Friday, August 27, 2010

Bargains

It's a rare thing these days that I go to flea markets, used garbage shops and even used record shops due to the fact that I seldom find that's it worth the effort or time to do so since I often only find one or two LPs that I don't care if I have or not. However, especially 10-15 years back I was really active checking out records in those places and here I'm going to share some memories of my best bargains!

My best find I've already written about in this blog, so just click the link below and you can get an update:

Katrineholm rules

That was a great find which I still think of. The downside of that was that I left roughly 5000 records for a silly amount of 1 kr each - LPs I didn't know what it was or music that I didn't bother about back then (especially rock). Now I would have of course bought every LP, but then didn't have much money and wasn't a professional dealer so I didn't see the potential in buying anything else than stuff I recognized. That was bad because I can only guess what I left there! For example, the first time I saw the Rivage LP for sale in New York for 100 USD I had an immediate flashback that I left a bunch of those in that place.


The best find for one record I've done is actually done by my wife so I have to give her the credit for that. We were again in that town in the countryside of Sweden called Katrineholm, and we had a couple of hours to kill before catching our ride to our country house. I suggested that we take the train to Norrköping which is rather close to check a record shop. We bought the ticket and the lady said that next train was in 3 minutes so we had to hurry. We ran but missed it with only a couple of seconds. Pissed off we walked around in the very small central part of Katrineholm and we saw a shop selling 2nd hand furnitures. With low expectations I went in and asked the owner if they had any LP's. She showed me a box in the back of the shop which included the usual mix of Sven Bertil Taube, Pelle Karlsson, classical and of course that disgrace of Swedish music culture that we over here call "Dansband". I was on my way out of the shop when my wife said there was another crate of records under a table. She picked out a decent Sugarhill release, some Enjoy old school joint and then she picked up a black covered LP with some odd white paintings at. My wife asked me with a low voice so the owner wouldn't hear:
"Is it the original?"

She had found the Rammelzee "Beat Bop" 12 inch on Tartown which is famous for having a cover painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat alongside being a killer track (if you like that old school hip hop like myself). This copy also was tagged by what we first thought was Basquiat himself. I put it out at ebay described as a possible Basquiat tag at the cover. After a day out at the auction I got a fax to my shop someone asking me if I would shut down the auction if I would accept 5000 USD for the record. I answered that it was against my policies but hoped that I had a big score coming. I then contacted some friends that were into graffiti/art and asked if they could tell if the tag was done by Basquiat or Rammelzee? After some discussion, we agreed that it indeed was Rammelzee's tag. I then had to close down the auction so the information would be correct, and restarted it. I had a reserve at it as it was a record I wouldn't mind keeping and definetly didn't want to lose too easy - and in this second run it only reached about 750 USD which didn't match my reserve at 1000. After the auction I got an e-mail from a fellow record dealer in England asking me if I would sell it for 1000 USD to him. My wife got the money and she had a real score buying a record for 20 kr and selling it for then 7000 kr.
Another happy day was when I was at the recordfair in USA. Everyone who's been to the fair's when it's "dealers only" before it's open to the public, knows that the vibe can be really aggressive with the dealers hunting records to make a profit of. A table is cleared of the mistakes/bargains often within a minute after opening up. First or second guy usually get's the profit which means that elbows are used and even occasional fights happen. I did my pushing, and was one of the first three to check a table. The other two guys were a really big latin collector/dealer and the other was one of most succesful record dealers in the States. I grabbed my hand(s) at the latin section and one of the first records I pulled out was Bobby Paunetto's awesome LP at Mardigras called "The modern sound of". Priced 80 dollars it was a total bargain and I bent down to the floor to check the condition (mint), as I didn't want my other two record dealing colleagues beside me should tell the owner of the LP that it was a silly low price. I picked up a nonsense record to cover up my find with from them, and waited until they left and so I could pay for it. It was the first record I sold when I came home to Sweden to friend and DJ Rickard Masip who paid 1000 USD for it. This album is a real treat and I love it -  and it's a record that I still play at home as it's solid althrough. We have the reissue now for sale and I definetely recommend it if you're into latin/jazz.

Bobby Paunetto


A good thing with having a recordshop as opposed to selling from home as I did before, is that people call/come in into the store to offer you records. The two stories below are a some of the best records we've had that way. Shortly after I opened the store, an older gentleman came in and asked me if i wanted to buy some jazz records. He said that he had been to another record store close by, and they said that I might be interested in the left overs after they had taken what they could sell. Usually when a man has been to another store before mine, there are only unsellable records left. This bunch of records didn't look that exciting either, with those usual Armstrong  Ellington records on top which sadly very few people are interested to pay any money for at all these days. I picked out three records from the bunch and said to the old man that I could pay 20 kr for that, 35 kr for that and 2000 kr for that LP. The big piece was a VG+ copy of Sabu Martinez Jazz Espagnole at the original black label at Alegre. He was rather chocked and called his lady that she should go to the liquor store because now they were rich! Same old man became a regular in the store with bringing new records sometimes as often as three times a day. He seldom brought anything especially useful but was a real original telling stories about his life among jazz musicians which brought a nice vibe to the store. Sadly he got a bit greedy after a while, and after bringing us thousands of dixieland jazz records that we couldn't even give away for free, he one day brought in an original copy of Tina Brooks "True Blue" at Blue Note. My coworker told him that he could get 5000 kr for this copy in VG/VG+ shape. Then he changed his mind and took it back and I guess he sold it some other shop (but it could hardly been for a much better price as it wasn't that clean).


Another day an old man called the shop and said that he wanted to sell some records. He said it was some jazz, so I agreed to come by his house after the store was closed. I took a bicycle as I didn't expect to buy any quantity from this man. I was greeted by the generosity and courtesy that only a wise old gentleman could deliver. I checked his records in the racks and pulled out maybe 30-40 records. I told him that it was primarily cheap records that I could pay 20-50 kr each for except for a couple of nice things like Monica Zetterlund "Waltz for Debby" which I said I could pay him 1500 kr for. He got shocked and told me that he had only paid 19 kr for it when it was new and that he couldn't accept that I should pay that much for it. I tried to explain for him that certain records these days are in big demand and easily command a heavy price tag as we often have a queue of people waiting for us to have it in stock. After ten minutes' discussion he agreed to accept my offer but ONLY if he could give me some records that he had in the basement as a gift. He told me that it was those records that he liked the least and that they were all bullshit, but maybe I could sell some of them. He came back with a pile of 20 records and included in that bunch was Sahib Shihab "Seeds" at Vogue and even better (or worse depending how you see it) was a copy of "Music for the small hours" by Clarke Boland Big Band. I told him that this was really big money pieces and offered him a great deal of cash for it but he refused to take them and said that 1500 kr for one LP was way too much and he was so happy with the deal already. Of course I want to make profit and to receive two very expensive records like that plus some less expensive but still good records (like a couple of Black Jazz titles for free) was a big find. I almost had an unreal feeling when I left his house feeling that this is not how things should be - I'll probably get hit by a car I when biking home or something else really bad must happen just to even things out. I really had trouble sleeping that night as this was one of the best finds I have ever done and that old, fine man refused to take money for it! My wife told me that I must go back next day and try again and explain to him that I make a good profit even if I were to pay him a couple of thousand kronor for those records. I went to his house the day on my way to the storeafter but he wasn't home. So I left a "Thank you" letter trying to explain that those records are worth a lot for me and for my customers and he should at least allow me to give something for them. I left 1000 kr inside the letter which still wasn't enough for what I normally would pay for those records but at least made me lose that "I'm going to die" feeling I had. I often think of this man who I guess isn't alive anymore, and especially when there's people coming to the store with an attitude that they have big money pieces with them that I shouldn't try to rob them off. Those kind of people that bring silly shit LP's like Beatles "White album" in a later pressing in rubbish condition explaining for me that they read in newspaper "Dagens Nyheter" that this is worth at least a couple of thousand kronor and that I shouldn't dare to offer them anything less than that!

6 comments:

  1. Lovely stories! Keep 'em coming

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  2. Hey nice stories Lars, get your wife workin for ya eh? .. about 15 years ago I was digging in a basement of a old Porn shop and found sealed copies of Gwen McCrae's Melody of Life and bunch of TK stuff..keep well!
    Aki
    Cosmos Records

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  3. Thanks for the comments and Aki I hope to visit you some day. It's been way too long. Nice to hear with the porn shop story. Must have been a weird feeling. Take care, Lars

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  4. När storfiskarn talar om...August 29, 2010 at 1:31 PM

    En gång hittade jag The Who: My generation plus lite andra plattor i ett soprum. Kanske inte riktigt er "field of music" men ändå. Har sett att den skivan gått för runt tusenlappen på tradera.

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  5. Tack för kommentaren. Soprum och porraffärer kanske är nyckeln till framgång! Pappan till en kund hos oss hittade en gång en discosamling i ett soprum. Våran kund behöll det bästa men sålde till oss för många tusen kr plus en annan affär för motsvarande så visst kan man ha tur! Lars

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