Back to Black! Why are we in such a spin about the vinyl revival?

I need to start by saying a warm Hello Collectologists! I’m Dermot and I’m here to give you the first-hand, inside scoop on all things Collecting – from the revival of vinyl records, to vintage toys to rummage for in your attic for! As a passionate collector myself – my aim is to share with you first-hand news on everything that’s happening in the collecting world. So without further ado, for my first piece...

I’ve been dusting off my Vinyls to help me answer the question – why are we in such a spin about the Vinyl revival? WELL…

Years ago, I lent a top-quality Technics Hi-Fi turntable and amplifier to a pal. His own equipment was broken and he wanted to listen to his old Miles Davis albums. I came to regret it.

One night, lying in bed, some nostalgic tunes from my twenties came into my head and I knew that the particular LP was stored in a cupboard. When I took it out of its sleeve it was a joy to behold. The artwork, the sleeve notes and lyrics, the glorious black sheen were so impressive. I had a sudden need to hear that old vinyl sound blast out again. 

But there was no way to play it as that mate I mentioned still had my Hi-Fi gear. It was several phone calls and some serious arm twisting before I managed to persuade him to dig out and return my Technics stuff. I put the record on and I was stunned by the sound quality. It was not better than a CD or a digi-download but it was just different and uplifting.

The revival of vinyl records has thrilled rock and pop aficionados. Vinyl discs now sell in tens of thousands every week boosting revenue for the artists and the industry alike. Some top artists are insisting their work is produced not only for CD and digitally but in vinyl.

Record industry stats show that for the nine successive years vinyl sales have grown. Supermarkets and record stores have created extra floor space to sell more vinyl discs. Vinyl is the only physical music format that has seen consistent growth in sales across all recording genres. So, who is buying vinyl and why?

The vinyl analysis


With vinyl, we aren’t just talking about “sonic quality” we are talking about a special look and a delicate touch.  There’s a skill to handling a vinyl LP and it forces us into a certain reverence for it. It’s like handling a rare book or religious artefact. Some even wear special gloves to prevent damage. Why is this?

We seem to feel some deep emotional connection to the LP. It’s not the same with a CD disc or digital download. If you buy vinyl these days you want it to stay in pristine condition – protected from the rough and tumble of daily life.

Walls of sound

We cannot preserve an LP in aspic, but we can do the equivalent. More and more of the albums we cherish are being framed behind glass or acrylic and hung on our walls.

There is a fresh desire among older generation music fans to emotionally engage with their vinyl recordings. The extra dimension is that, together the album and the album sleeve, can form their own kind of art – vinyl art.

So, the LP and the sleeve are becoming collectable works of art which we can package together ourselves given that album framing systems are reasonably cheap and simple to apply. Play and display frames have become a big seller allowing the owner to slip the album back on the wall after listening.

There are three good reasons to cherish vinyl records. They create a special sound. Looked after properly, they stand the test of time, and they can become works of vinyl art in a classy display case.

Who’s Who in the wall of frame?

The sales of framed wall vinyl art have soared especially among fifty and sixty somethings brought up on hi-fi and stereo. It won’t be surprising that the iconic sleeve covers from that musical era are most popular. Think Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Queen, The Who. The super groups certainly did a fantastic line in album covers. Many were the work of the late graphic artist Storm Thorgerson, who is widely-regarded as the genius of record the sleeve art and graphics. Imagine the work of a genius having pride of place on your bedroom or lounge wall.

The punk generation are joining in too with The Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Stranglers attracting interest. There is no doubt that a market for collectors of vinyl art is being created. For instance, The Sex Pistols in their early days had a short association with A&M Records.

They released the single God Save the Queen in 1977 to coincide with the Queen’s Silver Jubilee but the band’s alleged bad behaviour was too much for A&M record bosses and the band was axed. Almost all the stock of the GSQ single was destroyed apart from, it is widely believed, nine copies.

The single was re-released on Virgin to great sales success, but an A&M pressing is now estimated to be worth £10,000 to collectors. A framed version of that A&M single would certainly need a decent insurance policy.

So my one final piece of advice. Don’t lend your aging hi-fi equipment to even your closest friend. When those favourite sounds from the past come bouncing into your head, you’ll need it!

Watch out for my next piece – coming soon!

Best wishes,

Dermot Martin



If you're interested.... 

In 2010, Royal Mail issued a series of Classic Album Covers Stamps. These album covers are instantly recognisable. With Vinyl coming back into fashion and becoming more collectable, these Framed Vinyl and Stamp Presentations are the definitive tributes. Featuring a pristine vinyl edition of the actual album, mounted alongside the Official Royal Mail Album Cover Stamp, it really is a striking wall display for any home or office.

These Framed Vinyl and Stamp presentations have already proven to be extremely popular and with a strict edition limit of just 250 worldwide, they will forever remain to be extremely exclusive collectables.Find out more here>>