The Vinyl Collector: The Album I Couldn’t Give Away

Editor’s note: The Vinyl Collector column appears each Thursday. Alex Mosier collects, buys, and sells vinyl records. He’s also collected a few stories and tips along the way.

The Monkees monkey around in a photo from May 1967.

The Monkees, May 1967

The Album I Couldn’t Give Away

By Alex Mosier

It was getting late into the summer and classes were starting again soon.  With the never ending climb of text book prices, I had to make a few sacrifices.  Immediately, I turned to my vinyl records.  Flipping through my shelf, I separated everything into three piles: no problem getting rid of, may be able to part with, and no way in hell am I parting with.  The records that I could easily part with was large enough to put a dent in my text book needs, so I carried them off to the little shop downtown.

Greeted at the door, the owner asked what I had there.  I placed the albums on the counter and he started tossing through them.  No matter how much private parties are selling them for online, always expect to be offered half that or less.  The key to good negotiation is coming across as aloof, so I pretended to look over an old Mad Magazine while keeping a close eye on the owner.  He seemed to know the aloof trick as well.  That was only until something broke his focus.

Part of the toss away stack I brought in to sell were a few old Monkees albums.  Through a little online research, I found that old Monkees albums were selling quiet well, and for fairly good amounts.  They were all a little rough, but one in particular had writing and drawings all over it.  What was odd was the dumbfounded look on the owner’s face.  I waited for him to address me, but instead he called another employee to the front.  The two stared at the torn apart, ink spattered albums.

I approached the counter, curious about what had them so tied up.  Before I could ask anything, the owner looked me in the face and questioned me on the album.  When I explained that I knew nothing about the album and that it was given to me by some friends who bought a crate at a yard sale, he just creased his brow.  After a deep breath, he told me an urban legend of the vinyl world he had once heard. 

According to him, The Monkees had a habit of not just signing albums midway through their career.  They would joke around and write all over the sleeve, draw funny faces over their own and just have fun with it.  He then showed me how there were four distinct hand writings on the sleeve.  This story was so farfetched that I couldn’t bring myself to buy into it.  That was until he told me that he could not take the album.  Even after I offered to throw it in the mix for free, he insisted that he could not take that album from me in all good conscious.

After a little research, I cannot verify if this legend is fact or fiction.  Some forums say it is, others deny it completely.  All that I can be certain of is that there is much more to the history of a record than the code printed on the spine.

Read last week’s column: “For Music, Not Money