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To open or keep sealed?

Updated: Jul 1, 2020

One of the many choices a collector of vinyl records has to make is whether they open a sealed record, or keep it safely tucked away in its see-thru home.

The vast majority of vinyl bought "new" now comes hermetically sealed, and buyers would not have it any other way - because they are sealed they are almost certain to discover a pristine mint record inside, and from then on it is up to them to maintain that condition.

Way back in the late 1970's I worked at HMV Stockton, and one of the jobs I tried to avoid was unpacking new orders and running them through the "sealing machine". Surprisingly, all the stock that came from UK record distributors in the 1970's were unsealed, and we had to stand by a baking hot machine and repeatedly lowere a lever to seal each album, this was sweat-inducing work, especially during the summer months.

What customers didn't realise was that HMV staff were permitted to take home up to 3 LP's a day to play, all of which were then sealed and put out for sale. Quite often customers were buying second-hand records thinking they were new sealed, but it was a perk that HMV staff took advantage of almost daily.

In today's marketplace, with online selling, I am sure that kind of thing is much less prevalent. When you get a sealed album it truly is factory fresh. But the question is, should you open it? The obvious answer is, of course you should! What is the point of paying good money for an LP only to file it away unused? But serious collectors, perhaps with an eye to future value, may choose to keep it under wraps. I have even heard of more affluent collectors buying two copies, one to play, one to file.

It goes without saying that all the albums in Vinylshrine's stores that are sealed stay sealed, until they are sold of course, then the buyer can choose what to do.

When I collect vinyl for my own personal collection, I always open them up, the thought of any future value always takes second place behind my desire to enjoy the music, and I am sure that is the choice of the majority of vinyl collectors.

JOHN HODGSON - January 2019



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