Goldmine’s Price Guide to Collectible Jazz Albums (book)

Es­ti­mated reading time is 3 minutes.

THE SERIES OF ARTICLES about the books I have pub­lished have a loose chronology and nar­ra­tive that makes the most sense if read in this order:

1.  Rock & Roll Record Al­bums Price Guide (1985)
2.  Elvis Presley Record Price Guide (1985)
3.  A Touch Of Gold – Elvis Presley Price Guide (1990)
4.  Gold­mine’s Price Guide to Col­lectible Record Al­bums (1st edi­tion, 1991)
5.  Gold­mine’s Price Guide to Col­lectible Jazz Al­bums (1992)
6.  Gold­mine’s Rock’n Roll 45RPM Record Price Guide (1994) 
7.  Gold­mine’s Price Guide to Col­lectible Record Al­bums (5th edi­tion, 1996)
8.  Blues And Rhythm & Blues 45s Of The ’50s (2000)

THE JAZZ LP BOOK was the most dif­fi­cult as I knew little about the real rar­i­ties in the field and what they com­manded on the open market. It was my third project for Krause. They had al­ready pub­lished one guide for jazz records, but it had been the usual mish­mash: a list of records with values as­signed that made no sense.

In fact, it was even more con­fusing than the pre­vious jazz guide pub­lished by O’­Sul­livan Wood­side in 1984, and no one thought it could get much worse than that!

Ti­tled Gold­mine’s Price Guide To Col­lectible Jazz Al­bums 1949-1969, but is usu­ally short­ened to the “Umphred Jazz Guide/Book.” It covers those jazz and jazz-related records man­u­fac­tured in the United States from 1949 through 1969.

I had a dif­fi­cult time get­ting any of the top buyers o sellers of rare jazz al­bums to talk with me—no one wanted to let the cat out of the bag as to the ac­tual value of those records. Con­se­quently, I had to use the in­for­ma­tion that was avail­able to me, most of it laugh­ably in­ad­e­quate. So the first edi­tion went out with $400 records valued at $75-100 and thou­sand dollar records valued at $150-200!

Al­most as bad, I had as­signed ex­ces­sively high values to pre-Hard Bop al­bums, the market for which was soft­ening as many of the avid col­lec­tors were get­ting on in years. For­tu­nately, the book was the best discog­raphy yet listed, so I got some pos­i­tive feed­back for that. When it came time to do the second edi­tion, I had two dilemmas:

1.  I knew the values for the re­ally rare and de­sir­able records were waaay too low, but I didn’t know how low.

2.  I still hadn’t found anyone with the nec­es­sary knowl­edge about these rare records who was willing to di­vulge any of it.


NU GM Jazz 2 300

This is the cover for the second edi­tion. It is tasteful and kinda nice but I doubt one in a thou­sand jazz mu­si­cians who made the records in the book ever lived any­where with a brick wall sur­rounding a fire­place. A better photo for the book might have been the living room of a third-floor, cold-water flat in Harlem with a sax care­fully set in its stand and a cheap sy­ringe and a spoon lying on a coffee table.

The second edition was much better

The second edi­tion cor­rected hun­dreds of minor er­rors and added thou­sands of records. As to those per­snickety values, for the most part, I was able to iden­tify hun­dreds of rare records. For most of these, I dou­bled the as­signed values from those in the first edition.

So the second edi­tion went out with $400 records valued at $150-200 and thou­sand dollar records valued at $300-400. While this still made the book a joke to those in the know, it did have an im­me­diate and ad­verse ef­fect on the hobby: Dealers who had been used to buying those BIG records for a few bucks now found them­selves facing sellers with “the Umphred book” wanting a hun­dred dol­lars for a $400 record in­stead of the $10 they had been taking for all those years be­fore my book.

This ticked off one of the world’s biggest wheelers and dealers enough that he changed my name to Neal­fuckingumphred. I was ac­tu­ally proud of my­self for earning that …

My other books

There are eight ar­ti­cles on this site ex­plaining the var­ious books I pub­lished for record col­lec­tors. They are best read in the fol­lowing order, which is roughly chronological:

1.  O’Sullivan Woodside’s Rock & Roll Record Al­bums Price Guide
2.  O’Sullivan Woodside’s Elvis Presley Record Price Guide
3.  Goldmine’s Price Guide To Col­lectible Record Al­bums (1st edition)
4.  Goldmine’s Price Guide To Col­lectible Record Al­bums (5th edition)
5.  Goldmine’s Rock’n Roll 45RPM Record Price Guide
6.  Goldmine’s Price Guide To Col­lectible Jazz Albums
7.  A Touch Of Gold – Elvis Record & Mem­o­ra­bilia Price Guide
8.  Blues And R&B 45s Of The ’50s Price Guide