Are vinyl records a good investment?

5 mins read

The vinyl resurgence as well as the general trend of collections and collecting have asked questions over the years of vinyl and how collectible it is.

For the modern collector, it’s looking at how your investment increases or decreases in value over time.

Although many of us won’t end up selling our collections there will be people who have to make tough decisions over the years and want to know the value of their vinyl collections.

Within this blog, we explore vinyl records as an investment, what’s the worth, and if it’s worth starting/expanding out a collection.

Why do people invest in vinyl records

As with most collections, vinyl comes from a love of the music and more so the love of owning a physical copy of that music. Something that can be stored, played, and displayed over the years as well as a build-up of memories.

Do vinyl records appreciate?

Not always. Just because a record is rare, or it’s from a popular artist or band, it doesn’t necessarily mean the record goes up in value. It’s actually very difficult to tell if a record is going to go up or down in price over time, you may also find that records increase in value, but then decrease in subsequent years, this is down to the popularity of the record at the time and the demand.

To get the most out of vinyl records we’d recommend:

  • Have musical knowledge
  • Collect new albums, first pressings, special editions
  • Get the record signed if possible
  • Don’t play the record (condition is important)
  • Sell at the right time

Are vinyl records worth investing in?

In terms of financial investment, vinyl records aren’t something you want to get into for monetary gain as the future is difficult to predict. Just because we’ve seen yearly sales of vinyl increase over the last 20 years, that doesn’t mean that trend will continue.

That being said, if you love music and are doing it for the love and the potential value of the record later down the line, then there may be some financial benefits for individual records as well as collections over time. You may just stumble on a new artist which blows up with you sitting on a small run, a special edition of their first LP.

If you are looking to invest we’ve outlined some further tips below:

Stay updated with new presses of established artists

Original pressings aren’t always the best way to go. For example Taylor Swift: Evermore sold over 100,000 copies in the first week in the US. More copies of a record mean it’s going to take a while to see this go up in value any time soon.

Anniversary pressings, limited edition runs, variations, etc can all add value – Seek out copies that have smaller run numbers but come from established record companies, these are likely to increase in value at a quicker rate.

Discover new presses of unknown artists

New music is great in all aspects. Find your new favorite bands, follow them from the start of their journey and help them out by buying their music.

Go to local venues in your area, find bands you like, and buy their music directly – you may find bands that blow up in the next few years, and your original copy of their first EP or LP will definitely set you aside from the rest and see an increase in value. See our list of the best vinyl record stores in the UK and support independent shops.

Find classic first presses

Probably the easiest, but most expensive way of getting value from investments. Classic albums are classics as they are already established and universally recognised. Condition is key here, how much it’s been played, how the sleeve looks etc. This will also most likely be the most expensive investment you’ll make. The real classics don’t come cheap – if you can find a rare copy at a car boot sale, job lot, or charity shop – Although with websites such as discogs it’s easy for these places to know the value of their records now, so bargains are few and far between.

Search for records with a history

Added stories to the vinyl record can help to increase the value – Bands that split before releasing, record companies dropping the artists, and editions that were incorrectly pressed or contain hidden tracks are all going to add value.

Find records from the 90s

CDs were replacing vinyl all through the 90s, record companies were going bust so finding vinyls from the 90s means you’ll probably have a rarer copy than the 70s/80s equivalents (where vinyl was king).

How long should you keep vinyl records?

Vinyl goes up and down in price. There isn’t an exact length of time to keep a record. You may find a new release can reach its maximum value within a year. This is due to the artist being critically acclaimed, their second or third albums may see the price decrease if they aren’t as well received as the first.

It’s best to hold onto records and collect them for your own personal gain. You can always keep an eye on your records on Discogs.

How to check the value of a vinyl record

As mentioned a couple of times already – is great for checking the value of your vinyl collection. Searching eBay can also help give an idea of how much a particular vinyl record is a worth based on what people are selling it for.

Most valuable vinyl records that have sold

Most surprisingly, the most expensive record ever sold doesn’t come from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elvis, or Jimmy Hendricks. It actually comes from Wu-Tang Clan. Their version of the 2015 release – ‘Once Upon a Time in Shaolin’ sold for $2 million. This was the one and only copy ever produced.

A close second was however The Beatles with the classic ‘White Album’ selling for $790,000.

Vinyl record investing quick tips

Below are some quick tips for investing in vinyl:

  • Support new/local music – It’s great for them and you never know who you’ll stumble across
  • Don’t throw away old collections if you’ve inherited them – Go through them and look at the value, this again may increase over time
  • Invest in plastic sleeves to keep the original sleeve in a good condition
  • Don’t overplay the record – Although we can’t encourage playing records enough
  • Store the records safely, they should be vertical away from direct sunlight
  • Don’t wait to sell your record – Cash in on the highs if that’s your goal, the markets do go up and down, especially with newer artists
  • Invest in what you enjoy – Pick up stuff you like, then you can never be disappointed

Vinyl record investing FAQs

Are sealed vinyl records worth more?

Usually yes. This is due to the condition of the record. Although a signed sleeve would help to increase the value.

Just make sure you’re protecting the sleeve and the record itself to see the maximum value achieved.

How to tell the condition of the record?

They’ll be a number of factors here:

  • Sleeve damage
  • Inner sleeve damage
  • Disc warping
  • Storage – How was it stored, flat or vertical, sunlight exposure
  • How it plays – Listening for jumps
  • Disc scratches

How to tell if a vinyl record is the first pressing?

The sleeve will usually tell you if it’s a first pressing / original pressing. Failing this you can look at the barcode, cross reference with online versions of the same record, and look at the center disc.

Are signed records worth more?

Generally, it will depend, but yes, if the band has signed it and that can be verified then the copy of the album will generally be worth more as the rarity increases.

Music enthusiast with a love for vinyl, gigs and festivals. Here to educate, review, discuss and share the love of music and vinyl records for the next generation.

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