(Note: The Elvis original Aussie 1st Pressing 1956, RCA Black and Gold Label above left is selling on Ebay for AU$500)
Selling Elvis in 2021- the decline in the value of vinyl.
One of the most common questions asked of EIN is "how do I sell my Elvis records?" Sadly, the market for Elvis’ recorded material is a shadow of what it was in the decade following his death.
The exceptions are high quality original Sun Studio singles and various obscure releases such as test pressings, demos and acetates.
The best time of the year to sell anything ELVIS related is, of course, around "Elvis Week" in August.
In 2021, demand for Elvis records generally continues to diminish as the sheer volume of Elvis records pressed means most collectors already have what they want, older fans are passing away, and younger fans are not as interested in physical records.
Highlighting the situation, the June-July 2021 edition of the excellent Vintage Rock magazine featured a fascinating article, Back in the Groove by Gary Tipp. In the article, Tipp discusses how the market for 50s vinyl has dipped and which artists and recordings are maintaining buyer interest.
The discussion about Elvis’ recordings is instructive. Key points in the article include:
“The softening of prices is a generational issue over and above anything else. Most of the collectors who hunt this sort of vinyl are getting on a bit and not many ‘new’ collectors are coming up behind to take their place. Which means the prices are not being actively pushed up.” (Mark O’Shaughnessy, Resolution Records)
While that original Jailhouse Rock soundtrack on RCA might still sound great when the needle is dropped gently onto it, if it’s a return on your money you’re after then you’re far better off investing in crypto-currency or even, heaven forbid, non-fungible tokens (whatever the heck they are).
“It has gone down. I’ve seen price guides from the 80s and 90s, some of the prices quoted back then are obscene, particularly Elvis-related.” (Adnan Beswick, Omega Auctions)
EIN note: it has been clear for a long time that based on sales of Elvis product on ebay, values in most price guides are aspirational rather than pragmatic.
“There’s so much of it still around that we’re not interested in RCA Elvis .....I’d much rather have some nice Billy Fury singles, EPs and early albums in stock than Elvis any day of the week – as they’d be much easier to sell.” (John Griffiths, Handsome Dick’s)
Elvis Presley’s recorded output on vinyl is a great example of this and helps to tell the overarching story. Clearly, there’s no denying the King’s pull when it comes to the size of his fanbase, but because of the sheer weight of numbers actually pressed, the very last thing the majority of his vinyl recordings could be described as is rare.
As Griffiths bluntly and hopefully not too crushingly put it, “RCA kept on churning out so many Elvis reissues that it got ridiculous. It became an absolute nonsense. It was a money-making machine."
“Presley’s original UK HMV releases are still very collectable. The first two albums, Rock ‘n’ Roll (HMV CLP 1093) and Rock ‘n’ Roll No. 2 (HMV CLP 1105), can be four-figure items.”
- Mark O’Shaughnessy goes as far as describing the debut as “the Holy Grail in this area of collecting.”
Griffiths is happy to consign much of Elvis’ vinyl to the discount bins outside his shop.
A near-mint copy of Heartbreak Hotel/I Was The One (HMV 7M 385) is valued at £300-£350.
Notoriously brittle, most dealers won’t post a 78 these days for fear of breakage. However, they were pressed in numbers far outweighing the 7-inch single at the beginning of rock’n’roll, but as went on the story switched, as Griffiths explains” “When you come out of the rock’n’ roll era into the early 60s, it’s then that the industry over to the 45. Which means the last wave of 78s become more collectable than the early ones, because they weren’t being bought in such vast quantities. A later-edition Elvis Presley or Billy Fury 78 from 1959 or 1960 will still fetch good money - because of its rarity."
Some lovely rarities are however still sort after by Elvis collectors such as the unique New Zealand 'Elvis Christmas album' with the distinctive cover design
These often sell for $1000 or more depending on their condition..
Another interesting observation in the article concerns the “British Elvis”, Cliff Richard, with Adnan Beswick commenting, “It’s now extremely tricky to sell most Cliff Richard records”.
The ridiculous asking prices for Elvis product is not restricted to just his records. EIN came across this recent listing on ebay for a sealed copy of the VHS tape for Jailhouse Rock…. the asking price….US$20,000.00!!
Please see more at Vintage Rock Magazine
Send us YOUR comments -
Spotlight by Nigel Patterson.
-Copyright EIN August 2021
EIN Website content © Copyright the Elvis Information Network.
EIN Spotlight: Changing Times, Heavy books, and the two-class Elvis world: While a lot of fans believe Col Parker was bad for Elvis the one thing the Colonel usually got right was to look after the fans. From reasonable ticket prices, cheap licensed merchandise and assisting fan clubs, he worked with fans to engender good will and build interest in the latest Elvis releases.
In 2020, the situation is very different. EPE is owned by commercial interests meaning entry costs to Graceland, and buying licensed Elvis merchandise is no longer cheap - and importantly, no longer affordable for many who have been fans since the 1950s.
Another change is Follow That Dream, RCA-SONY, Eric Lorentzen, Venus, etc all now publish expensive "Deluxe" collections. Some costing US$350. Out of reach for most fans, so why is this?
The answer, of course, is money. There is obviously a neat profit in targeting the higher end of the Elvis fan market. In this respect, the proliferation of coffee table Elvis books is similar to the (admittedly) less regular annual Elvis box set extravaganzas from RCA/BMG/Sony. And, of course, plenty of the material in all these publications has usually been previously released but now include a few new additions or "upgrades" to attract customers.
EIN asked you to comment and we received a large number of replies, including a lengthy explanation from Eric Lorentzen. Reader comments include..
- I totally agree. Fans are being ripped-off, there is a money hungry frenzy going on in the Elvis world...
- Even Graceland has become too expensive for the general fan
- Fans are shocked by these new prices, many cannot afford it anymore
- I hope your article resonates with EPE and others that they are ruining it for middle class and poor Elvis fans.
Eric Lorentzen however adds.. "For the money? No way. Fans think that I and others do this only for the sake of money. But have they considered what the purchase of photos, printing, shipping and all other expenses are?"
Go HERE to read these comments in full, - and Have Your Say.
|COME ON FTD! Let's Speed Things Up A Little!: EIN has very strongly supported the FTD label from the start even though their quality control has slipped at times.
Recently this seems to have got worse, perhaps due to the producers Ernst Jorgensen and Roger Semon's extra work with mainstream SONY releases.
The last couple of FTD live soundboards have notably run slow dragging down the pace of Elvis' performance. This has also been an issue on some previous concert releases.
On ELVIS LAS VEGAS '74' FTD the dates were wrong with the two shows reversed from what the cover indicated.
Do FTD collectors deserve better or should we be happy to have anything released with faults and all?
Go here as EIN contributor & Elvis author Shane Brown investigates.
Are you a FTD collector - we want to know YOUR THOUGHTS
|Elvis' Personal Record Collection: In response to a recent Marty Lacker question, EIN has updated its spotlight on 'The secrets of Elvis' record collection'.
Way back in 2004 Britain's excellent Record Collector magazine featured a very interesting article about what was in Elvis' personal record collection when they examined the list EPE supplied of over 1000 albums and singles. It provided a great insight into Elvis' eclectic musical interests with many titles sure to surprise fans. The artists featured are a wide variety of names well known to fans and many artists fans will not have heard of before.
EIN also checks out a further detailed look at "Elvis' crates of Vinyl" and what records he collected.
Please go here for the revised EIN spotlight.
Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware) - Exposing the Amazon Elvis Book Rip-Off?: From RCA to Sony Elvis' back catalog has long been exploited at the expense of his legacy. The same thing is now happening regarding Elvis book releases!
Through clever marketing, including the use of different (but suspicious) author names and different book titles for releases which are essentially identical; short and long book editions; and coupling the Elvis story with that of other celebrities, a glut of Elvis related book titles (with repetitive text) only available from Amazon are blatantly misleading fans.
Read EIN's findings in our "exclusive" investigative report
Fourteen Key Elvis Singles: Dave Marsh is a respected rock critic and historian who has written more than 20 books about rock music and popular culture. In 1982 Marsh published his excellent book 'Elvis' where he discarded the prevalent extreme myths about Presley and presented the truth about the contradictory and endlessly fascinating man.
In 1989 Dave Marsh published the exciting book for music aficionados "The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made". It is a fascinating exploration of some of the greatest music of all time and of course ELVIS is heavily featured.
The particular 14 singles that Marsh selected as his Key Elvis songs are a very interesting choice and his essays about each track are well worth reading. - and do you agree?
Go here as EIN's Piers Beagley shines a spotlight on this fascinating book as well as Marsh's selection of classic Elvis tracks...