March 16

It was sophomore year of high school when I first heard The Police. I don’t remember who it was, but someone slipped me a mixed cassette that had two Police songs from Outlandos d’AmourRoxanne and Be My Girl – Sally.

The cassette was filled with 38 Special and Loverboy as well, but Roxanne and Be My Girl – Sally… a song about a prostitute and another about an inflatable sex doll… what was THIS?!?

That cassette launched a lifelong love of The Police. So, when I decided to trod this path of my musical life I knew I needed to include the band’s catalogue in the trip. The trouble is, other than Synchronicity, I’d never seen a Police record in a thrift store.

I previously mentioned Discogs as the tool I’m using to archive The Collection. There is also a robust marketplace feature to the site that allows users to purchase records from those willing to sell them. I decided to buy the whole Police catalog on vinyl to see how the marketplace works.

A couple of notes… First, why Discogs rather than EBay? I figured that the Discogs sellers were more genuine, selling only music media rather than the plethora of other junk sold by those on EBay.

Second, Discogs subscribes to the GoldMine Magazine standard of grading records:

http://www.discogs.com/help/doc/mp-grading

so, if everyone is honest, you should get what you pay for.

Buying Outlandos d’Amour was pretty straightforward; I found a seller called Black-Gold-Records out of Coral Springs Florida listing the thing as:

Media Condition: Near Mint (NM or M-)

Sleeve Condition: Very Good Plus (VG+)

…for $6.50 (plus $6.00 shipping). I was a little leery about buying a near mint record for a mere $6.50. The standard for near mint (NM) is;

“A nearly perfect record. The record should show no obvious signs of wear. Near Mint is the highest price listed in all Goldmine price guides. Anything that exceeds this grade, in the opinion of both buyer and seller, is worth significantly more than the highest Goldmine book value.”

And the standard for VG+ (for the sleeve) is;

“An LP cover may have slight signs of wear also and may be marred by a cut-out hole, indentation or corner indicating it was taken out of print and sold at a discount. In general, if not for a couple things wrong with it, this would be Near Mint. All but the most mint-crazy collectors will find a Very Good Plus record highly acceptable.”

So, the thing got here via USPS. I opened it up and saw a cardboard sleeve that was deteriorated to the point of becoming pulp… not really the VG+ I was promised, however, the vinyl was indeed “A nearly perfect record”… it played well and, other than some minor surface noise, was a joy to listen to.

Be My Girl – Sally brought me right back to 10th grade, glancing side to side to be sure I didn’t get caught listening to such a “dirty” song… and realizing that those borders had been breached long ago by popular music and video.

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