In my recent round of visiting local thrift stores, I’ve picked up amateur paintings, prints, hand-made pottery, vintage postcards, clocks and the like. I’ve pretty much avoided looking at records, because it’s usually a dreary affair having to flip through a dusty pile of records only to encounter countless albums by Streisand, Jim Nabors, Tennessee Ernie Ford and Mitch Miller. The time it takes to go through all the trashy records to find a decent one usually isn’t worth it. There are stories of thrift stores allowing record dealers to go through donated records before putting them on the floor. I believe it. Goodwill operates an online auction site for selling merchandise of any value, including records. I’ve found exactly one record worth buying at a Goodwill store (Jacqueline Du Pre’s recording of the Dvorak cello concerto).
Now, the local St. Vincent de Paul store has started putiing its valuable records behind the counter, just like a commercial record store. These records are priced $3 and up, compared to 50 cents for the records found on the floor. They’re wising up. Still I didn’t mind coughing up un-thrift-store like prices for a couple of albums at St. Vincent de Paul last week. One was an original mono pressing of Dylan’s The Times They Are A Changin’ in pristine condition for $8. It’s less than what a record dealer would charge, but not a whole lot less, that is, if you come across a mint copy. The other record I bought was an original pressing of Sarah Vaughan’s After Hours at the London House for $3. This a live jazz date with a relatively small combo and not one of the pop albums with strings she made later in her career. Those can be found in the dusty dollar bins.