How to Find Classic LPs without Breaking the Bank


Anyone looking to save money on classic LPs are probably thinking of scouring flea markets. There always seems to be someone with several boxes of unmarked records. Sometimes prices can be pretty good, but some dealers are from record stores and expect to turn a profit. This is why wily shoppers will sometimes carry a cellular phone or pocket PC with a price list, though this behavior isn’t always tolerated.

Looking in Libraries

Library book sales sometimes have records, as well as other types of media. People who are used to going to these sales are probably already familiar with the idea of an ex-library copy. Those who really just want to listen to a record probably won’t mind if there are some markings or a library security tag on the cover sleeve. These don’t affect the playability of the disk at all. On the other hand, people looking to resell their materials wouldn’t be thrilled to see stickers permanently affixed to the front of the slipcovers.

Garage Sale Hunting

A box of records is always a fixture at a garage sale, and these have gotten an undeserved bad image in the last few years. Garage sales themselves aren’t bad, but those who want good deals will need to do a little bit of work to find them. Many records sold in this manner are damaged, so one should be sure to take them out of their dust jackets and ensure that they’re not scratched. On the other hand, it’s possible to find records for half a dollar or less at such venues.

Bidding Online

Online auction sites are probably what most people immediately think of when they think of buying classic albums. Popular bands are always going to be in abundance on the Internet, but what makes these pages really useful is their ability to find otherwise rare releases. Users should be sure to set a limit when they bid on online auctions. Some artists are known to really fetch top dollar on these websites, after all. A recording by Alabama Blues singer DA Hunt famously went for about $10,000.

Retailers Still Sell Them Too

There are few things to keep in mind when shopping for records in these places. While it seems like vinyl is usually associated with the past, there are some companies that continue to produce records. Some of these releases are recordings of underground rock and jazz acts that couldn’t be confused with any big name classic releases, but it’s a good idea to check the copyright date on the album before assuming that something is rare. A few reproductions of classic LPs will sometimes show up as well. Collectors will want to avoid these copies.

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Eric Blair writes about vinyl records and turntables like those found at

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  1. says

    Also, depending on where you live entire stores are devoted to LPs, but out here in San Fran that’s besides the point. I’ve had good luck at places like Good Will, where you can stumble across some classic records for dirt cheap.