A Degree in Record Collecting? Could you pass the qualifying paper?

  

  
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

4. Harry finds a vg copy of Pink Floyd’s Meddle (1U matrix) and a nm copy of More (left facing). If vg is worth 1/2 a mint copy, which is more valuable? (10 marks. Show your workings, including the correct use of Pythagoras’s theory of relative value). 

Follow up question: if the amount of brain power used to calculate this question was instead channelled towards solving the world’s problems, how soon would world peace be achieved?

5. Alan has just sold his record collection as he thinks prices for vinyl are peaking. He paid £3,000 for his collection over twelve years and sells it for £10,000. If Alan spent six hours a week in record shops and boot sales instead of working, and is self employed, earning £15 an hour on average, how much money has Alan really lost on his collection if you take into account the amount he could have earned working instead of hanging around wasting time in record shops?

6. Sarah likes to visit car boot sales on Sunday mornings to look for rare records and has been regularly visiting such sales every week for the last nine years, but only when it isn’t raining. If it rains on average through the year one week in three, how many different copies of Paul Young’s No Parlez would Sarah have ignored whilst trying to find something good? 

Bonus point: is the answer different for the following albums: a) The Sound of Bread b) Soundtrack to Grease c) Soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever?

7. Sophie has a mint condition first pressing of Trout Mask Replica by Captain Beefheart. It has never been played since she bought it in the early seventies. Explain how depreciation works by calculating how much the value of the album falls each time it is played on the following record players:

  • a) a Rega 9 with top of the range cartridge
  • b) a battered old Dansette player found in the loft. 
  • c) a fisher price child’s record player. 

Bonus: Explain why answers b) and c) are the same. 

Note: use your answer to calculate whether Sophie hasn’t played the album because of the potential investment value, or because it is just a really difficult record to listen to. 

8. Martin’s teenage son has rifled through Martin’s record collection and played his dad’s near mint condition copy of “Please Please Me” by the Beatles with a “Dick James” credit on the label on a Crosley Portable Turntable with a badly adjusted ceramic cartridge. If Martin is of average health, how far above safe levels will his blood pressure be after he finds out? 

  
9. John lives in a three bedroom semi-detached house and has two children. If he has a mid life crisis and wants to start record collecting from scratch, how long will it take, on average, before John’s collection is so large that he starts to talk about a “lack of space” or “moving somewhere bigger”?

  • a) ten years
  • b) two years
  • c) ten months 

10. You see a new 180g remastered copy of Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen for £25 at the record shop. How many used copies of the album could you find in equally good condition for the same amount of money at your local record fair if you spent twenty minutes looking around?

  • a) five
  • b) six
  • c) eight, with a pound to spare. 

Bonus question.

Geoff believes that vinyl has a superior sound whereas Andrea believes that digital music from CDs sound best. 

If they raise the subject at a party, how long will it take before the last guest dies of boredom?



Categories: Music

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23 replies

  1. Wonderful!

    Answer to number 6 is: A million. Bonus question: Yes, these are even more common at boot sales, whereas No Parlez tends to rule charity shops. So, two million per title for these three perennials (conservative estimate).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 6 = Only three fewer than the number of copies of ‘Alf’ by Alison Moyet…

    Like

  3. 1 $1000. The marriage will already be one the rocks because he admitted to buying another record.

    2a and b. 0%

    3 a free. b£500 or £1000 in trade c(not sure what the skip is)

    4 To me Meddle is worth More. (See what I did there?)

    I like that album better. It was my go to album on Halloween.

    5 To me work should be fun(it usually isn’t) so if he spent most if his work hours in record stores, he hasn’t lost anything

    6 thousands. As well she will have missed thousands of James Last, Herb Alpert, Jim Nabors, and Ktel records.

    7a little to none

    b massively

    She should play it occasionally untill she “gets it.”

    8 His blood pressure will rise slightly until his son and his crap player are banished from the man cave.

    9 d) already too small if basement, and at least one bedroom can not be used for music storage

    10 dozens

    Bonus. Geoff takes over stereo and proves Andrea wrong in minutes, then proceeds to get phone numbers from all of the women present, and be the life of the party.

    Like

  4. brilliant. I worry about the scenario in question 8 arising, not with a Beatles record, don’t have any of those but some of my northern soul originals.

    Like

  5. Reblogged this on travellingcoral and commented:
    I am married to a vinyl collector and yes we have IKEA Kallax shelving.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. why not.

    1: a) up to 1500 b) July, if at all

    2: a) none b) seriously, none

    3: a) 500 b) 300 c) 100

    4: vg = nm x 0.25; it’s the law. follow-up answer: before 9/11.

    5: 49680-(10000-3000)=42680, assuming he has 6 weeks off every year (self-employed)

    6: 17 (visits per year) x 2.5 (No Parlez), 17 x 2 (Sound of Bread), 17 x 1.5 (Grease OST), 17 x 1 (Saturday Night Fever)

    7: remaining value factor after each playback: a) 0.98 b) 0.45 c) 0.05

    8: the infanticide + suicide level

    9: c)

    10: c)

    Bonus answer: assuming the vinyl person starts first (be real son, they always do), about halfway through their opening statement.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I find it hard to believe that Adam doesn’t already have a turquoise NM Led Zep, but obviously he’d need another one. After all, he’s never played the existing NM one for fear of damaging it. On the other hand, without playing it he’ll never know if it is NM or just harshly cleaned and polished. So he will need another one to play, and the turquoise one does sound subtly different from the red one. Livelier snare drum, he has been told. He can easily explain the price to his wife by taking her into a record dealer and offering to sell it. As the dealer will assure him in front of his wife, turquoise Led Zeps are nowhere near a rare as people think, and he has seen half a dozen in the last year.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for such a brilliantly funny article. You have observed our hobby/sickness in an uncritical light which is rarely found online. You obviously put a lot of time and love into the piece and the praise it has received both here and on the SHF is truly deserved. My wife still thinks I am not the full shilling though.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This is friggin’ brilliant! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Totally cool! But many a collector would flunk…… no questions about 50s rock!
    –chuck n baker

    Liked by 1 person

  11. That is funny! The best part is that I hear all the time from kids (15-20) and “adults” under 25 who are way deep into this…..and they are terrific people….

    Liked by 1 person

  12. 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
    1800$

    and b) how long the marriage will last if Adam has to pay for the family holiday in July.
    35 years, she already knows and trust he will sell them eventually

    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
    Tony is a fool to go to the dinner after that
    and b) at all.
    or to continue dating a girl that can’t understand

    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.
    140.000 She will make him pay for the lost years as well

    • b) the local record dealer

    35000 he has to make a profit as well, but don’t take her for a fool
    • c) the skip
    I’ll skip this one, I am allowed one mistake, am I not?

    4. Harry finds a vg copy of Pink Floyd’s Meddle (1U matrix) and a nm copy of More (left facing). If vg is worth 1/2 a mint copy, which is more valuable? (10 marks. Show your workings, including the correct use of Pythagoras’s theory of relative value).
    He will keep them both, so what’s the use of calculating it to money? Priceless is worth a lot, but not money wise.
    Follow up question: if the amount of brain power used to calculate this question was instead channelled towards solving the world’s problems, how soon would world peace be achieved?
    Not so soon. People would be after him for these records.
    5. Alan has just sold his record collection as he thinks prices for vinyl are peaking. He paid £3,000 for his collection over twelve years and sells it for £10,000. If Alan spent six hours a week in record shops and boot sales instead of working, and is self employed, earning £15 an hour on average, how much money has Alan really lost on his collection if you take into account the amount he could have earned working instead of hanging around wasting time in record shops?
    It is not always work, work, work. Searching is an enjoyment alone. A part of the good life. Leisure time. But selling it just because he thought it was an investment, makes me think twice…

    6. Sarah likes to visit car boot sales on Sunday mornings to look for rare records and has been regularly visiting such sales every week for the last nine years, but only when it isn’t raining. If it rains on average through the year one week in three, how many different copies of Paul Young’s No Parlez would Sarah have ignored whilst trying to find something good?
    That must be a trick question. Sarah would never go to record hunting. Unless if Sarah is a guy’s nickname. But playing along, around 150.
    Bonus point: is the answer different for the following albums: a) The Sound of Bread b) Soundtrack to Grease c) Soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever?
    Joke aside, these three are not so regular anymore. Maybe the new vinyl mania has something to do with it.

    7. Sophie has a mint condition first pressing of Trout Mask Replica by Captain Beefheart. It has never been played since she bought it in the early seventies. Explain how depreciation works by calculating how much the value of the album falls each time it is played on the following record players:
    • a) a Rega 9 with top of the range cartridge
    1/8

    • b) a battered old Dansette player found in the loft.
    1/2

    • c) a fisher price child’s record player.
    record , what record?

    Bonus: Explain why answers b) and c) are the same.

    They are not the same. She will sell it anyway and the new owner would not be able to tell the difference, anyway. But the record will still be in the top 100 most influencial records of all time. As an example to avoid. That is, of course from Sophie’s point of view…

    Note: use your answer to calculate whether Sophie hasn’t played the album because of the potential investment value, or because it is just a really difficult record to listen to.
    Well, already answered. But a Mint record is the one that the stylus has never touched the record. So, how could she know it is hard to listen if she hadn’t try it?

    8. Martin’s teenage son has rifled through Martin’s record collection and played his dad’s near mint condition copy of “Please Please Me” by the Beatles with a “Dick James” credit on the label on a Crosley Portable Turntable with a badly adjusted ceramic cartridge. If Martin is of average health, how far above safe levels will his blood pressure be after he finds out?

    He will probably have enough time to kill his son before he snuffs it.
    9. John lives in a three bedroom semi-detached house and has two children. If he has a mid life crisis and wants to start record collecting from scratch, how long will it take, on average, before John’s collection is so large that he starts to talk about a “lack of space” or “moving somewhere bigger”?
    • a) ten years
    • b) two years
    • c) ten months

    The data provided are not enough. What line of work is he into? Has he inherited any large amount of money? Does the house has a loft or basement? It took me 25 years. To get two kids.
    10. You see a new 180g remastered copy of Born To Run by Bruce Springsteen for £25 at the record shop. How many used copies of the album could you find in equally good condition for the same amount of money at your local record fair if you spent twenty minutes looking around?
    • a) five
    • b) six
    • c) eight, with a pound to spare.
    None of the above. I could get around 30 in the 90ies, now I would settle for 10.

    Bonus question.
    Geoff believes that vinyl has a superior sound whereas Andrea believes that digital music from CDs sound best.

    And this is not the question?
    If they raise the subject at a party, how long will it take before the last guest dies of boredom?
    Thinking such things in a party means they were not invited in the first place, so luckily no one dies!

    Like

  13. fantastic…being a “record collector” since 1967 this is “spot on”….best article for years….thanks a lot..Rune,Bergen,Norway

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Many of you think my music collection is a waste of time and money –

    Well it is.

    That being said, there are other more pitiable and destructive ways to waste one’s time and money including – cocaine, the stock market, mechanized pumpkin hurling, learning to understand the game of Cricket, and of course graduate school.

    We all have our little hobbies. In an attempt to help you understand mine I have provided the most succinct answers possible to these questions.

    Read. Learn. Enjoy.

    Answers:

    1. a) Three times the monthly salary of a middle school teacher with a Masters Degree and 15 years of experience.
    b) Wednesday.

    2. a) Minus 33.33 percent
    b) Negative infinity to the power of 20.

    3. a) Ten shillings a title and a torrid weekend in Ocho Rios.
    b) Five shillings a title and the occasional two bob for the odd title just to be seen as offering a “fair” price.
    c) In the final analysis – more than the net of the first option when adjusted for personal regret.

    4. C when C is equal to the inverse square of Pi divided by the average length of a record groove on one side of a Bob Dylan recording for Capitol Records in the 70’s.
    Thus Meddle is more valuable by a factor of 2.3456 to 1 over more – except on the Isle of Mann.
    Followup question answer: Wednesday.

    5. Alan has lost more money than he can possibly imagine due to lowered productivity and a lack of time to deal with personal hygeine. In round figures – somewhere around the municipal debt of Belfast.

    6. 15 times 10 to the 4th power.
    a) 33.33 times more.
    b) 45 times more.
    c) 78 times more.

    7 a) If set up by Michael Fremer – less than 1% – but don’t get crazy about it.
    b) Half
    c) The other half
    The last two are the same because they are designed to destroy records. Firstly because the folks at Dansette generally hated music, art, fashion and people. The Fisher Price destroys records to make parents have to buy more.

    The potential for Sophie to not play the record is inversely proportional to the possibility she is trying to hit on the local record shop dude by being able to discuss the artistic merit of the music.

    8. This measurement will depend greatly on whether or not Martin is completely satisfied that he has found a place to hide his son’s body that will never be discovered and how effective the evidence of the use of crack cocaine he planted in the boy’s room is in convincing the local constabulary that his boy has run off to Morocco with an indie band.

    120 over 60 on the low side and 220 over 170 on the high side.

    9. The answer is “b” or “Wednesday” if his decision happens to coinicide with “Free Record Day” at the local HMV.

    10. The answer is “c” with a pound and six to spare. Two pounds in Cornwall or New Jersey.

    Bonus Question Answer –

    If the party is on Tuesday after 10pm then Wednesday.

    Liked by 1 person

Trackbacks

  1. Earn A Degree In Record Collecting! - Vinyl Junkies
  2. Want a degree in record collecting?
  3. Five Years…. – Every record tells a story

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