Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A "Getting Rid of Stuff" Case Study

There are lots of categories of "things" I'm disposing of, and one is LP records, or vinyl. My turntable died some time ago, and my amplifier has a short in it, so I haven't played LP records for quite a while. And there will be no room for them in the new small house. I had two big boxes of LPs. Classical, Pipe organ, folk, jazz, etc. There are two stores locally that "buy" used LPs. The  first box I got rid of a while back - it was taken off my hands by the store owner for $12. Ok. That was the less "popular" box. Sort of an odd mix of stuff. By the time I got around to dealing with the second box, I had gotten into the process of cataloguing my library, and decided to do the same with the LPs. I photographed each record and listed it.  Maybe a 100 records in all. I took the list into the other store owner, and asked him to look it over and see if anything interested him. He did, and highlighted about 30 records. I pulled them out and brought them in to him, and he said he would check their condition, and I could come back later, which I did. He had selected maybe ten records, and said he would give me $25 for them. That was twice as much as I got for the first box, so I took it. The rest of the box went to our local thrift store, Experienced Goods, run by Hospice. A good cause.

But I noticed that the guy who bought the records seemed particularly interested in a one spoken record, a collection of the speeches by Malcolm X, titled Message to the Grass Roots:

That made me curious, and I did something I should have done earlier: I went online to see if anybody was offering this record for sale. I did indeed find one copy, one in mint condition - unsealed in fact (which mine is not). It was being offered for $105!!  That made me curious about the other three spoken records I had just gotten rid of. One of ee cummings reading his poetry, one the speeches of Adlai Stevenson, and one of speeches of John Kennedy. The latter two were modest - under $15. But cummings - wow! That very record (again in mint condition) was being offered for $145!!  Who knew?  I sure didn't.

I didn't want to take the time to research the value of all those records, and if  had,  I'm not sure I would have started with those. Knowing what I know now, I might have added them to items I have given to Savanna who offered to put some things up on eBay. I did give her one record that I consider to be very rare, and maybe valuable:

This record was given to me by Richard Dyer-Bennet's wife. I had actually met Dyer-Bennet, and probably his wife as well, decades ago when I stopped to help pull someone out of a snowbank in Dummerston one stormy night, and it turned out to be him! He was a friend of David Flaherty, brother of Robert Flaherty, famed "father of the documentary film" (Nanook of the North, etc.) who lived near me. A few years ago I wrote Mrs. Dyer-Bennet asking for some information about her husband (who was no longer living), and she sent me this record. It is a 2-record set of Dyer-Bennet singing his English translation of Schubert's Die Schone Mullerin. It was never released commercially. It was created by "Dyer-Bennet records" - a home product. It does not exist in the on-line universe. So I thought maybe a Dyer-Bennet collector might be interested. We'll see. But what a fascinating world! Too bad I'm not that interested in it. I have a feeling that people who would buy an ee cummings record for  $145 may be more interested in an investment than they are in poetry. And paying $105 for a record of Malcolm X might not guarantee that they are supporters of "Black Lives Matter" !

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