The flagship Goodwill in San Francisco (Van Ness and Mission location) has slowly been discontinuing the sale of LPs. Various locations around the Bay Area have also slowly been phasing out the sale of LPs. The location at Van Ness and Mission has instead been receiving a steady supply of CDs and DVDs (as little as 25 new titles, as high as 300+ titles on a daily basis). Unlike LPs, most CDs found in thrift stores like Goodwill can actually be worth their purchase. The Goodwill at Van Ness and Mission has received so many donated CDs in the last few weeks that they have been desperately trying to push them out the door by discounting them 50% off – 2 CDs for $2. CDs typically sell for $2 each, so the discount is basically $1 per CD, with a minimum purchase of 2 CDs.
A general rundown of the CDs found at Goodwill are typically such:
40% – CDs which are not worth $1, even in mint condition
25% – CDs which are damaged and are likely to skip during playback
15% – CDs which are burned CDRs of MP3s / pirated media
10% – CDs which are not even CDs, but are actually pirated movies in VCD format from foreign countries
8% – CDs which are missing from their original cases
This is the absolute worst part of digging for CDs.
Oh sweet, Nirvana’s Never Mind! I’ll just open the CD case to see the condi- Oh. IT’S EMPTY.
<2% – CDs worthy of purchase (even without discount)
A short list of some gems I’ve come across:
Rare 24k gold CD from Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab (a legendary audiophile label). Enjoyed the CD for a week before selling. Purchased for $1 – Sold via Ebay for $39.
Very rare Japanese import from Denon (yes, the same Denon that manufactures stereo equipment) featuring Mozart’s Jupiter suite conducted by Herbert Blomstedt.
Hard to find Japanese import from avant-garde sensation Boredoms.
Excellent compilation of progressive rock’s finest.
No explanation for this needed.
An excellent soundtrack featuring music from Electric Light Orchestra, Beck, and music composed by Jon Brion. The CD is worth about $4, so it’s not much of a bargain, but it’s still a great listen!
Rare double CD set featuring ambient music from Steve Roach. Purchased for $2 – worth between $20 to $30 according to discogs.
Because LPs are slowly being phased out at Goodwill locations, I’m now resorting to digging for vinyl at Salvation Army thrift stores. There’s nothing wrong with Salvation Army necessarily, but their LPs are $2 each (whereas Goodwill’s LPs are $1) and they tend to have worse selection than Goodwill (yes, it IS possible to have worse selection than Goodwill…) In my experience, Salvation Army tends to have waaaay more “spiritual” records. This isn’t too shocking given Salvation Army is a Christian charity organization.
The good thing about Salvation Army compared to Goodwill is they receive literally tons and tons of vinyl. The bad news about that, is for every 500 LPs, only 1 is actually worth $2. This issue of quantity vs. quality became evident when I spent way longer digging than I should have only to walk away with two LPs out of roughly 1000. Below are some
decent questionable finds:
This is a reissue from the late 1970s on Stax. Looks VG, plays Near Mint. Classic soul from South Park’s Chef.
What are words worth? Apparently $2.
Uhhhhhhhh… I bought this LP on a whim thinking that maybe since it was a Japanese import it would hold some decent resale value, or hopefully feature interesting music. Neither turned out to be true.
Hands down the best find I’ve scored from a thrift store in a long time. Unfortunately for me my copy is missing the sleeve and the second LP of this amazing double LP set. I found this LP crammed in the sleeve of the 尾形 大作 – 郷愁 title mentioned above. Because of the Japanese characters on both LPs, I couldn’t distinguish it as a completely separate recording. Fortunately for me this LP was entirely worth the gamble of$2 (unlike the 尾形 大作 – 郷愁, which was horrible modern enka from the early 1980s) This LP features musicians Minoru Muraoka, Toshiko Yonekawa, and Chikatoyo Tsujimoto. Minoru Muraoka is an esteemed shakuhachi player. His earlier LPs are worth several hundred dollars. It’s not uncommon to pay over $300 for his work. Seriously! Click around on his various titles on discogs and it becomes quickly apparent how sought-after this amazing musician’s work is! This is what one of his most sought-after LPs sounds like:
According to discogs Toshiko Yonekawa was a Japanese koto performer and composer of the Ikuta school style. In 1996 she was honored as a Living National Treasure (a very high honor reserved for those who – according to wikipedia – are Preservers of Important Intangible Cultural Properties). Yonekawa’s LPs are also highly sought after. One title on discogs has previously sold for $225 and has a ratio of 1/27 of those who own the LP (1 person), and those who want the LP (27 people). Chikatoyo Tsujimoto is fairly more obscure than the others and doesn’t seem to have any one solo recording to his name. This LP features absolutely beautiful instrumental Japanese contemporary jazz and folk. On the discogs release page for this title, there’s a ratio of 1/42. I suppose I’m now one of the few lucky people able to enjoy this very rare and sought-after title!