How Jack got his start collecting OLD records

Note: This is a portion of a post from Jack Stanley’s blog: The early sound recording archive.
He describes how he got started collecting OLD OLD records. You can read the rest of the story here. (Looks like Jack stopped a couple years back … too bad!)

I acquired my first old record in 1969. It came my way in school. It had been found in the waters of Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale Florida . It was a home made job from the 1940’s of a rather bad barbershop quartet singing. I have a feeling that there was drinking involved in this recording. But I was delighted and hooked.

I started in 1970 collecting records. Anything old I would take. I used to go to houses of older folks and ask if they had any old 78 records to get rid of. Amazingly I did find quite a few. Many were odd and unusual. Being that I did not know a lot yet I let many a treasure go away.

Also I was totally confused as to the value and rarity of some of the records. In 1971 I traded a Philco cathedral radio for a Caruso record!

I was sure I did better in the deal…I had a lot to learn.

I was living in New Jersey by 1971 and before long I had a rare collection of Kate Smith records. Well, I thought they were rare.

I found my first old phonograph in 1971. It was a Victor Victrola VI. It was not working had problems and I mowed a lawn to get it. Since I had no idea what I was doing I broke the much of the original mechanism. Well by doing so I learned. I would in time fix it all with of all things Crazy Glue! But this was my starting machine and I was very proud of it. I signed the inside and put a 1972 penny inside to mark this very historic machine. I was using sewing needles to play records..This was not the most successful way to play them.

So in my naive sense I called RCA Victor. It was still their logo on the side of the Victrola. It was a million to one chance that the person who answered the phone at RCA was a record collector named Don Donahue. I asked if they made needles for their Victor machines and he answered “Of course we do” That evening I was to receive a pack of needles, as I walked to the RCA company in Rockaway, New Jersey. I was soon to get mono and was sick beyond belief. One day while I was in and out of a very restless sleep there was a man at the foot of my bed with a big box. This was Don, and he brought me a get well present. A box of old records! …

(The story continues here.)