Buying Used Records? A Cautionary Tale!

After reading analogplanet's Bruce Springsteen box set coverage a well-known audio designer excitedly came up to me at last December's L.A. and Orange County Audiophile Society Gala.

"That review prompted me to look for a mint original copy of Born to Run and I was lucky enough to find two sealed copies" he told me, "so I'm going to send you one of them."

"Well, that is very thoughtful of you," I responded. "I'll let you know when it's been sent" he told me.

A few weeks later I got an email from him saying it has been sent FEDEX (overnight no less) and that I should enjoy it!

Next day the record arrived packaged as if it contained a Fabergé egg! I carefully unboxed it and there was the "sealed original pressing". When I turned it over I saw the bar code on the back. The record was released in 1975 at least five years before bar codes began appearing on records. Uh-oh. This clearly was not an original.

Curious about what it was, I "unsealed" it and what I found was appalling. First of all it wasn't a "sealed" copy at all! It was a "re-sealed" copy. Anyone can get a hold of a shrink wrap machine, re-seal a record and declare it a "sealed copy". What's more, anyone can call a copy an "original" that is not, but if you know what you are looking for you can spot the mis-identified record. In this case, the bar code was a dead giveaway.

But the story gets worse. A yellow water line along the bottom of the jacket made obvious that this record, or at least the jacket had been exposed to water. The line was so obvious that it's difficult to believe the seller didn't know he was fobbing off a not mint sealed copy as a mint sealed copy. The record itself was obviously not an original mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, but rather a much later pressing mastered who knows where by who knows whom. It wasn't in terrible condition but it wasn't unplayed either.

But the story gets much worse: a sticker on the back of the shrink wrap identified the store that sold it as an audio store in California and that's all I'm going to say about the store's identity. The gentleman gifting the record to me had covered over the price with a shiny stick-on star that I would not have removed had the record been the claimed "sealed original" but under these circumstances I was going to have a look!

He'd paid $80 dollars for it. $80 dollars!!!!.

So I called the store and identified myself and asked "Did you sell two copies of Born to Run to (name omitted to protect the innocent)? "Let me look..... why yes, he's in our customer database."

So I said "Well he sent me one of those "sealed originals" for which you charged him $80 and it was neither an original pressing nor a sealed record. It was a used late pressing with a water damaged cover that had been re-sealed. I would give you the benefit of the doubt here, and assume you have an outside vendor selling records in your store with you getting a cut because I find it difficult to believe that (another name omitted to protect the possibly innocent store owner) would knowingly sell this bogus piece of crap as a 'sealed original'".

I then told him that someone had better go through the store stock and weed out the fakes because I was soon sending over some knowledgable record buyers to have a look around. The guy on the other end of the phone seemed genuinely disturbed but it was difficult to assess whether it was out of genuine surprise or because his pants had just been pulled down below his knees.

I followed that up with an email to the generous but naive individual who'd gotten hosed. His response? The amount of money wasn't a lot for him and he didn't want to create an "incident" because he liked the store and the store's owner.

That's him but not me. I didn't sent my "agents" over to look, but next time I'm in that area I will cruise by and do some record checking. My message to you is know what you are buying and from whom you are buying!

zzcorey's picture

Unless you want to frame them, I've bought sealed LPs that ive opened and are so warped they skip, goes to show with anything that old if you can't see it don't assume anything

Steve Arnold's picture

Buying vintage pressings is a gamble, whether they're sealed or supposedly near mint, or whatever the claims are the buyer is making. I buy a lot of vintage vinyl on ebay (because I'd never have access to those titles anywhere else, otherwise), and it's a lot of work to find the good stuff, at fairly reasonable prices. Many of these records are sealed, and as you say, many are warped (however rarely are they unplayable - thank goodness for turntable ring clamps), although certainly not all. But the trade-off with that sealed record, to me, is if it's legit (not re-sealed, in other words), you have a vinyl surface that at least hasn't been abused/mishandled by a previous owner, which to me goes a long way in justifying that gamble.

In the instance of this Springsteen record, I never would have paid anywhere near $80 for it, as it's an easily obtainable record for much less than that - in excellent shape. But if I had received a bogus record like this one was, I'd make the seller aware of the situation, and demand a refund, which most reputable sellers will do when a record is so obviously not what it was not advertised to be. And I can't emphasize that enough; buy only from reputable sellers, who will work with you if there's a problem.

Steve Arnold's picture

Correction, meant to say in last post "claims that the SELLER is making"

Jumping Bean's picture

I've bought a few sealed records before, and what I've found is that if they had a plastic inner lining to the inner sleeve, often that would leave residue on the records that I can't get off with a cleaning machine. A few sealed blue note records pressed in the 70s/80s gave me that particular problem.

teenage diplomat's picture

A couple of years back I was in Albuquerque NM on business. I had some time to kill, so I hit every record store I could find (surprisingly, there were a half-dozen or so). One in particular, which shall remain nameless, stood out. All the LPs - every last one - was sealed in shrink. I thought that I had died and gone to heaven. Then I took a closer look. Several were clearly shopworn, complete with ringwear, stains, etc. Others had drill holes that showed that they were cutouts. But the holes were UNDERNEATH the shrink. Moreover, none of the LPs had prices. So I took a couple up to the cashier and asked a few questions. Fellow behind the counter said no prices were marked because the market value changed daily. Claimed all the LPs were new, even when I pointed out the obvious fraud. I walked out of there wallet intact.

zzcorey's picture

doesnt exactly put the NM in Albuquerque does it! do tell the name though, i dont think exposing frauds does anything but help

Jazzfan62's picture

I look only at the open ones that I can inspect when buying used vinyl at the record store. My 2 favorite stores in STL have turntables setup with headphones so you can listen to them before you buy them. That is really cool to offer customers that ability. Some of the vinyl looks good to the eye, but must have been submitted to a groove grinder in the past as they sound horrible. I applaud these stores for offering the ability to hear them first. Also, one store states you can bring them back for a full refund if you are not satisfied. I had one that looked good, but when I got it home, one tracked skipped in a spot. I took it back and they gave me a credit, no questions asked.

thirtycenturyman's picture

I can't even tell you the amount of time I spent digging through piles of records at the Record Exchange. It was an all day adventure when they had those 1/2 off sales. There were always hidden gems back in the classical section. At that price I would risk buying an unopened vintage record; $8 for a DG box set of Beethoven's 9 symphonies... Sold.

doak's picture

The seller really should be known, don't you think?

Martin's picture

This sort of behaviour is just unacceptable under any circumstances.
Shop owners should know what they are selling. And should reasonbly know the people selling stuff on commission.
That record is worth 5 bucks.

I've bought quite a few sealed records over the years on eBay. All good and what they were advertised as. On the whole I think eBay is fantastic. You can find stuff relatively quickly you could otherwise spend a lifetime searching for.
One I remember immediately was a sealed first press of Blood on the Tracks. It was perfect, I actually played it for some friends - Dylan fans - friday evening, slowed down 2% to get it on pitch. Not a pop or click the whole way through.

audiof001's picture

I read last year that some sellers of used vinyl in South America buff the scratches out to sell the records for more... Yikes!

Daniel Emerson's picture

A guy I know who runs a second-hand record shop here in the UK says he's recently had a couple of people selling him badly damaged records which they have treated with T-Cut (scratch 'remover' for cars) so they look really pristine and shiny if not examined carefully enough.

However, the stuff completely ruins the record for use.

vinyl listener's picture

... where the owner was "cleaning" records with 3-in-1 oil to give them a nice sheen !

wkjeffers's picture

if I can't see the deadwax, I don't buy it. there are alot of resources on the web to get the original matrix numbers for the various releases and mastering of vinyl.

analogkid14's picture

Most Record stores do not have staff that are knowledable about stuff like first pressings, adresses of record companies,bar codes. That does not mean that they do not care or are not passionate about music and vinyl, it's just that they are not experienced enough to know the difference. If the customer is passionate, then it is good to acquire that knowledge so that you know what you are getting into. Develop a relatiionship with your record store, share info and be nice!

my new username's picture

Because there are just enough people who click and buy the product to make it worthwhile to the spammer. The $80 LP rip-off will continue to exist as long as people continue to not want to "make waves."

Dear Fremer Fan:
You don't help us, you don't help the industry. What's really curious is how "excited" you can be about the prospect of an original/first press but be equally sanguine upon learning it's not. Sorry, that does not compute, even in the face of your potential embarrassment or reluctance to not be satisfied.

It's not about labeling stores or sellers as evil con artists--no one has to go that far--it's about merely saying, "Hey, I had a bad experience here, and it's fair to disclose it." No absolute judgement per se, no permanent decision need be made about future purchases. That's fair to the stores and sellers.

thirtycenturyman's picture

I've had my share of vintage unopened records that have had issues; however, I don't think I've ever had the misfortune of opening a replaced used record.

Just the other day il had the opportunity to buy a sealed copy of Simple Mind's Life In A Day or an opened copy. The sealed copy was only $1 more, but who knows what was inside. My used copy plays mint without even a pop or click.

thirtycenturyman's picture

Repackaged, not replaced.

BillHart's picture

I don't find this tale surprising, and I'm not assuming the dealer/shop set out to mislead, either. I've been buying mucho used vinyl in the last couple years and sellers, whether private or dealers, are often just misinformed, clueless or simply don't care. (Not that this justifies such behavior, but it is a reality).
If the record is at all pricey (and even sometimes, when it is not), I ask for photos, deadwax info and the like. The character of the response is itself often telling-
I also avoid 'sealed' old records- I'd rather be able to verify the condition of the vinyl than buy a pig in a poke. Usually, 'sealed' also means 'no returns' at least in online land. Caveat emptor, but if one is willing to spend the time to do the due diligence, it can be a rewarding pursuit.

malco49's picture

i really can't stomach going into record stores anymore and buying on line generally eBay is my default mode.i don't buy tons of used vinyl.....a decade or so ago i bought a bunch of used jazz records and felt they were all in good shape for what i paid. $25-$40 or so.Generally the vinyl i buy is new from the artist's record company.....although i did make out with a couple of richard thompson and a david thomas record not too long ago......

vinyl listener's picture

record dealers are always pulling this sort of stuff, intentionally or not.
years ago i bought a lot of jazz records from a well known online seller.
i knew most were re-issues but still got stuck with several digital remasters and worse, electronically re-channelled fake stereos. none of which were mentioned in the listings.
in most cases clearer descriptions of exactly what's for sale would help a lot.

readargos's picture

I've only bought one sealed item second-hand. It was $6, Munch Beethoven 9, not a big risk. No warping, but it took a number of cleanings on a vacuum machine to get silent grooves. It was a case where each cleaning yielded some improvement, so I kept pulling out that record every time I'd clean a batch.

As for rock and jazz, I've bought reissues primarily. There's so much on the reissue market, and sometimes originals are hard to find or very highly priced.

My bread & butter, however, is classical. I buy a lot of used there, as the reissue demand seems smaller. There's a lot of great music on Angel/EMI that's not being reissued - Klemperer's Mahler, Brahms, and Bruckner; Boult's Vaughan Williams... The accuracy of the condition ratings have been variable, esp. some "near mint" that look okay on visual inspection, but sound like they've been played on a groove chewer. OTOH, the pricing of the used classical is generally quite low - rarely more than $5/record - so I've not come across a case where it's worth making an issue, and most of the time I'm glad to have the music on a format other than CD. I've also wondered if it has anything to do with the quality of vinyl that had been used at the time. I have some Angel/EMI that are dead quite after cleaning, but more than half have remained fairly noisy.

OldschoolE's picture

Classical and even Jazz are really the good buys and safe bets. Almost always, the records and sleeves are in great to excellent condition, clean up nice and play beautifully.You can also pick them up just for humming a few bars if you know what I mean. I've picked up box sets of classical in super good condition that play nicely for next to nothing. Of course you have to consider that rock and pop records have been to every party and on all manner of gear (good & bad). Where as Classical and Jazz records are usually carefully owned and played only on better gear.

myheroiscoltrane's picture

...mine is:
1. Is there a barcode on any record released before 1980?
2. Does it say "electronically reprocessed/re channeled for stereo" or equivalent?
3. Is the dreaded "crc" or other record club mark on the bottom corner of the jacket or label?
4. Is the label correct for when the record was released? (I often pull out my phone to check labels on the Internet... The londonjazzcollector has pix of labels and the years they were used)
5. Are there visible scratches? If so, can u feel them when u run your finger lightly over them? (If u can feel it, u can probably hear it)
6. Does the center hole show lots of wear? ( if so, it has probably been played lots)

If the answers are all "no" (except for #4, which should be "yes"), then it's probably worth a chance if the price is right. Every time I got burned it was because, in my excitement, I skipped a step on this checklist. Keep a level head, and treasures await!

VirginVinyl's picture

I had that same situation at a Vinyl shop in Chicago picking up a Lee Morgan on Blue Note and paid top dollar cause it was "original", said the store clerk.
I've made stupid mistakes in my quest of vinyl purchases.
Now I come armed with Discogs on my smart phone so if I see something I like I can make a better decision.

Happy Vinyl Hunting

Simpele Fons's picture

I am sure you know, but; don't believe everything on Discogs.

faskenite's picture

I strongly urge collectors to deal straight up with record dealers who are trying to be reasonable and fair business people. If you see a record in a fair dealer's shop that is underpriced, tell them! That being said, I have encountered a number of dealers over the years who do not hesitate to put ridiculous prices on records that should never command anywhere near the sticker price. In those circumstances I consider those characters fair game when they get it wrong: for example, the time I got a first jacket (three portraits) first label (white) Riverside issue of Thelonious Monk plays Ellington for 20 clams. He would ask 60 dollars for a late green label Coltrane Impulse issue, but I guess he thought nobody buys those Ellington records...

Simpele Fons's picture

When a niche becommes big bucks you have to be careful. Over here in Europe they are pressing worthless shit in Tsjechie. Young/new vinylenthousiasts are being ripped off and turn their backs to vinyl as a result. A shopkeeper in my hometown sells loads of these just because they sell at the moment. But good heavens all this shit on the market makes it even more difficult to find some good early pressings.

Paul Boudreau's picture

I worked part time at Tower Records DC for most of 1985. There was a booth with audio & video equipment so one of the staff could play things to be heard through the store's speakers or seen on the store's monitors. I noticed a resealing machine in the back & wondered when it was used. I found out when I bought an LP that turned out to be resealed - it had fingerprints on it! I raised hell and got a replacement but I wonder how many "real" customers got burned that way? Truly unethical in my view.

Speaking of fingerprints, has anyone else noticed Jimmy Fallon's enthusiasm over LPs on the Tonight Show? Nice to see although someone needs to tell him how to handle records! He puts his mitts all over the grooves - it makes my nerdy heart palpitate.

E.R.Price's picture

...but carefully. I rely almost solely on my local record store for used vinyl, though I'll occasionally purchase elsewhere (if the price is not risky). My local shop does a great job grading albums and making sure you know what you're getting. And if you're not sure, ask!

Fricsay's picture

Precisely what would be an "original" in this case - an "original pressing" as MF evidently assumes, or a copy from the "original issue" of the LP and not a reissue? The latter could have been pressed five years into the original run. Is it clear what meaning the seller intended? I just bought a copy of Springsteen's WIESS, from a seller I consider to be ver conscientious, that is labelled "original." However, I seriously doubt it's a first pressing. Btw, I paid $15.

Michael Fremer's picture
When someone charges $80 for common record and calls it a "sealed original" and it turns out to be both a re-sealed record and not an original in that it was not mastered by the individual credited on the jacket, it is simply a rip-off.....
OldschoolE's picture

I personally never buy any shrink-wrapped record or any record with a bar code. I also always do my record shopping in person. All my records are from the time well before bar codes with the exception of a couple of T-Bone Burnett LPs from the early 80s, but they were analog sourced and stunningly well produced. (No surprise there). I buy records to play and enjoy. I like the original vinyl from the heyday of records. It also so happens that I like the music I grew up with which was only on vinyl originally. I much rather pick up a first pressing or at least a re-issue from maybe a year later or so as opposed to one from 10 to 20 years later. Vinyl quality changes too.
I like digging through the used record boxes or bins, which tends to be the place where the little treats are located. I’m not afraid of picking up a used record as I have learned how to inspect them and I know my cleaning abilities and limitations and my cleaning equipment. I can look at a record and pretty much tell whether or not I can get it sounding very decent to astonishingly good. That’s not to say I have not been tricked a time or two, but overall I’ve been very lucky thus far. (You can’t see inner groove damage and of course you can’t clean it away either). I’m not concerned about the covers as much, just as long as they are intact.
I don’t shop for new records or modern day re-issues either, because I don’t trust those as I don’t know the source. I want my vinyl records to be analog sourced. If I want digital, I’ll buy a CD. There is almost nothing worse than a digitally sourced vinyl record. (I also can’t afford the high prices anyway). I’ve heard it said that one can do homework before buying a re-issue to learn the source and such, but I don’t know where to look to start with. Perhaps Mr. Fremer will enlighten and educate me on that sometime as I trust his info and maybe I will get over my fear of modern re-issues.

Wymax's picture

Well, not that local, I live 2½ hours away from a shop in Copenhagen, also carries used records in shrink wrap. It's not that big a deal though, because you know that they are used based on the price, and because the shop clearly is a used records shop.

I have through a private sale recently been unfortunate enough to pick up a record (Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops) that was shrink wrapped, and when reading this article it is now clear to me why it crackles, ticks and pops (not the Boston Pops way) that much. Thanks for the info.

bdp24's picture

OldschoolE and other T-Bone fans: His album Truth Decay (his best, IMO) was originally released on Takoma Records, and the song "Driving Wheel" (NOT the same Driving Wheel as B,S,&T did) has a "false" ending---the musicians stop, there is a long pause, and they start again, playing out through a fade. The rights to the album went to Chrysalis Records in the 1980's, who remastered and re-issued it. The remastering engineer apparently didn't know about the song's false ending---on the Chrysalis LP the song ends at the false ending, the re-appearance of the musicians and the real(fade out)ending having been chopped off! Luckily the Takoma pressing is easy to find and not expensive.

Paul Boudreau's picture

Thanks for the tip - just checked and my copy is a Takoma. The song that came to mind when I read your post was "Hold On Tight," although it's not on that album.

What is "OldschoolE?"

OldschoolE's picture

Indeed! I bought the Takoma pressing when it was released (back when new records were more affordable). I would also say though that his albums Proof Through The Night and Talking Animals are on equal footing of excellence.
I also fairly recently picked up all two Alpha Band LPs, one being the elusive Promo! It's interesting to hear that one because it sounds like he was trying to find his edge. He found it with Truth Decay!

OldschoolE's picture

Oh yes, I forgot Trap Door and Through The Trap Door as well, excellent. The production on all his fore mentioned albums is just fantastic.

decio lopes do couto's picture

Excelente post and audiophile comments. I have some experience in buying LP's used and sealed on EBay and was fortunate enough with my copies that arrived as advertised. On the other hand I understand your concern and we have to be careful, specially people like us who leaves in South America. Thank You!!!

bdp24's picture

the "name" of the guy whose post two above mine mentioned T-Bone Burnett, whose name I mis-spelled!

bdp24's picture

OldschoolE. I'm goin' to bed, I need some sleep!

Devil Doc's picture

You too can buy used vinyl the same place record dealers do. All it takes is a little ingenuity and a small investment in a classified ad.

Journeyman's picture

what an ex-friend of mine did to so called big department stores.
It's not really related with Vinyl but still related to audio.
The guy would buy audio gear, test it and return it to the store claiming he didn't enjoy it,etc. The department store would seal the stuff again and someone would buy it for new, maybe that's why I'm not his friend anymore. What he did was so wrong it goes against my convictions.
In this case the department store was repackaging stuff because of a bad client, I'm sure it doesn't happen with used vinyl stores but one never knows if the owner might not be fooled to buy stuff from less serious sources...

anomaly7's picture

And then there's the local ad in Craig's list that advertises (with pictures) many enticing albums that "had been collected for years." 300 records for $1 each. You get there (I did) and the $1 each records were not what was pictured or anything you'd want and they are completely trashed. The other records from the photos were listed at "below what you'd pay on eBay" per the seller. The seller goes on to say how he used to play all these, and you look at the vinyl and one disc has peanut butter on it, and the rest are generally a mess, none of the inner sleeves look new, some are missing all together, with the most desirable titles marked up in price to what must be a few cents below the price that something mint would sell for on eBay. I wanted to rant and rave to the seller about having wasted my time and the deception of the advertisement, but I thought to even do that would be another waste of time. This was clearly (to me) a case of someone picking these up at Good Will, or a garage sale for a dollar a piece, or even pennies, and trying to resell them as "his collection."
I don't think that there's anything wrong with trying to make a buck, but it comes back to the honesty of the salesman. If these were just advertised as boxes of records priced $A-Z, I wouldn't have wasted my time driving across town. I'd rather buy a new repress, than get a great deal on something that's in poor shape.

eBay has been a source of good buys over the years, but lately it seems many sellers rely on the fact that for many buyers it isn't worthwhile to repackage something and make the trip to the post office and lose your shipping cost in the process to return an item that isn't as advertised. This has only happened to me recently, and both times I bothered to contact the seller they claimed they sell many titles and those must have "slipped by them" in the examination process. Can you give them a negative rating if they offer you a refund? I still lose my time and return shipping cost. However, their ratings were otherwise high, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt.

Thankfully there are more represses of classic titles to be had everyday.

jkingtut's picture

I love to shop records on Ebay and have really good luck for the most part. Check out the first 2 Chris Smither records on Tomato and a third mastered by Bob Ludwig on Adelphi, It Ain't Easy---great mix of covers and originals on all 3. Don't it Drag On plays and sounds wonderful with Bonnie Raitt and Maria Muldaur among others. Such creative Album "design art" on the first 2 as well. I also have German Audiophile copy of Small Revelations but have not listened yet. I keep repeating the first 3! Also Songs for Aging Children by Dave Van Ronk on Cadet (both artists do one of my all time favorite songs) and the first 2 Cowboy albums I believe were made in Heaven!

Rudy's picture

I am lucky in that anything sealed has been just that: sealed, brand new, original. As others say, that is no guarantee the vinyl is good inside. Two years ago I found a highly desirable LP, about 45 years old, sealed. It was a thrill opening something that old for the first time! Yet there was a problem--the vinyl had what I call a "pinch warp". And then when I looked back at the shrink wrap, it had puckered slightly along the spine. Get it? Heat damage. It still plays, but not quietly...and beyond that it sounds quite good.

And don't forget how poorly even new, sealed records can play. I can't tell you how much Motown product I returned in the late 70s and early 80s because it played so poorly; that is one company I was grateful to have CDs for! I've also seen records with stuff pressed into the vinyl--with the magnifier, you can see the lumps in the vinyl.

As for used LPs, I never go by the jacket--how do we know the store or seller hasn't swapped jackets to make a product more attractive? I'm like everyone else here. If it's used, I want to see it out of its sleeve, I want to see the deadwax, and if it has a strong scent of mildew, forget it. It also helps to learn the differences in record club pressings as again, a seller could (even unknowingly) swap a crap record club pressing into a standard jacket.

I've learned some stores have poorer quality stock than others. I haven't yet taken to wearing my LED headlight yet (I look like a mad professor or an idiot--haven't decided which), but one shop just a few miles from me is one where I have to inspect everything closely and even then, I get it home and it's worn, or it won't clean up.

Personally I think the supply of good used vinyl is drying up. In the past five years, I've noticed that more of what I bring home is worn or noisy (even if looking clean) and not only that, artists which used to have an entire bin in the stores barely have a half dozen records to show for it now. Miles Davis is a prime example--all I find now are multiple copies of You're Under Arrest and one or two other stragglers; these same stores had copies of most of his albums several years ago, on a regular basis.

And don't get me started on what those effing hipsters have done to vinyl prices...

drbrowning's picture

I got a still sealed copy of a popular title of the Chi-lites from Amazon sent to me called "A Lonely Man", originally released on the Brunswick label in 1972. It seemed to good to be true, but when I opened it up the inner sleeve had the rounded corners on it. I don't believe those type of sleeves came until the 1980's. Another sign that it is not an original is that it has a glossy cover. I look in the dead wax and see the number 3972 - BL754179 - 1 (A) 5 - 60922 RE-1. I know the catalog number is BL754179 and there is also a BMG 5031 number. I would like to find a good used copy with ring wear on the cover and compare the details from the album cover to the vinyl itself and the label.

The sound quality is thin sounding and has distortion at the higher levels and there are slight dropouts in the left channel during the big song "Oh Girl". Overall I was not impressed. Fortunately I didn't get charged over 20 dollars for this copy and I am willing to let it slide for now until I can find a better copy.

Now as far a used vinyl being resealed, i have seen this kind of thing at some thrift stores that thought they could get by with it and to get them to sell quicker. They were not sold at mint prices, but still the concept is misleading. It gets people to think that the records are new when they are not. I contacted the manager of the thrift store and he ended up putting a stop to it.

I don't like to buy still sealed copies because you cannot check the condition of the vinyl itself. I have had still sealed copies come warped because the shrink wrap gets too tight and bends the record out of shape. Many record stores automatically jack up the price if the record is still sealed because they assume it is in mint condition. This is not always the case.

doublenaught's picture

When did record companies start using shrink wrap? Back in the late 70's I frequently visited a record store that had mostly new old stock records from the 50's and early 60's. None of those records had shrink wrap. They had loose plastic sleeves like polyethylene. Also at the same time I was a member of Record Club of America who shipped new records with no shrink wrap. I always wondered if these were factory seconds because they were cheaper than records from the RCA and Columbia record clubs.

Michael Fremer's picture
Records in the late '60s came shrink wrapped. I worked in a record store in 1970-1972 and records came shrinkwrapped. The store had a shrink wrap machine and often returned to the bins records that had been returned for minor imperfections... (sad, but true)...
john ryan horse's picture

was around in the early '70s until ??? I know someone who bought two hundred RCOA records (sealed) a couple years back. Al Green & Ann Peebles on Hi, Atlantic Aretha, David Crosby's debut, lots more. As I recall 40 years back the 'Record Club Of America' was printed on some (Atlantic especially) labels. Does anybody know the origin of these pressings, if they're decent?

alucas's picture

i always buy old originals in nm to mint condition. even the sealed lps are perfect and when their not, i return's called a charge back! works every time, even paypal dosn't like a charge back but it works everytime. yes, and you are not charged return shipping on ebay if you choose item is not as advertised! ebay told me this. you notice that the ebay sellers are always telling you to contact them instead of going through ebay, i say i started with ebay and i will end with ebay, unless i wish to keep it but need some money back. i just went through 100 lp's from ebay in the last 3 months. if i can't find the lp on ebay i go to discogs, they grade better but discogs wont deal in refunds like ebay will. remember to use a credit card and if need be call them and open a dispute, i've done it for 5.00, i don't care it's the principal!
happy shopping!