Exploring Rochester’s Vinyl Scene: Bop Shop Part 1

Blog by Laura Zawacki

So, Records. No, not that kind of record…VINYL RECORDS. Yep…the groove really is in the music. But at what cost?

Bags Unlimited catalog at Bop Shop

We wanted to ask an expert about how pricing is officially (sort of) decided upon when it comes to cataloging and pricing records, so we reached out to Tom Kohn from Rochester’s own Bop Shop Records, and these are the findings:

  1. No matter what, the record is (for the most part) worthless if it can’t be played.
  2. Age does not equate to value
  3. It is a very SUPPLY and DEMAND kind of business. No matter how great someone is or was, if no one wants the music, the price will reflect that lack of interest.

And those are just some of the basic “rules” so to speak.

So, what DOES make a record valuable? And is there a definable guideline for judging that?

To determine those guidelines, Tom walked me through the normal process.

Inevitably, someone will come by with or drop off a stack or maybe a box of records. The first indicator to determine anything right off the bat is……how were they stored?


It just so happened that someone had done just that …dropped off a box of records, so we sat down and discussed the process. The records were upright and flopping in a cardboard box. None of them were sealed (OUCH!) and many of them had a musty odor. So, right away, we knew this would not be THE box of hidden treasures…. well, maybe some hidden things, but certainly not treasures. But maybe one gem or two would be found. Tom says that’s the fun part!

Tom methodically went through each one and showed me what he looks for.

  1. Is the record in good shape? i.e. no obvious scratches, is the record flat and not bowed?
  2. Does it have an odor?
  3. Is there an inner sleeve and is it original?
  4. If it originally came with pull outs, posters, lyrics, etc. are they there and if so, are they intact?
  5. How does the jacket look? Jacket may not always lessen value but generally speaking it should look good. And smell good.
  6. The artist. That’s a biggie.

 Tom said that many people have tons of disco era records which are not in demand, therefor, not very valuable. And some are a dime a dozen like Journey, Earth Wind and Fire….so, even though very popular in their time, and some eternally classic, there are so many of them, that the supply is more than the demand.


So, what can be done with a box of old records? And, what are they worth?

Well, we’re going to tell you…. over a series of time. There is just too much information to squeeze it all in to one “interview”, but we have given you a few things to think about….for now.

More about Bop Shop in this article about Record Store Day and this article about the Record Store Crawl.bob shop records

Record Cube – White

The SheLPf ® Record Cube – WHITE. Holds 75-80 LP Records Inside: 13-3/8 x 13-3/4 x 13″ (L x W x D). Outside: 14-3/4 x 15-5/8 x 13″. These easy-to-assemble record cubes are made from .70″ thick MDF (medium density fiberboard) with a textured Melamine finish. The cubes securely stack up to 3 high.