Written by our Staff Editor


Some music just sounds better on a 78rpm record.

Cassettes and reel-to-reel’s revolutionized the way music recording was done and the compact disc brought with it, “convenience” and generally impressive quality, so it was long before they became the digital standard for playback and storage of music.

Of course, the MP3 meant there was no limit to the amount of music one could have at his or her disposal at any given time. And yet, the distant sounds of jazz or dance bands rolling off a 78rpm just couldn’t be replaced with any of those things. Now that the 78rpm format is, for most people, a distant and fond memory now, how do collectors source these recordings?

The following list gives the collector some ideas on where to find 78rpm records:

Estate auctions: In order to pursue collections of 78rpm records, the consumer has to consider who would already own such things. It isn’t likely that a younger crowd would unless they are collectors. In that case, they aren’t going to part with them anyhow. It is more likely that these records would be found with a member of an older generation. Estate auctions can be gold minds for those who collect 78rpms. In fact, since the older generation wasn’t part of the disposable society, the records found there are bound to be well taken care of and in some cases, can even be found in mint condition.

Swap Meets: Swap meets are like neighborhood garage sales, only the vendors don’t live anywhere near each other. These are great places to find 78rpms and other collectible items. Vendors at swap meets are usually very willing to haggle, so these are also great places for low prices.

Record Fairs: You can be choosy about what you are getting when you go to a record fair. Since records are the main theme, you can almost guarantee they will have something you are interested in.

Garage Sales: Garage sales can be a wealth of treasure to the collector. People clean out the attic or garage and sell what they no longer need. The best garage sales for collectors are the ones that are held at older homes. People who live in older homes often inherit them and the contents within. There is a good chance that you would find some 78rpms at such garage sales.

Flea Markets: Flea markets are like swap meets, only they have regular hours and generally have some consistency with the vendors that peddle their goods there. This is another great place to haggle, but also a superb one for networking. Since these people are generally there on a regular basis, but tend to frequent auctions and other flea markets, it wouldn’t hurt you at all to let them know what you are looking for. In this way you can multiply your efforts without really doing anything that is too time consuming.

Craigslist: The great thing about Craigslist is that you don’t have to just browse the sales. You can put your own ad on Craigslist stating that you are in search of 78rpms. The people who read those ads might be sitting on collections they just didn’t know what to do with. They may even be willing to barter or give them to you just for the sake of making room in their home.

Music Forums: There are plenty of music forums on the Internet for all types of music lovers. Whether you play an instrument or not, you can join those forums and tart discussions about 78rpms. You may end up making new friends, picking up new hobbies, or just rounding out your 78 rpm collection. [craigslist.org]

Resale Shops: You just never know what you are going to find at a resale shop. You can even let the owner know what you are looking for so they can contact you when 78rpms come in. Since those are items that not everyone is interested in, resale and consignment shops might turn them away when they are offered. However, most resale shops are willing to contact interested buyers and hold the items for them.

Auctions: One of the best things about the Internet is the fact that you can go to as many auctions as you want and never leave your house. On the other hand, physically attending an auction can be more fun than you have with online auctions. Either way, you can find 78rpm records for a fraction of what you would really be willing to pay. Some people just don’t want the hassle of a garage sale and prefer to sell the items from their own home. Just make sure to go to places like eBay that have a decent reputation. You can also search for reviews of auction sites before ever spending any money at them to make sure they are trustworthy and back the customer. [ebay.com], [78rpm.com]

Internet Search: If you plan to look for 78rpms online, you need to learn how to use search terms. For instance, let your browser identify your location. This helps narrow results to those that are located closer to you. You can also use quotation marks to tell the search engine exactly what you are looking for. Put the quotation marks around the term you want to use so that the search engine will look for the term within the document and not just within the title. This can return results for things like ads that list 78rpms along with other items, but might have a general title that doesn’t indicate the specific items they have. The easier you make it or the search engines, the more accurate your results are going to be.

Relatives: Everyone has that one aunt that never gets rid of anything. Your relatives might have 78rpms from their own collections or younger days. Even if the records aren’t the music you’re looking for, you may be able to swap them out later for the ones you want.

The key to finding 78rpm records is to let people know you are looking for them. Once you have a name as someone who is looking for items like these, it makes people pay attention when they hear of such items. Other than that, use social networking sites like FaceBook to let people know what your interests are. The search engines will pick up on that and actually aim like-minded people your way.

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