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How best to sell your collection, either to a dealer or privately



  1. Selling topics
  2. What if it all goes wrong?
Most people spend years building up a record collection, most then sell in one job lot.
Reading the advice on this page may greatly increase the money you get when you sell!

You should remeber that what you consider to be worthless relics from a teenage fad may in fact be very valuable!

This page discusses how best to dispose of your records, and which options are best for you based on the time you have avaliable.

It also looks at the risks of being ripped off and discusses how to avoid them


If you are an individual considering selling their collection or maybe setting out on the rocky road to Internet commerce, please read on.
You should carefully read the sections on grading and describing your collection before offering your records for sale...

What are your Priorities.

I want to get rid of the whole lot and do not have lots of spare time
I want to get the best Price
and have time on my hands
Sell to a dealer
Sell privately
Try emailing Subscriber Shops who have asked to receive For sale lists from this page.
The above link may not work if you are using Microsoft Mail or Outlook Express.
You can use our alternate page for Microsoft users, It's basic but works! just follow the instructions.
You will need to list and grade all your records accurately, if they turn out to be damaged, forget mail order! Also once you start selling online, you are committed to a time consuming process of dealing with customers and packing and posting records.
If you are happy with the above, please select from the topics below.
If you have a local shop, Walk in, you are not obliged to sell if you are unhappy with their offer, but if you get a good price, it will be easier than listing all your records in order to sell by post.
Also consider Record Fairs/Conventions. Try our online guide to UK dates, or check the collectors magazines and your local press.
US residents, try who will buy or trade CDs but not vinyl. You can check what they offer online, do this, as for some albums they pay less than a dollar!

Be prepared! if you have a big collection consider investing in a Price Guide. Dealers are under no legal obligation to offer you a fair price, and once you accept an offer there is no going back!
Size IS important! The bigger your collection, the greater the rewards of taking the time to sell it off youself!.

If you decide to sell privately you will need to read the following topics..
The truth is that in most collections 80% or more of the records are very hard to sell on. If you sell to a shop and want to sell everything expect the bulk of your treasured records to earn you very little.
If you sell privately, expect most of your collection to end up in boxes in some cupboard or another.

So you plan to Sell Privately.

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Read on, below we have tried to cover all the pitfalls of selling online, it is easy to set up, it is less easy to maintain an online business.

It is all to easy for the well meaning vendor to get it wrong. Few dealers will deny having ever come unstuck.
The most important thing is to maintain good communication and make sure your customers know exactly what is going on.
It is also Vital to keep accurate records of every transaction when orders go astray, you will need these records.


Most arguments that arise between people trading online are disputes over grading.
It is advisable to grade your records carefully, including remarks on any damage in the description.

Please feel free to read our further notes on grading

You will need a grading system to refer to, try More Music, Record Collector or Good rockin tonight (good for older records including 78s)

Condition and Value
You have an Item with a high book value but it is not in mint condition, how do you arrive at a price?
Here is a rough guide

M and EX+ 100%
EX 80-90%
EX- 60-75%
VG 40-60%
G 30-40%
F 15-30%
POOR Less than 10%

This is only a guide, on common items such as 60s Beatles records the fall off in value is much sharper, while real rarities may hold their value, even when damaged, as collectors know they may never get an opportunity to own a better copy!
Dance records and records used for samples such as old funk 45s also hold their value better. However good or bad they appear, they must still play well.
It is advisble not to sell records graded below EX- via Mail order. if your records grade at VG or worse and you still want to sell privately, consider a Car Boot Sale, however the prices you can get there are often less than that offered by a dealer.
The other option is to hire a stall at a Record Fair, this is quite expensive, so only do it if you know your records are valuable.

Price Guides

If you are grading and pricing a collection, you will need benchmark prices to work from, it may well be worth buying a Price Guide

The following Online Guides are free: If you have a lot of records, buying a printed guide makes sense. click the symbol to buy from the UK or the $ symbol to buy from a US outlet.

  1. Record Collector Rare Record Price Guide 2004 (actaully published December 2002) UK Review | Buy ()
  2. Penguin Price Guide for Record and Compact Disc Collectors UK | Review | Buy
  3. UK Punk / New Wave / Powerpop Price Guide UK | Buy ()
  4. The Official Price Guide to Records USA | Buy ($) | Buy ()
  5. Goldmine Price Guide to 45rpm Records USA | Buy ($) | Buy ()
  6. Goldmine Price Guide to Collectable LP Records USA | Buy ($) | Buy ()
  7. Other Goldmine Guides (links to Buy) All printed in USA
  8. CD-Rom Price Guides/Discographies US/UK | 45s | Prog rock | Bootlegs | British invasion | Jazz
  9. If You need a specilist or national price guide other beyond those listed, here is a bigger list (Not working when tested in Jan 2002)
If you have only a few records, post to the Newsgroups asking for values

Say you are looking to sell and wonder what the titles are worth, It is not uncommon to get offers there and then!

If you know you have a rarity, you can try auctioning it. (See Where to sell, below)


The better you describe items you sell, the more you will sell and the lower the chance of having a misunderstanding with a buyer.

If you are preparing a large number of items it is best to use a spreadsheet such as Exel to list them. Make sure the spreadsheet you use will export to text (both plain and delimited formats) as these are the standards used by the "Seller sites"

As well as Artist and title you should automatically include format and condition.
You should also include as much additional information about each item as is possible, consider the following:

Original or Re-Issue?
The answer to this question may well be that you don't know.
Some price guides make an effort to explain the differences, most do not.
That is not the end of it, If the re-issue is worth very little it may not feature in the price guide, this is a common source of raised hopes.

On valuable Items it may be worth your while to seek out specialist websites or ask on relevant Newsgroups, this can prove a long haul on collectable records that have been issued several times.
If you go down the road of selling privately you may well have to accept that you will get the odd detail wrong and perhaps give away a bargain.

Abbreviations There are a large number of Abbreviations that are pretty standard in the trade. Knowing these can make listing your collection a little less of a chore!
Click Here to view them.

Where to sell?

Online you are actually spoilt for ways to sell!
Options Include:
  • Auctions
  • "Seller sites" Also known as "Music Marketplaces"
  • Building your own webpage
  • Newsgroups
  • Email

  • Auctions

    Auctions are ideal if you only have a few items to sell, and/or you have no idea of the value.
    There are literally hundreds of Auction House, many offering completely free listings.

    Beware There are far too many auction houses, and most of them do not get many bidders! You are better off selling through the established ones or at the very least examining how well items are selling on any particular site before you list with it.

    Realistically eBay is so far ahead of it's rivals as to be the only worthwhile option, however it is more expnsive to use... For Our links to the other major Auction houses, Click Here You will need to use your back button to return to this page.
    Building Good Auctions is at present beyond the scope of this guide, but a very basic understanding of HTML will help you!. eBay in particular have lots of good tutorials.

    Some of the auction houses allow you to Search Completed Auctions use this feature to ascertain how well similar items have sold. This will save you from listing items that are unlikly to take any bids!

    "Seller sites"

    Best if you have too many items to list individually on auction houses or if you are in no rush. You will need to be happy to sell your collection off piecemeal.

    The way these sites work is simple, you load your stock up into a database along with hundreds of other sellers. upload is free, most sites charge you a fee on completion of a sale. A big bonus is that most of these sites will also process payments for you (at a price).
    You will need to prepare your inventory. All the sites accept tab delimited Text also widely accepted are Exel and DBF
    If this is all Double Dutch to you, don't panic, most of the sites have tutorials, or will help you out by email.

    Include the following Fields Additional fields you may consider are The More info you include, the better your items will sell..

    Links to Seller Sites
    Remember: there is no reason why you shold not list with all these sites. As long as you update your inventory regularly listing on multiple sites will work well.

    Building your own webpage

    Making a webpage is a big task, but is still essential if you are going to make selling online your business.
    Just building a page is only a fraction of the work, getting noticed is the real task. To get these jobs done properly you really need to do them yourself... Prepare for long evenings at the keyboard!
    To cover the tasks of webpage construction and promotion way beyond the scope of this guide, you are also realistically looking at some weeks of work if you are going to do it well.

    If you do get your own site, submit it to our directories and we can then offer you some more links for promotion.


    Selling on Newsgroups is a good Method if you have only a few titles to shift. for deatails of which Newsgroups to use, follow our instructions on the Resource Page.
    Newsgroups are useful even if you have a webpage, but please remember, they have charters, and excessive self promotion will be counter productive.


    Email lists are effective for selling records, they offer a good service for collectors too, as they get your list delivered to their desktop.

    Remember: never send emails unsolicited, if people want to join a mailing list they will subscribe.

    Mailing lists are only really effective if you have an established Postal mail list, or in support of other selling methods.
    There are online sites Yahoo Groups such as who will run your mailing list for you. they are free and easy to use. You can also download the HTML for a subscribe form, this is easily pasted into auctions you run, or onto your webpage. Better but overpriced is Listbot
    Remember to make sure you create and Announcment List Otherwise anyone can post to it!

    subscriber lists Great! there are actually people out there who join groups where lists of records for sale are posted. They are waiting to hear from you!
    Try posting to More-Music and Discmart. If you have Dance music to sell you can also try The DJ Trader

    Accepting payments

    This section is mainly for the benefit of the individual selling off a few records rather than the retailer

    It is a sad reality of international trading that the banks always seem to earn more than we do.

    It is to some extent an unwritten convention that the responsiblity of the buyer is to get the cash to the seller.
    For this reason the main concerns over payment for the seller relate to the cost of the transaction.

    The costs vary from bank to bank, go to your bank and find out what they will charge on each of the following:
    Also worth finding out is how long each will take to clear the banking system.
    It is common sense to wait until cheques have cleared before posting the records, Let customers know how long they may have to wait.

    If you accept cash in a foreign currency there are a number of sites such as:
    where you can get up to date exchange rates.
    The rate you get from your bank will be slightly less favorable.

    Credit Cards are easy to accept, but getting "merchant status" may be expensive, don't be tempted to sign up with the people who send junk emails offering merchant status online. Do check sites reccomended by the big auction houses, as the deals they offer are pretty good.

    Remember: The Credit Card Companies protect themselves against fraud, then they protect the buyer...You are last on the list. If you have any doubts, authorize the card on the phone.
    Also remember that some Seller sites like GEMM who will take cards on your behalf, will take the money back if the transaction turns out to be fraudulent!


    Postal rates and categories vary depending on country, check for the following.

    1. Small Packet Rate, You may include a comliment slip but not a letter.
      In the UK a Small Packet cannot exceed 2Kg above 2Kg you must use Parcel Post which is a lot more expensive.
    2. Surface Air Lifted, These are not guaranteed air delivery but usually get on the plane. No use near Christmas.
    3. Maximum Weight, Different Countries have different limits, check before you pack!
    4. Insurance Rates. Insurance is at the buyers expense but you should insist on it if sending to countries where mail is less secure.
    Calculating Postage online
    If you know what service you want and how much There are online forms for both the UK and US post offices.
    The US form is very easy to use, the UK one is more tedious

    Letters up to 2 KGs


    Charge postage as close to cost as possible, Making a bit extra on the shipping is not very fair.

    It is well worth making up a table of postage costs (example below), take some CDs and LPs down to your post office along with packing materials and get the prices for different destinations.

    First cd or 7"
    Each Extra CD/7"
    First L.P. or 12"
    Each Extra L.P./12"
    0.60 up to 26
    2.50 over 26
    N/A for USA/Canada

    On Bigger orders, get it weighed before you quote. On one of my first big sales I quoted the buyer 40, when I got to the post office it cost 70 to send!

    Finally, get some form of proof of posting, if the package fails to show up you will need it.


    Never underestimate the Mail's ability to trash things in the post

    Packing is about making sure your records arrive in the condition they set out in, it is very tempting to try to cut down the weight for cheaper postage...Don't

    Packing Materials.
    If you want to buy ready-made mailers, try Covers 33. (UK) or Bags unlimited. (US) Their prices are fair...Mailers aren't cheap.
    You can also try your local record shop, most throw away the boxes records are delivered in and will be glad for you to take them away. Also ask any DJs you know, they get promos mailed to them.

    If you make your own boxes the main thing is to be sure they are strong, use corrugated cardboard, it is strong and light.
    If you are posting by surface mail, pack with extra care, items posted by surface mail seem to be treated with little respect.

    Talk to other dealers!

    there are a number of discussion forums for record dealers where you can discuss problems or ask for help.
    These groups genereate quite a lot of messages so please post only when neccesary..

    Email groups

    Record dealers (To Join)
    Open to record dealers from anywhere in the world

    US Shops (To Join)
    Open to US record dealers

    UK Shops (To Join)
    Open to UK record dealers Membership is moderated, You must be an established seller to join

    Online Forum

    Yahoo's Record Dealers Club

    You have done everything you can think of to sell your item responsibly, then someone complains. The more items you sell, the more likely it is that something will get broken or losts, or that you will make a mistake!
    The advice below is aimed at minimising the damage once a problem arises...

    Sorting Out Disputes

    The most important thing is that you have kept accurate records and continue to do so once a dispute arises.
    It is also vital to keep the buyer informed at all stages

    You have not had payment
    It is the buyers responsibility to get payment to you, If they say it has been sent find out what sort of payment it was.
    If they sent cheques or Money orders ask them to cancel the payment with their bank and try again.
    If they say the cheque/MO has been Cashed, Check with your bank! You may have paid it in and forgotten to record the fact.
    If it has not been paid to your account (but has been cashed) then you must inform the Post office and the police.
    If they sent Cash, It was at their risk, and it is up to you to decide if you will be kind enough to send the goods.

    You have had payment
    Once you take payment, The onus is on you to get the goods to the buyer. If you are having trouble tracing an order or locating postal receipts don't string the other person along, it may be easier to offer a replacement, credit or even a refund.
    If they have been posted and then gone missing, take this up with the post office As soon as possible.
    If the item was sent recorded or registered you are covered, Tell the buyer that the package was insured and will have been signed for, it is surprising how often it suddenly turns up!
    With low value items you may just need to cut your losses, even if you are suspicious.
    If the argument is over condition, don't haggle over small details such as who pays the return postage unless you are really confident you are in the right.

    Even if you have gained a healthy dislike for the buyer, try to sort it out amicably. If the dispute ends up in the public domain, you will want to be able to show that you have played fair.

    Disputes you cannot resolve.

    If you cannot resolve dispute, the most likely reasons are:
    You have offered a compromise but the buyer is being unreasonable.
    Take one last look at the details, if there is no room for compromise, tell the buyer so, and prepare to defend your decisions. Check the newsgroups regularly and respond immediately to any bad dealer alerts that get posted about you.

    Things have gone wrong that were beyond your control. You cannot be expected to take responsibility.
    If you have lost stock, or suffered computer failure, where possible tell all who might be affected, most will be sympathetic and give you time to sort things out.
    If you are having problems of this nature, Do not accept any more orders until you are on top of it.

    You believe the buyer is deliberately defrauding you.
    This, unfortunately does happen, there are plenty of dirty tricks that can be played on the trusting seller such as substituting a damaged article for a good one and then returning it.
    If you are confident that you are the victim of a fraud, it is unlikely you will want to compromise, call the buyers bluff, and if it ends up in a slanging match on the newsgroups, keep your cool, never be abusive.

    Remember: Most transactions go smoothly, and customers who try to rip you off are a rare breed. Happy selling!

    GEMM is your best source for impossible-to-find music!

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