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Jude's avatar

I just received a crapload of Opera records (some as early as the 1930's), how do I go about finding out their value?

Asked by Jude (31977 points ) November 25th, 2011

I have enough to fill up the trunk of my car. :)

My g/f’s Uncle just sold his 1920’s home in Detroit. The house is gorgeous and was filled with antique. Both her Uncle and his former lover (now deceased) were antique dealers. The former lover was an opera fanatic.

These are cool and will sound great on my phonograph. Just curious as to their value, though. Know of a good site?

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10 Answers

Jude's avatar

There’s some classical and broadway in there, too.

Jude's avatar

I’ll take a picture of the lot. Pretty cool.

Jude's avatar

Sorry, commenting in my own thread. I love this album cover.

He also really liked Lily Pons. I have at least 15 records with her on it.

lillycoyote's avatar

I think this is a pretty good discussion of some of the issues involved in valuing old records.. Most likely, not of them are worth very much. You might go on eBay and search some of the completed listings. It really depends on whether any of them are particularly rare and what condition they are in.

Jude's avatar

@lillycoyote Thanks. :) I’m keeping them, though. The music is beautiful.

Kardamom's avatar

According to this Website, your records are probably not worth much money to collectors.

But you, or someone else, might have a grand time using them for decorative art projects. Or you might consider contacting some historical societies and seeing if they are interested in taking them as a donation.

If you have some great covers you could simply frame them as groupings, or hang random covers here and there, or you could make a free standing room screen. I also saw something recently on one of the interior design shows where one of the contestants made a beautiful hanging room divider with albums. Here is a bad example of what I’m talking about. In this example, they’ve painted the records, I would simply leave them as they are, but I really like this idea.

If you are really crafty (or know someone who is) you could actually re-purpose the album covers into purses or photo album covers. A friend of mine, who is an artist did exactly that with vintage hard bound book covers (like Nancy Drew and some really cool old 50’s era mystery novels with hard covers).

For me, the artwork itself would be the valuable thing.

Another possibility is to contact some of the local colleges and universities, to see if they have music programs with listening libraries. When I was in college, way back when, I took some wonderful music history courses in which we were required to listen to real records (but that was before the days of CD’s) but some places might want the “original” albums for their historical value, even if they are a little scratchy sounding. But it’s not likely that you will get much money, if any, for them.

You might also consider contacting your local (or nearby) opera company and checking to see if they or any of their patrons are collectors and see if they have a means by which you could get into contact with them.

I know that within our gay community, where I live, Maria Callas is almost a cult figure. Not exactly sure how you would find anyone in particular who was interested, other than that putting an ad in a gay publication would probably fetch more interest, than the regular classifieds of your local newspaper. Another thing that is popular amongst this crowd is anything having to do with Castrati. If you have any recordings like that, they’d be pretty valuable, because the practice of castrating male singers was outlawed a long time ago, probably before the turn of the last century.

Have fun with your records. I would love to see some of the artwork if you feel like posting some of it. Pick your 3 favorite covers or something. : )

Kardamom's avatar

I too, liked the Madame Butterfly cover that you posted. Very pretty.

whitetigress's avatar

The value is in your heart and soul, you name the price.

Jude's avatar

@Kardamom A lot of James Melton and Rise Stevens. Still looking. :)

King_Pariah's avatar

Madame Butterfly… Thank you Puccini. I approve you keeping them. :)

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