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Basics of Phonograph Records



Quickly About Records: We are not "experts" on phonograph records. That is an complex area of expertise that is best left to collectors and specialists who focus their research on old recordings and have the knowledge to assess rarity and value of certain titles. There are many great websites covering this topic, but you won't find much information on phonograph records or their value on this website.


But as a general overview:


Value: Some experts have estimated that well over ONE HUNDRED BILLION phonograph records were made during the 20th Century. Hundreds of millions were sold in the 1900-1930 timeframe. Many have survived.

It is a fact that the vast majority of "old 78 RPM" records we come across are worth between 50 cents and $2.00 each (and often far less, depending on condition). Hundreds of thousands of early 78 RPM recordings survive today, and we often find them sold by the crates at swap meets and garage sales for a few bucks.  Yes, there are some really rare and expensive titles out there and collectors pay big money for them. But they are not likely to be found mixed-in with grandpa's 1940's Frank Sinatra and Glenn Miller records. You may have seen a few valuable discs featured on TV shows, but just like finding a rare 17th Century book at the local library sale, the odds of finding a really rare record in your attic or at the swap meet are quite slim. Consider "Wheat Pennies"; there are millions of them still out there, but it is the very rare find that brings any money.

One may find 78's priced in the "$10.00" range at record shows and some swap meets. In most cases, the sellers purchased crates (or truckloads) of them from someone at far less than $1.00 each, threw out the broken/worn/damaged ones, sorted them, cleaned them up, graded them, and then marketed them at a retail level. The sellers obviously have to make some money out of the deal, but don't expect to get $10.00 each for most 78's that you have laying in the basement!


Unfortunately, we can't respond to any questions regarding the rarity or value of records, as we have no expertise in this subject


If you are new to the hobby and want to learn more,  please return to the "GETTING STARTED" pages to guide you through the process of learning about your Victor Phonograph!

Rev 3  1-10-2021