What's Your Record Worth?
We receive a large number of requests from people asking what their Vogue picture record is worth. That's a tough question to answer since we can't see your record to accurately judge its value. Please DO NOT ask us to appraise or assign a value to your records; your e-mail will not be answered. You can use the general guidelines on this page to determine an approximate value.
There are two factors that most affect the value of any particular Vogue picture record: the rarity and the condition. A third contributing factor would be opinion - the value someone assigns based on perception, incorrect assumptions, or just plain bad information.
Let's start with rarity. There are some Vogue picture records, such as prototype or test pressings, that were never released for sale to the general public. These are probably the most valuable simply due to the law of supply and demand. Other examples of very valuable Vogue picture records would be those that were "personalized"; we've seen examples where someone autographed the illustration or glued a photograph to the illustration and then ran the record through the press.
Some of the records that were released for general distribution don't seem to have been produced in very large quantities; unfortunately, since no written production records remain from Sav-Way Industries there is no definite answer as to how many of a particular record were produced. The book VOGUE - The Picture Record has a set of graphs that show the relative rarity of all the known Vogue pressings.
The "Vogue Second" and "Factory Reject" records may command a slight premium in price (perhaps 10-20%) over the normal version of those records. Please refer to the section Learn About Vogue Picture Records for more information on seconds and rejects.
The condition can be best determined by a visual inspection of the record. It's difficult to give an exact amount by which any damage or defect would devalue a record. Here are some rules of thumb that we'd use when assessing the condition.
Any chips on the edge of the record or chunks of missing vinyl will devalue the record, as will any cracks that extend through the surface of the vinyl. Note that Vogue picture records often exhibit what are called "lamination cracks"; this refers to very small hairline cracks that appear in the surface of the vinyl, probably caused by stress or expansion and contraction due to temperature changes. It's not uncommon to find a few small "lams" on the average Vogue, but a signficant number of them will have a negative impact on value.
Discoloration of the vinyl can affect the value of the record. Some records appear almost milky, while others have yellowed; in each case the clarity of the image is affected, which devalues the record. Slight warping is acceptable, but anything more than an eighth of an inch affects the value.
Deep scratches or gouges that affect playability will devalue the record, but more due to their impact on the visibility of the illustration - very few collectors actually play their records! A Vogue picture record in good or better condition should still appear shiny. If you can see obvious wear in the groove (yes, groove - there's only one groove on each side!) that often translates to a lower-quality image. If you feel the surface of a Vogue picture record that has not been played (or not played a lot) you will hardly be able to feel the groove.
A few words on opinion would be appropriate; the "race"-themed records such as R707 (Sugar Blues) or R750 (Shoo Fly Pie) fall into this category. These records have what we'd call "cross-category" appeal - those who collect "race" memorabilia would likely be interested in these records too. A free hint - R707 was the first Vogue picture record produced, and they must have literally made millions of them, so it's not really worth that much even with the "race" theme.
Some myths have arisen that artificially inflate the perceived value. The most common myth is that Bill Haley (of Rock & Roll fame) played on the Vogue sessions recorded by The Down Homers (on R736 and R786). This myth was shattered by none other than Kenny Roberts, the lead singer of the group. Kenny addressed the attendees of the 1999 AVPRC Convention and told them that Bill Haley left the group shortly before the Vogue recording sessions. This myth has resulted in artificially high values placed on R736 and R786 by many record dealers and collectors - but now you know better. (Click here to read more about the Bill Haley Vogue myth.)
Wholesale / Retail
Lastly, there's quite a difference between what a dealer or knowledgeable collector would pay you (the wholesale value) and the price at which that the dealer would offer that record for sale (the retail price); you can usually assume a wholesale value of perhaps half the retail value. (A car dealer wouldn't offer to buy your car for the same amount at which they'd offer it for sale, would they?)
OK, OK, So What's it Worth?
Here are some retail price estimates that can serve as a guide; we're assuming good or better condition. We'll start with the individual records:
Note: If your record is not explicitly listed here, it falls into the "common records" category shown above, with an approximate value of $55 - $75.
Note that some illustrations that appear on the rare records - such as R713 - also appear coupled with another illustration on other records, such as R711/R713. These so-called "double number" records with a rare illustration on one side (R711, R713, and R715) are not as valuable as the actual "rare" records with the same catalog number on both sides.
Vogue albums; again, we're assuming the album cover is in good or better condition, that pull-out dividers are present (with the exception of the folder-style V100), and that both records are present:
We hope this gives you an idea of what the retail value of your record might be. As
with all things, something is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it.
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