Monday Sep 25

Every edition is limited

Let's have a permanent moratorium on the phrase "Limited Edition." After all, practically anything you buy--a CD, a pair of shoes, an amplifier, a bicycle--is a limited edition by the nature of commerce. Only so many of any non-commodity item will ever be made and offered for sale.

In fact, if you're thinking about possible future value as a collector's item, you're more likely to have financial success with examples that specifically do NOT claim special limited status.

For example, currently [11/2005] three copies of the Jon Hendricks's In Person CD are being offered on Half.com for prices in the $50 to $70 range. The Sonny Stitt End Game Brilliance CD compilation that came out on the low-priced 32 Jazz label a few years ago now goes for $35 and up on the collectors market. (The Muse CDs from which it was drawn, Tune-Up! and Constellation can sell for that much apiece.)

I've seen Rhino's Twisted CD compilation of Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross offered for $35 or so also. And the last time I saw a CD copy of Milt Jackson's That's the Way It Is for sale, it carried a price tag of about $75.

These might be pipe-dream prices, but I don't think so. Remember, all CDs are inherently "limited editions."

Check your own library. How many of the CDs you own are no longer available on the retail market? If you've been buying for even four or five years, a considerable number are currently irreplaceable and may well be in demand by rabid collectors. You probably don't care to cash them in but you might consider getting them appraised and insured.

[UPDATE 10/2012]

Times change. Demand ebbs as well as flows. Now you might be able to find any of the CDs listed above for $10 or so, but Duke Ellington's Ballads and Blues which was issued in 2000 shows up on Amazon for $35 and up for a used copy and $100 and up for a new copy.