keep your old LPs? -- What you should do with your vinyl as you trade up to CDs

You just found out your turntable's dead, but you don't care — you haven't used it since 1989. You're into CDs, babe. So it's time to pack up those 300 albums you've been too lazy to deal with, hike over to the used-record store, and sell 'em for a bundle, right?

Wrong. If no one wanted your records before, they sure don't want them now. ''I wouldn't say that people's collections are valueless,'' says Bill Rosenblatt, manager of the Los Angeles collectors' store Rockaway Records, ''but I wouldn't hazard a guess as to how long they'll maintain their value.'' That value naturally varies according to condition and demand. What's worth most is what's always been worth most: Elvis Presley, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, '50s R&B, and early rockabilly.

Now is an especially poor time to be unloading LPs because a glut of consumers are trading up to CDs. ''You might as well just hold onto your records,'' says Ken Barnes, editor of music trade paper Radio & Records. ''Maybe for some reason Eagles albums will become fashionable in the year 2005, instead of being worth the quarter they're worth now.''

Actually, new records have the most potential to grow in value, because very few copies of current releases are being pressed. ''Maybe 10 years from now, when people want to look for that vinyl, it will be worth something,'' says Jeff Tamarkin, editor of the collectors' magazine Goldmine.

Right. And maybe by then Led Zeppelin CDs will be going for 99 cents.

Originally posted Oct 04, 1991 Published in issue #86 Oct 04, 1991 Order article reprints