2 Recent Case Studies

Featured2 Recent Case Studies


It’s been a busy month, with the purchase of 5 collections, ranging from 50 items up to over 600! I thought it might be useful, if you’re thinking of selling your records, if I gave you a couple of case studies, so you can see if it might suit your current situation.

The reasons for people to get in contact with me vary from needing more space, inheriting a family members collection, needing to raise some money, downsizing and many more. The point is, no matter what your reason is, I am happy to give advice, a free valuation and if you’re happy with my offer, an quick cash payment and speedy collection.

Case Study 1 – The Kent Collection


It can be a little bit daunting picking up the phone and calling a number from a website you know nothing about, but that is just what this lovely couple did. We had a few telephone calls, and it became clear that this was a very interesting collection. It was also clear that I was not the only person they had contacted, and I had to arrange to get over and see the collection pronto! Luckily, I am available 7 days a week, so it was easy to find a suitable time to travel to Kent and find out more.

Having arrived at the house, and accepted a very welcome cup of tea, I sat down with the couple to find out what their situation was. Quite simply, having collected records for 50+ years, no one else in the family was interested in having them, so the decision was taken to sell them. And, what amazing musical taste they had!

Laid out before me where about 6 piles of records, around 100 LP’s and a similar number of 7″ singles. But, before looking through them, I wanted to find out how the collection had been put together. The husband had just loved his music, from The Rolling Stones to Led Zeppelin, The Who and so much more. And he had cherished the records, because they were in lovely condition.

Just a quick note here, if you’re thinking of selling your records, please remember the condition of the covers and vinyl is critical.

So, the collection had been assembled over about 30 years, and had been stored for a further 20 years or more. Every time any of their favourite artists released a record, they were there, on the day of release, to buy it. It was a real shame that no-one in the family was interested in having them.

They had already met another company who had spent a couple of minutes and then offered them a flat rate per LP. I don’t want to get into a debate over how to value records, but my approach is to look at every collection as a one-off, and then give a one-off valuation, based on what it is you want to sell. I think it’s the fairest way to arrive at the right offer.

So, having finished my tea, I spent some time crawling around on the floor looking through the records, and then very quickly, I made them a cash offer, which they were delighted to accept. We concluded the money part in a couple of minutes, I loaded the records into the car, with the help of the husband (thank you!) and then was on my way.

They were going to share the proceeds of the sale of their record collection between their grand children, reasoning that the money would be more use to them than a pile of vinyl records (no matter how great their taste was!)

Case Study 2 – The Hampshire Collection


This was a very different situation, and all arrangements were conducted by e-mail. I visited the owner of this collection on a weekend, to fit around their other commitments.

The owner of this collection was in the middle of a change of life direction, which involved downsizing to a smaller home. The collection had been assembled through the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, and there was an eclectic mix of tastes, ranging from Elton John to Alice Cooper and everything in between.

The owner of the collection was unsure whether to just take the whole lot to their favourite charity, or try and sell them and then give the proceeds to charity. It was clear that the house move was imminent as there was not much furniture in the house, so I sat on the floor going through around 50 or so LP’s. The condition ranged from very good to almost mint, so having looked through them all, I was able to make an instant cash offer, which after a little bit of haggling, we agreed on a figure we were both comfortable with.

I was able to pay cash and take the collection away at the same time. For this person, having a quick decision and being able to collect at the same time, was a very important factor in choosing to sell to me. Time was limited and important to this person, so I was delighted to be able to take the records away whilst a welcome donation to charity was on it’s way too.

If you’re thinking of selling your record collection, be it small or large, then get in touch now. I can usually get to see your collection within a couple of days and can make an instant cash offer.

I specialise in Rock, Beat & 60’s, Prog, Punk, Indie and Britpop. From AC/DC to ZZ Top!! Not forgetting The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Rolling stones etc….  Call me now on 07468 584343.

Top Beatles Rarities Currently On Ebay

Over the years, many artists and bands have suddenly become incredibly collectable, and then, disappeared from view almost as quickly. I remember how collectable The Bluetones were, and Starsailor (personally, I really like both bands!), not to mention dozens of others. But, some bands just continue to be uber-collectable, and today I want to talk about probably the most consistently collectable band in the world, The Beatles.

Now, I’m not the first person to try and write about the Top Beatles collectables, and you’d probably get bored pretty quickly, but just to be a little bit different, I thought I’d look at this through the lens of Ebay. So, here are the Top Beatles collectables currently being advertised on Ebay (other auction sites are available, ahem!).

In at No. 4 pop pickers is:

Beatles Yesterday And Today – 3rd State – Mono USA vinyl LP – Price: £1,798.95

For those of you who don’t know about this album, this was the one where the Beatles were so successful, that the record company just left them to it. Expecting some sugary album cover art work, imagine their faces when John, Paul, George and Ringo showed them this delightful album cover. The story goes that rather than trash the small number that had already been pressed and printed, the record bosses decided to stick new artwork over the top. Various enterprising folks have found ways to remove the new artwork, and restore the original. Here is an example of one:



Aaat number 3, we have:

THE BEATLES WHITE ALBUM. MONO, 0000865 – Auction Start Price: £2,000

A perennial favourite on Ebay and of Beatles collectors. The White Album comes in many different guises, but the one to go for is a low number, mono, top opening first day release in the wonderful Garrod & Lofthouse sleeve. Each copy had a fold out poster and 4 portrait photos of the boys, and each copy was individually numbered. Rumour has it, that Paul McCartney personally owns number 0000001, and it’s autographed by all 4 of the band. Low number copies can fetch a tidy sum, and by low I mean under 0001000, and a tidy sum being anything upto £5,000.



In at number 2, we have:

Beatles Please Please Me Mono Gold & Black 1st Press – Price: £4,500

Whatever happened to those 4 clean living, sharp dressed young men? Just a great album cover that still looks fresh today. This is a fantastic copy in almost mint condition, and is one of the earliest releases, so definitely one for the Beatles collector who has to have the best! This album was released on the 22nd march 1963, and in some peoples opinion was the launch pad for the Liverpool lads. It’s still amazing to think just how many ground breaking albums they released in just 8 short years!



And at Number 1, we have:


When it comes to one-offs, this really does deserve the label! Acetates are what the vinyl discs are copied from, so by their very nature, they are incredibly rare, and this one is rare for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it features the Fab 4, so we’re off to a good start already, but then we find it’s an interview recorded by the much missed Kenny Everett, recorded during the recording of the White Album. It really is a piece of musical history, which maybe why it is on offer at £5,995.



Well, obviously picking Beatles rarities is always difficult, and be warned, there are some unauthenticated items out there, so you have to tread carefully.

I have been collecting vinyl records for over 40 years, and I specialise in 60’s Pop & Beat, Rock, Punk, Indie and Prog Rock, so if you have any unwanted vinyl records, or are thinking of selling, then please get in touch! I offer free, no obligation valuations in London, South East and on occasion, further afield!

Send me a list of what you’re selling, and I’ll be in touch.



What Brexit Means To Record Collectors

EU referendum
Two confused record collectors discussing the impact of Brexit on Record Prices


In a little over 5 weeks, record collectors across the country will be going to the polls to decide whether the UK stays inside the EU or goes it alone. It is a momentous decision, and one which I urge every record collector to think very carefully about. However, it strikes me that there has been very little coverage in the press about what effects a Brexit might have on the free movement of vinyl, so how can record collectors across the country make the right decision?

Well, worry no more!!  Help is at hand with my guide to cut through the scream of back ground noise and get to the sweet melodies of useful and relevant information. Lets start with the question on every record collectors lips:

Will I still Be Able To Import Music From Abroad?


One of the central planks of the EU is that record collectors can buy music freely, so if you want to import an album from the Romanian band above, then you are free to do so. However, if the UK were to leave, would you still be able to import the same album, or would there be restrictions, such as how long you could keep the record in the UK for or if you imported the album, could you also import the singles from that album etc. It’s all very confusing, but I think all record collectors would agree that it is best to be able to enjoy the multi-culturism that music from different countries brings.

So, if you want to continue to enjoy the freedom to enjoy whatever your musical taste is and from where ever it may come from, you’re probably going to vote to stay in.

Will The UK Still Be Able To Take Part In The Eurovision Song Contest?


The quick answer has got to be, unfortunately, YES! After all, if Australia can take part, there are obviously not many geographic restrictions in place. Now, I’m the first one to support diversity (not the dance troop), but I draw the line at Moldova’s 2005 entry from Zdob si Zdub called Grandmama Beats The Drum. The point to consider for all record collectors is that just because we leave the EU does not mean we can escape the horror of the Eurovision Song Contest every year. Now, if any of the “Leave” spokes people had made a firm commitment that the UK would never have to endure another Eurovision Song Contest, then I think they would sweep up the vast majority of record collectors – and most of the rest of the population too.

I just have to mention Guy Sebastian, who represented that well known European country Australia this year, one more time! In Australia, 4.2m people watched the show (a record coincidentally), and in particular they must have marveled at his pyrotechnic piano. I grudgingly concede it bought something new to the show (very grudgingly!)


I know that out there, amongst the many different shades of record collectors, there are one or two who actually specialise in Eurovision vinyl, and as much as it is not for me, everyone should be able to make their own choice.

If We Stay In The EU and New Countries Join, Will Record Prices Increase Due To More Collectors?


According to the leaflet that just popped through my letterbox, excitingly called “The 2016 EU Referendum Voting Guide”, there are currently 28 members of the EU, with 5 more countries waiting to join, including Turkey (that’s important for some reason – didn’t they win the Eurovision in 2003?) Now, it seems logical to me that if we leave the EU, then the in-flow of record collectors to the UK could be controlled, and conversely, if we stay in the EU, and 5 more countries join the EU over the next few years, then there is the potential for more record collectors to come to the UK. Is this a bad thing?

The thing about record collectors is that they have open minds and the chance to talk to interesting record collectors from new countries excites them. There isn’t a record collector in the country who would not give his tatty old anorak or his last egg sandwich to a fellow record collector who has fallen on hard times. Furthermore, look at some of the positives. If new and interesting record collectors start coming to the UK, we could see rare record inflation, which means the values of our own collections will rise faster than an Arsenal season ticket. And, there’s the opportunity to nip over to all these lovely European countries and find rare and valuable releases at bargain prices, and we can bring them back without fear of being stopped at customs and having a nasty tax added.

So, from where I am standing, record collectors have nothing to fear from the UK staying in the EU, but in fairness, we probably won’t notice anything different if we leave either. Now, where can I get a copy of Grandmama Beats The Drum?

If you are interested in selling any of your unwanted vinyl, please get in touch. I promise not to judge you on your likely referendum voting intentions!! I also want to say thank you to all the people who have contacted me recently with details of their records for sale. There are some fantastic collections out there and I will get round to see them all. Thanks again!!


Record Collecting and The EU Referendum

No, this is not the name of my new band, although it does have a certain ring to it. But, with the EU referendum a mere 7 weeks away, I thought I ought to raise the important question that no-one has yet asked. Namely, what impact will Brexit have on the free movement of vinyl across Europe?

But, before I talk about that, I wanted to talk about a great little record collection I came across recently from a really nice guy who was about to go travelling and wanted to clear his flat of all unwanted/unneeded items, presumably so he could rent it our. When I arrived, the place had furniture all over the place, and boxes half packed, but amongst this mayhem, I found 30 or so records of pure quality. It was clear that this guy loved his vinyl, had looked after it carefully, and more importantly, he had great taste!

Now, none of his records were mega-rare, but they were an interesting collection, which presumably gives an insight into how his taste had changed over the last 10 years. For example, there was a lovely copy of the Arctic Monkeys At The Apollo box set which really caught the eye, released in 2008, and captured some of their live shows from 2006. There were only 5,000 of these produced, so quite rare.

Arctic Monkeys

As time went by, so his taste evolved a little, with a really nice copy of The XX’s debut album XX which was in lovely condition. I’m guessing this was from around 2009, and what made this especially nice was the fact that the original poster was still neatly folded inside the sleeve. So, he’s still into his indie stuff at this point, but then something started to change, and his musical taste changed to. I am left wondering if he had left university and moved to London to work, maybe starting to find new musical influences. Or had he met the love of his life. I’m not sure, but his music was moving!

The XX

To demonstrate this subtle change in his musical taste, I came across an album by an Australian band called Bag Raider ( had he been travelling after finishing his degree and heard this band while down under?). It is not guitar indie, but much more electronic dance music, so a major change from just a year before. And it continues in this direction with the brilliant Gorillaz album Plastic Beach, which whilst having the guiding hand of Britpop darling Damon Albarn, is undoubtedly a stunning album of electronic dance music.


I’m not sure what happened between 2010 and 2013, but by 2013, he was getting into some really new territory, and I offer the double coloured vinyl release of Cut/Copy’s Free Your Mind as evidence of this. As one reviewer said of this album:

Every Cut Copy album has it’s own feel to it. This album in particular though is very hard to pin. It combines New Wave/Synth Pop with Electro/Dance. I love the feel it provides the listener. 100% playable 200% all-around! 10/5!”


Who can tell what was happening in my record sellers mind, but he had graduated through indie to dance and beyond. The funny thing is, this is the last album that he had bought, or at least was in the collection. I wondered why he had stopped. Was it because he was now streaming his music or could it have been the beginning of the desire to go travelling again? Had the lure of the bright lights which had provided so much hope and opportunity just a few short years ago dimmed, and his thoughts turned to packing in his job, selling all the possessions that reminded him of his past, that reminded him of the dull 9-5 routine, the tortuous commute to the digital centre of London, and heading off to far off distant shores where he could relax and find a new direction?

I will probably never know, but whatever his reasons, he was a really nice guy and I just loved his small but beautifully formed record collection. I hope that he enjoys his travels and finds what he is looking for.

If you are interested in selling any of your unwanted vinyl, please get in touch. I promise not to over-analyse why you are selling!! I also want to say thank you to all the people who have contacted me recently with details of their records for sale. There are some fantastic collections out there and I will get round to see them all. Thanks again!!


Top 5 Reasons to Never Sell Your Vinyl Collection

OK, I’m not really going to tell you not to sell your record collection to me, and these 5 reasons are kind of meant to make you think why you should seriously think about calling me in to have a look. But, over the years, there are some recurring themes around why people decide to sell their vinyl.

No.5 – I’ve Gone All Digital (baby)


This is a really common reason for people to decide that it’s time to sell some or all of their vinyl collection. The thing about vinyl is that it’s big and cumbersome, and in our fast moving world, where people are on the go all the time, vinyl records just don’t fit in to this life style. People have mobile devices – phones, watches, iPod’s, Fitbits and all manner of other gadgets – which give them instant access to music, so vinyl records are surplus to requirements. When was the last time you saw someone on the train listening to a 12″ single on a portable record player? Vinyl just does not fit into modern life in the same way that Spotify, Amazon or iTunes does (other steaming services are available. Ed)

No. 4 – I Need More Space (man)


If you walk through any city centre, suburb or modern housing development, where young couples are setting up home together, or older couples are down-sizing, if you listen carefully enough, you will hear raised voices in despair howling “we can’t live like this, we need more space!!”. Now, far be it for me to discuss the housing policies of local councils, or the lack of for-thought that planning departments put in to their strategic housing plans or the damage the buy-to-let bubble has caused to hard working people looking to buy their own home and so on ad infinitum, but, there is a direct relationship between what is called a reasonable habitable area and the need to de-clutter. In other words, properties are getting smaller and vinyl records are big and space absorbing, so the two do not mix well. And God help you if you have a “collection” of vinyl records!! I have seen people using record storage boxes as pieces of furniture. If you need more space and it’s time to sell your record collection, contact me now!

No. 3 – Inheriting Vinyl Records


Remember your long lost uncle, the one who your mother never spoke about, well that was because he lived alone with his cats and collected vinyl. Now, he’s sadly departed for the big old record shop in the sky, but you have become the guardian of his record collection back on earth. The first question you ask yourself is not what’s inside all these boxes, but where the hell am I going to put them? And following on rapidly thoughts such as, I don’t even have a turntable and I’ve never heard of any of these! The key thing to remember is that a solution is at hand. If you want to get rid of your inheritance as quickly as possible and turn it into cash that you can spend on something more fitting to remember the uncle you never actually met, then contact me now! I’ll take a look inside the boxes and give you a quick decision.

No.2 – I Need Some Money!!


No, there are no jokes about this one. But, you would be amazed at how people are attached to objects like vinyl records, and sometimes do not realise that they may have something as basic as a small collection of vinyl records that if they sold them for cash, would help them out.

No 1. – You’ve Changed Man!


It’s true, you always thought you’d have a life long love affair with vinyl music, but something has happened, and the love affair is over! Sometimes, there is a convergence of factors, and one day, you just wake up and think, why have I got all these records that I never play (because I don’t have a turntable) and I need more room (because vinyl records take up lots of space) and because I have a young family (and kids and vinyl records don’t mix) and I have just bought this expensive new Apple watch ( so I can listen to my music on the train, in the car, at the gym) so I don’t need my vinyl any more. It’s time to sell my vinyl to someone who will give me cash, a fair price, and get this stuff out of my house quickly! So, get in touch and I’ll talk through what to do.

I’ve been collecting records for over 30 years, and am interested in buying vinyl from The Beatles to Ed Sheeran; from Porcupine Tree to Blur, from AC/DC to ZZ Top. I am an enthusiast and buy records for my own collection. Get in touch with me if you want to sell your vinyl records.

Diary of A Vinyl Picker

It’s getting late and the rain is lashing down in a small town, well, I was born in a small town, and I live in a small town and probably die in a small town! I pull my collar up around my ears, and push on through to the other side of the street and into another potential goldmine of vinyl.

OK, so I spend a lot of time looking for additions to my vinyl collection, and looking in charity shops and those kind off part antique centers – part “tat” shops can sometimes turn up some interesting little gems. What I find both interesting and frustrating is where a charity shop will open up a specialist shop selling music, film and books. You probably know who I mean. The concept is interesting because they have realised that some records are more valuable than others, and I totally get that. But, where I get frustrated is how they arrive at their prices. The object of the charity has to be to raise money for their cause, which I and everyone else applaud, but there has to be an equation between price vs. time to sell, and in some cases I think they get it wrong. Surely it would be better to get 70% of the possible value (always very subjective) in 7 days, rather than 100% of the possible value in 10 weeks.

One way of letting the market find its own level would be to put anything that might be valuable on to an auction site like Ebay. If the charity in question already does this, then I apologise for my ignorance, but I have never found myself bidding for a Beatles or Rolling Stones album on Ebay with the seller clearly identified as a charity. Knowing the people of the UK, I suspect a good number would bid more enthusiastically if they thought 100% of the money was a donation to a charity who do fantastic work in the community etc. (Could a charity collect tax relief on your donation? It would be even better if they could!!) From a cash flow perspective, this must be better for the charity, as they can turn their stock quicker, and who knows, as corporate as Ebay are, they may cut a deal on fees to be seen to be supporting charities in the UK. Just an idea.

One final grumble about the un-named charity above; if you do have a potentially valuable album, why put it in a sunny, hot, exposed shop window? I walked past my local shop last week, and there were a couple of quite good vinyls on show, namely a lovely copy of the Gorillas album Plastic Beach and a euro copy of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, both of which were slowly having their album sleeves discoloured and the vinyl cooked on a low heat until ruined. Crazy!!

Anyway, back to a cold, rainy day in a small town. I had been walking around all afternoon and to be honest was pretty despondent at the small number of shops that I had visited that even had any second hand vinyl at all. But, I  knew that this final shop, at the end of the high street, was usually good for something worth having. Over the years, I have found decent copies of some great 1990’s indie albums, including Definitely Maybe by Oasis and I Should CoCo by Supergrass, as well as some great NWOBHM albums and picture discs, including stuff from Iron Maiden.

As I struggled up the high street, the rain by now almost horizontal, the cold drops winning the fight to get under my collar and forming small icy rivers running down my neck, constantly wary about passing large puddles in case the constant flow of vans and lorries should spray me from head to toe in dirty, cold rain, what kept me going was the prospect of finding something unusual, possibly rare, but always in god nick. I was concerned about how I was to get this rare specimen of vinyl home without getting it wet and sodden, but plenty of time to worry about that later. First, let’s get in the warm and get searching.

I could see the shop, just past the new Subway sandwich place, and quickened my step. Almost there. One last swerve to avoid a meeting of a  passing white van and a large puddle, and I was there. I shook my coat, and full of expectation, I pushed the door. It was locked. It was Wednesday and they closed at lunch time. Bugger!




Top 5 Hardest To Find Picture Sleeves….and It’s Little Wonder!

In the elite world of the charity shop vinyl record hunter, there are certain record sleeves that are almost of mythical status, and there is a considerable amount of competition between collectors to find one of these rarities. It’s a little bit like Andy Murray winning Wimbledon, Leicester City winning the premiership or Donald Trump becoming president of America. Actually, it’s more likely that “the Donald” will become president that it is finding one of these picture sleeves.

So, here we go with my top 5 most sought after picture sleeves ever, and yes, I’m going to go in reverse order, keeping the suspense going until the very end!

No. 5 – Tino – Por Primero Vez

The first thing to point out here, is that I am not actually all that interested in the audio, which is just as well, because it’s a disco horror of a track that will give you nightmares. No, it’s the sleeve…and, WHAT a sleeve!! I’m trying to imagine what the art directors thought process was here. Could there be, in the back of a cabinet somewhere, a story board that he/she built up culminating in this image? It’s a sleeve that screams “Come and get it” and “Hey girls, do you want some” louder than Jose Mourinho screaming “Gizza job”. If you are lucky enough to find this little beauty in your local charity shop, buy it quickly and run, before you’re arrested by the bad taste police.


No. 4 – Norberto De Freitas – Trapalhadas Do Balbino

I know what you’re thinking, you’re setting the bar pretty high here! You’re right, I am, but this is a list of the most sought after picture sleeves ever, and more importantly, ones that you will only find in a charity shop. So, what’s going on here? If your first thought is, this must be an advert for Colgate, you’d be wrong. If you think Norberto has a passing similarity to Wurzil Gummage, I’d agree with you. But what, I hear you ask, does the title mean. Trapalhadas Do Balbino roughly translates as The Blunders of Balbino, which presumably refers to the choice of artist portrait that the record company made when putting this release together. I only ever found this album once in a charity shop, and I’d been on the lash the night before, and when I picked it up, I thought I was looking in a mirror. It was at that point I decided that I had to cut back on my boozing.


No. 3 – Wayne Cochran – Goin’ Back To Miami

Oh my, where do I start? Well, firstly, let me say that Wayne Cochran is still alive and he cut some really cool records, and in fact his track Last Kiss was covered by Pearl Jam. Did you also know that he is sometimes referred to as “The White Knight of Soul”, and that he helped inspire Dan Ackroyd and John Belushi’s characters in The Blues Brothers ? But, I don’t care what sort of gear was going around in 60’s, it was clearly having an impact on his follicle growth rates. The hair is simply stunning, and there must be so much product on it, I suspect that Wayne is responsible for the hole in the ozone layer. This is one of those mythical picture sleeves I mentioned at the beginning, and I salute you if you can find one.


No. 2 – Jacinto – O Donzelo (Dentro da Abertura)

Oh!! Donzelo indeed! What on earth is going on here? This appears to be some kind of homage to Benny Hill, mixed in with one of those Top of the Pops album covers from the early 70’s. The title literally translates as “Within The Aperture” but perhaps more literally it means, I’m a dirty bastard and if I get caught I’m going away for a long time. Either way, it’s a total cracker and for certain, deserves its place in our top 5.


No. 1 – Wasnatch – Front To Back

As you can see, I’ve definitely kept the best ’till last!! I truly do not know where to start, but let me assure you, if you find this album in your local charity shop, just pray that some octogenarian volunteer is not looking over your shoulder. It doesn’t matter how genuine your pleas are, you are not going to convince a jury in the land that you are not some kind of brass band deviant!! So, forgetting what the album cover may be trying to convey, in the immortal words of Roy Walker from Catchphrase, just say what you see. So, I see a naked lady on all fours with some kind of brass instrument near her face, looking over her shoulder at a hairy man straining as he blows into a tuba that appears to be positioned over her rear end. I can hear Roy saying “It’s close, but it’s not right”. Too bloody right it’s not right!


Well, there you are charity shop pickers, my countdown of the 5 most difficult to find picture sleeves. It is Record Store Day 2016 tomorrow, and I am sad to say that you will not find any of these beauties being reissued in any form tomorrow. But, you will find loads of cool releases, and as ever, its great to support your local independent record store. If you have any surplus vinyl you are thinking of selling, please get in touch.


Top 5 Biggest Selling Albums….If Charity Shops Are Anything To Go By

I’m standing in a circle with a group of other people, all of whom are shuffling anxiously. Everyone is looking at me. I clear my throat, and in a quivering voice say:

“My name is Stewart, and I collect records”.

Everyone claps at my honesty, and I feel relieved that my guilty secret is no longer a secret. OK, none of this is true, but it has a certain ring of authenticity, especially when I’m crawling around on the floor of a charity shop looking through a box of dusty old records. The thing is, no matter which charity shop I’m in, no matter if it is an affluent suburb of London or in a less affluent inner city or town, I see the same records time and time again. Where do they all come from? More importantly, why did people buy them in the first place?

So, I thought it would be fun to list the top 5 best selling albums in history, based on how frequently I see them in charity shops. I think it will be only a matter of time before the mainstream music charting organisations start measuring the success of an album in the same way! Come on guys, keep up!

In traditional Miss World fashion, I’ll announce the “winners” in reverse order.

No. 5 – Mantovani Golden Hits

This is a classic album full of his greatest hits..well, it must be, it says it on the front of the sleeve. If I had a pound for every time I’ve flicked through a pile of albums and found this gem, I’d have enough money to take a contract out on the music exec who thought it would be a good idea to release this album. Who actually went into their local record shop, saw this and thought, this looks good, I think I’ll buy it? I have no idea, but it is most definitely happened, and for that reason it is a solid No. 5 in this chart.


No. 4 – The Best of Top of the Pops 1973

Now, to be fair, I’ve picked the 1973 release, but in fact it could have been any number of different years, but the point is, there is no charity shop in the UK that does not have at least one copy at the back of a box somewhere. In fact, I think if you look deep enough in the small print of the rules and regulations of running and managing a charity shop, as published by the Charities Commission, there will be a clause that says if you sell records, it is a requirement that you must, at all times, have at least one Best of Top of the Pops album in stock. The other thing is, they are always in MINT condition!! I can only guess that, for some reason, they were bought but never played. Finally, and perhaps there is something slightly uncomfortable about this, everyone of the front covers has a scantily clad young lady emblazoned on it.  As if the musical content was not enough to draw you in!!


No. 3 – BBC Sound Effects Effects Album

Again, there are any number of these to choose from. I assume, because they were such big sellers, the BBC churned them out for an adoring audience in ever increasing numbers. They must have been the mainstay of the BBC finances during the 60’s and 70’s, because there are literally millions of them lying around in charity shops from Lands End to Jon O Groats. It’s any wonder that The Beatles ever got to the top of the charts with the BBC releasing these bad boys every few months throughout the mid 60’s. You can just imagine John, Paul, George and Ringo celebrating the release of Sgt. Peppers only to find out that through some awful admin cock-up, its been released in the same week as the BBC’s Sound Effects 1967 block buster!!


No. 2 – Herb Albert & The Tijuana Brass Christmas Album

Now, I really don’t have anything against Herb Albert or his Tijuana Brass, but why, oh why, are there so many copies of his albums in charity shops? I picked this one as an example, and also because you would be amazed at how often I have actually found it during my forays to charity shops. Again, it is always in immaculate condition, with the sleeve showing hardly any signs of wear and tear, the vinyl shiny and unmarked, and the useful and informative inner sleeve showing other releases on the “Music For Pleasure” label that you can rush out and buy, always present.


No. 1 – OST to The Sound of Music

Now, before you all start shouting that Julie Andrews is a national treasure, I totally agree with you, but this is an alternative chart of the biggest selling albums as measured by how many copies I fall over in charity shops. On that basis, this album totally deserves its place in this chart. This is a monster selling album, and it says a lot for the good folk of the UK that they have donated so many copies to so many worthwhile charitable organisations. I am no financial expert, but I would hazard a guess that many of the wonderful works carried out by charities large and small, would not have been possible without this album. I salute Julie Andrews and her band of Von Trapps, and thank her for this album. Did you know there is a singing group made up of members of the Von Trapp family called, originally enough, The Von Trapps? Will we, in years to come, find copies of their albums flooding our charity shops too? We can hope.

sound of music

To finish with, let me say that I love rummaging through charity shops looking for long lost albums, but if you have a record collection you are thinking of selling, please let me know, and I’ll be happy to have a look. But please, if you have any one of these albums in your collection, the right and proper place for it is in a charity shop, and I won’t stand in your way!