For those of you not in the know - don’t underestimate the power of keywords.
Keywords often indicate a secret niche lingo that savvy online sellers (such as moi) use to indicate to the collectors on the prowl for that unique item the following things: A, your humble seller is hip to your lingo, and B, is a more trustworthy/knowledgeable seller. You wouldn’t buy a diamond ring from a bathtub sales person, yadda yadda, you get the idea.
Two keywords that I use (doubly essential when you sell as many records as I do) are Northern Soul & Popcorn. What could that word salad possibly have to do with records? Stick with me, as there isn’t much in modern American culture that is analogous to these bygone European trends.
Your grandparents (or possibly parents) used to go to things like “Sock Hops” and dance to the American Bandstand hits of the day. In 70s and 80s Europe, the Belgians and Brits created their own backward-looking dance culture that had young urban hipster types (think Duckie from Pretty in Pink) getting drunk, wearing vintage 1950s/60s gear and sweating it out to classic soul, R&B, and rockabilly tunes spun by DJs that typically only had access to the tunes on 45s.
The Belgians called it “Popcorn,” so-named for a popular early club that played to the “Popcorn” crowd. It was much of a phenomenon in England and became another of the many fascinating subcultures to grow out of the UK (mods, teddy boys, goths, punks, etc). The main difference between the two is tempo: “Popcorn” has a slower tempo, more couples dancing together a little more bluesy; while the Northern Soul sides tend to be up-tempo straight up dance tunes.
Why I Buy
- I like the music and I know a fair amount about the songs and labels.
- The sky's the limit when it comes to resale value – good article from NME that mentions one of the most expensive norther records sold.
- I can properly assess the condition of records in a way that gives collectors confidence in bidding/purchasing my items.
- Online auctions results sites for rare records (esp northern 45s) are super helpful, my particular favorite is www.popsike.com
- Once you learn a few record labels/artists, it’s easier to spot the winners.
- Sadly, 45s are generally in bad condition - they were cheap records for kids and often got the crap beaten out of them. The especially good condition records will command a premium.
- They are CHEAP at thrift shops, record stores, garage sales. 5 cents up to a dollar - at that price how can I say no?
- Most staff at these places have not taken the time to familiarize themselves with the rare titles. They often assume that all Motown singles were created equal - not so. See below, the Gino Parks record is $300, the Stevie Wonder record is a $1 record. Visually the labels are identical, this makes it easy for the picker to do their homework and score awesome records in even well shopped record bins.