As great as collecting rare vinyl records is, if you’re new to the hobby, there are plenty of common mistakes collectors make that can spoil the fun. This blog post will take you through some of the things you should know when collecting vinyl records to help you avoid those mistakes and really fall in love with vinyl.
1. Buying From The Wrong Places
One of the hardest decisions for vinyl collectors is answering the question, where to buy vinyl records? It’s inevitable with so many vinyl stores out there selling a whole range of records, that you’ll come across a reissue or bootleg copy at some point. However, if you are buying from the wrong places to begin with, you’ll find this happens more often.
So, how do you know whether the store you’re buying from can be trusted? To be honest, it’s hard to say. Your best bet is before getting into collecting, do your research. Visit lots of vinyl stores and ask lots of questions when analysing the records. Sometimes even going as far as to ask if you can hear the record play before confirming the sale can ensure you get what you’re expecting.
Alternatively, you can use guides and other tools out there where original record details can be found, to check if what you’re looking to buy, mirrors the original. Here is a collectors guide that contains guide prices, detailed vinyl images, vinyl record details and more, of thousands of records.
2. Storing Them Poorly
Storing your vinyl records poorly can include many things: keeping them near harmful liquids, keeping them in thick polyester sleeves and finally, keeping them tightly packed in a closed record box. Each of the above ways of storing your records is a recipe for disaster. If there are three points you’ll be taking from this section, it’ll be the below:
- DO NOT store tightly or in a box with a closed lid/poor air circulation
- DO NOT store in thick plastic sleeves (opt for thin plastic sleeves which don’t give off noxious gases)
- DO NOT store or bring near liquids like Coca-Cola, Beer or Methylated Spirit
Some of the above points may seem really obvious but falling into these storage options is easily done. For example, if you’re out DJing your vinyl, you can find that people coming over to make requests will often carry a beer or fizzy drink in their hand. A drop of either of these drinks on your record collection can firstly damage the vinyl sleeve and then if not cleaned properly, damage the record itself affecting its playability and sound quality. The same goes when you’re at home and playing your collection. Keep soft drinks out of sight.
Furthermore, I know that getting methylated spirit on your record can seem highly unlikely but for those collectors who store their vinyl in a garage (I highly recommend not to do this), your vinyl will be in close contact with all sorts of harmful products: WD40, paint tins and similar. Methylated spirit used to be seen as the ideal cleaning fluid for record surfaces back in the 70’s. However, this is not the case and years down the line you’ll see the irreversible effects such as blooming, fogging and all-round deterioration.
3. Leaving Your Records In Storage For Too Long
As much as storing your records incorrectly can devalue them, leaving them in storage for a long time can also subject them to more damage than you’d think. Over time, you’ll learn that your house has way, way more dust in it than you’d think. Not only that, but your records need cleaning more often to compensate for the build-up of dust.
Though dust isn’t as the worst enemy of vinyl, it’s definitely not a friend. Unfortunately, dust is known to find its way into the vinyl grooves where it can “stick” and over time, become compacted. This will be hard to remove and when played, can cause the needle to “play the dust” which will reduce sound quality and even cause it to jump and harm the grooves.
4. Spending Too Much Time Organising Records
As fun as it is to organise your vinyl, may that be by genre, artist, alphabetically or other, you don’t want to spend too much time making your collection look pretty rather than listening to the records. This isn’t necessarily a mistake that can damage your vinyl, though constantly playing around with your vinyl collection can increase the chances of them breaking with the increased handling and shifting about.
If you’re not careful, in the process of organising the vinyl you’re likely to place them out of their protected box where they’re open to be stood on, knocked off a side or similar. Of course, organising your record collection is important but continuously reorganising it is a common pitfall to collectors when really, there is no need to. Instead, spend your time admiring the records by playing them. That’s how you’ll get real enjoyment!
5. Buying For The Sake of It
Collecting vinyl records should be an enjoyable hobby. You’ll want to buy records that you’re happy to own and actually want to listen to. Even though this may seem obvious, you’d be surprised at how many users buy simply because they think “it’ll be worth lots of money one day”. Often if this is your attitude to collecting vinyl, you’ll end up with buying records that you’ll never use and will end up only costing you money rather than making you money.
If you’re reading this and realise that’s what you’ve been doing, it’s time to sell. Best to do it now before the chance of them devaluing and losing you money. With the vinyl community being so large, odds are there’ll be someone out there who is more than happy to own that vinyl record and so, will get a lot more benefit from owning it than you ever will.
A final point to note is that if you’re buying a record for the sake of it, you won’t be as inclined to look after it and hence it’s more likely to get damaged. Inevitably you could be buying a record that you don’t like just for the sake of making money which if it’s not looked after can become an expensive and broken investment that just wasn’t worth it.
6. Do Not Place Stickers On Record Sleeves
Some collectors out there will want to place stickers on their vinyl perhaps to indicate pricing and similar, particularly if they’re looking to sell them on. However, having done this it can be extremely hard to remove and if there is damage done in the removal process, can devalue the record making it less appealing for future buyers.
If you’re looking to learn how to safely remove vinyl cover stickers, you can checkout the below YouTube video showing how to do this.
To sum up this post, here are the 6 mistakes to avoid when collecting vinyl records in a revised format.
- Do your research when getting starting a vinyl record collection. Don’t just buy from the closest vinyl record store to you unless of course, research shows it’s worth it.
- Once having bought your vinyl, make sure you store them safely in a record box in thin plastic sleeves and not too tightly packed.
- You’ll want to clean your vinyl records ever so often, particularly if you can see the records are gathering dust.
- As you build your collection, organise the records as you go to avoid doing a massive clear out where your records could be subjected to damage.
- Think of what records you want to collect. Do you want to collect vinyl based on an artist, genre or even colour? By doing this you’ll eliminate the option for collecting vinyl in the hope they’ll make you money in the future.
- Finally, do not place stickers on your collected vinyl. Whether you place stickers on the vinyl sleeve or vinyl label, it will no doubt damage it and devalue your record over time.
John Manship, Rare Soulman
John Manship Records also known as Rare Soulman, have been supplying collectors worldwide with rare vinyl records for since 1969. We are universally recognised as a world authority on rare soul vinyl. Our whole stock has been handpicked and is arguably the most comprehensive stock of rare soul anywhere in the world. To find out more about our collection, contact us for more information.