Saturday, April 17, 2010

Keepin' v. Sellin' - The Eternal Battle Continues

Back in the SPX options pit, we would always have this discussion, usually started by me.

"I just got this baseball card (or book, or record) for $1. It's worth $100."

"Well, if you don't sell it, then it really cost you $100," said another trader, usually Rob S., the devil himself.

"Nah, I don't see it that way. I got the card (or book, or record) and I want it. I only paid $1." Now I knew what he meant about opportunity cost and market value, but that can't always be the barometer, can it? Not everything needs to be reduced to potential profit. Isn't there a value to be placed on owning something you like? Maybe that attitude is why I never reached greater heights in trading.

"You're wrong," Rob responded and turned around, probably to squirt water at someone, or put pretzel salt in their coat pocket.

Before I got a Facebook post from the Bruce Springsteen page a couple of days ago, I had no idea that today was National Record Store Day. I also didn't know that there is a vinyl shoppe in Utica called Off-Center Records. With most of the family off to Italy, N. and I went up to beautiful downtown Utica. Rome v. Utica, well, you know where I sit on that decision, especially if there are albums involved.

On The Boss' post was mention of a special limited record for today's quasi-holiday. I headed to the official site for Record Day and saw all the special releases, but none gave me that "I MUST HAVE IT" vibe.

There was a little line, maybe 7 or 8 people, at 10:55, five minutes before the opening. The owner (or someone who worked there, I couldn't tell) was pleasantly surprised as he cut his way through the mini-crowd and unlocked the door. "Let's rock," he exclaimed, and we were in.

I asked where the rare, serial-numbered releases for the day were, and I was pointed to a couple of racks right behind me. The LPs didn't look like much, so I turned to the 7"'s. The top shelf had a Neil Young Harvest item, but I didn't care. Then the guy next to me reached in front of me to the lower shelf and pulled out a John Lennon Singles Bag.

I grabbed the other. Three 45's, a poster, and more goodies, for $22. That whet my appetite, I can tell you. I grabbed the new/old Stones 45 of "Plundered My Soul," an Exile on Main St. era release. An Elvis P. 45 of "That's All Right" followed, then an Elvis C. EP of a live show at Hollywood High. Returning to the long-player rack, a Hendrix live found its way into my stack. Anything with "Red House" is a must have.

N. was in the back of the store in old VHS heaven. I looked around a bit. Good store, nice inventory, way too high prices. I did get the soundtrack of Hatari for a buck though.

While checking out, I asked the owner/cashier how the small amounts of records were divvied up between all the stores in the land. He said it was hit and miss, and he didn't get all he wanted. A Parlophone 45 of "Paperback Writer/Rain" in a reissued sleeve sounded nice. A colored vinyl Moby Grape had me drooling, but I was satisfied by my haul.

Then I got to thinking, "Do I really want these 45's, or was it the impulse of finding things that were new, hard to come by and very cool?" As soon as I got home I went on ebay. The Lennon piece is already $50 or more. The Stones song, which cost $7, is also at $50. Elvis P. looks like it's in the $20-30 range.

What to do? Do I really want the Stones single if I can sell it for 50 smackers and then download it for a buck? How much is a reproduction of "Imagine/It's So Hard" really worth to me? I really don't know.

I can tell you this: all records will remain unopened for the next week as I watch the auctions unfold. Sellin' may win this battle, a rare victory.

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