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RECORD PROFITS; Get into the groove of selling and investing in sought-after rare vinyl.

Byline: JAY WILLIAMS

OLD vinyl is making a mint as records by Elvis and the Rolling Stones sell for staggering sums.

Thanks to the recession, the collectible vinyl business has seen record sales as investors switch from rocky stocks and shares to rock legends such as The Beatles and Queen, and British music-lovers cash in.

Whether you like nosing around charity shops and car boot sales in search of rare gems, or you've got a carefully stored record collection that you think is worth a few quid, you could be quids in... Pals Rob Croydon and Julian Thomas, of www.991.com, sold a cool pounds 1.5million of rare records last year - 15% up on 2008. "A mint copy of a scarce single by The Beatles from the early 60s can now be worth way more than its weight in gold," says Rob.

"We've seen an increase in sales of collectible stock all over the UK and abroad, especially the US and Japan."

Rob, 41, is a prime example of how to make money out of being a vinyl junkie. He made his first profit as a teenager, when he bought a 16-minute 12in remix of Relax by 80s pop stars Frankie Goes To Hollywood and sold it for pounds 20. And he's never looked back.

He and Julian, 41, who have been friends since primary school, set up in business in 1986, when he was just 17, from their bedrooms. They went without holidays for six years and ploughed all the money they made from their day jobs in finance and property into the company.

They also spent years trudging around record fairs and second-hand shops building up their collection.

Now they employ more than 40 people at a huge HQ in Meopham, Kent, and have agents in the US and Japan, hunting rarities and selling to a growing clientele of private collectors.

Julian says: "Unlike stocks and shares, which have had a pretty unsettled time recently, the collectible vinyl market is stable."

One of Julian's biggest coups was when a punk fan rang up offering to sell a "holy grail" item - The Sex Pistols' God Save The Queen single, which was released on A&M Records in 1977 and immediately withdrawn from sale.

Worth up to pounds 10,000 with its original promotional material, Julian bought it for an undisclosed sum. The seller then casually said: "Oh, if you're interested, I've got six more copies."

Needless to say, Julian snapped them up.

The company has tens of thousands of records, CDs, tapes, autographed items and other memorabilia (on the right are their current most valuable items).

If you have a collection for sale, or items for sale, contact 991.com for an idea of its value... it needs to be in great condition. If you think you have a particularly valuable piece of vinyl you could take it to London auctioneers Christie's, which holds regular rock and pop memorabila sales. The next is on June 24. Find out more at www.christies.com and search for "records".

TOP 10 COLLECTIBLE ARTISTS

1. The Beatles

2. Madonna

3. Elton John

4. Rolling Stones

5. Elvis Presley

6. U2

7. David Bowie

8. Oasis

9. Olivia Newton John

10. Eric Clapton

TOP 10 NON COLLECTIBLE ARTISTS

1. Billy Joel

2. Robbie Williams

3. Dire Straits

4. Phil Collins

5. Fleetwood Mac

6. Supertramp

7. Lionel Richie

8. Boomtown Rats/Bob Geldof

9. The Eagles

10. Rod Stewart

TIPS FOR COLLECTORS

Go for stuff you like and take good care of it - both sleeves and vinyl.

Scratches are a definite no-no.

If you're hoping to sell for a profit, don't put your name on covers.

You can play the records but it's best to keep them in pristine condition.

You can't go wrong with the classics such as Elvis and the Stones.

Look for limited editions or extras such as artwork - not everything from collectible artists is collectible or worth money.

QUEEN Virgin Radio day set of seven 12in singles, 1996

pounds 5,995

PINK FLOYD

Arnold Layne promo 7in single, 1967

pounds 4,995

JIMI HENDRIX

The Cry Of Love red vinyl test pressing, 1971

pounds 4,950

GENESIS

From Genesis To Revelation album, 1969 pounds 1,250

MICHAEL JACKSON

Off The Wall (autographed), 1979 pounds 995

RECENT SALES AT 991.com

Queen Bohemian Rhapsody 1978 blue vinyl 7in, made to celebrate record label EMI winning The Queen's Award to Industry for Export Achievement, and presented to attendees at the commemorative luncheon sold for pounds 3,000

Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon 1973 Japanese vinyl LP, with the iconic prism image cover printed in reverse went for pounds 2,500

The Spectres

Hurdy Gurdy Man 1966 vinyl demo 7in. The Spectres were formed by Francis Rossi, Rick Parfitt, John Coghlan and Alan Lancaster, who later changed the name to Status Quo sold for pounds 300

Oasis Columbia 1993 UK promotional 12in single: sent to radio and media for Christmas 1993, before the release of their debut single Supersonic. Only 510 copies made by Alan McGee's Creation label: pounds 200

Memorabilia: Keith Moon, legendary drummer for The Who a National Till

Company brass cash register circa 1915, once owned by Keith and placed in the bar room of his mansion sold for pounds 2,000

An autograph book circa 1963-64, including the signatures of Rolling Stones Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman and, most importantly, founding member Brian Jones: pounds 1,295

CAPTION(S):

GROOVY GUYS Rob (right) and Julian with some vinyl gems
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jun 9, 2010
Words:928
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