Looking to sell your unwanted or old vinyl records? There are thousands of music lovers and record collectors who will pay good money for your unwanted vinyl.
In this article, we look at the best places to sell your old records online, and direct to stores who will buy your records. At the end, I also cover some top tips so you can get as much money as possible from clearing out your personal collection.
The best places to sell Vinyl records online
The best places to sell vinyl records online are eBay and Discogs. These are the two big ‘go-to’ platforms. The eBay vs Discogs debate is a big one amongst record collectors, with pros and cons to each. There are also some other alternative options listed below. Here are some of the pros and cons to selling on eBay vs Discogs.
The easiest way to sell your records online is eBay. It’s the best-known peer-to-peer online marketplace which means that there is always a huge volume of potential buyers on the site searching for literally anything you might want to sell. This goes for records too. A huge number of record collectors jump on eBay to look for good deals. The auctioning model of the site also means that competition can drive up the price you get for individual records.
When you add a listing, eBay will suggest a price for the record. If you want to get the best price for your vinyl, I recommend ignoring this figure (which is basically suggested by an algorithm). Instead, do your own research on the record to get an idea of its market value. You could regret it if you see your precious vinyl selling for far less than it’s worth.
It’s easy to get started with eBay these days. They used to only accept PayPal, but now you can get paid directly into your personal bank account.
You can list a number of items for free on eBay. However, once past a certain threshold, there is a charge for adding new listings. So if you have a huge volume of records you want to sell individually, Discogs might be a better option.
There are obviously fees associated with selling on eBay. For records, eBay takes 10% of the sale price. It’s a bit of a chunk, but for the overall ease of experience, I think it’s worth it.
eBay is arguably more of a seller’s market than Discogs. Being able to set a minimum price, as well as being able to auction give you more power as a seller.
- eBay pros: easy to use platform, detailed listing options, vast user-base, seller’s market
- eBay cons: relatively high fees
If you don’t want to deal with eBay, then Discogs is a great place to sell direct to a community of vinyl lovers. Discogs buys and sells both old and new records, functioning as an online marketplace for the vinyl community.
The selling experience on Discogs is actually slightly more straightforward than eBay, but it has limitations. Like eBay, the algorithm will suggest a selling price. The Discogs suggested price should be slightly more accurate than eBay’s, but you should still do your research on each particular record in order to get the best price.
One disadvantage of Discogs is that the database means you can’t customise your description or add photos in the same way as you can on eBay. This means you have slightly less control over the process.
The fees on Discogs work out very similar to eBay. Discogs take 8% of the sale price, but an additional 3% will go to Paypal. So, at the end of the day, you’re looking at around 11%.
Some would say Discogs is more of a buyer’s market than a seller’s market, since it easy for buyers to put in low bids and drive prices down.
- Discogs pros: large user-base, simple listing options
- Discogs cons: limited listing options, buyer’s market
Other online marketplaces
There are a number of other online marketplaces out there for selling vinyl, but such sites don’t have the same volume of traffic. This means that you might be waiting a fair while longer to sell your records.
Smaller Online Record Stores
Besides the eBay and Discogs, there are a number of smaller online marketplaces where you can sell records. Amoeba Music is one of the more popular marketplaces. Music Stack is another. In the US, webuyrecordsusa.com and djrecordsusa.com are decent options. In the UK, MusicMagpie.co.uk is an alternative option. Since all of these are smaller platforms, you will be selling to a smaller pool of users, so it could take longer to shift your records.
Local Online Marketplaces
If you want to sell locally to save the bother of postage and packing, Facebook Marketplace and Craiglist are options. These are fine for local sales, but you’ll sell more quickly if you open up to a wider market rather than limiting yourself to nearby buyers.
A growing number of vinyl collectors sell records on Etsy. A rapidly growing online marketplace, Etsy is a fair option if you are already familiar with the platform. It’s low transaction fee of 6.5% means that more money ends up in your pocket. However, Etsy is not especially considered as a place for buying and selling records, so your sales could be slow.
Amazon is also an option, but competing against Amazon’s own listings means it’s really a race to the bottom. Amazon may be great for easily buying new records, but it’s definitely not one of the best places to sell vinyl records online for small-scale sellers.
The best places to sell your records face-to-face
If you don’t want to go through the process of cataloguing and uploading your vinyl collection to an online marketplace, you still have a few options. Here are your best bets for selling directly.
Local record stores
If you are looking to sell a large collection of records, popping into your brick and mortar record shops in your area is a good idea. The major advantage of selling to brick and mortar shops is that it saves you the effort of adding individual listings for each item, as well as the effort of dealing with postage and packaging.
Most cities have several independent record stores who will buy old and new vinyl records from people like you. You can easily take in a list of your records into one or more of these shops and get a rough estimate from the owner about how much they would pay. Once you’ve checked out a few, you’ll have a good idea of how much money you can be making for minimal effort.
Selling to your local record store has two advantages. Firstly, it’s probably the easiest option on this list. Secondly, it means that you can support an independent business, rather than a huge online store.
However, selling to your local record store will almost definitely bring in less cash than selling via eBay or Discogs. This is because the store owner has all sorts of costs and overheads to factor in. Ultimately, they still need to find someone who will buy those records – so they won’t be in a hurry to pay you a premium!
Sell direct to customers
The final option is to go old school. You can sell records directly to customers at garage sales, yard sales, car boot sales, flea markets, and so on.
If you already do these kind of events, or if you know of such events happening locally, then this is a relatively low-effort option. However, it’s not the best way to get a fair price for your records.
You can slap a high price tag on your most valuable records. The problem is that most people at these sort of informal face-to-face marketplaces are in not in the market for specific records. This means you are really relying on serendipity that some crate-digger happens to be looking for the record you are selling at a garage sale, and is willing to pay what the record is worth.
From time to time, this method is worth doing. If you aren’t worried about getting the best price for your records, and you already know about a local market that’s happening, this could be an easy way to pick up a bit of cash for your old records. But it’s certainly not the best way to make good money from your record collection.
How do I find out what my vinyl records are worth?
If you want to get a good price for your old vinyl records, it’s essential that you do your research to find out how much they’re worth. Here are the three main things you need to bear in mind.
Identify the release
Most vinyl albums have been printed (or ‘issued’) multiple times. Different prints carry different values. To give an example, Pink Floyd’s album Dark Side of the Moon has been pressed over 400 times.
To find out which press your vinyl came from, you need to identify the catalogue number which will either be written on the inner ring or the record, or on the record sleeve. In addition to this, the barcode number will help identify the press.
Get Clued Up About rare records
There are a surprising number of rare vinyl records out there that can fetch a fortune. Some rare records can invite a much higher price than others. The main candidates for high value records are if the record is an original pressing, as well as certain limited editions.
You might find that the same album is worth a vastly different amount depending on the catalogue number. You can pick up classic jazz albums like Oscar Peterson’s Night Train for around £15 or $20, but early pressings could be worth at least x5 the amount. Discogs’ advanced search feature can help to provide a basic price guide.
Like in all markets, scarcity increase the value of a record. It’s for this reason that Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is the most-expensive record ever sold (at $2 million). The hip hop collective only ever made one copy of the record!
Certain artists also tend to fare better than others. Depending on the edition and the condition of the record, vintage records from The Beatles, Elvis Presley. Pink Floyd, and the Rolling Stones can be worth a lot.
Assess the condition of the record
The condition of your vinyl records is a key factor in determining their value. Experienced record collectors and major sellers use what’s known as the Goldmine Standard to accurately define a record’s condition.
The classification goes as follows:
Mint Condition (M)
Mind condition records are extremely rare, and this label is almost never used to describe a record. The classification can only be applied if multiple people who have inspected the record agree that it is perfect in every way.
Near Mint Condition (NM or M-)
A near mind record looks as if it is new from the record store and has just been opened for the first time. Effectively, near mint a near mint record is the best condition that you will ever find for any pre-owned record. This label would probably only apply to records that you’ve cared for perfectly, or perhaps never even played. It’s estimated that only around 3% of records from 50s or 60s are in ‘near mint’ condition.
Very Good Plus (VG+) or Excellent (E)
VG+ or E is the sort of grade you would expect for a well-kept record that has nonetheless been played a few times. If you’re a record collector who takes care of your records, then hopefully most of your records should be in this condition. It may show slight signs of wear, but nothing severe.
Very Good (VG)
VG records sell for only a fraction of an NM record – roughly 25% of the value. VG records will have an obvious flaw, such as scratches. The sound may be slightly impaired, and the sleeve with have obvious signs of human handling.
Good (G), Good Plus (G+), or Very Good Minus (VG-)
G, G+, and VG- records will sell for only 15% of the price of an NM record at best. Records in good condition will still play fine without skipping, but it will have significant surface noise. It will have obvious signs of wear on the record as well as the sleeve.
Poor (P) or Fair (F)
P and F records will go for next to nothing – just 0-5% of NM value. The sleeve will be severely damaged, and the record will be warped, and will skip. Only very rare records in this condition will sell at all.
Besides these classification, it’s also worth bearing in mind if a record is sealed. Sealed Albums that have never been opened and often fetch the highest prices.
Do you really want to sell Your Record Collection?
All things considered, you should also bear in mind whether you really do want to sell your records. Vinyl record values are generally increasing, which means that you could potentially sell for more further down the line if you hold onto your collection.
Besides this, you should also consider the sentimental value of your records. I know of people who sold beloved record collections from their youth, because they thought digital listening was the future. They went on to regret it, and even ended up trying to buy back some of these records!
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