By Alex Mosier
Walking through a secondhand collectibles shop, I stumbled across a box of Fleetwood Mac albums. At this point I had most of them, but one with its simplistic beauty eluded me, Tusk. Much to my surprise, the owner had a few copies for sale. I flipped through them, weighing the quality of the covers, holding the disks up to the light in search of scratches. Most of them were essentially junk, but two of them were in pristine condition. I asked the shop owner how much, and he responded that the one in my right hand was $10 and the other was $15.
I was a little confused on the difference in price given that there was no discernible difference between the albums. The owner let me take the albums into the back and give them a spin on his busted turn table. For the life of me, I could not find a difference between them. Naturally, like any broke college student whose top concern while lying in the middle of a room filled with hand-me-down furniture and listening to classic hippie rock, I chose the cheaper of the two records.
Once home, I threw the record on my record playing and listened to side A in its entirety before doing any Internet research on the record. As soon as Sarah concluded side A of disk 1, I went online to see if I had made out like a bandit or had been taken. I compared my copy to those online and it seemed to be in near mint condition. The part that confused me was that some labeled near mint were selling for as little as $15 while others were going for as much as $40. At first I assumed that it was just different people listing their albums, but then I stumbled across a key difference.
The $25 deciding factor came in the form of a thin little paper sleeve that went on the record, in the dust jacket and cover. People were willing to pay $25 more for the sheet with the lyrics on it that went around the record. It was something so small that I had not even noticed the album in my hands was missing it as I scrutinized the records. That’s an oversight I will never make again. Now that I know the difference, my album seems incomplete. Maybe the paper sleeve is worth the price difference.