VINYL RESURGENCE: USQ Senior Lecturer in Media Studies Daryl Sparkes says rarity is what makes albums more valuable, but the sound is what really matters.
VINYL RESURGENCE: USQ Senior Lecturer in Media Studies Daryl Sparkes says rarity is what makes albums more valuable, but the sound is what really matters.

Records a treasure trove of classic tunes and cash

EVERYTHING old is new again... and some of it is worth a whole lot more than you would ever have thought.

With the birth of the crisp, clear sounds of the compact disc in the 1980s, few expected vinyl records would make the resurgence they have over recent years.

In fact they have become so strong, hitting more than $20million in new sales in Australia last year, that the Australian Recording Industry Association has launched a new weekly vinyl albums chart.

But there is also quite a lot of money about for the right sort of old vinyl as well.

USQ Senior Lecturer in Media Studies Daryl Sparkes is a die-hard vinyl lover.

He has a collection of about 1000 albums, including jazz and blues from the 1920s-40s, a bootleg copy of The Doors in 1970 playing the Isle of Wight which is very close to his heart, picture and coloured discs, and other limited releases and music which never made it to CD.

It is these unique style of records which, if you have them, might just be worth some money.

1970s punk and '80s new wave and new romantics are the latest albums to have gone up in value, with an asking price of up to $5000 for an original pressing of the Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks.

"The punk movement weren't known for being great carers of their stuff, so a lot of the originals were lost and it is rarity which makes it valuable," Daryl explained.

That's why albums mass-produced by big-name record companies like Sony aren't worth much, while early recordings of artists before they became well known, by small or independent companies, rise in value.

One of the first 100 copies of The Beatles' White Album, for instance, will sell for thousands despite the fact it's since been produced millions of times - check the serial number.

Daryl said about half the albums today were being bought by those under 25, possibly because they were "cool" again, but also potentially as a result of their parents' nostalgia for vinyl.

He believes vinyl provides a far more immersive experience for people than simply flicking a button on your phone or MP3 player.

"It's something tangible and real you can hold onto and look at the art work, and there's that sense of special ownership which is important to a lot of people," he said.

While the hisses and pops of the old record player were once seen as a negative, Daryl said many see them as adding character to the listening, and vinyl also produces a much warmer sound than CD.

"It takes you back all those years to when you first listened to that song, who you were with and what you were doing, and how exciting it was to get that album," he said.

Daryl readily admits he is a bit of a hoarder, and vinyl isn't his only collection, with books, paintings, antiques and movie posters from the 1960-80s making up his one-man museum.

And you never know what may one day be of value.

Daryl points to the release of a little independent film called Mad Max in 1979 which no one expected to do much - original posters for which now sell for up to $3000.

So, before you clean out that cluttered garage, attic, basement or spare room, it could be worth having a good look at exactly what you have.