Cheltenham
The Cheltonian > Articles

Record Collections Wanted

It's Like Panning For Gold! crack

Do you remember the days when we signed our names on our LP records so we could take them to parties and not lose them? Having been to a record fair recently I now really regret ‘defacing’ my precious albums in this way.

Collectors want records in mint condition with very little spindle damage and sleeves that are clean and without creases. Hard when they may be 40, 50 or even 60 years old!

Unfortunately for me Tim Chamberlain and James Ellerbeck are two such collectors and would not be impressed by my shabby old vinyls. They are looking for all types of record collections to buy, but especially classical music, particularly if it was recorded during the Golden Age of Stereo – from the late fifties to the early sixties.

Classical music was recorded in stereo as long ago as the fifties and sixties. Many mono versions were then
re-recorded in stereo and once that had happened the mono ones were no longer collectable. It’s the ones that weren’t that are the rarest and most valuable.

Tim lived in Singapore for seven years and started collecting seriously when he returned two years ago. He now has about 3,000 records in his collection, all catalogued in alphabetical order. Some people have ‘real gems collecting dust in the attic that may be really rare and collectable and they don’t even know it,’ he tells me. He loves seeking out and discovering those rarities. ‘It’s like panning for gold.’ Occasionally he has to sell some of his beloved collection, often to collectors in the Far East, but that’s the only way he can get enough money to buy some more!

So why classical I ask him, rather than pop or rock. He was brought up with music, he says – his dad was a concert pianist – and has always loved the great composers. He has become a bit of an expert. The Russian composer Shostakovich is his favourite and he also loves violin and cello concertos. Decca is his favourite label because of the ‘powerful hi-fi experience it is able to deliver’. Tim is also a bit of an ‘audiophile’, in other words he is really into good stereo equipment.

So where is his collection heading? Had I heard of Harry Pearson and the TAS (The Absolute Sound) list, he asks me? I confess I haven’t so Tim explains. Harry had an amazing ear and compiled a list of the recordings he believed to be the best. This was based on sound engineering and quality rather than musical preference and includes recordings of Rachmaninoff, Puccini, Stravinsky and our very own Gustav Holst to Joan Baez, Cat Stevens, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Pink Floyd and The Human League. Tim’s ambition is to eventually own everything on the list.

Tim and James travel all over the country to view a collection. Sometimes they uncover a hidden gem but often it proves to be a fruitless trip. No matter. It’s always worth it as you never know what you will find until you get here. And if your records are in good condition but need some tlc, they have recently invested in a record cleaning machine which removes dust and grime and lovingly cleans them up.

If you have a record collection hidden away and you would like a house visit, you can contact James on:

Tel: 07963 236 857

Email: yourrecordcollection@gmail.com