Could You Qualify to Enroll for a Degree in Record Collecting?

When it comes to collecting records, I’m a complete piker compared to the experts. I’ll go to the occasional record show with a list of records and CDs I want–usually stuff that just amuses me and me alone–and then leave after about an hour.  Real record collectors arrive early and stay late looking through hundreds of bins for the rare and obscure.

They specialize in rare prog, oddball folk, Northern Soul, 78s on the long-defunct Paramount label, mispressings, promo-only items, acetates and other ephemera.  They might he a show or two every weekend. When there isn’t one in the area, they’ll make the rounds of their used record stores on the days they know new stock as arrived. And once they’re done that, they’ll scour Record Collector for news, sites like Discogs for pricing and availability and troll through eBay to see who’s selling what. Record Store Day is a high holy holiday. And when they find something, they have no trouble dropping some serious coin.

I cannot hold a candle to these people. For that, my wife is eternally grateful.

This brings me to the site Every Record Tells a Story. They bring news. Sort of.

News reaches Every Record Tells A Story today that Stax University is to offer a three year degree course in Record Collecting. According to their website, the degree will examine pupils understanding of grading the condition of records, why some records are more valuable than others, matrix numbers, stampings, the manufacturing process, mastering of vinyl and the weight bearing ratios of the IKEA Kallax range of shelving.

However, they won’t just take anyone.

Keen to educate the public, yet also keen to exclude novices who might commit cardinal errors (trying to play a CD, banging on about the “warm sound”) Stax University has produced an entry paper, which ERTAS is proud to exclusively reprint below.

Could you pass the entry test for the Record Collectors Degree Qualification? Find out below….

Stax University Degree in Record Collecting, Entrance Exam. 

Time allotted 30 mins.

1. If, in November, Adam has told his wife he paid “about a fiver” for the copy of a near mint pressing of Led Zeppelin’s first album with turquoise lettering on the cover that he has just brought home, please state a) how much he really paid and b) how long the marriage will last if Adam has to pay for the family holiday in July.

2. Tony has just bought an original copy of Otis Redding’s “You Left The Water Running” which was limited to just 500 copies, found in a charity shop for just £1. Express as a percentage how much of a damn Tony’s girlfriend gives about that when they are a) late for dinner and b) at all.

3. Keith has spent the last forty years collating his record collection. It consists of mainly first pressings and has a full run of Stiff Records singles and over fifty Vertigo albums. It is valued at £70,000 on Discogs. Express in pounds how much Keith’s widow will sell it for if she chooses any of the following methods of disposal.

  • a) Keith’s best mate, who has a shady past, secretly fancies Keith’s widow and has been envious of the collection for many years.
  • b) the local record dealer
  • c) the skip

Okay, so maybe this isn’t a real university degree, but if you can correctly answer these questions, you may be A Record Collector. The full exam can be found here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Could You Qualify to Enroll for a Degree in Record Collecting?

  • November 4, 2015 at 11:36 am
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    I have about 2000 vinyl albums, which I began to collect in the early 70’s as a teenager. Over the years some have been damaged, mostly by thoughtless kids doing really stupid things, and always when I wasn’t home, but about 90% of my collection has survived unscathed. I’ve been recording some of them onto CD. You get a very nice sound, surprisingly, and I recently bought a new turntable, a Rega. A few months back I bought my first brand new vinyl LP, which is a copy of Scott Merritt’s new record, “Of.” I got both the LP and the CD. The new records are very high quality, thick pristine vinyl, sort of like the old 78’s, and it sounds amazing. I’ve also bought some vinyl 45’s from Little Steven’s Wicked Cool Records, mostly a Norwegian girl group called The Launderettes, and those are really nice too, some on coloured vinyl, and with great artwork. We have a big flea market locally and there are several record vendors. Most of them are very overpriced, but one guy always has a nice selection for a reasonable price, and I have picked up a bunch of old Ian & Sylvia records there, as well as Symphonic Slam and The Ugly Ducklings. Haven’t been for a bit, but definitely will go back.

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