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 what makes a record 'rare'?

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PostSubject: what makes a record 'rare'?   Fri Jun 03, 2011 5:02 am

In another thread, someone asked if the 'Park Ave.' vinyl is rare? I answered by stating that 2,000 copies were pressed and that he should make up his own mind. In his reply, he essentially equated 'rare' with 'hard to find'. Now this got me thinking. What make a record 'rare'?

Some shops certainly equate 'rare' with 'hard to find', such as this one: "We are an online rare record shop for record collecting, specialising in buying/selling rare collectables of CD's, vinyl, promos, hard to find out of date rarities and music memorabilia."

I also found this snippet online, which makes some rather interesting points:

"So, all of a sudden there is a funk scene going on that is worshipping the rare. Good on you I say, but just hold on and think about it. What is rare? To the average person in the street anything that can't be bought or at the very least ordered is rare - to that conception of the word an Anne Sexton single on Sound Stage 7 is as rare as Keb or Snowy's latest acetate from the University of Wisconsin's show band. And let's face it that acetate is going to sound like a badly tuned radio after 10 or so plays - if it didn't already.... And anyway I know a man in Madison who kept a box of the finished record in his loft because his son was in the band. Rare is only a matter of perspective and there probably isn't a rare record scene that can withstand the sudden appearance of 25 pristine copies of a record of which previously there was only one known copy."

Clearly, rarity does not equate desirabilty (the SOS demo CD-R is much rarer than the SOS first press, but worth less it seems). Also, there surely is a difference between a pressing limited to 100 and one limited to 2,000, as the chance that one comes up for sale is correspondingly lower/higher.

I wonder what others think, so let's hear it.

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Last edited by steady now steady now on Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: what makes a record 'rare'?   Fri Jun 03, 2011 7:21 am

Well if I were to go out and start a record collection (which I am desperate to do) I imagine I'd obtain 59 Sound, American Slang and Tumbling dice easily enough. However SoS and LaPA I'd find harder because they are quite "rare" nowadays.
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PostSubject: Re: what makes a record 'rare'?   Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:19 am

Well in relation to Park Ave you could argue that it is rare because although 2000 copies where made its now out of print and it dosnt come up for sale all that often so can be hard to get hold of. Also you have to think about the number of records pressed in relation to the size of the artist/group. If springsteen did a limited run of 2000 records of some sort they would be snapped up with a large group of people yearning to get hold of copy therefore that sort of demand could arguably make something rare and desirable/sought after to if that makes sense. Thats my 2 cents anyway.
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PostSubject: Re: what makes a record 'rare'?   Fri Jun 03, 2011 8:57 am

Thanks for this thread, steady.

I think like most things in life, we value that which is rare: gold, silver, natural blond women, etc.
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PostSubject: Re: what makes a record 'rare'?   Sat Jun 04, 2011 2:24 am

bobbyw24 wrote:

I think like most things in life, we value that which is rare: gold, silver, natural blond women, etc.

haha I don't know about you but I never saw "natural blond women" as rare
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PostSubject: Re: what makes a record 'rare'?   Sat Jun 04, 2011 7:05 am

oldgospelchoir wrote:
bobbyw24 wrote:

I think like most things in life, we value that which is rare: gold, silver, natural blond women, etc.

haha I don't know about you but I never saw "natural blond women" as rare

this thread is about rare records, not rare blondes, although the two can go together



now back to the main topic

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PostSubject: Re: what makes a record 'rare'?   Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:47 am

I was just having this discussion with my husband tonight. We also agreed that rarity is relative. It's based on the number of items total times the very intangible value of desirability (how many fans?) of the item, divided by awareness of the item.

For example, for a while I didn't even know the SOS demo CD-R even existed. Long after we paid $285 for SOS on black vinyl, we found the CD-R for about $80. Like you said, much rarer. However, people are much less aware of that item. Still though, people knew enough about it to drive the price up to $80.

If a small band decided to press 10 records to sell but breaks up a month later because of whatever issues, let's figure those records end up half given to friends and half with the band or something. Chances are, you couldn't demand a price higher than maybe $5 or $10 for one of them, even far down the road. A statement such as "one of only ten pressed" will hold no weight if it's band that is not desirable. (granted, don't tell this to my husband or even myself; we just like things that are one or very few in existence, but not to the tune of being willing to pay $285 for it).

Anyone like math?

rarity = number * (desirability/awareness)


.....forgive me; I have been awake for 12 hours after having slept for 4 hours after being awake for 24 hours. I am only slightly conscious and I may or may not be legally capable of making my own decisions at this point, so I'll head to bed now.
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PostSubject: Re: what makes a record 'rare'?   Wed Jun 29, 2011 5:54 pm

Sure making something /1 will make it rare, but that kind of defeats the purpose. To me a real "rare" record is something that had a small run, was never repressed, and is 25+ years old. This means it has had time to fall into the hands of collectors that won't get rid of it or has been lost/thrown away by the original owners.
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PostSubject: Re: what makes a record 'rare'?   Wed Jun 29, 2011 6:07 pm

PFREEZY wrote:
Sure making something /1 will make it rare, but that kind of defeats the purpose. To me a real "rare" record is something that had a small run, was never repressed, and is 25+ years old. This means it has had time to fall into the hands of collectors that won't get rid of it or has been lost/thrown away by the original owners.

that's why the original SoS demo CD-R is such a big deal to me; they probably never made very many and most are probably now lost; ok, so its not vinyl, but ... same goes for the Coffeehouse Sessions tape

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PostSubject: Re: what makes a record 'rare'?   Sat Jul 02, 2011 2:40 pm

Big difference between vinyl and tape/cdr etc is vinyl will or should last forever if looked after, tapes and cdrs (cds) will degrade just sitting on the shelf, cd rot can set into even factory pressed cds let alone cheap cdr.
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