Frequently Asked Questions
Getting Started / Building Your Collection
Q01: Where can I find rare/collectable
Check out our Links page for some pretty good online sources. Beyond the www, going through the printed ads in Record Collector and/or Goldmine magazines and visiting your local record fairs is also recommended.
Q02: How much should I pay for item X?
Sorry, but thats a question we cant really answer. As already stated in our introductory notes, we consider it very difficult to put price tags on single items, even though there are numerous "price guides" around whose compilers obviously think otherwise. That said, our bottom line of advice is, pay what you are ready to pay for a particular item, and - most importantly - no more than what you can afford after all, we cant think of any Bruce Springsteen record in this world thats worth going into hock for it!
Q03: Are there any books on collectable
Springsteen records out there I can use for reference?
Major British collector Chris Hunt has compiled an excellent "Worldwide Discography" for the book "Blinded By The Light" (co-written by Patrick Humphries), which was published back in 1986. However, this only takes in releases up to the "Born In The U.S.A." era, and unfortunately never was updated - still, its a great resource we recommend highly. If you cant find this out-of-print book at Amazon.com, try eBay, where copies turn up on a fairly regular basis.
Q04: What is a "promotional issue"?
"Promotional issues" of standard releases usually feature minor variations to their commercial counterparts (such as white labels, special stamps or inserts) and were sent out to radio station DJ's, record stores and music journalists only. Normally, promos (or "DJ Sample Copies", as they are also sometimes referred to) are not destined for resale, as they - theoretically, at least - remain property of the record company, but this does not prevent them from finding their way onto the collector's market, where they are always sought-after due to their limited runs.
Q05: What is a "promotion-only
"Promotion-only releases" are records that, other than the above "promo issues", were pressed specifically as promotional devices, with no commercial counterparts existing. Generally, all of these are highly collectable, as they often feature unique packaging and/or song selections.
Q06: What is an "EP"?
An "EP" (abbreviation for "extended play") simply is a non-long playing record that includes more than two songs (usually a maximum of five), as opposed to the classic 7-inch "single". EP's have been issued on both vinyl and compact disc, and - especially in Europe - are often referred to as "maxi singles" as well.
Q07: What is an "obi strip"?
Actually the correct term for Kimono belts, "obis" are better known among record collectors as either vertical or horizontal paper title strips wrapped around the covers of numerous 12-inch singles, albums and CD's manufactured in Japan, which usually include Japanese record/artist info. It is always wise to keep these, since - apart from their exotic look so many Western collectors go for - the lack of such a strip from an item that originally used to include one is actually decreasing the record's overall value!
Q08: What is a "bootleg"?
Bootlegs are records that include unreleased live or studio material and are distributed without the permission of an artist or his label/management; i. e. their manufacturing, distribution, advertisement, purchase and even mere possession are violating valid international copyright laws. Along with the likes of The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen no doubt is one of the most bootlegged artists ever in rock history: The number of vinyl boots alone pressed between the mid-70s and late 80s comes close to approximately 500 titles, and several hundred more have been issued on compact disc since 1989 (although "professional" CD bootlegging seems to have dwindled down recently due to the availability of CD-R computer drives and stand-alone copy machines). That said, you won't find any in-depth information on bootlegs on this site (apart from a few exceptions in the Pirates Treasure page which were included to avoid potential confusion with official product), but browse around and you are sure to come across numerous good online resources dealing with this particular subject.
Q09: What is a "pirate record"?
"Pirate records" are usually being manufactured in several Asian countries that operate outside the international copyright law system. In most cases, these include odd selections of officially released material (pressed on inferior vinyl) and come in unique covers that often feature bizarre artwork. All items of that kind are thoroughly illegal within the Western hemisphere and not particularly valuable either, but some collectors still seek them out for their exotic origins alone. Springsteen-related pirates include a handful of vinyl compilation albums from South Korea and a slew of obscure, poor-sounding cassette releases from the Far East; more info about which can be found right here.
Q10: What is a "counterfeit"?
Other than the above "pirate" records, which contain official material without attempting to look like a genuine thing, counterfeits are veritable "fakes" of rare legitimate releases that mostly feature fiendishly close (though never perfect) replicas of the original cover and label design, and - just like with valuable art - often can only be detected by the trained eye of an expert. Throughout this site, we have given indications of items that are either known or just suspected to have been duplicated in this thoroughly criminal manner, and also provided advisory on how to tell a counterfeit from an original where possible.
Q11: In what quantity are so-called
"limited editions" usually being pressed?
The average press run for commercially available "limited edition" items mostly ranges from around 8,000 to 10,000 copies, so they are not hard to find at all.
Q12: What are those "gradings" (VG,
EX, M etc.) often stated in dealers ads?
The use of gradings is common practice for dealers and private sellers alike to state conditions of the records offered in their lists and catalogues. For detailed information on how records are being graded, visit eil.com's "Music Collectors Guide".
Q13: I have item X in my collection. Why
isnt it included on your website?
We a) may have thought it wasnt worthy of inclusion because its pretty common fare; b) simply overlooked it or c) just dont plain know about it! If you own a record you think is interesting enough to be featured here, please drop us a line providing as much information and detail as you can possibly come up with. Many people have contacted us with vital additions recently and thus helped the site grow and improve; we always appreciate that kind of support!
Maintaining Your Collection
Q14: How should I store and care for my
Again, check out eil.com's "Music Collectors Guide" for all kinds of good advice on how to keep your collectable vinyl and CD's in great shape.
Q15: Where can I sell or trade my spare items
Try auctioning off your spare items on eBay (which will cost you a reasonable fee per listing), or simply place an ad in Karsten Stanley Andersens excellent Greasy Lake website, which has a special (free) Forum for this purpose.
Q16: What do I do if I have a question
thats not being answered in this friggin FAQ?
No problem at all, mate - just e-mail us, and well try our best to help!