The tale of the "Old (But very Full) Barn"

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The tale of the "Old (But very Full) Barn"

Post by Gmemg » Thu Dec 28, 2017 5:49 pm

At last the time comes to tell the "tale of the Old ( but very Full ) barn" - i'm prompted to do so by several people badgering me to tell this story over the last year and , in particular by a programme "the Squire" recommended to me called "Shed & buried" in which a couple of chaps search sheds for "bargains" - more on that programme later SO what happened ?

This all happened the September before last

I work , if that's the Word most days in London and in the course of the Duties i very occasionally have to travel to Sarf London , not far in fact from Roger Thorne's area and the first time i went there got lost and in doing so passed a charity shop with a notice in the window asking for :

"Experts on 78rpm vinyl records to value for us"

Well not being a CLPGS Pedant i just laughed and being slightly late and lost had to get to the office - so a week later and with more time in hand went in search of the charity shop and , of course the law of Sod meant that finding things when lost is easy finding them deliberately is very hard and so another week went by before i eventually found the place and went in and spoke to the manager and this is what was said :

manager :"We've got a storage place with a lot of 78 vinyls in and need someone to go through them and either value them and tell us how to sell them or make us an offer for the lot "

I then asked a series of questions i would normally ask in such a situation to establish everything BEFORE committing time, effort or money which could turn out to be a waste of time :

"How Many records are there, (IE: do i need a Van or will a car do ?)

"where are they ? " (Do i need to book a Van & Driver or can i find the place myself ?)

"How much do you want ?" (MOST IMPORTANT as a lot of time can be wasted with people who say "i don't know" but actually want 1000% more then anything is worth )

when can i see them (ALWAYS try and see what's for sale as " a Lot" can actually mean 50 or 5 million or just 3 and a trip to John o Groats Might not be worth it ! )

The answers were fairly straightforward -

"About 10,000" (actually that was something of an Underestimate so i would need a Van at least)

"on a farm between Rugby and Lutterworth " (not impossible to get to from Oxford )

"We E.Mailed a Gramophone collecting Club who told us they pay £10 per Thousand " (interesting ! - had THEY been and taken all the best ?)

so i arranged to meet the manager at 10am at the place and went by what seemed the best way via Bicester and Brackley to the A5 and "Oop North" (I hate motorways ) and found the place fairly easily after asking at the nearby Farmhouse , there were a number of small agricultural buildings some small and one massive barn and much to my surprise we went to the massive barn and when he opened the door i was absolutely astonished (pictures to follow) there were stacks of 12" records almost immediately inside between 4ft & 6 ft high and some at the back much higher - for once i was somewhat taken aback and didn't know quite what to say - the bloke asked me

"Can you do anything with this lot ?"

Me : "Yes, but i will need to sort through and it could take a week " (A Vast under - estimate!)

Manager : " no problem i'll leave you the key and will let the landowner know you're here and will be coming back and you can come up when you want but the site is being cleared in February (it was then September) for a warehouse site so you've got 'till then as everything will be bulldozed

I thought that might be Ok so he left and i was standing there in a field wondering what to do next , luckily i had gone up in Car but had put a lot of Proudie racks in the back but hadn't got any lunch so went to the local garage and got some and went back thinking it may have been some sort of mirage !

Having gone back i decided on a plan of action and since it was a sunny day I began sorting putting the ones i didn't want in the space beside the door to make sure i hadn't overlooked any or sorted any twice and for the first maybe 5,000 didn't fine ONE of interest not ONE as they were just 12" orchestral records and part sets and it was obvious that these had been well sorted which was a worrying sign then as i got behind the first rows i began finding odd 10" records of interest and pulled a few Proudieracks out - i was being VERY cautious and certainly wasn't taking out anything which was lucky as within 4 hours and much to my surprise i had filled the 12 Proudieracks i had with me !

I had a break for lunch and realised that out of maybe 2,000 stacks i had actually only gone through about 10 and it began to dawn on me the task i had undertaken - i went back and within minutes found an albums of 10 1/4" Odeons - nothing exceptional but good stuff and after then put aside almost the next 250 records all of which were Acoustics of the 1908 - 14 period and probably an original collection and apparently untouched - most collectors know when they have an untouched collection as you get a feel for what should be there and if it's not then it's been sorted ! it's no more than a feeling until you find some Rare G & T which you KNOW any collector or dealer would have had and it's confirmed and thus my day got better !

I got home at about 10pm and after unloading the car booked a few days off and went up the next day Via Banbury & then Southam - a much easier route and began thinking i had better start being a bit more serious about it all and for the first few weeks i went up a few days per week sorted a car load a time noted down the numbers and kept the Charity Manager informed but even so i did take it all at something of a leisurely pace and even had a couple of Visits from "the Squire" who went through the ones i had already sorted and found almost half a carload for himself ! by this time it was getting to November and the weather had been very pleasant - i had taken Builders Lights up with me as the nights were drawing in and sturdy folding tables to sort and had began stacking the ones i wanted as i was now sorting out many more than a carload per visit and one Sunday arranged for the first Van load to be brought back which made more space but by then the weather had turned COLD and it was no joke luckily i now worked inside the barn and the Farmer had lent me a Patio heater under which i worked but that only made my top half roasted and my feet frozen - i eventually had to stand on a pallet with old carpet on but even so it was becoming very difficult

I don't know if many readers have actually handled 78s from a shed or outside storage in the cold but they retain the cold and handling them with gloves leads to accidents so my hands became very cold and by the middle of November i had to do 1/2 an hour sorting and 1/2 an hour in the car trying to get warm and it was then that the Charity manager called me to tell me the building work was starting 2nd week in January and anything left would be bulldozed !

as i couldn't bring ALL the records back i then took more time off and kept going - one day i came across nearly 1000 G & T's, Fonotipias, Single Sided Zonos, Odeons and other early continental recordings all in the same type of sleeve often with the fragile paper original tucked inside - i had found loads of early records & labels whilst sorting but not in such a concentration and not in such excellent condition and found they had belonged to a continental collector who had come to the UK in the 1930's and obviously this was his collection in it's entirety Joachim on G & T ? yes please ! other such collections came out in time and whilst sorting such collections were kept together - until then i had tried to keep the records i kept in type order so all the HMV Plum Label Danceband ones went in one box, Columbia danceband in another Operatic in another and so on but that took up valuable time and with one month to go i had only been through about half the records , by this time a couple of decent (and trustworthy) CLPGS members had visited and been through the ones i didn't want and the charity had over £100 from them ! (it nearly broke their hearts ) so it was well worth while but i did keep my eye on them as i went through the ones i wanted to see they left them well alone

By Now about 25 Vanloads had been taken to the Preceptory and been carefully stacked in My barn but with the nights now drawing in i was getting there at 7am and my petrol Bill was mounting up - i had even gone through 3 of the Gas bottles for the patio heater and they cost money and i did have to pay for lighting as well so it was becoming quite an expense but i just couldn't understand how this charity had got hold of this lot until chatting to the farmer one day i found out , i had thought that all this lot had been donated to the charity over years but it turned out to be a collector or more properly an accumulator (the Former owner of the Farm) who had got hold of EVERY 78 he had ever seen since the late 1950's and kept them and when the present owner had bought the place the previous year he had got everything in the barns as well and since his sister in law lived near the charity shop i had first been in they donated the lot to them ! (I later went to the Farm to see & buy what the Collector had kept but it was mostly rubbish - very strange but he had obviously only kept what he liked )

by the time i reached the back i estimated i had sorted & taken away about 250 - 280,000 records and left at least 3 times that behind i then had a look in the corners (i had seen some field mice but they didn't look like record collectors but was afeared i might see Rats especially Crapophone makes with 2 legs !) and found a box of BRAND new and unplayed Regal Danceband records from 1926 in Mint condition - the wooden crate appeared to be the transport box (they were usually card but who knows) and a few other records worth having - i had by this time been a lot less fussy and often took whole stacks unsorted if the top dozen were worth having

At the end of it all i have (and this is just an estimate and will include many many duplicates and rough as well as good & a few mint copies ) about 100ft of HMV Danceband records, well over 10ft of 12" Columbia Musical Show records , over 100 ft of Columbia & regal Danceband Records tens of thousands of acoustic records of all types and well over 1,000 rare Labels and all sorts of odd and interesting records and after just over a year still haven't sorted them all - oddly enough there were just one lot of a few dozen Pathe records a very few speech or historic records

Was it worth doing ?

yes, but the work involved was amazing as were the expenses - very few records were broken in transit and those probably were cracked to start with the one thing i will never forget is the COLD - most of the last days i went there it took the entire journey home in the car with the heating on to get warm and several times i could go as my back hurt so much from all the lifting & shifting.

it does show you should always check out what's for sale and most times it will be a waste of time but sometimes and very rarely it will pay off ! it also proves that Proudieracks are worth their weight in Gold
Estott : "An Ancient Half - Mad Uncle "

My U - Tube Channel is :

Corruption in the CLPGS :
The Seven Social Sins are:
Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character .Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle.

Money. Greed. Naivety. Falsehoods. Exploitation. Welcome to the wonderful world of gramophones!

"He has as much comedic talent as the Straight man on a Linguaphone record "
Si vis pacem, para bellum Der Morgige Tag Ist Mein

E M Ginn
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Joined: Wed Dec 13, 2017 8:12 am

Re: The tale of the "Old (But very Full) Barn"

Post by E M Ginn » Fri Dec 29, 2017 3:28 am

great find wish i could have got a look

did all the orchestral records get junked ?

Merry Christmas

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Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2017 9:01 pm

Re: The tale of the "Old (But very Full) Barn"

Post by THE SQUIRE » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:22 pm

Greetings from The Squire ,
It is good to see the forum back again as it is a valuable source of reliable information , its motto should be " Don't let the B*****S get You down " . Thanks for letting Me have a look in the Barn , the number of records there was amazing , and I found many rare items including one of the c1932 RCA Victor Lp records ,the first I have seen ,and an acetate of My Grandfather playing the Serpent accompanied by a Hurdy Gurdy . I had to take up some storage to put them in , but have got them home now .
I would like to wish everyone a Happy and Successful New Year
All the Best from Wild and Woolly West Oxfordshire .

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Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2017 10:36 pm

Re: The tale of the "Old (But very Full) Barn"

Post by rgodridge » Fri Dec 29, 2017 10:52 pm

Collector's tales don't get much better than that!
That is absolutely amazing. I've had a lot of good finds recently but this is just insane!

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Joined: Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:12 pm

Re: The tale of the "Old (But very Full) Barn"

Post by simo » Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:37 pm

its amazing whats out many more such places waiting to see the light of day!
must echo the Squires thoughts...good to see the forum back and early "NEW YEAR BEST WISHES TO ALL"

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